Posts Tagged ‘Fox News Sunday’

Chris Matthews and Chris Wallace earn Reinhold Niebuhr award for eviscerating Senate candidates of their own persuasion

October 18, 2010

Chris Matthews and Chris Wallace each earned a (mythical) Reinhold Niebuhr award* for bringing good temper and integrity into the political fight. The highest level of political ethics is to call out members of one’s own party, or people whose politics you’re in general sympathy with. We expect to see MSNBC commentators like Matthews ripping Republicans, just as we expect to see Fox News commentators like Wallace ripping Dems. Ho hum, no surprise there, and no contribution to the integrity of the political fight.

But when California Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina came on Fox News Sunday Wallace grilled her about her plan to close California’s huge budget gap, finally exposing her as an empty suit. And when Kentucky Democratic Senate Candidate Jack Conway came on Chris Matthews’ Hardball show, Matthews grilled him about his campaign ad questioning his opponent’s Christianity, exposing Conway’s ad as baseless and scurrilous.

Our civic society is being ripped by the bitter antagonism between left and right, the worst since the bad old days of Senator Joe McCarthy, red hunts, and leftish defenses of Soviet spies. It’s made worse by the ease of getting all one’s news from a kind of “Daily Me,” an assortment of media that reflect only one’s own bias. Fox News Sunday and MSNBC’s Hardball took a step away from the cartoonish view of them as mouthpieces for liberalism and conservatism. The two Chris’s interviews are in the highest traditions of Niebuhr’s goal of a healthy society.

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*Christian theologian Reinhold Niebuhr wrote, ‘The temper of and integrity with which the political fight is waged is more important for the health of our society than the outcome of any issue or campaign.”

 

Charlie Crist becomes an independent. Ethical?

April 29, 2010

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist today announced his candidacy for Florida’s open Senate seat. Crist had been a huge favorite to win, but as the anti-incumbent fever grew Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio swept far past Crist in the polls of Republican primary voters.

Crist is a centrist Republican, a breed that is rapidly becoming extinct. Seeing no chance to win the Republican primary that had appeared his for the taking a few months ago, Crist announced today that he would contest the November election as an independent.

Is it ethical for a politician to change parties? It depends. When Pennsylvania voters reelected Arlen Specter to a fifth Senate term in 2004 they elected him as a Republican—an affiliation he had embraced ever since changing from a Democrat in 1965 to challenge the Democratic district attorney of Philadelphia. Specter saw his growing estrangement from the people who vote in the Republican primary, decided he had little chance to be nominated for reelection, so, Presto! He became a Democrat. Specter’s move was unethical: (more…)