Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Rupert and Chuck

The New York Post today endorsed Chuck Schumer for re-election as Senator. It acknowledged that this was weird: one of the most extreme rightwing rags in the country, backing a Democrat. But the publisher Rupert Murdoch is not putting aside his prejudices. Schumer is a pet of Wall Street, a full-fledged war hawk and a sponsor of the USA Patriot Act -- which has been called the most sweeping attack on civil rights in more than a hundred years.

Basically, these issues have been taken off the table in the contest for president and vice president, since all four major-party candidates agree on them. They differ on the tax cuts -- but they all voted for them when they went down. They differ on exporting jobs but favor it, too. Weird is the word. So their debates can be depressing. Let us instead consider a few cheering notes.

There’s the satirical weekly Onion, picking up on Dick Cheney’s warning that the election of Kerry would incite new attacks like 9-11, says Cheney has pledged to attack the U.S. -- pre-emptively, I presume -- if Kerry is elected. Daily Howler dot com carries more about the buddy-buddy ties between Bush and tonight’s moderator, Bob Schieffer of CBS. In passing the Howler proves that Wolf Blitzer of CNN is a jerk -- but you knew that.

Maybe the most encouraging item is an AP dispatch from Durham North Carolina. A summer class of high school seniors on assignment managed to get 17 letters published by the New York Times in a single month. Mailed from their home towns, or friends’ towns, on various issues. Hats off! Since way back I’ve been urging listeners to write short punchy letters to smaller papers, to out-of-town papers, from out-of town addresses if they have them, but warning them that trying to get into the Times was probably a waste of time.
Seventeen kids -- high school seniors -- did it. There is hope.