Politics & Media

My Point Is That I'm Right and You're Wrong

The Wall Street Journal coughs up a chunk of cognitive dissonance.

This opening paragraph of a Wall Street Journal editorial captures nicely just how blinkered the Right’s paper of record can be:

Regarding the latest WikiLeaks dump of U.S. secrets, our friends at the New York Sun (at nysun.com) have taken to asking, What would Lincoln do? Their implication is that the President who suspended habeas corpus during the Civil War would not be wringing his hands about Julian Assange the way the Obama Administration has for so many months. This week's cable cache does less immediate harm than the previous leaks did to the lives of Afghans and Iraqis who have cooperated with us on the battlefield, but it certainly will damage U.S. foreign policy.

First, Assange is not a US citizen, so the suspension of habeas corpus has nothing to do with him. Second, the WSJ peddles the insidious lie that Assange has blood on his hands, something the CIA has now backed away from. But all is well in the land of cognitive dissonance. See this editorial, from the same newspaper, on warrantless wiretapping:

For all the political hysteria and media dishonesty about George W. Bush "spying on Americans," this fight was never about anything other than staging an ideological raid on the President's war powers. Barack Obama ought to be thankful that the FISA court has knocked the bottom out of this gambit, just in time for him to take office.

“Media dishonesty,” indeed. And lest there’s any confusion as to what the WSJ would like to happen to Assange (from the first op-ed): "At a minimum, the Administration should throw the book at those who do the leaking, including the option of the death penalty. That would probably give second thoughts to the casual spy or to leakers who fancy themselves as idealists."

So it’s OK to advocate the murder of Julian Assange; it’s “political hysteria” to accuse President Bush of trampling the Constitution with warrantless wiretapping. Oh, and one more instance of hypocrisy. In another editorial concerning the Valerie Plame controversy: "The effort that went into keeping the Plame affair alive was about discrediting the war effort in Iraq and the Bush antiterror program." My side is right; yours is wrong; that's the only distinction that matters.

But the WSJ isn’t the entirety of the Right. It represents Big Money quite nicely, but not, say, the virulent populists known as the Tea Party. So let’s check in on them. The other day Tea Party Nation President Judson Phillips voiced some rather startling thoughts concerning voting rights:

PHILLIPS: The Founding Fathers originally said, they put certain restrictions on who gets the right to vote. It wasn’t you were just a citizen and you got to vote. Some of the restrictions, you know, you obviously would not think about today. But one of those was you had to be a property owner. And that makes a lot of sense, because if you’re a property owner you actually have a vested stake in the community. If you’re not a property owner, you know, I’m sorry but property owners have a little bit more of a vested interest in the community than non-property owners.

It wouldn’t be possible to dig up a more anti-populist, more pro-money argument than that. No, wait, you can (from the above blog post):

Unfortunately, numerous major conservatives have advocated for rolling back the voting rights of Americans. Supreme Court justice Anthony Scalia, Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX), Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA), and Sen.-elect Mike Lee (R-UT) have all advocated for repealing the 17th Amendment, which would end direct election of U.S. Senators and return Senate elections to the purview of state legislatures

Come 2012, the dew-eyed rhetoric of Hope & Change will clash head-on with the caustic rhetoric of Take Our Country Back—back to what, exactly?

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