Monday, October 18, 2004


David M. Halbfinger of the NYT takes a long cold look at John Kerry, ponders what he sees...and then makes a bunch of shit up:

On a day when he rallied thousands of supporters deep in Republican territory and bought a hunting license to show off his credentials as a sportsman, Senator John Kerry's search for the political center brought him on Saturday to a Roman Catholic church where a very supportive priest chided bishops who have assailed him over abortion rights.
Memo to Halbfinger: John Kerry is a centrist, for Christ's sake! He doesn't have to search for the center, because he represents it! Only in a political landscape dominated by cryptofascist thugs like Tom DeLay could Kerry's consistent centrism be painted as "radical."

But Halbfinger's portrait of John Kerry as Janus-faced panderer is not quite finished:
And at a grocery here in Buchanan, he paid $140 cash for a hunting license to shoot ducks and geese in the Mahoning Valley. Or, as his spokesman, Mike McCurry, joked, "To go kill defenseless animals somewhere": a reminder that, even while courting middle-of-the-road voters, the party's base is never entirely out of anyone's mind.
Now, I'm a goddamn vegan, for fuck's sake, and I'm very staunchly opposed to shooting ducks and geese; they're incredibly beautiful birds, and are two of my favorite animals on earth. But that doesn't make me part of Kerry's base...on the contrary, it puts me way, way out of the mainstream in the Democratic Party. (And I'm not a registered Democrat, in any case.) To pretend that Kerry is walking some kind of fine line here is ridiculous, particularly since McCurry's comment would (at best) irritate anyone who actually is morally opposed to hunting; that's really not the best way to pander to the good folks at PETA, or whomever Halbfinger imagines might comprise Kerry's anti-hunting "base." (For the record, I have far less trouble understanding hunters than I have understanding people who are staunch carnivores, but remain squeamish about killing and skinning and gutting animals.)

Halbfinger's article, though heartening overall, perfectly demonstrates what's wrong with our media: it relies on pat generalizations, received wisdom, dreamworld illogic, and barely submerged hostility to any political position left of Tom Friedman's.

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