Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Since Endorsing Her, NYT Probes Clintons Deeply

Could it be that the New York Times, which endorsed Sen. Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination, is having second thoughts?

One would think so upon reviewing two particularly devastating articles the NYT has run since the endorsement about Clinton and her grasping husband, former President Bill Clinton, plus a markedly enthusiastic review by no less than Andrew Rosenthal, the editor of the editorial pages, of the big women's rally Sunday for Sen. Barack Obama at UCLA.

Rosenthal, who was at the rally, called the appearances of Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Caroline Kennedy and Maria Shriver "the best campaign rally I've seen in 20 years of covering presidential politics."

Calling it a "pitch-perfect event," Rosenthal said that "by the time it ended...(it) had crystalized the challenge Sen. Hillary Clinton will face if she wins the Democratic Party's nomination. She will have to figure out how to preserve the energy and excitement that Mr. Obama has stirred in his supporters, especially in once-alienated young voters."

Rosenthal's ensuing commentary provided far better coverage of the rally than the L.A. Times, and its usually prosaic campaign coverage, did. It caught the spirit of the occasion, especially the role of Caroline Kennedy, whose television commercial on behalf of Obama has been absolutely golden.

"The crowd was screaming with delight when it saw Ms. Kennedy, who brought her uncle, Sen. Edward Kennedy and now, remarkably, her cousin, Ms. Shriver, wife of Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, into the Obama campaign.

"Ms. Kennedy previewed Ms. Shriver's surprising appearance by urging Democratic to 'step out of your lives and into this moment in history.'"

Of course, Caroline Kennedy has more charisma in her little finger than Hillary Clinton has in her whole body.

In any event, with admirable fairness (I have not always been so high on him), Rosenthal concluded his scintilating column, which ran at the bottom of the editorial page, by writing, "The Times editorial board has endorsed Mrs. Clinton's candidacy, and we are enthusiastic about her ability to be a great president. But candidates have to win in order to serve. Attending the rally here, we hoped Mrs. Clinton and her team were also watching and listening very attentively."

And I hope Rosenthal and all the members of his editorial board have been reading their own newspaper, because Times columnists and investigative reporters have been shredding the reputation of the Clintons ever since the endorsement ran.

There is a particularly fine column by David Brooks this morning about the disastrous role of Mrs. Clinton in pursuing health care reform in the first year of her husband's Administration. "I'm not a Hillary hater," Brooks starts out. But he then absolutely proceeds to evisirate her.

Brooks uses the experience of Rep. Jim Cooper of Tennessee, who had more workable health care proposals in 1993 than Hillary, somewhat akin to Obama's now, but who she ignored and then crushed politically, while pursuing an absolutist concept that Bill Clinton himself finally pulled the plug on.

Cooper, who, Brooks remarks, "not surprisingly supports Barack Obama, believes that Clinton hasn't changed (since 1993). 'Hillary's approach is so absolutist, draconian and intolerant, it means a replay of 1993."

"He argues that her more coercive approach would once again be a political death knell. No Republican will support it. Red state Democats will face impossible pressures at home. It's smarter to begin by offering people affordable access to coverage and evolve from there."

Exactly, and it's exactly what the more reasonable Obama has been arguing: If you're going to compel everyone to buy health insurance, what will you do to punish the people who don't go along?

Hillary refuses to say, and the Clintons refuse to release the records from her ill-fated reform effort, secreting them in the Clinton presidential library.

Brooks' column follows others by Frank Rich and Maureen Dowd that constitute a cry against the New York Times endorsement of Mrs. Clinton.

Also, there has, in recent days, been a front page story in the NYT suggesting that Bill Clinton took a huge ($31 million) bribe from a Canadian oil magnate in exchange for flying with him to Kazakhstan and getting him a uranium mining contract with the dictator there worth tens of millions of dollars. The former president behaved in this instance as a big time mobster would.

Many of the editorials that have endorsed Obama around the country have been too nice to the Clintons, saying she is a strong candidate and would make a good president and indicating it is only a matter of her reining Bill Clinton in, somehow.

This is baloney. There are just too many indications that the Clinton co-presidency would be a disaster. We have to hope it doesn't happen.

I thought to myself how phony the Clintons are when I saw television coverage of Bill Clinton's appearances at three black churches in South Los Angeles Sunday. While Rosenthal was viewing the galvanic Obama rally at UCLA, Clinton was treating the church congregations as fools, suggesting to them that he gazes up to God and asks Him why he can't vote for both a black candidate (Obama) and a woman candidate, his wife.

Then, Monday, appearing at Yale University in New Haven, Ct., Hillary teared up again, as she did the day before the New Hampshire primary. It wasn't quite believable when it happened in New Hampshire. Now, this second time, it's even less believable. I wonder, as president, whether she would burst into tears if she ever met Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Rosenthal and the New York Times should rethink their position. The Los Angeles Times strong endorsement of Obama is far more reasonable. a far greater service to the country.


L.A. Times writer Jill Leovy wound up her year-long blog on hundreds of Los Angeles homicides yesterday with a poignant long article beginning on Page 1, about her project, and about the senseless killings that mostly occur in Los Angeles' minority communities. I understand it's time for Leovy to go on with other assignments, but it is important that someone else continue this vital coverage.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

listen you dumb fuck,why don't you investigate Obama and his mininister supporing Louis Farrakhan and his sleazy slum lord pal? You're no journalist, just a cheap cheerleader for what trend comes along.

2/05/2008 12:05 PM  

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