Predictability, Thy Name Is WaPo

For a newspaper, there is so little surprising in my hometown paper. To wit:

1. Remember the joke? For the story "World Ends Tomorrow," the NYT subhead would be "Women & Children hardest hit?" Here's WaPo making another foray into the people-being-devastated-by-more-money-meme. Read the story, and you'll find that The House is only slowing the rate of growth of programs, but of course the subhead is: "Poor, Elderly & Students to Feel Pinch." I HATE when I get more money.

2. In the snort-your-coffee category comes the "inside story" of how Alito got confirmed. Democrats just don't know how to play the game and were out-maneuvered by those wily Wepublicans. We learn here that none of the Dem issues got "traction" because the Dems couldn't agree on a strategy --it had nothing to do with the fact that what they said wasn't true (I'm not denying PR campaigns have an effect, I'm just noting that it doesn't occur to the Post that the truth of certain claims has a bearing on how effective they are). And we also find that Sen. Leahy is a moderate --his failure to fill a leadership vacuum forced liberals like Teddy Kennedy to carry the Dems' water.

Hoo, boy! But you will like Alito more after you read the story. . . .

3. Speaking of moderates, in Style we have the Post's umpteenth profile of one of the four Republicans they actually like: John Danforth. (It's hilarious how they keep trying to prove his "Conservative" credentials, but then undermine them by revaling that Jimmy Carter calls Danforth his hero, etc.)

I actually have a soft spot for Danforth because he shepherded Clarence Thomas through his hearings and because a beloved high school drama coach's wife used to work for him, and she was cool. I think he's a decent and sincere person. But he --and the Post-- here does to religious Conservatives what he claims they're doing to everyone else. Namely, he assumes bad faith. As if the only reason to take up social issues is because you hate other people: "cussedness," as Danforth calls it. Because you can.

But isn't it just barely possible that some folks oppose abortion and gay marriage because they sincerely think these things do harm to the republic and to individuals? Lincoln's arguments against slavery weren't primarily on the ground of racial equality (an argument that presumably would have gained little traction with racists). He tried to show that slavery was devastating to the republic -- corrupting of the masters' soul and of the body politic's commitment to the principles of the Declaration. In other words, he argued that slavery was not in anyone's self-interest. Most social conservatives (and they aren't even all religious) stake their claims on political and ethical, not religious ground.

I stipulate that there are Phred Phelps crazies out there who are cussed. But is it temperate and kind to tar every Christian or Orthodox Jew with that brush? If you have an argument to show that liberal abortion laws and gay marriage are good, make it, and let's continue the debate. Simply telling people that if they're Christian, they should shut up, is Christophobic. Cussedly so.