Gosserdammerung, Act II

A mostly political Weblog.
May 9 2006 5:42 AM

Gosserdammerung, Act II

Lost in the Foggo of war!

(Continued from Page 18)

Ford Pulls A Clinton: Rep. Harold Ford, Jr., Democrat of Tennessee, voted for the Sensenbrenner immigration bill. He explains that vote on the Glenn and Helen Instapodcast,specifically endorsing a non-comprehensive, enforcement-first, sequential approach:

Unless we're able to secure and protect the borders, it's hard to talk about a path to citizenship, because essentially all you do is incentivize ... people coming into the country, sneaking into the country, breaking the law, and hiding from the law for a few years or at least long enough to be granted amnesty under the President's plan if he has it his way. So I think you have to secure the borders first, and once you do that you can have a reasonable and serious conversation about what to do with 11 million illegal immigrants in this country now, and you can have a serious conversation about providing, or laying out, a path to citizenship ...

See, Bruce! It's not that hard to get to Bush's right on immigration and still sound like a Democrat. Indeed, you could easily imagine Bill Clinton speaking the above paragraph, with its hard words appealing to the right ("sneaking into the country, breaking the law") coupled with its sensible let's-have-a-conversationism. Clinton didn't often resort to policy euphemisms (as opposed to weaselly sentences ...  and sexual euphemisms). And Ford doesn't pretend amnesty's not amnesty. ... Why isn't this position the equivalent of Clinton's "end welfare as we know it"/two-year time-limit middle ground on welfare reform?  ... P.S.: Ford does say he's "against a fence," preferring high-tech means of border protection. ... 11:05 P.M.

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An emailer speculates that Ron Burkle's infuriatingly self-righteous op-ed in the Wall Street Journalwas an attempt to secure the high ground of respectability against any pro-Stern countertide. But how smart was it to go from saying, in effect, 'Jared Paul Stern is a slimeball' to saying to the entire press corps that they're all slimeballs no different from Stern (especially if they do something shocking like, say, writing about a politician's personal life--or protecting a source!)? I hope Burkle didn't pay Sitrick and Company for that advice. ... Maybe he really does need a media consultant! ... 9:22 P.M.

The Right's Split on Immigration, the Left's Split on Immigration. Why Can't Centrists Split on Immigration Too? Blogger, DLC President and former Clinton domestic policy advisor Bruce Reed argues on bloggingheads.tv that  legalization or amnesty won't act as a magnet attracting future illegal immigrants (beyond all the other attractions of sneaking into the U.S. to work).  I think he's wrong, and would cite this fresh report from the Arizona border. [Via Drudge]... P.S.: Reed seems to make the interesting additional argument that tough you've-gotta-assimilate requirements (which he supports)  will potentially act as a deterrent to immigration. Again, I'm not so sure. ... P.P.S.: He also gives a valuable insider-y explanation of why George Stephanopoulos is wrong about the Contract With America's impact on the 1994 House-changing election. ... 6:23 P.M.

Shorter McCain, 2006 YTD:

Preexisting CW: McCain, maverick! (e.g., Green)

New CW: Not maverick! McCain's just a conventional right-winger. (e.g., Krugman)

Newer CW: McCain is too a maverick! (Weisberg)

I'm with Newer. Weisberg's evidence is much more convincing than Krugman's. ... P.S.: McCain's been a strong, consistent supporter of the Iraq War. But nobody said "maverick" meant "liberal" or "dovish" or "realist." Nor does it mean McCain's right, or that you'll like his positions. It means maverick! McCain's simply not an orthodox conservative on a whole range of issues. Dems like Krugman will have to learn to deal with that complication. ... Update: See also Marshall Wittmann's  strangely dogmatic gushing  about "our modern T.R." ... 5:34 P.M.

Burkle raises the Larger Issue! Ron Burkle attempts to leverage the Jared Paul Stern corruption case into a general condemnation of "gossip coverage"  of, well, people like him:

And it would be satisfying to reach the conclusion that simply holding gossip-writers to the same standards as other journalists will solve the problem. But it won't. For one thing, gossip and tabloid-style journalism has been spreading rapidly to other spheres of reporting. Gossip coverage that used to be devoted primarily to movie stars now encompasses politicians and business people.

With the rise of blogs, reality TV, camera phones and other types of instant media, one can see a day when anyone, anywhere could become the subject of salacious journalism. And as gossip journalism spreads, so do the shoddy standards that accompany it.  I'm not talking about bribes or extortion. One hopes that's a rare practice. But consider what the New York Times reported about the way business is done at Page Six: "Keeping a list of reliable sources, of course, means having a list of people who need to be protected somewhat... [snip] ... We've all read how well-known and respected journalists have readily protected top-ranked officials leaking classified information. It makes one wonder: Where does the political reporter end and the political operative begin?

No doubt the challenge of upholding the highest media standards has never been harder. But institutions that give up will find that the lines between them and bloggers, demi-pundits and rumor-mongers on the Internet will be blurred beyond recognition. Newspapers that continue to go down the road of tabloidism, that adopt the shoddy standards of gossip reporting, and that arrogantly resist correcting their mistakes, risk losing their special role in our democracy. [Emphasis added]

Protecting leakers! Does Burkle think this is a new, tabloidy trend in conventional, respectable journalism? The FBI protects turncoat witnesses, journalists don't screw good sources. It can easily turn into a protection racket, but it's also a proven device for uncovering the truth. ...

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