David Rowe, operating with the benefit of being a dozen or so time zones away, comments on last night’s debate, in which five candidates vied for the title of Miss/Mister Congeniality, the main prize having been given away long since.
Or perhaps he drew it earlier. Jen Rubin had it pegged several hours before it began:
And followed with her analysis:
Rowe’s scenario seems illogical. It makes no sense that Republicans would line up behind a fellow whose endorsements have led them to a series of election defeats and who seems very likely to be convicted of a felony or two and stripped of his (pretended) wealth.
But, then, what has logic or making sense got to do with it? They’ll continue to back a candidate who thinks he was in the White House in 2021, and they’ll do it while declaring Biden to be in cognitive decline.
I haven’t seen any Idiocracy jokes in a while, but perhaps that’s because they’ve all been told too many times and nobody thinks it’s funny anymore.
I did, however, get a grim chuckle out of this
Juxtaposition of the Day
There’s nothing funny about attempts to impose partisan religious values on women’s health care and personal autonomy. As Adlai Stevenson is said to have remarked, “It hurts too much to laugh and I’m too old to cry.”
In my opinion, however, the more it hurts, the more laughter becomes the only way to deal with the pain, particularly since crying doesn’t do squat.
Anyway, Stevenson may never have said that, but he did say “I have been thinking that I would make a proposition to my Republican friends … that if they will stop telling lies about the Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them.”
Which, 71 years later, still sounds like a good bargain.
As to the issue in this Juxtaposition, Politifact reports that candidates at the debate repeated the lie that Democrats approve abortion up to the date of birth, but NBC reports that the reaction of voters in Tuesday’s election has led GOP advisors to shift gears and abandon their call for a federal law banning the procedure.
Not that they’re changing their overall position, but they’ll be emphasizing cruel descriptions rather than legal arguments.
You are free to decide for yourself whether the word “cruel” modifies the procedure or the tactic.
Juxtaposition of the Day #2
The Mideast War, meanwhile, continues to roil the world. Hamas has very little support anywhere, but there seems a growing question over the proportionality of Israel’s strikes on Gaza.
Part of the problem has been that, while journalists have had full access for interviewing victims of the Hamas attacks, they’ve had a great deal more trouble reporting from Gaza, including a death toll among reporters there that is approaching 40.
I did see a report on NBC in which a reporter was permitted to accompany an Israeli military group into Gaza, with the only stipulation being that raw footage — but not the final report — be approved by military censors, who required blurring of faces and things that would identify the unit.
It did look like a moonscape, with only one abandoned building standing, and it well emphasized the difficulty of dealing with tunnels. But there were no dead, wounded or even living Gazans in sight.
Footage of bombed-out neighborhoods and interviews with grieving Palestinians has come from other sources, and the imbalance is not just striking but persuasive: We’re not getting the full picture.
Two things come to mind: One is the impasse in Vietnam, when the US said they wouldn’t stop bombing unless the POWs were freed while the North Vietnamese said they wouldn’t free the POWs until bombing ceased. Swap out “hostages” for “POWs” and we’re in the same loop.
The other is that George Romney was a strong contender for the GOP Presidential nomination in 1968 until he went to see Vietnam and, upon his return, characterized his carefully guided tour as a “brainwashing.”
You can’t win public office with that kind of plainspoken approach, and so maybe there’s no point in anyone peeking behind the border in Gaza either.
Martyn Turner points out that the US has been requesting moderation from its Israeli ally, the question being, as it was in the Matt Wuerker cartoon featured here yesterday, whether the Biden administration will add conditions to increase the pressure, and turn diplomatic requests into demands.
The whole world, indeed, is watching: Turner is Irish, Moir is Australian, and they’re being more polite about it than some other foreign observers.
There’s growing discontent in this country, too, and Steve Brodner highlights the case of a NYT Magazine contributor who is no longer with the paper because of his outspoken social media postings, which have a slightly more visible parallel in Britain, where the host of a TV show has quit over the same issue.
In such cases, “quit” is often a euphemism, though Keiles says he made the choice himself. Good on him if he did. There are a number of reasons to walk out rather than be frog-marched to the doors, and this report on Keiles’ fellow letter-signer and ex-NYTM contributer, Jazmine Hughes, puts “resigned” in quotation marks.
The growth of social media adds a dimension to the traditional ethics of journalism. I don’t think many of my readers, and certainly none of my sources, had doubts about which side of the sociopolitical scale I was on, but they didn’t know quite where and I was not supposed to tell them.
No bumper stickers, no lapel buttons, no yard signs. We were permitted to go to rallies, but not to speak or be anything more than a face in the crowd. Nor did I belong to a political party.
John Chancellor didn’t even vote, but I considered that more strait-laced than necessary.
Still, I hope that if I had, in those days, felt the need to make a public, personal statement on a political issue that nobody would have to put the word resigned in quotation marks, because I’d have made that choice ahead of time.
If you want to call the tune, you must be willing to pay the piper.
I don’t think that’s changed.
Meanwhile, I’d take Christine Amanpour as my model, rather than John Chancellor.