How Rank Partisanship Can Cloud the Sense of Common Decency
The family of a Marine who was killed in Iraq is furious with Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll for showing up uninvited at his funeral this week, handing out her business card and then saying “our government” is against the war.
Rhonda Goodrich of Indiana, Pa., said yesterday that a funeral was held Tuesday at a church in Carnegie for her brother-in-law, Staff Sgt. Joseph Goodrich, 32.
She said he “died bravely and courageously in Iraq on July 10, serving his country.”
In a phone interview, Goodrich said the funeral service was packed with people “who wanted to tell his family how Joe had impacted their lives.”
Then, suddenly, “one uninvited guest made an appearance, Catherine Baker Knoll.”
She sat down next to a Goodrich family member and, during the distribution of communion, said, “Who are you?” Then she handed the family member one of her business cards, which Goodrich said she still has.
“Knoll felt this was an appropriate time to campaign and impose her will on us,” Goodrich said. “I am amazed and disgusted Knoll finds a Marine funeral a prime place to campaign.”
Goodrich said she is positive that Knoll was not invited to the funeral, which was jammed with Marines in dress uniform and police officers, because the fallen Marine had been a policeman in McKeesport and Indiana County.
“Our family deserves an apology,” Rhonda Goodrich said. “Here you have a soldier who was killed — dying for his country — in a church full of grieving family members and she shows up uninvited. It made a mockery of Joey’s death.”
What really upset the family, Goodrich said, is that Knoll said, ‘I want you to know our government is against this war,’ ” Goodrich said.
She said she is going to seek an answer from Gov. Ed Rendell’s administration if it opposes the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Yes, this is an extreme case, but it is illustrative of what can happen when one begins to view everything through partisan glasses. When we allow our political selves to be ginned up to the point where we begin to hate domestic political opponents to such a degree, we lose focus on the real enemies to our society. Of course, to too many liberals, the real enemy is not terrorists or belligerent nations: to them the enemy is President Bush and the Republican Party. To these, Michael Barrone’s comments should be both read and heeded:
This summer, one big story is replaced by another–the London bombings July 7, the speculation that Karl Rove illegally named a covert CIA agent, the nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court, more London bombings last week. But beneath the hubbub, we can see the playing out of another, less reported story: the collapse of the attempts by liberal Democrats and their sympathizers in the mainstream media–the New York Times, etc., etc.–to delegitimize yet another Republican administration. . .
. . . for the past five years, the same folks have been trying to undermine the presidency of George W. Bush. The Supreme Court’s decision in Bush v. Gore was denounced as an outrage, and Democrats noted, accurately, that Bush did not win a plurality of the popular vote in 2000. The nation rallied to his support after September 11, but Democrats held up his judicial and other nominations even if they had to violate Senate tradition to do so. Coverage of Bush during the 2004 campaign was heavily negative; for months the mainstream media mostly ignored the swift boat vets’ charges against John Kerry and broadcast accusations against Bush based on forged documents eight weeks before the election. News of economic recovery in 2003 and 2004 was pitched far more negatively than it had been when Bill Clinton was president in 1995 and 1996.
Now the unsupported charges that “Bush lied” about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq have been rekindled via criticism of Karl Rove. A key witness for the Democrats and mainstream media was former diplomat Joseph Wilson. Unfortunately for his advocates, he turned out to be a liar. A year after his famous article appeared in the New York Times in July 2003 accusing Bush of “twisting” intelligence, the Senate Intelligence Committee, in a bipartisan report, concluded that Wilson lied when he said his wife had nothing to do with his dispatch to Niger and Chairman Pat Roberts said that his report bolstered rather than refuted the case that Saddam Hussein’s Iraq sought to buy uranium in Africa. So despite the continuing credulousness of much of the press, it appears inconceivable at this point that Karl Rove will be charged with violating the law prohibiting disclosure of the names of undercover agents. The case against Rove–ballyhooed by recent Time and Newsweek cover stories that paid little heed to the discrediting of Wilson–seems likely to end not with a bang but a whimper. . .
The bombings and attempted bombings in London have brought home to the American public that we face implacable enemies unwilling to be appeased by even the most emollient diplomacy. Yet, mainstream media coverage of Iraq has been mostly negative. But mainstream media no longer have a monopoly; Americans have other sources in talk radio, Fox News, and the blogosphere. Bush’s presidency is still regarded as illegitimate by perhaps 20 percent of the electorate. But among the rest, the attempt to delegitimize him seems to be collapsing.
Democrats have to get off of their hell-bent-for-leather attempt to “get” Bush et al aka Nixon. This hyper-politicization of all things only exposes the dearth of ideas on the left. In fact, what has occurred is that those who purport to be “liberal” are actually conservative in their theory of government: they wish to extend or preserve the same failed programs of the past half-century: those started by Roosevelt and expanded by LBJ. They continue to criticize without solutions. This country needs two viable parties so that the best ideas can emerge. Right now, we don’t. But at the bare minimum, would it be too much to ask of the opponents of the President that they discontinue the hyperbolic rhetoric concerning foreign affairs? Apparently, the answer is “yes.”