"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance

 and a people who mean to be their own governors

 must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."

Thursday, September 15, 2005

A Message From The Reality-Based

From a woman in her fifties, a lifelong Democrat, born in New York, living in New England, with a background as a therapist:

What happens when journalists are cynics rather than skeptics? One result is that every event and every action is rated and spun as though its sole purpose is either to enhance or detract from a political party or a politician. It is assumed that whatever stands politicians may take, they are always based only on self-interest rather than even a consideration of such old-fashioned and outdated virtues as principle.

A recent New Republic features an article by Ryan Lizza that is an example of this noxious genre. Lizza manages to deal with two of the most dreadful events of recent years--9/11 and Hurricane Katrina--and evaluates them only in terms of which political party is helped/hurt by each disaster, and how both parties are using them to "position" themselves into power.

Lizza writes that the Democrats can gain from the Katrina disaster by promoting themselves as people who handle humanitarian crises properly. He then compares that to the political advantage the Republicans received post-9/11 when they were perceived as the party that could best handle a security crisis.

If the Republicans are perceived as being better able to handle a security crisis, it is because they actually were engaged in handling a major security crisis post-9/11. It is logical to assume that the perception of Republicans as tough on national security was predicated at least in some part on their actual performance in a shaky situation that represented a demanding challenge-- one that many people give them credit for handling at least somewhat well--rather than on mere rhetoric and promises.

But if Democrats were to get credit for handling a humanitarian crisis better than Republicans based on Katrina, wouldn't the Democrats have had to have actually performed better than Republicans during Katrina? Can a perception of better performance simply come from criticizing the performance of others? Somehow I don't think so; I don't think most people are that naive. Merely to say "I could do it better, trust me!" isn't usually enough.

But, ordinarily, it is not. It would be much better if Democrats could point to some sort of huge humanitarian crisis that they actually handled well recently.

Oh, you say that there actually was a humanitarian crisis recently in which Democrats were involved? Which one was it?

Well, as it turns out, it was Katrina itself. Both Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blano and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin were (drum roll here) Democrats!!!

As they say, read the entire post – link.




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