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Dick Durbin: The Latest in a Long Line of Mea Culpa Democrats

Reported by Marie Therese - June 22, 2005

Newshound Editorial

During last night's Talking Points Memo, Bill O'Reilly ranted on about how the left-wing wing press has closed ranks around Sen. Dick Durbin and "is rallying to his defense, claiming that Durbin is being smeared by the right." Mr. Bill then read part of an editorial from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

By [apologizing], Durbin did just what the orchestrated right-wing smear effort required to succeed: It made him the story rather than focussing further attention on the outrageous violations of international law and human rights being perpetrated in Guantanamo and elsewhere in the name of the American people ... Durbin was spot on in his assessmant of Guantanamo."

I clapped wildly and decided at that moment that the people of Minneapolis are truly lucky to have such a perspicacious and feisty newspaper.

The Star-Tribune hit the nail on the head. Democrats have got to stop using the words "I'm sorry" every time the right-wing noise machine holds its nose and accuses them of passing gas.

It's rather like teaching children. In my classes for five year olds, we do a lot of work on numbering the fingers for the piano. Inevitably, one of the kids (usually a boy) sticks both of his middle fingers straight out in front of him and looks at me as if to say "This is a bad sign. I dare you to do anything." In the old days I used to get upset and worked really hard to convince little Johnny that it wasn't nice to do that.

Now, I just look at the kid and tell him "Well, Johnny, that may work at home, but, you know what, I couldn't care less." I ignore him and proceed to complete the lesson. Once Johnny realizes that I am not going to react, he abandons the behavior because he can't control the interaction.

As I see it, the Democrats need to learn the same thing. The way to de-fang the right-wing machine is to follow Howard Dean's example - don't apologize for exercising your right to speak your mind. If enough Democrats did this, the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly would go mad listening to the sound of their own blather reverberating in a feedback loop.

Then, maybe, just maybe, reporters could all get back to the business of real news.

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