Monday, June 26, 2006

Why Use Facts When an Attack Works Just Fine?

Those who run the New York Times are continuing their seeming quest to turn the once distinguished newspaper into little more than a tabloid style rag. Columnist Susan Estrich, who is hardly an ally of conservatives, begins a column thusly:

"A Look at Republican Priorities" said the headline of Friday's New York Times.

And what are those priorities, according to America's paper of record?

"Comforting the Comfortable" and "Afflicting the Afflicted." Because they support eliminating the estate tax and oppose raising the minimum wage, the Republicans are said to be the Party that comforts the comfortable and afflicts the afflicted.

Regarding this substitution of name calling for real analysis and debate, Estrich writes:

But there are some people who disagree, and in my experience, they are not all mean-spirited ogres. Over the years, I have had this debate with any number of small businessmen and women, as well as economists and politicians, who have expressed the concern that increasing the minimum wage will depress hiring at the low end of the scale, or push more workers into the black market, cash economy where there are no benefits and no protections .

It is a legitimate argument.

It is not one that I happen to find persuasive, but it does not mean that those who put it forward are interested only in afflicting the afflicted.

Estrich's call for civility among partisans is well taken and should be heeded by both conservative and liberal print journalists, not to mention bloggers who wish to be taken seriously.

Along those same lines, an editorial in yesterday's Tennessean included this unsupported ad hominem attack:

That's what Americans get from this Congress, controlled by Republicans and beholden at every turn to the wishes of businesses and special interests.

At every turn? Really? The Tennessean cannot think of any area under current debate where the Republican controlled Congress snubs the "wishes of business?" Perhaps they should read this position statement, which concerns one of the "core issues" addressed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce:

In 2006, the Chamber will work to pass comprehensive, fair immigration reform that along with improved border security will:

  1. Provide an earned pathway to legalization for undocumented workers already contributing to our economy, provided that they are law-abiding and prepared to embrace the obligations and values of our society.
  2. Create a carefully monitored guest worker program to fill the growing gaps in America's workforce recognizing that, in some cases, permanent immigrants will be needed to fill these gaps.
  3. Refrain from unduly burdening employers with worker verification systems that are underfunded or unworkable.
  4. Ensure the continuity and expansion of H-1B and L-1 visas for professionals and highly valued workers.

One will note that this is a "core" interest of the largest pro-business lobbyist in Washington. It is a current major issue of debate in Washington. The "Republican controlled Congress" is less than "beholden."

But who needs facts or real debate when a mere attack will do.

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