Standards and Practices

A few weekends ago on the Chris Matthews Show, panelist Cynthia Tucker made such a shocking statement, I thought my neck would snap as I jerked my head from the kitchen to the living room to look at the television.

As part of the usual routine, I was making some early morning coffee while the Sunday morning commentary shows blared in the background. While I tend to disagree with a lot of the opinions put forth, I have a deep respect for those who can back up their arguments with sound reason and judgement. In my world, this passes for entertainment.

In this case, the commentators were engaged in the neverending discussion of Presidential candidates. Because I'm apathetic to a "campaign season" that lasts two years, the discussion sounded like this, "Blahblahblahblahblah." My brain interpreted it as white noise during that segment.

Until Cynthia Tucker, editor of the Atlanta Journal Constitution's Opinion section. She remarked that John McCain is unique to the Republican side.....because of his strong Libertarian tendencies.

Oh. My. God.

As someone who has logged several years on the Hill, I have had the chance to work with and alongside pretty much every Member of note. John McCain has never, once, demonstrated the "small government" and "personal freedom" ideals of a Libertarian. Not once. In fact, John McCain's tendencies toward spending sprees made me frequently question how he could even call himself a Republican.

My time on the Hill has led me to equally disdain political parties, particularly the two biggies. There are very few Members who are able to spend any amount of time on the Hill and not get swept into the undercurrent of greed and power that is palpable in the hallways. Those who do have my undying respect.

But this isn't meant to be a political diatribe.

The reason Cynthia Tucker's comment still sticks in my mind these weeks later is because the following week, Chris Matthews announced that Cynthia Tucker would not be on the show. I actually held my breath for a moment, thinking that her completely ignorant John McCain comment had gotten her banished into the abyss.

But no. Cynthia Tucker couldn't make the show because she was celebrating winning the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary.


To be fair, Tucker's prize was awarded based on her submission of ten hand-picked articles that were a part of her Pulitzer bid. But this causes me to ask, shouldn't her body of work be considered in a larger context?

I mean, the Pulitzer is a prize of unparalleled weight. I'm disappointed that there is not more of an organic process in choosing to laud honorees. Frankly, I'll never be able to read one of Tucker's articles without the shadow of her completely idiotic "McCain is more Libertarian than Republican" comment hovering over the words. The comment is so factually flawed at its core, she has lost all credibility.

It just feels odd that a writer can cherry-pick ten articles of their choosing, collect some glowing recommendations from their publisher, and package that into a submission for one of the most prestigious awards on the planet.

I'm sure that Tucker's submission articles were well-written. But considering that Tucker has been penning articles for some twenty years, it represents the smallest fraction of her overall body of work. I would think that members of the Pulitzer Prize Board would spot-read other published pieces.


Anonymous said...

Ah, the paradox of Libertarianism.

The powers held by individuals and states that our founding forefathers envisioned can only be returned if sufficient numbers of true statesmen take over Federal government.

But given that power is an aphrodisiac, and given both the real and opportunity costs of getting elected, it is unlikely that a sufficient number of statesmen will ever congregate in Washington DC again.

Having lived most of my life in Arizona, I find that anyone who thinks of McBain as a Republican is woefully misinformed.

Anyone who tries to convince others that McBain is Libertarian is not to be trusted.

Given the state of our current system, it appears that the best way to get our country back on the right track is to study the voting records of people we vote for, and find people with the right ideals in the mainstream parties.

I believe the Republican Party offers more fertile hunting ground for people with true Libertarian ideals.

Of the announced candidates for president, Ron Paul is the most ideologically sound choice.

As for Chris Matthews, the only thing that I can tolerate watching him on is old clips of his interview with Zell Miller after Zell gave his keynote address at the 2004 RNC.

Aspeth said...

True. Every Lib that I know loves Ron Paul. It's unfortunate that his L status will seriously hamper him.

For that party to ever thrive, they've really got to make a concerted push toward getting away from their image as the "pot party."

Over the years, friends who have considered themselves to be conservative R's are truly taken aback when I tell them, "No, you're not. You're a Libertarian." When they see the party platform, it's like they're seeing themselves in a mirror for the first time.

As for CM/Zell Miller, I also have to agree. But what can I say...that's actually the 'best of the worst' in that coffee-making timeslot :)

Anonymous said...

As I see it, Ron Paul's problems are less related to his belief system, and more related to his political organization.

Of course, one could always make the argument that his belief in a weak Federal government will always get in the way of his ability to attract the kind of money necessary to make a serious run at the presidency.

Of the candidates that do stand a serious chance, Mitt Romney is probably my favorite.

As for Chris Matthews and Zell Miller, I have a feeling that I am not alone in wishing that Chris Matthew's would have taken up Zell's challenge to a duel.