Saturday, April 16, 2005

WSJ op-ed page lobbying for Hillary

I was drawn up short reading this op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal, mainly because it speaks in the first person plural for Democrats. The first 5/6 of the discussion is fairly banal: about how the Democrats need to take more of a moral rather than legalist stand on the content presented in the media, and the failure to do so is the reason "we" are "losing the culture wars."

A brief aside on content: first, "we" are in fact winning the culture wars, as most conservatives acknowledge, which helps explain the culture of victimology among cultural reactionaries; second, the notion that what appears on television is part of "the public sphere" and therefore needs moral regulation is grotesque. You want to know why I don't worry about whether my daughter will see something awful on TV? It's because I don't let her watch TV. I believe that parents have the personal responsibility -- any conservatives want to challenge that concept? -- to control their children's media intake.

But still, the weakness of the argument aside, I couldn't help wonder, What is the WSJ doing giving space for "us" to talk about what the Democrats ought to be doing in the culture wars. The answer appears in the last two paragraphs: it turns out that the author of the article wants to promote Hillary as the proper moral face of the party.

And promoting Hillary is, of course, a highly desireable thing for the WSJ, since Hillary is exactly whom the Republicans would most like to see the Democrats nominate in 2008, since Hillary is unelectable nationally.

Don't forget how cynical these guys are. When Karl Rove claimed that Howard Dean was "the one we want" in the Democratic primary -- he meant just the opposite. Dean would have beat Bush last year, and Rove probably knew that. But Rove calling out Dean as "his man" strengthened Kerry's hand as the "Anyone but Dean" candidate... thus playing directly into the hands of the Republican campaign leadership.

This editorial is part of an exactly parallel strategy.

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