A Straight Shot of Politics

A blog from a gentleman of the Liberal political persuasion dedicated to right reason, clear thinking, cogent argument, and the public good.

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Location: Columbus, Ohio, United States

I have returned from darkness and quiet. I used to style myself as "Joe Claus", Santa Claus’ younger brother because that is what I still look like. I wrote my heart out about liberal politics until June of 2006, when all that could be said had been said. I wrote until I could write no more and I wrote what I best liked to read when I was young and hopeful: the short familiar essays in Engish and American periodicals of 50 to 100 years ago. The archetype of them were those of G.K. Chesterton, written in newspapers and gathered into numerous small books. I am ready to write them again. I am ready to write about life as seen by the impoverished, by the mentally ill, by the thirty years and more of American Buddhist converts, and by the sharp eyed people [so few now in number] with the watcher's disease, the people who watch and watch and watch. I am all of these.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Submitted For Your Consideration On The Way To The Twilight Zone

Mrs. Claus is a big fan of Lou Dobbs on CNN. She is constantly trying to get me to watch, but I frankly don't care that much for television. Also the time he is on is prime writing time for me. I do, however, occasionally scan his transcripts, because they are about the only thing on television news that is consistently worthwhile. They discuss fundamental, grassroots issues, instead of Beltway Burps & Farts and Celebrities On Trial, 24/7.

Here is a sample of what I mean, and an object lesson of what we have really lost in this country in the news business. You will find this sort of intelligence, measured consideration, and simple news sense almost nowhere else except at Knight-Ridder Washington Bureau:

DOBBS: My guest tonight, a critically acclaimed journalist, a best-selling author, the lead columnist for "Time" magazine. Joe Klein has written his column in "Time" magazine this week, featured, about the politics of sanity and politics of passion and some confusion that exists between the two.

KLEIN: I think that the really shocking thing that's going on is that the people in Washington are talking about stuff that the American people aren't interested in at all.

DOBBS: Absolutely.

KLEIN: I mean, you know, there's a poll by Diane Feldman, a Democrat, in which 72 percent of voters say that the people in Washington see the world differently than the way I do, or the way they do.

And to me, it's striking that not only is the point of view that you represent, which is the kind of populist point of view, not being discussed in Washington, or on the campaign trail, but also the point of view that a lot of the more responsible corporate leaders, the people who really believe that we should have a universal health care system in this country because the way health care works is disastrous right now, the people who are in favor of fiscal responsibility -- those are the people I call the party of sanity. Their point of view isn't being represented either.

DOBBS: The working man and woman in this country is -- you know, is so poorly represented, it's scary. Our unions now are at a fraction of our total workforce, and under further pressure. It's far easier to get public employees into a union than it is private -- private labor into a union. There's no countervailing influence to the might and the absolutely unadulterated, all but unchallenged might, of U.S. multinationals, corporate America.

Politically, in this country, they've never held such sway, even in the era of the robber barons. When you talk about sanity and passion, it seems to me that anyone with clear eyes will look out and see that if we don't have a countervailing influence -- politically and socially and economically -- to corporate America and to two parties that have basically sold out, have been bought lock, stock and barrel by corporate America, then we're in a lot of trouble.

KLEIN: Well, it's not just corporate America that's bought them out. I think part of the reason that you're seeing the debates, the amount of time spent on Terri Schiavo in Washington, as opposed to illegal immigration, for example, where you and I may not be that far apart -- I think that that's a consequence of other special interests.

The religious extremists have a special interest. On the Democratic side, this big fight over judicial appointees is driven by secular extremists who are furious about the possibility that abortion laws will be changed. Those are important issues, but there are huge issues that are not being focused on in Washington.

DOBBS: You know, we have moved, in just to the past six months, Joe, from a campaign to "reform" -- quote-unquote -- Social Security at an immense cost, and estimated as much as $2 trillion over the course of 10 years. Now it is a crisis that is in quiescence, if you will. And now we're focusing on judicial nominations that have been fought by the Democratic Party on principle that are suddenly now not a matter of principle.

Meanwhile, illegal immigration -- we're exploiting illegal aliens in our labor. We're depressing wages. We're outsourcing jobs. Our public education system is being destroyed, the pride, the foundation of our middle class and everything that is good about this country. And we have -- I will be respectful -- senators and congressman and a president in Washington who are ignoring that. And I think that's -- you're exactly right in making that point.

This is, as I have entitled the post, submitted for your consideration, and in the hope that someday soon we can find our way out of the Twilight Zone that news coverage in this country has been hauling us into ever since the rise of Fox News.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Marshall, I'd like to first say I find your blog a wonderful stop on my tour of other people's thoughts.

I'd also like to say, that as a former viewer of Lou Dobbs' show - your basically correct about his reporting. I've often found him refreshingly honest and truly topical (although even he might spend 30 seconds or so on a Michael Jackson-type story every so often).

I might add however, that Lou has a tendency to tow the right-wing line (the Minutemen Project comes to mind immediately).

I'm not sure if his moments of clarity make watching him - or reading his transcripts - worth it, but you've illustrated at least one time that makes it seem so.

Thanks for turning me back on to Lou - at least for now!


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