NYT’s Failure to Understand Our Times Now Complete


By: Warner Todd Huston

To the New York Times there is only one issue in America: the war.

To show how pathetic The New York Times and John Broder are at analyzing the current political climate, all one has to do is read “Gore-Lieberman: A Hyphen Apart? Try Poles.” Here the Times clearly reveals that they see but two types of American politician: the good guys against the war, and the evil ones for it. That’s it. To the Times there is no other issue, no other divide, no other substantive thought, no other thing that separates our leaders one from the other. There is only the war and nothing else.

In this empty piece, the Times posits that should Al Gore had won in 2000 instead of George W. Bush, the second Gore administration would have seen a dump Lieberman movement that would have resulted in a different Gore vice-president in 2006.

Imagine for a moment the Supreme Court had gone the other way in Bush v. Gore in 2000. We would now be in year eight of the Gore-Lieberman administration. Well, maybe not the Lieberman part.

The reason the Times posits for this is because Gore and Lieberman have “staked out diametrically opposite positions on the Iraq war.”

Not only have Mr. Gore and Mr. Lieberman staked out diametrically opposite positions on the Iraq war, Mr. Gore went so far as to endorse one of Mr. Lieberman’s presidential rivals in 2004, Howard Dean, largely because of his opposition to the invasion. Mr. Lieberman is campaigning for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Senator John McCain of Arizona.

As Mr. Gore steadily migrated leftward from his roots as a hawkish, centrist New Democrat, Mr. Lieberman lurched to the right, so much so that he now makes common cause with Republicans, at least on the war.

Not only is this analysis about an inch deep, it doesn’t even rise to the rest of the old saying of being a mile wide for it’s an inch deep AND an inch wide.

First of all, we can’t miss the obvious and glaring error in the Times “logic.” The war in Iraq was started by George W. Bush after the election in 2000. Few people on either side of the aisle imagine that a president Al Gore would have had the stones to have started the war in Iraq. Once the Twin Towers fell, everyone expects that Al Gore would have wasted his precious time trying to find people to bring to criminal court over the act of terror instead of doing the right thing militarily. In fact, his dilly-dallying with that terror attack might have made his a one-term presidency — but that is just my own “might have been” analysis.

But, to claim that Lieberman would have found himself so opposed to Al Gore’s policies that the administration would have dumped him for a second run, and it all being based on Lieberman’s stance on the war now, is just plain ignorant of reality. It also shows that the Times is so obsessed by the war in Iraq that they cannot see the world clearly.

To make a supposition of what Lieberman might have done as Gore’s VP one only has to see the flip-flopping in positions he made when running with Gore in 2000. Lieberman flipped on many of his positions to fit in with Gore’s presidency. There is absolutely no indication that Lieberman would have drifted back to his own principles, enough so that Gore would have dumped him for a second run at the White House. All indications are that Lieberman would have stayed loyal to Gore and the party that was supporting them both.

The main reason Lieberman was freed to stick to his own principles at last now is because the party abandoned him and he had no reason for that loyalty.

But, the problem with the Times’ “analysis” is that ALL of this stuff happened after 2000 and none of it can be logically used to determine what he would have done as Gore’s VP. The war would not have happened, the party would not have abandoned Lieberman and no spilt would likely have occurred between them all.

The Times is right in only one of its contentions. That Lieberman is currently alienated from his far leftist party is not in dispute. It is also true that this alienation is all over the war in Iraq, a war that Lieberman heartily supports.

But there happens to be just a few other issues that face modern America besides the war and on every one of those issues Joe Lieberman stands on the liberal side of the aisle. So, there is but one issue that Lieberman differs with his colleagues on. That would be the war.

That’s it.

Just one issue.

One issue does not make a stance “poles apart” from 99 percent of what both Lieberman and the Democrat Party agree on.

But, according to the extremists at the NYT that one, lone issue is quite enough to paint Lieberman as being “poles apart” from the rest of the party. It just shows how the Times has let this one issue blind them to all else.

Now, the Times does acknowledge that Lieberman is on the same side with the extreme left on every issue but the war. In the fourth to last paragraph, the Times quotes an unidentified member of the Senate Democratic leadership to that effect. But this one sentence buried at the tale of the piece does not outweigh the fact that the rest of the story ridiculously paints Lieberman as “poles apart” from the rest of his party.

With this failed attempt at political analysis, no one can resist the conclusion that the reputation of The New York Times for deep analysis and trenchant reporting is wildly undeserved.

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