In a post titled “I’m posting as a faux hipster from Williamsburg”, Jay Rosen points out that the horserace media’s acceptance of the notion that a politician can adopt a politically expedient persona at will has looped back to the candidates themselves:
[…] “Gingrich is running as a Washington outsider” could be seen as bizarre, absurd, farcical, insulting, disqualifying on its fat and false face. But these are relatively “hot” reactions. In punditry the preferred style is cool, analytic, unshockable: savvy.
The purpose of constructing the sentence that way is to delay or defeat the most logical question we can ask about any candidate, which is not what he’s running as, but what he actually is. That journalists are more comfortable with the “as” than they are with the “is” tells us something about the state of truthelling in that profession.[…] Listen to what Romney says: “The issues I’m running on will be exactly the same. I’m running as a conservative Republican.”
Do you see what he did there? He took the savvy pundit’s view… of himself! […]
This is why John will probably be posting that Rachel Maddow story about Romney’s lies a couple more times. Once you accept the notion that politicians are actors playing roles, pointing out they’re lying is like a movie critic saying that Jack Nicholson is a big fibber.