The press back and forth

This is the time for retrospectives, and forecasting. The media are doing both. And they are especially political this year.

A couple of samples…

Charles Krauthammer, in NRO:

“On Tuesday, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did not just
reject President Obama’s latest feckless floating nuclear deadline. He
spat on it, declaring that Iran “will continue resisting” until the
U.S. has gotten rid of its 8,000 nuclear warheads.

“So ends 2009, the year of “engagement,” of the extended hand, of
the gratuitous apology — and of spinning centrifuges, two-stage rockets
and a secret enrichment facility that brought Iran materially closer to
becoming a nuclear power.

We lost a year. But it was not just any year. It was a year of spectacularly squandered opportunity…

“Forget about human rights. Assume you care only about the nuclear
issue. How to defuse it? Negotiations are going nowhere, and whatever
U.N. sanctions we might get will be weak, partial, grudging, and late.
The only real hope is regime change.”

Hope and change, redux.

And Krauthammer’s outlook for the near future:

“One way or the other, Iran will dominate 2010. Either there will be
an Israeli attack, or Iran will arrive at — or cross — the nuclear
threshold. Unless revolution intervenes. Which is why to fail to do
everything in our power to support this popular revolt is unforgivable.”

I cover a lot of news, local, national and international. It’s very
interesting how the dots are lining up. It seems 2010 will be a
decisive year. Revolutions of sorts are happening at all sorts of

The Chicago Tribune editors make it very personal and very local for fatigued Illinoisans. But the
message can be writ large, because the fatigue is from scoundrels and
scandals, tyrants and trials, and corruption that has, finally, crossed
the line.

“Together, the Feb. 2 primary and Nov. 2 general elections can —
must, if Illinois is to liberate itself from this predicament —
constitute The Revolution of 2010. To make that happen, though, each of
us needs to shoulder a sword.

“We need not only to educate ourselves and then vote for the best
candidates on those two Election Days. We also need to create the
informed buzz, and make the one-on-one personal outreaches, that will
bring our family members and friends to the polls.

“That is, each of us needs to engage a few apathetic or otherwise
underinvolved citizens to vote in 2010. It’s a sure thing that the
political oligarchs who run Illinois will have all of their family
members and friends at the polls. That’s how they grip power until the
day their anointed successors — usually chosen by the other oligarchs,
not by mere voters — pry it from their hands…

Revolution, called “rehab” by the editors, is afoot.

“Does each of us care enough to demand better? Because until now —
scandal after infuriating scandal, election after lackadaisical
election — our customary answer has been: No, not really, this is how
it is here…

“Illinois lawmakers used the impeachment and trial of a sitting
governor to tell the rest of us about their devotion to cleaner and
more open government. They sang an Illinois Lullaby of words both
obtuse and soothing: transparency, ethics, accountability. They warbled
that they’re “open to change” and “willing to discuss.”

“Not good enough.”

[How eerily apt this dissertation is to national politics. Start reading out the references to Illinois, and extend them well beyond.]

“Time to silence the Illinois Lullaby and get on with dramatic
changes to how Illinois government treats the people of this state. . .
. From now on, let’s judge our elected officials by their effectiveness
or impotence at delivering reform. Enough with “effort.” Illinois needs

“Illinois needs results. We intend to live by that credo in an
effort to rehab Illinois during 2010. In the months since those words
appeared, Illinoisans have watched their politicians resist aggressive
reforms, both to how Illinois is governed and to how state and county
governments spend money: Many politicians have jealously protected
their power while overcommitting taxpayers to more missions than we can

“As a result, this state is impoverished in spirit. And it is too
impoverished financially to pay its bills for services already
delivered to the disabled, the sick, the most vulnerable among us….”

Yes, we are in need of rehab. Or revolution.


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