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Balanced Fare: We Report, You Deride

Monday, November 04, 2002

Normally, This Guy Doesn't Do Comedy

So it is fun to see Mark Kleiman branch out a bit.

First, the self-styled conscience of the blogosphere lectures us on a Republican ad in Tennessee:

The Tennessee Republican Party is suggesting that a school curriculum that mentions Buddhism and Hinduism in discussing the history of India is an offense to "Tennessee values."

...Aside from Andrew Sullivan, who doesn't like gay-baiting no matter who does it (but seems ok with other forms of prejudice), I have yet to see anyone in the right blogosphere object to the persistent use of bigotry and other dirty tricks by Republican candidates. This is in fairly sharp contrast to the practices of the left blogosphere, and seems to me to reflect a real difference between liberals and conservatives in terms of willingness to criticize their own side.

...I think the difference is a legitimate source of pride: to be liberal is, fundamentally, to be fair-minded."

All conservatives are close-minded? Well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder; I suppose objectivity is, too. And it may be that both are easiest to see when looking in the mirror.

Now, bit of a disappointment to my readership, but I am not going to rise to Mark's bait and denounce this ad. Nor do I endorse it. Bit of suspense. I will leave it to his judgement whether I support this sort of talk or not. And just as he will judge me, I will judge him.

But did I say comedy? Yes, indeed. In an update to this post, Mark links to an obviously over-the-top ad run by a Democrat and criticized by a fellow Democrat. But wait, says Mark, this ad is not so bad! So, complete silence on the Left would not have been evidence of close-mindedness, or partisanship - just good judgement. Hmm, maybe the conscience need a conscience of his own. Folks who mostly agree with Mark are fair-minded, the rest are not. Whatever.

But lest we miss this not-so-subtle descent into self-parody, Mark continues with his very next post, an account of impending polling place snafus in Broward County, FLA. Apparently, the polling process takes a long time, the ballot is complicated, there are too few machines, and turnout in this heavily Democratic county will be supressed.

I'm sorry the county administrators did not do a better job. But here we go - in an update to the original post, Mark suggests "Express Lane" voting.

"Designate a quarter of the machines as "express lanes" with a three-minute limit, for people who don't insist on voting for assistant sewer commissioner or on the initiative to require that pooper-scoopers be made of recycled plastic."

Well, that shows a great respect for the democratic process (small "d", to signify actual voting, as opposed to Big "D", signifying "race my people through"). And in yet another update, a reader objects, reminding us that there are equal protection issues, and that chasing voters through a hurry-up line may not be exactly what a court would approve.

But, as Mark explains, this is NO PROBLEM:

"Still, it's quite likely that Levy is correct about what a court would say about the proposal. But would a court enjoin an administrative decision, made in what is clearly an emergency setting, and would it do so fast enough to matter? I'm not sure. And if it didn't, then it's not clear what the court could do about it afterwards, other than enjoining a repetition. The votes would count.

The same applies to the Secretary of State: he could clearly rule that the procedure was improper, but it's not clear what he could do about it."

Or, briefly, it may be illegal, but no one could stop us in time. Well, well, well. We eagerly await Mark's denunciation of this proposed Democratic "dirty trick".

Hmm, is "conscience of the blogosphere" an elective post? I don't remember voting. Slowly or quickly.

UPDATE: Sometimes, when you are digging yourself a hole, the best thing to do is put the shovel down. Mark has a new update in which he pretends he did not write the previous update. Let's see:

"Glenn Reynolds is shocked -- shocked! -- that I'm advocating an extraordinary emergency procedure that would allow people to vote who would otherwise, through no fault of their own, be denied the option of voting, despite the fact that a court might later rule against it."

Well, Glenn seems to be shocked that Mark is saying, hey, I've been advised that it is illegal, but so what? Catch me if you can.

Mark then gets what we hope will be the final update form his legal source, suggesting that maybe this "Express Lane" would pass muster. None of which matters a whit - when advised that it was illegal, Mark quite clearly said, so what. Which is, regrettably, what we have come to expect from these "fair-minded" Democrats.

As for Mark, he is looking in the mirror, and we presume he likes what he sees. And we will eagerly await his next lecture on ethics. Always make time for a smile!

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