Stopped Clocks

April 14th, 2005at 06:45pm Posted by Eli

I know Howard Kurtz and Richard Cohen are pretty much universally reviled in the lefty blogosphere, but they do get it right sometimes; in this case, on the same day!

Howie:

As the Tom DeLay controversy refuses to die–or, I suppose some folks would say, the press refuses to let it die–we’ve been hearing a lot from the Texas congressman about liberal media bias.

Are journalists really “out to get” the House majority leader, as he seems to believe? And is that because they don’t like his conservative views?

I’d suggest that DeLay is simply a big fat target for investigative reporters because he lives close to the edge (if the three House ethics panel admonishments are any indication). In fact, when another Texas congressman was in a House leadership position–a congressman who happened to be a Democrat–he also got pummeled by the press.

He then provides a very comprehensive-looking timeline of two years’ worth of Jim Wright scandal coverage. This is is not earth-shattering, but it’s nice to see someone who so often channels the Republican viewpoint (to put it charitably) say that the Liberal Media Conspiracy claim is total bullshit.

Cohen:

It is my impression — gleaned from reviews — that Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Blink” posits that first impressions often are right on the nose. Nonetheless, for reasons having to do with caution, prudence and a debilitating sense of fair play, I have until now withheld my first — and only — impression of John Bolton, probably destined to be the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations: He’s nuts.

(snip)

I have never seen such a performance by an American diplomat. He was dismissive. He was angry. He clearly thought the questioners had no right, no standing, no justification and no earthly reason to question the United States of America. The Bush administration had said that Iraq was lousy with WMD and Iraq therefore was lousy with WMD. Just you wait.

This kind of ferocious certainty is commendable in pit bulls and other fighting animals, but it is something of a problem in a diplomat.

(snip)

… once an ambassador is instructed as to a policy or personnel issue, it is up to him or her to implement it. That means constructing the argument, persuading opponents, flattering friends. It means, in short, diplomacy.

(snip)

Why the Bush administration would want such a person at the United Nations is beyond me. As always, the administration is entitled to great leeway when it comes to presidential appointments. If it wants a neocon, fine. If it wants a hard-liner, fine. If it wants a U.N.-trasher, it can have that, too. But it should not have someone who will be ineffectual in implementing its own policies — who, if he is himself, will alienate other delegates and further isolate the United States.

On the plus side, I’m looking forward to the futile attempts at damage control every time Bolton shoots his mouth off or forgets that the ambassador from Togo or Nepal is not one of his buddies’ employee. But this is who they wanted – apparently they believe that a living, breathing fuck-you to the UN than someone who can eloquently advocate and cajole. We’ll see how that all works out for them.

Entry Filed under: Bush,Corruption/Cronyism,Media,Politics,Republicans,Wankers


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