Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ross Goes to Work

Ross Douthat's debut weekly column on the NYT's op-ed page is up. Thanks to graz for pointing this out.

Ross's column is on the torture debate, and it involves a fairly imaginative scenario, beginning thus:

Watching Dick Cheney defend the Bush administration’s interrogation policies, it’s been hard to escape the impression that both the Republican Party and the country would be better off today if Cheney, rather than John McCain, had been a candidate for president in 2008.

The idea is we should have had (started?) this national debate about torture that's heating up now during the campaign instead. I'll leave it at that and not try to paraphrase his whole argument.

I don't buy Ross's scenario, although it is fun to imagine how it might have played out. As I said back to graz:

If, however, Cheney actually had been the candidate, I think it is far more likely that he would have stonewalled on the torture issue. I think he is panting for face time on TV now because he is worried about what recent revelations have done to the public mood. A year ago, when these reports and memos were still incomplete and/or classified, Cheney would have had no reason to bring up the issue, and I don't think Obama would have pushed on it any more than he did when running against McCain, either.

Bottom line: The piece is worth a read, and I was happy to read this:

... we’ve heard too much to just “look forward,” as the president would have us do. We need to hear more: What was done and who approved it, and what intelligence we really gleaned from it.

All together now, wingnuts: HE'S NOT A REAL CONSERVATIVE!!!1!

Good luck, Ross.

P.S. Just so you know, Ross's columnist page has links to his column and earlier work he published in the NYT as a contributor.

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