On Tuesday we endorsed former Congressman, and right-to-life hero, Dave Weldon in the Florida Republican Primary for the U.S. Senate. Our concerns about Weldon's opponent, and the ostensible leader in the race, Congressman Connie Mack IV were Mack's criticism of the Arizona immigration bill, his votes in favor of stem cell research and his hunger for earmarks, plus lingering questions about his sense of entitlement to succeed his father and his work ethic.
Apparently The Wall Street Journal's respected political reporter Allysia Finley found a basis for those concerns at a recent Hillsborough County Republican executive committee meeting. Here's Finley's report:
Connie Mack's War
Perhaps Florida Rep. Connie Mack someday plans to write a book on how to lose a winnable Senate race. Chapter One: Pursue a public vendetta against the press.
Mr. Mack has been engaged in a tiff with the local media since the Miami Herald reported in February on old marital and debt problems. The Tampa Bay Times followed up a couple of months later with an examination of the candidate's campaign. Mr. Mack's father, a former U.S. senator, retaliated with a letter to Republicans accusing the press of trying to "torpedo Connie's candidacy" and "save and promote [incumbent Democratic Senator] Bill Nelson and Barack Obama."
Fast forward a few months. Mr. Mack's biggest competition for the Republican nomination, former Sen. George LeMieux, dropped out of the race in June. The nomination was supposedly Mr. Mack's for the taking and may still be. But the Tampa Bay Times ostensibly tried to complicate the heir apparent's coronation by endorsing former Rep. Dave Weldon over the weekend.
Here's a smattering of their reasons: Mr. Mack has "questionable work habits, a sense of entitlement and an undistinguished record in Congress"; his "approach to public service does not inspire confidence"; "he refused to debate his Republican primary opponents or meet with editorial boards"; and "there also remain questions about how much time he spends in his district."
Mr. Mack's campaign manager, Jeff Cohen, responded with a letter to the Times slamming political editor Adam Smith and the paper for "waging a tireless campaign against conservatives and Republicans." What some "find offensive and intellectually dishonest," writes Mr. Cohen, "is your refusal to admit that Adam Smith's agenda is Left Wing and Democrat, as is your newspaper."
At a Hillsborough County Republican executive committee meeting on Wednesday, Mr. Mack blasted the paper as a "mouthpiece for liberals." When Mr. Smith pursued him, Mr. Mack jabbed, "When you decide you want to be a real journalist, I'd be happy to talk to you."
Mr. Mack may score some points with conservatives by excoriating the liberal media, but such attacks will wear thin quickly and fall flat with independents. The only thing Mr. Mack buys with his media assassinations is more scrutiny and negative coverage.