Friday, August 05, 2005

The New York Times, the nation's self-proclaimed " newspaper of record" that often omits more from news stories than they record, now is apparently investigating four year old children(!) in hopes of destroying the reputation of a Republican nominee. Hat tip to Don Surber.

That this kind of maniacally partisan witch hunting is disgusting is obvious to all but the demented but I wonder what kind of story the Times would hope to run....



Washington, D.C. - Judge John Roberts, President Bush's nominee to the seat on the Supreme Court being vacated by retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Conner has run into a serious confirmation roadblock as vague and groundless concerns have been raised regarding the adoption of the Roberts children, Josie age 5 and Jack age 4. Democratic members of the Judiciary committee posed solemnly for reporters on the steps of the Capitol building and waved tiny American flags as they demanded hearings to interrogate not only Judge Roberts, but his wife and the preschool age children themselves as well.

" Americans deserve a straight answer " huffed ranking Democrat Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) " we are extremely disturbed by these unspecified charges regarding the Roberts adoption and we intend to keep repeating them irresponsibly until all the camera crews pack up and go home". Senator Leahy indicated that Democrats would seek to question the children but would show, in his words " extreme sensitivity " to their age while exploiting them on national television for squalid political gain. " This won't be Jerry Springer " promised Leahy " We're shooting more for a Montel Williams or Maury Povich feel ". Other Senate Democrats nodded in agreement during Leahy's remarks except for Senator Kennedy(D-Mass.) who appeared disoriented as he drank from a bottle concealed in a paper bag and fondled the breast of a young female Senate intern at his side.

Predictably, Washington interest groups weighed in on this new break in the Roberts Confirmation hearings story. Ralph Neas of People for the American Way was quick to point to the blossoming adoption scandal to question Judge Roberts commitment to Civil Rights and diversity issues. " Frankly, these kids are too goddamn white " Neas explained " I mean, the Judge goes to a continent filled with black and brown skinned children and he comes back with two toddlers who have blond hair. This caters to a certain stereotype here in America and I think an appearance of " familial racism" is not too strong a charge. Come on people, the kids don't even speak good Spanish ! ".

While not addressing the comments of Neas, David Seldin of NARAL charged that by adopting Josie and Jack " Judge Roberts and his wife have denied women access to safe and legal abortion" and claimed that Roberts was not trying to provide a loving home but was engaging in a politically motivated, anti-woman " Intimidation by adoption". Professor Cass Sunstein, a noted legal extremist, pretended to objectivity momentarily as he told this reporter that the adoption scandal " raised the specter of impeachment....not just for Judge Roberts but for President Bush. Serious though undefinable Constitutional provisions have been breached" Sunstein intoned ominously" and if not, what the fuck, let's just run that Gore campaign commercial again about a Black man being dragged behind a car in Texas".

The New York Times itself has been criticized for its investigation of the Roberts children but was staunchly defended by the managing editor who said " investigating the four year old children of Republican nominees is de rigeur for the Times" amidst gales of laughter from Times employees. The publisher of the Times, Arthur " Pinch" Sulzberger, jr. refused comment, citing longstanding family policy of confining egomaniacal meddling and unethical behavior safely behind the scenes and letting the hired help take the rap "

Something like that.

Your previous political post about Rick Santorum gave me some hope that the lost weekend of the Republican Party was beginning to come to an end. For a brief moment it seemed as if a few moderate Republicans were beginning to sober up to the idea that the path that this American ship was charting was in error. And instead of arguing with the Democratic passengers aboard they actually began to have a conversation with their own right wing captain and crew. Then, with only a few days of inspiration, you immediately begin to squash my hopes with this, your latest partisan political shot at the Democrats - a convoluted ricochet of a shot at that. With this post you seem to be admitting that you are not strong enough to work your way through the 12 step program to a rational mind. The rational mind that would calmly tell you that when your ship is heading for an ice burg it is the wrong time to debate which dress uniform makes the crew look more manly.

In an effort to keep you strong in this 12 step program try to remember that this behavioral change will only need to be temporary. It only needs to occur for the brief period of time needed to moderate the control of those giving orders to the crew. After this course adjustment mechanism has been adjusted properly feel free to return to the political party and indulge yourself on as many partisan shots as you desire.

Here is a minor suggestion to help you to stay focused on the real threat. Try to raise your voice in print most often against the wrongs of the party that is currently in power - assuming, that is, that you are really interested in positively influencing the direction of this Republic. Arguing with your fellow passengers (meaning any and all Democrats) is not going to prevent our Republican captain and his crew from colliding with the many ice burgs ahead. Ice burgs with names like Schiavo, Teaching Intelligent Design as Science, Embryonic Stem Cell Funding, and accepting the repudiation of the Separation of Church and State - to name just a few.

Now if you just like that warm feeling you get by arguing with your fellow passengers then by all means feel free to ignore this suggestion. Who knows maybe the added warmth you get through this otherwise senseless activity will give you a little extra time for the survivors to pull you from the cold frigid water.


Two completely different issues here which you'd see easily enough if you put your " rational" mind to work instead of presuming that " rationality" equates with supporting all of Bush's opponents all of the time.

Santorum's position represents paternalism and authoritarianism. IMHO he's a negative force in the GOP and he's becoming stridently anti-freedom in terms of political philosophy. The argument with him is a long term project in the marketplace of ideas to diminish his influence.The issue with Santorum is substantive - his political ideas are hostile to individual freedom.

The NYT behavior by contrast, is a specific case of using unethical tactics against that should be out of bounds for everyone for a host of reasons that should be self-evident. The issue is methodological not substantive.

Momentary ridicule and contempt is an appropriate response to the Times, not a long-term campaign or a rebuttal. The Times opposes Roberts, that is clear, but their actions are those of a party afraid to challenge a person on the merits by putting forth an argument.
"Two completely different issues here"
Yes, I agree these two stories are different. And my point was that one should consider the magnitude of the difference, as well as who is in power, before making the rational judgement that both of these stories deserve an equal voice.

An objective and wise mind realizes that not all news events deserve equal time - whether in print or in thought. In this situation it is especially true when you consider that the Times story that you are reporting about (via Drudge) gives culpability (even in jest) that the original source did not report or even imply. The Drudge story did not relate these reporters to members of the Democratic Party - you did. And in so doing, you, along with many other moderate Republicans, help to obscure the real threats that are working against the foundational ideas of our country by the right wing of your party. This is made especially evident by those members of your party who have no problem shedding this Republic of that inconvenient wall that separates church and state.

"Supporting all of Bush's opponents all of the time."
I do not support Bush's opponents. I oppose those in power who work against the foundational ideas of this country - I could care less what team they play for or what political strategy they are employing. What is most frustrating to me, a former moderate Republican, is the blind eye that the current moderates in the Republican Party have taken to the excesses of their right wing. A wing, I might add, that is more dog then tail - if this was not the case then I would not have felt the need to leave this group or raise my voice in print.

Mark, the fact is that the Republican Party is the board of directors for America today - not the Democrats. If you want your words to be more then just partisan team playing rhetoric then I suggest that you begin criticising the decision makers more then you do their powerless opponents. Sustaining the ideas that have guided America for more then two centuries is not in the hands of a political party - it is the responsibility of each individual American. Protecting ones party and doing what is right for America does not always mean that you will make the same decision.
The NYT, while the old gray lady has seen better days, is hardly " powerless".

The NYT speaks in part for (and to) the Democratic Party and in part for the bipartisan foreign policy elite - what a few decades ago used to be called " the Establishment". They retain substantial influence even when excluded from top tier policy jobs in the administration.

Most major urban dailies and the network news still look to the NYT for cues on editorial position and what stories should dominate the news cycle.

The " anything goes" standard in opposing presidential nominees, which the NYT is endorsing here, has a corrosive effect on public life. It ratchets up the partisanship level, spawns imitation and a thirts for revenge on future nominees and discourages people from entering public life.

Putting your family through a meat grinder shouldn't be the expected and expected facet of participation in politics.
second " expected" should be " accepted"
"Putting your family through a meat grinder shouldn't be the expected and accepted facet of participation in politics."

This situation is hardly the fault of a single party. The politics of today, by both parties, is one of hand to hand combat with no rules. And, I would hope that you can be honest enough to admit that the Republican leadership, and its advisor's, are more then capable of competing in this environment. They have, with glee in their eyes, done there fair share of ripping pages from the rule book of political fair play.

My ultimate point, and the one you seem to wish to avoid, is that this story, even if it could be honestly tied directly to the Democrats, is insignificant in importance when compared to the right wing threats to this country and its founding principles.

Going back to my previous ship analogy I would say that the actions of the New York Times, when compared to the ideology and actions of the right wing, is the difference between an ice cube and an ice burg. Why someone would choose to focus on the minuscule ice cubes instead of the colossal ice burgs can only be explained if one's intellect is clouded by the interests of their party. My opinion is that America has always been best served "when one has the courage to use their own intelligence" (Immanuel Kant, in "What Is Enlightenment?", 1784).

My intellect tells me that the ice cubes should only be given the appropriate amount of mental energy when the ice burgs are put into their proper place on the far off horizon.
No, the situation is hardly the fault of a single party and the GOP made substantial contributions to lowering the standards of political conflict during the Clinton administration.

However the dynamic here is one of a ratchet - once the turn downward is made in terms of ethics it becomes the new standard for both sides. A systemic degradation regardless of policy or personality content takes place.

It makes some sense to try to stop negative innovations before they pick up steam and become commonplace. Some progress is even possible - nonpartisan fact-checking groups have forced campaign consultants to start sourcing their charges which has cut down on the amount of outrageous lying in campaign commercials.
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