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No Left Turns

Some good news

Oil prices dropped today, and this may continue. Cherry blossoms begin to bloom in Washington, D.C.
Ukranian President Viktor Yushchenko addresed Congress and gets a hero’s welcome. Harvard professor is arrested for stealing a load of manure from a Massachusetts farm.

Discussions - 11 Comments

There was not enough manure in Cambridge?

Hey, nothing about the Schiavo memo today?

I’ll write about the Schiavo memo. The truth still reflects very badly on the MSM. One Republican Senator had a memo that he never read. He accidentally passed it to Harkin, whose staff circulate it to other Dems. Then the MSM took off with a wild story about "Republican Party leaders" passing out this memo to all Republican Senators. Neither of those things happened. I don’t see how this does anything except further embarrass the MSM and their inept reporters.

Comment 2 was a good question, and comment 3 a weak response, reflecting an unwillingness to just ’fess up when the party they are so uncritically loyal to has clearly been caught. I’d imagine Ohio Voter would blame a bad cup of coffee on the dreaded MSM, too.

Mr. Knippenberg & Co.,

As you can see from this article - from no less of a trustworthy source than Fox News itself! Hurry before they pull down the webpage! - it appears that the memo was not "fake but accurate," but rather it was "real AND accurate." It came from the office of Republican Senator Mel Martinez. Looks like the wannabe Woodward & Bernsteins (or wait, maybe not!) at Powerline were just engaged in wishful thinking. From the article:

"Martinez, in his statement, said Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, had asked for background information on the bill ordering a federal court to review the Schiavo case.

He said he pulled a one-page document from his coat pocket and handed to Harkin. "Unbeknownst to me ... I had given him a copy of the now infamous memo."

"Unbeknownst"?? Look, either way, this is pretty bad. Either he has much too little involvement in what his staff produces to sway and persuade his fellow senators, and is casually handing out memos/talking points that he disagrees with, OR he is simply lying.

Seeing that the substance of the memo encapsulated nicely the motivations and the goals of conservative Republicans spearheading this entire Schiavo exploitation, the back-pedaling among Republicans to simply pin it on one rogue zealot in their midst is really pathetic.

I think it would be appropriate to see a follow-up on this from you, Mr. Knippenberg, and from Powerline, but I’m not holding my breath.

Weak indeed. And that bastion of right-wing conservatism, Mickey Kaus, must also be part of the Powerline plot, eh.

"But certainly whatever legitimate valence Allen’s ’memo’ story had depended almost entirely on the impression that the memo revealed and represented the strategy of the GOP leaders who pushed the Schiavo bill. If all that was involved was a staff memo Martinez gave to Harkin, Allen’s story was way out of whack. The memo wasn’t close to being worth the play it got in WaPo or in Douglass’ report."

D North:

None of this new reporting gives you any evidence that the memo encapsulates the motives and goals of conservative Republican senators, as opposed to those of one staffer to one freshman senator who’s not in the GOP leadership.

Mike Allen reported AS FACT that this memo had circulated among Republican senate leaders. Allen had no basis for writing that at the time, and still has not produced any grounds for his claim.

The picture emerging now is that the memo circulated from one senator’s staffer to that senator, and thence accidentally to Harkin (who refrained from telling what he knew of the whole episode for what appear to be purely partisan reasons of the pettiest sort, since Harkin actually agreed w/ Martinez and the GOP on the substance of the Schiavo legislation).

Did the memo circulate more widely? It’s possible that it might have, but we don’t have any evidence at this time that it did so.

And look at your own circular reasoning: You want to use the memo as evidence to impugn the whole GOP’s motives and goals, while at the same time insinuating that the memo must be authentic because it allegedly encapsulates so well those motives (which you already seem to know! are you clairvoyant?). In effect you are saying "Aha! The memo proves that Republicans are SOBs, and we know that the memo must be authentic because, well, Republicans are SOBs--have not I, D North, said so?"

Your use of the memo in this tautological and assertoric way shows that you are either ignorant of basic logical principles or else are all too willing to cast them aside in order to make a partisan attack.

Finally, Power Line has already posted on the latest developments:

I don’t think it’s necessary for ANYONE, including myself, to "insinuate" that the memo is authentic. We have a confession from Martinez.

If by authentic, you mean written by some Republican, then yes, you are right. If you mean written by Republican Party leaders, as the WaPo alleged, then no. Martinez’s statements prove exactly the opposite.

Say again, Ohio Voter??? "Martinez’s statements prove exactly the opposite." Wouldn’t ’the opposite’ really mean that the memo was conceived and written by Democrats, in an attempt to make the Republicans look bad? Wasn’t the right speculating this very thing? Whether written by Martinez himself or just his aide, that’s pretty high up the food chain, however much PJC wants to split hairs over the "leadership" issue. The memo was produced, written and distributed by Republicans. It wasn’t written by some anonymous red stater, typing on an old Smith-Corona in his basement! As for how widespread the distribution was or wasn’t, if any or most Republicans didn’t receive or read the memo, they still acted as though they were following its advice. Most Americans -and this would necessarily include those who voted for Bush- figured out that the Republicans did what they did to attempt to score political points, and they might have with the fringe No Left Turns crowd, but that was hardly necessary in the first place. They didn’t do it because they had some deep, heartfelt concern for Terri Schiavo, that shy woman who most likely would have been really horrified to become a de facto celebrity from her eating disorder and the subsequent complete incapacitation and helplessness it led to.

The whole "food chain" appears to have been once GOP staffer (who was instantly fired for writing this sorry document) and one freshman senator who appears never to have "circulated" the memo beyond Tom Harkin, plus of course Tom Harkin himself and then the Washington Post.

Also, Mel Martinez is not the same thing as the Senate GOP leadership, which is who Mike Allen claimed was "circulating" this memo. It is not hair-splitting to point this out, just common sense.

D North: You have yet to provide any evidence for your charge that the memo is an authentic window into the thinking of the GOP Senate leadership or the party as a whole on the Schiavo affair. This is the kind of "authenticity" that your argument requires you to establish, and as I pointed out, you have not done so but are in fact overstating your case rather badly and wandering into pitfalls of logic along the way.

The Schiavo bill passed the Senate unanimously and passed the House 203 to 58, with 47 Democrats voting yea. Both Ralph Nader and Jesse Jackson publicly called for more legal process before Terri Schiavo was starved to death. Maybe I missed something, but when did Nader, Jackson, and all those Democratic legislators join the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy?

Bill, some basic logic for you. These statements are opposites:

1. The memo was written by Republican leaders and was distributed to all Republican Senators.

2. The memo was not written by Republican leaders and was not distributed to all Republican Senators.

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