Jim covered Congress and The White House during the George W. Bush administration for The Washington Times, and worked as a reporter, editorial writer and columnist for newspapers in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and California. He has appeared on the Fox News Channel, CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, and many local and national talk radio shows to talk politics and policy.
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Political analysis by Heartland’s Ben Domenech was included Ross Douthat’s latest piece for the New York Times titled “Democrats Get a Gift From the Roberts Court.” I’ve enjoyed Douthat’s work as a movie reviewer at National Review, but as a “conservative” columnist at the NYT, there is too-often little to laud.
The Gray Lady smiles upon Douthat’s work on the op-ed page for good reason: He will always accept the leftist caricature of the right and fail to rebut the false narrative. For instance, there’s this bit in his latest piece on the voter ID debate:
” … voter identification laws do not belong to the same moral or legal universe as Jim Crow. Their public purpose, as a curb to fraud, is potentially legitimate rather than nakedly discriminatory, and their effects are relatively limited.”
Douthat should have stopped at the words “Jim Crow.” Voter ID laws are not “potentially legitimate.” They are simply “legitimate.” There is zero “discriminatory” intent in those proposals — and zero measurable effect, as he later admits, in passing.
All of Douthat’s flotsam about how voter ID laws “don’t take effect in a vacuum” — followed by examples of how the left distorts and exploits false racist motives on the part of proponents — would be easily countered by an honest and genuine “conservative” columnist. But Douthat merely endorses their legitimacy.
The only extent to which voter ID laws “restrict the franchise on the margins” is to restrict the ability of Democrats to commit blatant, wide-spread, and well-documented voter fraud. That is to say, voter ID laws do not represent a case of the GOP attacking “the franchise.” It is an attempt to protect it. Every fraudulent vote disenfranchises a legitimate one — those of of blacks, whites, Hispanics, Asians … every American who is an actual person eligible to vote.
A crazy thought: Could it be that Republicans, on principle, are pushing for Voter ID laws as the least-intrusive way possible to protect the integrity of the vote? How about suggesting that their motivations, if not “pure” (and politics is never “pure”), are at leastnot malicious? This is a good question to raise — especially when the other major party is not only disinterested in protecting the sanctity of making “every vote count,” but actively takes part in tactics designed to cancel out the votes of legitimate voters to better ensure Democratic victories.
A “conservative” columnist at the New York Times worthy of the designation might raise such questions and challenge the false assumptions of the leftist narrative. But that is not Douthat’s job. His job is to accept the leftist, MSM narrative as gospel — and “on the margins” try to explain that maybe the left is only partly wrong … sometimes.
That’s why so few fellow “conservatives” respect Douthat or regularly read his missives — unless prompted to do so by a friend, as I was today. Douthat would undoubtedly endanger his perch at the Times by accurately presenting the “conservative” perspective. But his work as a rare “conservative” voice has little value if he doesn’t present it.
[First published at Ricochet.]