I’ve wanted to write about how weak I think the local conservative editorial columnists are for a while, but never quite found the time. But this morning’s compilation of columnists’ opinion on the impeachment and acquittal of President Trump makes finding the time easy.
Essentially, the two conservative columnists in the News & Record say it WAS a witchhunt and everything is fine.
First is Charles Davenport Jr. He calls out Rep. Adam Schiff for lying, although he only cites one example from way back in October. He conveniently does not address the whoppers told by the president’s counsel, or the president himself. He applauds Trump for his conservative policies on immigration (“and Mexico’s going to pay for it!”) and the economy (deficit trending to $1 trillion).
Conservative values have changed since Trump took office.
Then comes Romaine Worster. It’s not immediately clear what her point is, other than, “Democrats, get over it.” But I enjoy this comment: “Presidents are constrained on every side. Trump would need the complicity of thousands of skilled people to even begin to do what these folks pretend to fear.” She provides no evidence for such a statement. Meanwhile, on Friday, the president began firing not only people who testified under oath to things he did, but he fired their relatives, too. In fact, it doesn’t take thousands; it takes one vengeful man to do what many fear. Well, and the ones who escorted the former staffers from the White House grounds.
Editorial columnists ignore and slide around arguments that hurt their case. (The best ones address those and dispense with them, which makes their arguments more persuasive.) But if you’re going to write something that is so laughable and easily refuted, then maybe you better hit the delete key and start again. For instance, don’t talk about your opponent’s lies when your side is known for lying every single day.
Want to make the case that the president’s call was perfect? Fine, but you must address the counter-evidence, including his refusal to cooperate or let anyone on his staff cooperate. Want to make the case that it wasn’t an impeachable act? Fine, make it. But don’t just say stuff and think it’s insightful.
I think the moderate and progressive columnists in the paper are pretty good. Even when I don’t agree with them, I appreciate their arguments and thoughtfulness. I know that good conservative writers are out there. John Hood is one I rarely agree with but he’s thoughtful. Same with Peder Zane. Doug Clark is my friend and he has been excellent for years.
I’m just not sure why there aren’t more willing to write for the paper.