By this point in the already-interminable '08 election season, the temptations of the holidays are beginning to seduce even devoted political junkies away from Iowa, New Hampshire, and their YouTube satellites. Campaign reporters—being only human—are also a little distracted by holiday cheer. Witness the New York Times' post-Thanksgiving report on the candidates' eating habits (Barack Obama looks as though someone had to Photoshop a corndog into his hand; Rudy Giuliani will steal your food), or yesterday's giddy recounting of the brimming happiness of Dennis Kucinich. But Tuesday's piece in the American Spectator almost defies explanation. In a long essay lamenting the nastiness of politics, writer and former Reagan political director Jeffrey Lord (aka He-For-Whom-YouTube-Is-Too-Liberal), proclaims that his Christian faith obligates him to say something nice about each of the Democratic candidates. In "Merry Christmas to the Opposition," he praises Hillary Clinton for being "a great Mom" and commends John Edwards for inspiring people "to just keep their heads down and stay on their respective tasks in life."
Heartwarming, no? And incredibly patronizing. Despite going on for paragraphs about how
conversations with liberals inevitably result in "furious personal assaults that usually end with the liberal in question abruptly walking away or refusing to discuss the issue," he makes no effort to show respect for any of the candidates' actual work, ideas, or positions. No, he's not obligated to do this—maybe he doesn't respect those positions. But to accuse all liberals of refusing to engage their conservative counterparts on substantive issues and then refuse to do so oneself, citing the obligations that Christmas confers on us to rise above the fray, is so smug it's almost offensive. Like the Republicans for whom the filibuster is an affront to the civility of Congress only when the Democrats are using it, Mr. Lord needs to tone down the self-satisfaction and raise the level of dialogue to where he thinks it should be.