People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

On Lockstepping & Line Toeing

Your voting decisions have been made by now. Some of you reading this have already voted. Others of you decided it wasn't worth the bother. Still others realized you had no choices in the matter anyway, so why go to the trouble of running down to the polls just to pull the only lever available to you? And, unlike the folks at the Danville Register & Bee, who think you're some kind of hero if you show up to vote, I've always contended that those who don't show up are, in their own way, voting too. For ANY OF THE ABOVE.

Believe me, what you do or don't do matters not to me either. I have it on good authority that my favorite candidates are going to win walking away, therefore what you do - in the end - will make no appreciable difference.

But now that the campaigns are drawing to a close, let me make a comment about newspaper endorsements. I'll put it in the form of a question: Is there some kind of editorialists' manual that you guys use to compose your stuff? Is there a chapter entitled "When Referring To GOP Candidates ...?"

Let me drill down to something I find annoying.

A remarkably similar line - a tediously familiar line - was used by the Roanoke Times and by the Bristol Herald-Courier in recent days in their respective endorsements of favored candidates trashings of sitting Republican incumbents. I find them fascinating, not because they appear to have come out of the same play book, per se, but because they are quite similar and quite misguided.

Let me quote from both. First
the Times on 6th District Delegate Anne B. Crockett-Stark (R-Wytheville):

Crockett-Stark has toed the party line and continues to defend egregious legislation such as the transportation bill.

Crockett-Stark is an entrenched loyalist with a majority party that has proved itself incapable of making hard choices necessary for good governance.
Note the usage of "toed the party line" and "entrenched loyalist." Bad things, one would presume.

the Herald-Courier on 5th District Delegate Bill Carrico (R-Smyth County):

Carrico is a reliable partisan. He votes in ideological lock-step (sic) with the House Republicans – a group that couldn’t find the political center if they tripped over it.

Although there is blame to go around, it was primarily the House Republican leadership that pushed the transportation funding package that included the loathsome ...
"Idealogical lockstep." "A reliable partisan."

About now you're thinking the same dude is writing for both papers, right? Wrong. But it's not hard to imagine that the authors went to the same underfunded, poorly staffed public school.

Note: Both editorials refer to that infamous transportation bill. The one both editorial pages hated (in lockstep?) and worked diligently to kill. The transportation bill that House Republicans "toed the line" on and voted in "lockstep" to pass.

Want some facts?.

Let's look at
the vote count, by party affiliation, that took place on February 23 of this year:

Republicans - 46 yays, 5 nays.
Democrats - 27 yays, 10 nays.

Did those 10 Democrats vote in lockstep with their jackbooted Republican colleagues? I don't remember reading that editorial.

You want lockstep? You want toeing the party line?

Senate vote:

Democrats - 16 nays, 0 yays.

Lockstep anyone?

At least the Republicans had two senators who went against their party and voted against the measure (Chichester and Potts).

But where was that editorial? Why weren't Phil Puckett and Roscoe Reynolds, two grunts who can always be counted on to do what they're told by their party leadership (that would be the Democratic Party), accused of toeing and lockstepping?

You know why. Because nowhere in the newspaper editorial Manual On Political Endorsements is there a chapter on Democrats & Party Loyalty. Their loyalty is expected. And is a good thing. It's encouraged. They vote the way the editorialists want them to vote. So no hate-filled rhetoric is directed toward them. They do the Lord's work. The righteous mission to save us from the GOP.

Anyway, a point that a locally prestigious weblogger made
a while back needs to be repeated. It has to do with one of those goose steppers, her toeing, and her lockstepping:

A better argument could easily be made that the incumbent, Republican Anne B. Crockett-Stark, has exhibited far more "independence of thought," having defied the powers that be in this state - every major newspaper (including the largest in Southwest Virginia), every head of our institutions of higher learning, the mainstream media (local, state, and national), the entire Democratic opposition, sitting Governors, former Governors, sitting Senators, sitting Congresspersons, half the Republican Senate delegation in Richmond, not to mention all the celebrities, and a large percentage of the citizenry - and fought them all to a draw on raising taxes on an already overtaxed populace.
Lockstep my ass.

Stereotyping - clichéing? - is so beneath you, editorial people.

Or, maybe not ...

Quote Of The Day

From James Taranto:
There is [a] danger for Mrs. Clinton in all this. Her great advantage in the Democratic field is that she is the only one of the top candidates who comes across as a grown-up. Barack Obama seems like a bright young man who may do great things when he grows up. John Edwards is Peter Pan, Esq.

Being a woman sets Mrs. Clinton apart from the boys. Whining like a girl reduces her to their level.
"Old Whine, New Bottles," Best of the Web Today, November 5, 2007

Works For Me

Fat? Blame Congress, at least partly

The Thrill Is Gone

It must be tough to rally young people to the civil rights cause these days. Unlike days of yore. The days of Bull Connor. George Wallace standing in the schoolhouse door. Lester Maddox with his axe handle. Fire hoses. Mass arrests. Jim Crow. The KKK. Church bombings. The national guard. Assassinations.

But they are trying just the same, if with diminishing success:
NAACP call to action
By Juan Antonio Lizama, Richmond Times-Dispatch Staff Writer

The new president of the NAACP's state chapter wants his members to get out and hit the streets.

He wants action, the type of activism that marked the civil-rights demonstrations of the 1960s,.And he wants to lead the way.

"I think the brand of the NAACP is activity," said the Rev. J. Rayfield Vines Jr. "Somehow we have changed from activity to advocacy, and under my administration I plan to take the NAACP back to activity -- you know, protest in the streets, picketing, those kinds of things." (link)
So what cause is the Rev. Mr. Vines Jr. going to take up to lure young people to his once-venerable organization? What exactly is going to be the target of his "protest in the streets, picketing, those kinds of things?"
He wants to picket payday lenders, whose lending practices, Vines says, prey on many low-income black people.
Lynchings. Beatings. Bombings. Murders. Segregation. Selma.

Payday lenders.

Doggone it. It just ain't like the good old days.

Can Confessions At Columbia U Be Far Behind?

Remember that noose that was found hanging on the door of a college professor at Columbia not long ago - the one that got everyone's undies in a bunch - the professor who, as luck would have it, just happened "to have written broadly on the subject of racism" (source) and who "found" the noose?

I was reminded of that story by this story:
GWU student fakes hate
The Washington Times

A student at George Washington University has admitted drawing swastikas on her own door, university officials say:

"After evaluating evidence from a hidden camera positioned in response to the swastika postings in Mitchell Hall, University Police have linked the student who filed the complaints to several of the incidents. Following a final interview with investigators today, the student admitted responsibility for those incidents."

The student in question is an 18-year-old freshman. (link)
Far be it from me to accuse a professor at one of America's leading institutions of higher learning of staging a hate crime in order to either fan the flames or get her name in lights, but the whole incident seemed a bit too convenient and the circumstances far too questionable.

Guess we'll never know ...

'Teacher, The Boys Are Being Mean To Me Again'

I wonder if this will work on Osama bin Ladin:
Pelosi: Clinton Camp Played Gender Card
By Rick Klein, ABC News

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, R-Calif., said Monday that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., hasn't been treated differently because she's the only woman in the presidential race, but added that her campaign appears to have been trying to exploit that perception in the wake of last week's Democratic debate.

Pelosi, the nation's first female House speaker, told ABCNEWS.com in an interview that she didn't agree with observers who thought Clinton was drawing particular heat because she's a woman.

But in distributing a Web video splicing together her opponents' attacks her campaign appears to be exploiting perceptions of Clinton facing down a field of aggressive male challengers, Pelosi said. (link)
Playing the role of picked-on girl on the school playground. So unbecoming for a Commander-in-Chief and leader of the free world.

A Badge Of Honor

Polls show that nearly all Americans now hold Congress in contempt (the last approval rating I saw had the membership at 11% and falling, tied with Jack Abramoff and Osama bin Ladin).

That being the case, this can only provide a feeling of overwhelming pride in President Bush's hired help:

White House counsel dealt threat of contempt
By Jerry Seper, The Washington Times

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers Jr. gave White House Counsel Fred Fielding a last chance yesterday to either negotiate and agree to turn over documents on the firings of nine U.S. attorneys or face a contempt citation.

In what Mr. Conyers described as a "final proposed compromise solution," the committee demanded documents from White House Chief of Staff Joshua B. Bolten and documents and testimony from former White House Counsel Harriet E. Miers. He threatened a contempt vote as early as next week if Mr. Fielding doesn't comply. (link)

Contempt of Congress. Where do I go to get one of those citations?

Pakistan. It's Bush's Fault.

These people are like a broken record:

The Pakistan Mess
New York Times editorial

By imposing martial law, Gen. Pervez Musharraf has pushed nuclear-armed Pakistan further along a perilous course and underscored the failure of President Bush’s policy toward a key ally in the war on terrorism. (link)

Their views are so skewered by their hatred for the man, that every action on the planet (if it's perceived as a negative) is somehow George W. Bush's fault.

How small they are.

News Finally Makes Its Way To NY Times

Critics Cite Red Tape in Rebuilding of Louisiana

Do You Really Want Your Health Care To Be Cheap?

Gregory Mankiw, professor of economics at Harvard, writing in The New York Times:
In 1950, about 5 percent of United States national income was spent on health care, including both private and public health spending. Today the share is about 16 percent. Many pundits regard the increasing cost as evidence that the system is too expensive.

But increasing expenditures could just as well be a symptom of success. The reason that we spend more than our grandparents did is not waste, fraud and abuse, but advances in medical technology and growth in incomes. Science has consistently found new ways to extend and improve our lives. Wonderful as they are, they do not come cheap.

Fortunately, our incomes are growing, and it makes sense to spend this growing prosperity on better health.

Our health care system is not perfect, but it has been a major source of advances in our standard of living, and it will be a large share of the economy we bequeath to our children. (
"Beyond Those Health Care Numbers," November 4, 2007