I rarely, if ever, read the Washington Post these days. While they have tried to moderate their liberal editorial and reporting style, I just want the news. Most of the time, however, they manage sneak in a jab or two at the conservative movement or at Republican officials so I just stopped subscribing or even reading it for free online. Every now and then though, a dint of hope.
Last week, for example, the editorial board published a frank and somewhat accurate assessment of U.S. policy in the Western Hemisphere. The Western Hemisphere should be the cradle of freedom and rule of law, with the exception of Canada, the United States, and a few others, it is anything but. On this point, after President Obama returned form Latin America last week the Post penned:
Most curious was Mr. Obama’s decision to simply ignore the fact that in large parts of Latin America, the “shared values” that he said bind the hemisphere are being trampled … Mr. Obama did a great disservice to those Latin Americans who are fighting to save freedom in their countries, at great personal risk.”
President Obama’s Latin America team is completely out of touch with U.S. national interests in the Americas. From Honduras Colombia, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Ecuador, or, yes, Cuba (the obvious problem for the U.S. in the region), the national security, defense, and foreign policy team is ideologically rudderless. Obama’s trip was lackluster because the staff he has appointed has failed him.
Shifting to Capitol Hill, the Post also penned a recent piece on my former boss, the former Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas. Ben Pershing is a great and fair reporter. He used to cover the Hill when he was over at Roll Call newspaper. In his piece, “The House that Bill Thomas built,” Ben does a good job capturing the essence of a leader that work quietly behind the scenes to get things done (and sometimes not so quietly, but I’ll leave that for another day).
My only problem with the piece: it took the Post several years after Thomas retired from the Congress to write a good blurb or two about him. No reflection on Ben, he was not at the Post while Thomas was on the Hill. This one part of the article, a commentary on a perceived Thomas trait is worth a mention:
Thomas never suffered fools gladly — he was known to turn his ire on lawmakers, aides and reporters alike (particularly the latter, if they asked a question he deemed unworthy of his time) — and he made enemies among both Republicans and Democrats.
He was a passionate legislator, and he expected his peers and staff to be as passionate about it as he was. One of the more enduring lessons from my time on the Hill working for Thomas was something he told me early on when I started working with him and his team : the buildings and politics will always be here, make the most of it (and this is a bad paraphrase).
His sometimes tough style is somewhat akin to what Chef Gordon Ramsey does to aspiring chefs in Hell’s Kitchen. It is a sorting mechanism. Thing is, Thomas was nothing like the sometimes seemingly maniacal Ramsey. The point is, do not waste your time and do good by the voters and taxpayers. Lessons folks on the Hill should live by. Time is short. A little spin, maybe. But it is the truth.
Does this mean I will subscribe again to the Post? Not likely. But, I may surf the site once again for nuggets like these every now and then.