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October 11, 2008


hilzoy, that NYT article you cite provoked me into writing the Times a letter. No doubt it will be unpublished, but here is a copy for you:

Whether the topic is energy policy, the economic meltdown or foreign affairs, in his speeches and in both debates John McCain says over and over "I know how."

"A Candidate Who Embraces Opposites" (by Michael Cooper, October 11, 2008) points out the sometimes contradictory answers Senator McCain proposes in response to specific issues.

The one consistent point is that whatever the question, John McCain's answer is John McCain. The basis for this conclusion is an exercise left to the voter.

Another way out of the crisis: More money for the Pentagon!
I guess the army will diversify into highwaymanship to balance the federal budget.

I'm an Obama voter who can't stop wishing that the Republicans had managed to nominate Romney. I mean, at least we would have some sense that if Obama loses there wouldn't be a complete wack job at the helm. Romney has a lot to recommend him on a fiscal policy level in a time of crisis and he would never have done something as insane as the Palin farce. I can almost guarantee you that he would never run a campaign as dishonorable as McCain's. He also, I am fairly sure, would never sink to the slander and sleaze McCain has. I would still want Obama to win, but at least with him the alternative wouldn't be as horrifying.

That policy incoherence is part of what Obama is referring to when he's spoken lately about McCain's "uncertain, erratic leadership".

'Erratic' is a reasonable and straightforward description of the behavior of someone who recommends totally contradictory policies from one day to the next. But such is the determination of political "reporters" to create false equivalence that Dan Balz of the Washington Post treats Obama's use of the word 'erratic' as equivalent to McCain's recent efforts to suggest that there is something sinister about Obama -- terrorist sympathies, radicalism, even treason.

By making the characterization seem beyond the pale, Balz also relieves himself from the elementary journalistic responsibility of taking a look at whether the 'erratic' charge is true. If he did, he'd have to report on just how incoherent McCain's policy prescriptions have been.

Fortunately, even people as carefully shielded from the issues as U.S. voters are have begun to see McCain's policy incoherence for themselves. Wonder if they're going to begin to draw some further conclusions about the uselessness of political "reporting" that won't address such incoherence.

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