Although we have skewered mainstream media columnists in past essays, this piece marks the first of what will become a somewhat regular feature.
Harrop seems like a good place to start, because her work is not completely negative. Indeed, this Providence, RI based journo has been characterized as an independent thinker, who tilts leftward. These days, that means she hates all Republicans, but would prefer Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama. My main gripe with her is that even when she is generally making sense (perhaps 40% of the time), she still gets things dead wrong, or misses the much larger point.
In a piece entitled “Media Swallow Kennedys’ Arrogant Presumption,” Harrop does a great job of deconstructing the Kennedy mystique, and spares no barbs for Teddy, Caroline, Patrick, and even—to a smaller extent—JFK himself. Not much to complain about here, except that by the end you realize that this was all just a big setup to attack Obama.
A new Obama ad shows the Illinois senator flanked by Patrick and Ted, with Caroline spouting the same sort of vacuous platitudes that (sadly) have characterized his own speeches. Obama is better than any of these people, and the spot emphasizes what’s missing in his campaign: substance.
I have no idea why Obama is “better than any of these people,” especially since none of the Kennedys hung out with terrorists like Bill Ayers, or race-baiters like Jeremiah Wright. Moreover, although it is not demonstrated in this particular article, her admiration for Hillary Clinton, who had a pretty empty resume before her election as senator, suffers from the same sort of media worship heaped on the Kennedys.
In a piece entitled “At Least Admire Spitzer for His Foes,” she swallows the disgraced governor’s cover story hook, line, and sinker.
A few good words for Eliot Spitzer. The resigned New York governor could be brutish, vindictive and, when it comes to sexual rectitude, a grand hypocrite. But in going after the depredations of Wall Street, subprime lenders and corporate looters, he was a rare crusader.
Plenty of people hated Spitzer, since he was cynically attacking targets that he thought would make him a populist hero. What she doesn’t add is that in nearly all cases, those targets who fought back won. Spitzer was all style and no substance, making him not rare at all, but a very typical politician.
In a piece entitled “The High Cost of Healthy People,” Harrop, supposedly the independent thinker, buys into the standard acute disease care model of health care, that promises to bankrupt all industrial democracies.
Let’s put it bluntly: Longer lives cost more money. Those who make it to 90 thanks to exercise and six daily servings of vegetables are more likely to suffer the expensive ravages of old age. Everyone dies of something. So he who avoids a fatal heart attack at 70 is more at risk of cancer at 80. Those extra 10 years can mean extra CT scans, hip replacements and physical therapy, even for those in relative good health.
The simplistic idea being peddled here is that even if we live longer by taking better care of ourselves, we are still going to die, and will still need some sort of acute care before death. What nonsense! The more people who actually die of natural causes, the less that will be spent on acute care. Not everyone dies of a big disease, and not everyone will need a hip replacement.
It simply never occurred to her to think outside the box. In effect, she is saying that even if everyone is healthier, we will still be spending the same amount on health care!
Finally, she takes a rather uncharitable look at Sarah Palin and her pregnant daughter in her column “Don’t They Have Birth Control up in Alaska?” Considering that polls now indicate that Palin is considerably more popular with potential voters than either McCain or Obama, never mind that McCain’s numbers are up, where does this come from…
One tries to untangle McCain’s political calculations. The Schiavo case, creationism and similar excesses appeal to a passionate but small slice of the electorate. They are one reason voters are booting Republicans out of power. So while some religious conservatives may be “energized” by the Palin pick, most everyone else is revolted.
You can’t figure McCain. He had been doing well up to now—holding even with Obama in a dreadful year for Republicans and building support among the independents who call the shots in swing states. This Palin deal makes you question not only his judgment, but—if he really had vetted Sarah Palin—his sanity.
Maybe Harrop really is one of the Leftie fools who thought that the mass availability of birth control and abortion on demand would lower the incidence of unwed mothers. Of course, the opposite has occurred. Then, she conflates all the so-called religious issues as being way outside the mainstream, even if poll after poll disagrees with her.
CONCLUSION: Froma Harrop does distinguish herself by occasionally drifting away for the Leftist agitprop, but in the end, it hardly matters.