June 30, 2004
Line of the Day
by Nick Morgan
June 30, 2004 02:50 PM
From Kristof at the NYT:
But considering the odd things the president often says ("I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family"), Mr. Bush always has available a prima facie defense of confusion.
Should Kristof have used "presumption" rather than "prima facie"? Doesn't a "presumption" disappear when challenged whereas "prima facie" would continue to have effect? It's been over 50 years since my evidence course.
I think Kristof has it right. But unfortunately, I think a lot of liberals will confuse his advice with something similar but much more pernicious.
I speak, of course, about the timidity of liberals relative to the rabid right wing. The right has succeeded in recent years because they've gone for the jugular. The Bush administration is the best example (although 'succeed' is a contestable term when applied to Bush), along with think-tank zealots like Grover Norquist.
Liberals should distinguish between lies and exaggerations, yes. But they shouldn't allow this intellectual punctiliousness to weaken their attacks on a right-wing mentality that's overstayed its welcome.
I, as a New Deal liberal, will not call Bush Jr. a liar. But I feel obliged to tell him: "Mr. President, your pants are on fire!" This is a public service message.