Camille Paglia gets it... sort of
You know it’s pretty bad when even some Democrats in the MSM (Camille Paglia in this case) are describing the Foley incident with words like “collusion” and “suspiciously” - and they’re talking about the Democrats and MSM!
The way the Democratic leadership was in clear collusion with the major media to push this story in the month before the midterm election seems to me to have been a big fat gift to Ann Coulter and the other conservative commentators who say the mainstream media are simply the lapdogs of the Democrats. Every time I turned on the news it was "Foley, Foley, Foley!" -- and in suspiciously similar language and repetitive talking points.
After three or four days of it, as soon as I heard Foley's name, I turned the sound off or switched channels. It was gargantuan overkill, and I felt the Democrats were shooting themselves in the foot. I was especially repulsed by the manipulative use of a gay issue for political purposes by my own party. I think it was not only poor judgment but positively evil.
The article digresses into a rationalization of the nobility of homosexuality, but then acknowledges Matt Drudge’s coverage of the issue.
The Foley scandal exploded without any proof of a documented sex act -- unlike the case of the late congressman Gerry Studds, who had sex with a page and who was literally applauded by fellow Democrats when they refused to vote for his censure. In the Foley case, there was far more ambiguous evidence -- suggestive e-mails and instant messages. Matt Drudge, to his great credit, began hitting this issue right off the bat on his Web site and radio show. What does it mean for Democrats to be agitating over Web communications, which in my view fall under the province of free speech? It's a civil liberties issue. We can say that what Foley was doing was utterly inappropriate, professionally irresponsible, and in bad taste, but why were liberals fomenting a scandal day after day after day over words being used? And why didn't Democrats notice that they were drifting into an area which has been the province of the right wing -- that is, the attempt to gain authoritarian control over interpersonal communications on the Web? It's very worrisome and yet more proof that the Democrats have lost their way.
I, for one, would welcome a future where the GOP has a real Democratic party to compete with.The irony of this article is the self-feeding nature of the “interview”. The two parties in this “interview” are an anonymous Salon reporter and one of Salon’s founding contributors. This is less interview than a transcript over lunch, and the flow of the interview reflects that. Continuing immediately after the previous quote:
It also advances a line the far Christian right has employed for years -- to make a connection between gay men and child molesters. It's one of the most despicable smears imaginable.
And with the Democrats' record of sex scandals, what the hell were they thinking of? For heaven's sake, after we just got through the whole Clinton maelstrom!
The boldface indicates that the interviewer speaking. In a trial court, this is known as “leading the witness”. In modern journalism, it’s “expanding on a point”.
Still, I am pleased to hear a self-proclaimed Democrat and atheist make some of these points that are often lost on the left:
I think the center of the Republican Party really is small-businessmen and very practical people who correctly see that it's job creation and wealth creation that sustain an economy -- not government intervention and government control, that suffocating nanny-state mentality. The Democrats are in some sort of time warp in always proposing a government solution to every problem. It's like Hillary's philosophy that it takes a village to raise a child. Well, does it? Or does it take a strong family and not the village?
What's broadened the appeal of conservatism in recent years is that Republicans stress individualism -- individual effort and personal responsibility. They're really the liberty party now -- I thought my party was! It used to seem as if the Republicans were authoritarians and the Democrats were for free speech and for the freedom to live your own life and pursue happiness. But the Democrats have wandered away from their own foundational principles.
The Democrats have to start fresh and throw out the entire party superstructure. I was bitterly disappointed after voting for Ralph Nader that he didn't devote himself to helping build a strong third party in this country. When the American economy was still manufacturing based, the trade unions were viable, and the Democrats stayed close to their working-class roots. But now the Northeastern Democrats, with their fancy law degrees and cocktail parties, have simply become peddlers of condescending bromides about "the people."
I, for one, would welcome a future where the GOP has a real Democratic party to compete with. Today, only the Republican party seems to have anything close to a grasp of reality, and even if I agree with them, that’s still not choice. If the Democrats would get back to what they supposedly stand for and stop trying to be more like Europe, we might actually have some thought-provoking choices in the voting booth.
But Clinton went off on a tirade, waved his finger in Chris Wallace's face, and accused him of sitting there with a "smirk." That was over-personalizing the interview by any standard. And to charge Wallace with setting his guest up, with ambush journalism -- good heavens, the problem with American journalism is hardly that it's too severe and punitive. [...] So for Clinton to make a huge fuss about a mild question about his administration's record in dealing with Osama bin Laden was a bullying of our journalists -- an act of war, in fact, on American journalists, saying, "Don't you dare go off our agreed-to list of questions!"
The recent filing for bankruptcy by Air America dramatizes my party's abject failure to produce shows that are informative and entertaining and that systematically build an audience -- the way all the top radio hosts did who climbed the ladder from obscurity to their present prominence. Aren't we the party of Hollywood? The fact that we've failed so miserably at this central medium of communication shows how something has gone very wrong in Democratic sensibility.
Preach it, sister! Speaking of religion...
It seems like religion has never been a bigger issue in American politics, recognized on both sides of the aisle as something that needs to be addressed. Have the Democrats changed the longtime Republican characterization of them as godless?
Well, as long as the Democrats are perceived as the anti-religion party, we're going to lose the culture wars. That's why Hillary has made such a show of churchgoing and wearing crucifixes -- even while there seems to be little connection between her Christian ideals and her backstage activities as a politician and money raiser. But religion is absolutely central to this country in ways that Europe's secularized intellectuals fail to understand. I'm speaking here as an atheist who studies religion and respects it enormously. In the history of mankind, the benefits that religion has brought to society in shaping behavior and moral choice are overwhelming in comparison to the negatives, which anyone can list -- like religious wars and bigotry. Without religion, we'd have anarchy.
It’s good to hear that some Democrats actually get it on some of these issues. I don’t mean that as a slam against Democrats in general, but the people who get the press time seem to me to be totally disconnected from reality here in “flyover country”.