Over at Swampland, the Time Magazine blog, Joe Klein gives the following (ahem) assessment of the Repub field for prez:
“This is my 10th presidential campaign, Lord help me. I have never before seen such a bunch of vile, desperate-to-please, shameless, embarrassing losers coagulated under a single party’s banner. They are the most compelling argument I’ve seen against American exceptionalism. Even Tim Pawlenty, a decent governor, can’t let a day go by without some bilious nonsense escaping his lizard brain. And, as Greg Sargent makes clear, Mitt Romney has wandered a long way from courage.”
The full post has a pretty amazing quote from Newt Gingrich in which he worries that his grandchildren will live under both Muslim fundamentalists and secular atheists and will have no clue “what it once meant to be an American.”
I spent so many years playing the objectivity game that I about lost my dentures at some of Klein’s word choices. I don’t think Tim Pawlenty has a lizard brain (although the Gingrich quote does begin to support the “vile” and “shameless” enumeration).
But I couldn’t help reflecting, too, that not that many years ago Klein was doing the objective reporter gag himself (although I doubt that regular readers had much doubt about which way he leaned).
Of course there were always that subset of professional journalists who were permitted to express their opinions (although very few of them would have let loose with anything quite so blunt at the Klein passage above), and the balance has shifted in favor of more and more of us having what I often call “freedom of voice.”
So, after picking up my dentures, I ask myself: Is this better or worse? I say better — not the freedom to vituperate (although that comes with the package) but the freedom to tell it like (you think) it is. On balance, and still hoping for the civil and substantive but intellectually honest version — I say better. What say you?