In an editorial in the Washington Post, Michael Kinsley’s latest piece bears the headline “One Reason Not to Like Bush” and he starts with a lead of:
Conservatives wonder why so many liberals don’t just disagree with President Bush’s policies, but seem to dislike him personally. The story of stem cell research may help to explain.
He offer some blah blah blah about Bush opposing fetus stem cell research and how Bush pretends to think it’s immoral, but:
None of this matters if you believe that a microscopic embryo is a human being with the same human rights as you and me. George W. Bush claims to believe that, and you have to believe something like that to justify your opposition to stem cell research. But Bush cannot possibly believe that embryos are full human beings, or he would surely oppose modern fertility procedures that create and destroy many embryos for each baby they bring into the world. Bush does not oppose modern fertility treatments. He even praised them in his anti-stem cell speech.
Got that? Kinsley starts putting beliefs into Bush’s head to make his point. Lookie der, lookie der, Bush cannot adhere to his principles because he has not specifically addressed this particular permutation! HYPOCRITE!
Finally, after some blah blah blah about Bush being a hypocrite and moral poser and not a very good one at that (undoubtedly, Kinsley would probably intimate, like you and me, wink-wink-nudge-nudge-say-no-more!), Kinsley finishes with:
This is not a policy disagreement. Or rather, it is not only a policy disagreement. If the president is not a complete moron — and he probably is not — he is a hardened cynic, staging moral anguish he does not feel, pandering to people he cannot possibly agree with and sacrificing the future of many American citizens for short-term political advantage.
Is that a good enough reason to dislike him personally?
Actually, if I were falling for the straw man Kinsley’s hung in effigy, I might still think it was a policy disagreement if I left out every impure motive he so applied so dilligently to the policy discussion.
As it stands, I can only summon forth a “Poor form, Peter” and continue to disregard Michael Kinsley as a serious thinker. Is it good enough reason to dislike him personally? But, Mr. Toohey, I don’t think of you.