Tuesday, November 13, 2007

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The New York Times op-ed page mimics the blogosphere

As a blogger, I've been bemused by the exchanges between Paul Krugman, David Brooks, and Bob Herbert on the meaning of Ronald Reagan's 1980 campaign kickoff in Philadelphia, Mississippi.

They're exactly like a typical blog exchange, in that the debate quickly devolves from Big Questions to minutiae.

Unlike a typical blog exchange, none of the participants have linked/mentioned the others by name. Also, instead of taking a few days to play out, this will take two months.

In that spirit, the hard-working staff here at danieldrezner.com urges its readers to participate in its first ever Mimic the New York Times Op-ed Columnist Contest!!

To enter, just submit, via a comment to this post, the opening paragraph of either Maureen Dowd or Thomas Friedman's op-ed contributions on this subject. Winners will be lifted from comments and promoted to the hilt by this mighty blog.

I just can't write Dowd, but here's my sample Friedman entry:

RIYADH, KSA: If you want to smoke at King Khaled International Airport in Riyadh, you have to brave the 120 degree outdoor heat. I wanted to continue my conversation with Prince Bandar, however, so I took my ice water from the first class lounge and followed him outside. He tapped his cigar ash on the round and said, "What the Middle East needs right now is its own sunny optimist -- it's own Ronald Reagan." I sipped my Evian and told him how the cradle of Reagan's political successes could be found in Philadelphia. Not the one in Pennsylvania, but the one in Mississippi. Let's call it the Philadelphia Story.....

posted by Dan on 11.13.07 at 08:44 AM


You forgot to mention a taxi driver.

posted by: dan on 11.13.07 at 08:44 AM [permalink]

Maureen Dowd:

John McCain recently scored points when he decried Hillary Clinton's appropriations attempt for Woodstock with the line "I couldn't go, I was tied up at the time." He could have gone, however, to the conservative Woodstock, the county fair of Philadelphia, MS, in 1980, and hobnobbed with the Bud-guzzling Bubbas, and heard the gilded tones of that paragon of the people, Ronald Reagan, discussing the finer points of states' rights to an army of dim-bulbed (yet oddly attractive in their cowboy boots and tight, NASCAR t-shirts) Mississippi crimson-necked fellers. Why doesn't McCain, the maverick, prove his maverickness by installing a new monument to Reagan in this very spot? This would stick it to Hillary, bring great joy to the conservative masses, and bring much publicity to the flagging maverick. He could take it on a tour on the Straight-Talk Express, starting out by revealing it during halftime of a Dallas Mavericks game, then take it to Oklahoma and show it during a screening of the movie Maverick (Mel Gibson, meeow), and then land it in Mississippi for its final placement in Philadelphia. This would square the circle, coupling McCain's and Reagan's libertarian conservatism of the west with the Bush conservatism of the South. It would be a red(necked) letter day for all, as the fiddles play and the chicken fries. I am sooooo there.

posted by: Jared on 11.13.07 at 08:44 AM [permalink]

My David Brooks:

Just the other night I was having lunch with an unnamed leading neoconservative thinker. We had been discussing the current President’s outlook on the concepts of good and evil when I posed the question of how the thought of Christian philosopher Reinhold Niebuhr (a running theme in my work the past few years) might serve as a necessary check on the sometimes unbridled naďvete of the neoconservative worldview that human action can rid the world of evil. He responded in a slightly flippant tone that while he had heard of Niebuhr “a little bit while in college or something”, he didn’t “really need to know much about a guy who saw the problem of evil as ineradicable”. This type of statement, while at one level I find anathema, still exemplifies why I still maintain a general respect for policymakers who truly believe that they can roll up their sleeves and, by acting on the principles of a liberal democracy, can make the world a little less terrible.

posted by: Andrew Hart on 11.13.07 at 08:44 AM [permalink]

Whoops, didn't read closely enought that the mimicing had to be on this subject.

posted by: Andrew on 11.13.07 at 08:44 AM [permalink]

Ronnie kicked of his 1980 campaign with a states' rights speech at the Nehoba county fair, a speech that was not racist but that of the star quarterback playing to the crowd in the cafeteria. He stood on the lunch tables posing and satisfying their demands. It's not that he actually believed in states' rights, but he was always a performer, so if it's a nod to nooses they needed, Teflon Ron became Donald Duke.

posted by: JW on 11.13.07 at 08:44 AM [permalink]


Recently there has been heated debate about whether Ronald Reagan speaking in Philadelphia MS was an act of racism. Let's give it another six months and revisit the question. Only then will African Americans be able to see without hatred and engage in power-sharing and give up their false claims of powerlessness; only then will the whites give up their claims that they are completely without fault. Time is on our side, my friends...

posted by: jared on 11.13.07 at 08:44 AM [permalink]

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