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Censure Update | The Nation

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The Notion

Unfiltered takes on politics, ideas and culture from Nation editors and contributors.

Censure Update

The editors at the New York Times belatedly decided that SenatorRuss Feingold's censure resolution is front-page news after all. Onlytheir storytoday has a cute twist: Censure is actually good news for the Republicans. The very notion that Bush should be called to account inflames the right-wingers and this will get the "conservative base" tovote in the Fall.

That is the logic being peddled by the White House, Republican NationalCommittee, right-wing frothers and other authoritative sources.

The Times swallowed whole, without chewing. Play it out. IfBush got impeached, bingo for the GOP. If indicted by a renegadeprosecutor, even better. If he is subpoened by a Spanish magistrateinvestigating "crimes against humanity," well, you couldn't top that.Meanwhile, the Warrior President is sinking of his own soggy substance.

It's easy enough to poke fun at the NYT's brittle grasp ofpolitics, but give them credit. At least they put Senator Feingold'sstory out front. Quoted Rush Limbaugh and Paul Weyrich, the WallStreet Journal editorial page, the RNC spokesman, even gave thesenator a few sentences. The Times also mentioned "ImpeachBush" activists on the left, though evidently didn't talk with any ofthem.

Let me play assignment editor: For a follow-up story. go out andactually talk to some of those lefties, ask them for their particularsand then interview some constitutional scholars on whether theseaccusations have any merit, given the facts we know.

Then go back to your right-wing sources ask them to compare the chargesagainst Bush with the impeachment charges Republicans launched againstBill Clinton. Do they now regret putting the country through thatsordid spectacle? Mightn't they want to apologize?

This story has legs. A smart newspaper will get out in front.

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