Saturday, July 30, 2005


Worst headline of the day award: "CAFTA's Deciding Votes Were Coerced"

I wish I could hang this one on the New York Times, but in fact it is the headline Truthout used to caption an e-mail mentioning a story by Edmund Andrews, which the NYT properly titled How Cafta Passed House by 2 Votes . Bribery is not coercion. And the kind of bribery described in the article ("Mr. Hastert promised to push for whatever steps he felt were necessary to restrict imports of Chinese clothing"), as opposed to the Nick-Smith-$100K-for-your-son's campaign, is just politics-as-usual. Yes, yes, the Republicans should be ashamed by the rampant hypocrisy in accusing Democrats for years of tax-and-spend politics and then doing the same. But their consciences long ago atrophied, died, and turned green; with the exception of chuckling when a family values hypocrite gets caught with his fingers in someone else's cookie jar, I have moved on. Now, I tend to think Andrews is, in effect, lying. The vote was kept open for nearly an hour. That doesn't speak of Coach Hastert giving one errant congressman a pep talk. It speaks of a bulging pork barrel being rolled out and favors being delivered to select constituents: "Opponents of the trade pact said Republicans lured many lawmakers by earmarking billions of dollars for pet projects in a $286 billion highway spending bill." It would have been nice if Andrews could have looked into the earmarks to see if they were, in fact, targeted to Congressmen who were likely opponents of the bill. But the NYT headline is OK. It's the rest of it that's so bad.
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