Deborah Solomon's Double Standards

A moderate Republican had his tan mocked and was goaded into sniping at his party, while a moderate Democrat was praised for his military valor and being an "unusually gifted stylist."

Reporter Deborah Solomon's latest Q&A in the Times' Sunday Magazine featured on the hot seat Republican Gov. Charlie Crist of Florida, a potential vice-presidential pick for John McCain.

The teaser sniped at the GOP: "The Republican governor of Florida talks about whether his party lacks common sense, avoiding another vote recount and the rumors he could be John McCain's vice-presidential pick."

The opening line of questioning:

Q: As the popular governor of Florida and a Republican known for supporting relatively progressive causes, you are often mentioned as a possible running mate for Senator McCain. It's been said that you could deliver Florida for him in the November election and lend him some overall centrist appeal.

Then came this exchange, in which Solomon goaded the moderate Crist to take a bite out of his party:

Q: Is it fair to describe you as socially progressive?

A: I think it is fair to describe me as a common-sense Republican.

Q: Which implies that some Republicans lack common sense.

A: That's possible.

Solomon wasted two questions on a liberal columnist and thriller novelist's snotty attacks:

Q: The novelist Carl Hiassen has publicly asked that you excuse yourself from the vice-presidential sweepstakes, since you have been governor for only 17 months and haven't accomplished much, in his estimation.

Q: If you became vice president, he wrote in The Miami Herald, you would be better remembered for your tan than for your leadership.

Compared to the snark directed against Gov. Crist, Democratic Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia, another potential vice-presidential candidate, came off rather heroically in his June 1 Q&A with Solomon, who admitted in a previous Q&A that she voted for Al Gore in 2000.

Some questions posed by Solomon to Webb:

Q: As a decorated war hero and a former secretary of the U.S. Navy, you're one of a few Democrats who can enhance your party's image on national security. The title of your new book, "A Time to Fight," is very pointed; it sounds like a man eager for a barroom brawl. What's so great about fighting?

Q: But you've been through the Vietnam War, where you won a Navy Cross and two Purple Hearts.

Q: Why not just ignore your critics?

Q: Unlike John McCain and Chuck Schumer, who recently published books with co-writers, you wrote your book yourself. You and Obama are both unusually gifted stylists.