Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The New Memogate, A Follow-Up

On Thursday I mentioned the new "memogate," last week's alleged GOP "talking points memo" about Terri Schiavo's plight. Yesterday I referenced Michael Barone's essay "No, It Wasn't a Cynical Ploy," found again here.

Also yesterday, one of my heros-John Hinderaker of PowerLine- wrote an excellent analysis in The Weekly Standard, found here. Hinderaker does a great job of showing why the documents are probably fraudulent.

But, Hinderaker and Barone don't address the "numbers," which I just can't seem to make work. (I'm not suggesting that I'm anywhere near the league of these two, just that the intent of their respective pieces wasn't about "making the numbers work"). Most polls, if we are to believe their accuracy, say that somewhere around 80% of Americans do not approve of President Bush (and Congress) inserting themselves into the Terri Schiavo matter.

Yes, but the memo says "the pro-life base will be excited" and how it's "a great political issue." Are we to believe that the Republicans (assuming the memo is authentic, of course) are so clueless as to just how large "their base" truly is? How likely is it that the political party that owns both chambers of Congress and the White House would make such a huge miscalculation? In other words, if Republicans are smart enough to win so many national and statewide elections the past 10 years, would they be dumb enough to pursue passing Terri's Bill in such a cynical and partisan manner?

Also, take into consideration the fact that Democrats were nearly split on the issue themselves, with 47 voting to approve the bill (53 against). How could almost all the Republicans and 1/2 the Democrats be so wrong about what the public wants? It's possible, but more likely if the representatives were voting their true beliefs, and not making a political calculation.

Given the bi-partisan vote on Terri's Bill, and Hinderaker's thorough fisking of the alleged GOP memo (in addition to the unlikely scenario where 80% of Americans could agree on anything), I have little doubt that for once in their careers, these politicians acted out of a sense of "reasoned moral convictions" as Michael Barone put it.

UPDATE: 3/30/2005 8:24am: PowerLine posted another update this morning. The original memo got a lot of MSM scrutiny last week, but this week I'm not seeing much coverage of the latest revelations questioning its authenticity. Heh.
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