First, credit where it is due:
Notwithstanding some insulting theatrics surrounding the selection of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s newest columnist, Kyle Wingfield has quickly proven himself to be a good hire.
He is calm and rational… a good, clear writer who makes compelling arguments… and he focuses on the subject at hand rather than his own ego.
So, now that the AJC finally has a decent conservative commentator, I have a small but seemingly reasonable request:
Can we please have at least one decent liberal commentator, too?
The contrast between Wingfield’s editorial and Cynthia Tucker’s, almost side-by-side on the same page of Sunday’s AJC, is startling and disconcerting. It’s not the difference between conservative and liberal; it’s the difference between normal and crazy.
In “No Time for Race Cowards,” Wingfield lays the groundwork for an almost-convincing argument that the Voting Rights Act may have outlived its usefulness. I happen to disagree with him on that topic. However, he makes the other side sound like it is at least the product of a reasonable, thinking, and even decent person.
On the other hand, in “No Reason to Fear Detainees,” Tucker equates detainees at Guantanamo Bay with the waves of immigrants who once were welcomed to America by the Statue of Liberty, and she goes on to rant and rave (literally) over the fact that they have been refused entry, and apparently citizenship, to the United States.
Tucker acknowledges “65 percent of Americans oppose closing Guantanamo; 74 percent oppose moving any detainees to a prison in their state,” but simply dismisses all those people as being wrong. That’s fascinating, because whenever the numbers work to her advantage — for instance, in an Obama popularity poll — she’s the first to cite percentages as irrefutable proof of the position she is advocating.
The column also acknowledges Harry Reid, the ultra liberal Senate majority leader, is among the “not in my backyard” Americans who oppose giving former Gitmo detainees sanctuary in the continental U.S. — and, again, she flat out says she is right and he is wrong. When you are so liberal you are at odds with Harry Reid, something bad is wrong with you.
Tucker’s rhetoric is so high pitched and hysterical, it almost leaves you wondering if she’s been bitten recently by a wild squirrel without going in for a series of rabies shots.
Sean Penn probably loves columns like that, but for anyone who considers themselves liberal but not to the point of joining the Symbionese Liberation Army, Cynthia Tucker does not speak for us.
Compare the last paragraph of her column with the last paragraph of Wingfield’s.
Tucker: “Close Gitmo. Close it now.”
(Uh… or what? You’ll kill a hostage?)
Wingfield: “Eric Holder may be right that we are too cowardly, or maybe just too immature, to have such a serious discussion. I, for one, hope he’s wrong.”
Meglomania versus modesty.
One comes across as outraged that she is only writing about public policy rather than setting it herself. The other one seems humbly attempting to educate his readers without pretending to have all the answers or claiming to be smarter than those actually in charge.
I do not care whether or not the AJC continues to employ Tucker or her even-more-fanatical colleague Jay Bookman, although they both make the paper look ridiculous. Let them write what they want until they collapse or until the economy collapses, whichever comes first.
Those of us who consider ourselves Democrats but not crazy would really appreciate having a “voice of reason” who can articulate a liberal position as well as Wingfield can articulate a conservative position.
CB Hackworth has won a bunch of awards as a TV and print guy, including a Southeastern Regional Emmy last month. We think Hackworth would be a great regular contributor to LAF. Show him some love, please. And if you don’t agree with him, the tough-love is OK too.