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February 22, 2010

Comments

The New York Times article cited by Jay Rosen was an unfair smear. The Times reporter went all the way to an area of Northern Idaho noted for its very conservative beliefs. He then wrote an article implying that this group was representative of the entire nationwide Tea Party movement.

I don't believe this was an accident. It would have been natural to begin his article by describing Tea Parties in New York City, where his readership is. A fair review of Tea Parties is that they're strongly opposed to further expansion of government. One may favor continued government expansion, but it's not unreasonable to believe that government is already big enough.

Regarding Rosen's point, the Times left it to its readers to put 2 and 2 together and conclude that Tea Partiers must be a bunch of kooks because they think tyranny is right around the corner. I have no doubt that most Times readers got that message. The point Rosen ought to have made is that most Tea Partiers are not kooks because most Tea Partiers don't believe that tyranny is looming.

Ben Smith catches Rep. Darrel Issa's casual slur of Obama as having a "foreign ideological vision"

When Bush was President, lots of people criticized his "cowboy attitude." I think he did have a cowboy attitude. Not only was he from Texas, he purposely talked in unsophisticated ways. During a war, a cowboy approach has some advantages as well as disadvantages. The point is, critics had every right to call Bush a cowboy. It was a slur, but as Truman said, if you can't stand the heat, keep out of the kitchen.

Obama spent early years in a foreign country and a foreign culture. He presents himself as someone with broader views than ordinary Americans. In some ways, his international background is advantageous, in some ways it's not. The point is, critics have every right to note the downside of Obama's internationalist vision, just as supporters point to the upside.

Ben Smith seems to come from a school of thought that it's improper to criticize Obama the way other Presidents have been criticized. I simply don't buy that.

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