Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Village Gossip

This is a truly terrible column, and another example of why a journalist shouldn't be trusted on face value (apparently Margasak has been covering Capitol Hill for roughly the same amount of time I have been able to read). Since I spent so much time taken Allen apart yesterday, I will save you a long explanation of how far of the mark Margasak is, but I just wanted to address the fundamental premise of his column.
WASHINGTON – Barack Obama warned Democrats in Congress against making a partisan cause out of the Bush administration's harsh interrogation tactics.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is ignoring him — loudly — and the party, from the president on down, may pay the price.

Let's think about this for all of, oh, two seconds, as a nice little logical exercise. First of all, the input:

1) Obama doesn't want discussion the "harsh interrogation tactics" of the Bush administration to become a partisan cause.

2) Nancy Pelosi is repeatedly calling for an investigation.

Mix well and pour.

My conclusion: if Pelosi is going to get what she wants (and I want, and the majority of the American people wants), it's important she discusses this in terms of legality, and not partisanship.

Margasak's conclusion: By being a Democrat who is pushing for investigations, Pelosi is making this into a partisan cause.

Margasak's corollary 1: There exists no situation in which a member of one party can criticise the actions of a member of another party without it being partisan.

Margasak's corollary 2: Any attempt to investigate politicians breaking the law will either have to come from the party's own ranks, or be decried as partisan.

Digby (amongst others) has been railing about this sort of crap for years. Too many political reporters spend so long being exposed to the partisan bickering between the two parties that it becomes the only way they can comprehend politics at all. Members of the Bush administration stands accused (though not by any actual court, as far as I can tell, unless you count one in Spain) of serious and repeated violations of the law. Only the most inept journalist would think that investigating lawbreaking is a partisan issue, or that those who want to see justice done will have a change of heart the minute they realise a Democrat might be (distantly) involved, but it seems to be a horribly common opinion in "the Village".

(It's worth noting that none of the above excuses Pelosi's rather unsatisfactory answers on what she did or didn't know, but since she keeps coming out with "Let's have an investigation about it", it's difficult for me to care.)

h/t to Attaturk.

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