Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The new Ross MacKenzie

Ross MacKenzie (depicted on the right) can rest easy, the same style of trash-talking, anti-liberal guff that he hurled at Democrats for so many years as a columnist/editor of the editorial page at the Richmond Times-Dispatch is still being published on that newspaper's OpEd page.

MacKenzie can kick back and enjoy his retirement. Now the hurler in residence is Bob Rayner.

On Page 11 of today's R-TD, Rayner does a MacKenzie-esque hatchet job on Sen. Barack Obama. He cites Obama's applauding of the Supreme Court decision against creating "a legal black hole at Guantanamo” as evidence of his lefty, pinko heart. Rayner compares Obama to former Sen. George McGovern.

Yes, I'm talking about the 1972 Democratic presidential nominee who opposed the Vietnam War and lost to Republican tower of virtue Richard Nixon. Yes, the same peace-loving McGovern who won a Distinguished Flying Cross as a B-24 pilot during WWII.

However, a fair-minded observer might see Obama's stand as conservative, because he, like the rather conservative Supreme Court, doesn't want to expand the powers of the executive branch of the government in that way.

Giving a president the power to kidnap and incarcerate people indefinitely, without ever having to show why -- outside of the legal system of this country -- is something a lot of thoughtful people might oppose. And, opposing torture is hardly a liberal position.

Rayner praises the Bush administration because there have been no significant terrorist attacks in the USA since 9/11. OK, 9/11 happened on Bush's watch and nothing like it has happened since. For that matter, it's fine with me to give Bush some credit for not starting any new endless wars of choice since he invaded Iraq.

Rayner chides Obama for not seeing that all the extraordinary power grabs the White House pulled off -- justified by 9/11 -- were proper, in spite of how many of them have since been shot down by various courts.

Hey, I would like to go on, but I can't find the Rayner piece at inRich, which would allow me to quote from it more extensively and offer a link to the piece, for the reader who might want to see Rayner's column in whole.

But I will say this: Being opposed to the radical policies of the Bush administration does't make one a conservative, or a liberal. Furthermore, invoking names like that of George McGovern, to try to scare today's voters, isn't going to get much traction with anyone Obama's age (47 on Aug. 4) or younger.

So, apparently, being the new Ross MacKenzie means aiming one's tortured logic and sarcastic sneers at pleasing hardcore rightwingers closer to Sen. John McCain's age (72 on Aug. 29). Hey, why not? It's easy to please readers who haven't had a new thought in 20 years.

Update: Here's the link to Rayner's "Are We Finally Ready to Elect George McGovern?"

Update: Here's the link to Rayner's reaction to this post and some comments from readers of The Board Room.

-- Words and art by F.T. Rea


Don said...

You nailed it, Terry. But this is part of an ongoing trend as the RTD op ed page flounders about searching for its soul. I seem to recall a series of columns informing us that George Bush's economic policies were working out just great (all evidence to the contrary was not to be trusted - facts are just liberal propaganda, you know) and this past Sunday's editorial proclaiming that George Braxton should run for Mayor might have taken the cake for surrealist absurdity. There is some conservative opinion writing out there that is good and thought-provoking - you won't find any of it in the RTD. If this were an op ed page found on Superman's "Bizarro World," it couldn't be any less relevant or grounded in reality. Again, superb job!

Paul H said...

Hurling guff? How dare he.

a'It's easy to please readers who haven't had a new thought in 20 years."

Wow, that smarts. Nothing like respecting your inferiors or your readers.

Don, does this mean You are a liberal? or are your a Liberal? or liberal?

F.T. Rea said...


Thanks. And, you certainly followed up on your Save Richmond posts on Pantele with "style."


Aren't hardcore rightwingers proud of not having a fresh thought in decades? Isn't that the essence of the faith?

F.T. Rea said...


To follow up, I must say that I frequently enjoy reading Bart Hinkle on the OpEd Page in the R-TD. Not that I usually agree with most of what he writes, but sometimes I do.

The key is Hinkle tries to be fair and he's funny, sometimes.

Paul H said...

There are always ideologues on all sides of the spectrum, not just on the right. Making simplistic judgments about "the opposition" doesn't serve open debate or your blog, unless you simply want to preach to the choir. Ideology is a poor substitute for rational discussion.

As far as being funny and fair, I look to Don for both.

Don said...

Paul: Are you OK? You don't seem like yourself. Thank you (I think).

I'm not even sure what a "liberal" is anymore, frankly. It has been used by the Right to describe every Democrat from Bill Clinton to Tim Kaine to Barack Obama, and anyone who is to the left of, say, Attila the Hun. If you can describe a liberal as someone who thinks George Bush is the worst president of the modern era, yeah I'm a liberal.

Joel said...

Hinkle may be funny but I'm not blinded by his brain. Today's column illustrated the severe shift in the Supreme Ct and yet Hinky said they could not be pigeonholed. Let's see: Ct supported Exxon, opened door to guns everywhere, and denied whistleblower rights (that made me mad). Clearly a conservative Ct getting scarier everyday. Imagine who McCain would appoint?

F.T. Rea said...


In his piece today, Hinkle seems to be saying that with regard to this Supreme Court's decisions, straight line ideology hasn't been playing out as predictably as some might think.

And, that's been true in the past, as well. I don't see much to quarrel with him about with that premise.

But if you are just saying the Supreme Court, as it is today, seems to be more right-leaning than one might prefer, then I agree with you.

The process that puts members on the Court is political. Nonetheless, judges can still have integrity.