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Conservative magazine gives up on Republicans for the election

Jan Frel: <i>The Weekly Standard</i> puts John Tester on the cover and runs a fawning Howard Dean profile.
 
 
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It's election time, and all the DC political magazines should be flying their home team colors. You'd expect a circling-of-the-wagons cover story from the right-wingers at the Weekly Standard about endangered Senate Republicans: "Santorum, Chafee, Allen, Burns, and Talent are the only thing keeping this country from handing over all U.S. territory west of the Mississippi to Kim Jong Il. "

What we have instead is a clear sign that the scribes at the #2 right-wing rag ( National Review is the flagship) are beginning to slip. Take a look at the Weekly Standard 's latest issue. Why, it's all about that rugged, buzz-topped Montana Man Of The Earth John Tester. The corresponding cover story has practically nothing in it that sounds like an attack; it's almost a puff piece. I kid you not:

[Tester] is a striking figure. Tester is 50 years old, but with his buzz-cut (he trims it every three weeks), paunch, and expressive face, he resembles nothing so much as an overgrown boy. He smiles often and has a contagious laugh. Sometimes he seems out of breath. Though both men would probably blanch at the comparison, there is something of another Westerner, Dick Cheney, in Tester's physicality, in the way he addresses a crowd. He, like Cheney, speaks slowly and with deliberation. He looms over a podium, pulling the audience toward him.

If a Tester backrub doesn't strike you as strange, how's about a nearly glowing Howard Dean profile? Dem hackwriter Matt Bai of The New York Times Magazine profiled Dean recently and couldn't find much nice to say about him. The Weekly Standard jumped in to fill the gap. From the conclusion of David White's "A Pilgrim's Progress: From moderate governor to grassroots rockstar, the reinvention of Howard Dean":

Dean has a position that most politicians would envy. Most hardcore Democrats love the guy. And at the grassroots level, so do most Republicans.

That's what neocon Standard editor William Kristol is telling his writers to cover two weeks before the November elections? "I want you to compare John Tester to Cheney. Make him sound like a tough guy, would you?" Kristol must have forgotten what power looks like.

Jan Frel is AlterNet's senior editor.

 
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