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Content-free snark in print: Joe Klein’s profiles in courage

Hell hath no fury like Mr. Clinton’s most prominent anonymous detractor scorned. Our buddy Joe and the ghost of Teddy Roosevelt holding his nose take a satirical (not that it’s labelled that way) whack at a few folks who had the temerity to annoy him in the year end issue of Time (in print, where the stuff he doesn’t want factchecked goes).

Among the folks he celebrates for political courage: Sen. McCain, who briefly stopped pandering to say that he thinks torture is bad (although we should let the fruits of it be used in court); Sen. Clinton, for having a healthcare plan (which might remind folks the last one, which was a Great Big Legendary Disaster); Sen’s Biden and Obama, for having the wisdom to run against their party’s base, even if they were too tentative about it; and all the Democratic candidates, who want to raise your taxes by bagging the Bush tax cuts (apparently only people who make a great deal of money read Time).

Then there’s Mr. Huckabee.

Mike Huckabee gets an honorable mention for standing by his position in favor of scholarships to public colleges for illegal immigrants who do well in high school. "We never should grind our heel in the face of a child" is a sentiment that should go without saying, but needed to be said to his Republican colleagues.

Um.

Wasn’t there some stuff in Time Magazine’s blogs about that?

Governor, in the YouTube debate a few weeks back you had exchange with Mitt Romney over your support for a bill that allowed illegal immigrants in the Arkansas school system to become eligible for in-state tuition breaks. You rebuffed Governor Romney’s attack with a simple, powerful message by saying, "In all due respect, we are a better country than to punish children for what their parents did. We’re a better country than that."

Less than two weeks later, you unveiled an immigration plan that would require "all illegal immigrants a 120-day window to register with the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services and leave the country. Those who register and return to their home country will face no penalty if they later apply to immigrate or visit; those who do not return home will be, when caught, barred from future reentry for a period of 10 years."

Would your plan require that all school age children who are here illegally be taken out of schools all across the country and forcibly deported, and wouldn’t that, in fact, be punishing those children for something their parents did? If so, haven’t you proposed a plan that is beneath the America you so eloquently defended just a few weeks ago?

well, maybe the Governor didn’t realize the implications of

Under my Secure America plan, immigrants and their families here illegally would have to return to their home countries.

"Because we are talking about a policy that has profound implications for people’s lives, I suspect that some people will attempt to use these hard cases to discredit the idea that anything can be done about the problem of illegal immigration. But we have unfortunately reached a crisis point where doing nothing is no longer an option. The policy of de facto amnesty has been a failure which is why we must focus on enforcement and attrition.

Well, Joe Klein’s a busy man. He doesn’t have time to follow blogs. Although apparently he has heard that Huckabee got the not-terribly-immigrant-friendly Minuteman organization to endorse him

Gosh. Why would Joe Klein be giving Huckabee credit for being a much nicer guy than he really is in Time Magazine?

Well, he seems to feel as if Huckabee’s best shot is the South Carolina primary, and as Ms. Cox points out in her Time Magazine blog, immigration is a big issue in South Carolina. As a matter of fact, Mr. Klein himself says it’s a huge issue with Republican primary voters in general (also in a Time Magazine blogpost)

I attended Frank Luntz’s dial group of 30 undecided–or sort of undecided–Republicans in St. Petersburg, Florida, last night…and it was a fairly astonishing evening.

Now, for the uninitiated: dials are little hand-held machines that enable a focus group member to register instantaneous approval or disapproval as the watch a candidate on TV. There are limitations to the technology: all a candidate has to do is mention, say, Abraham Lincoln and the dials go off into the stratosphere. Film of soaring eagles will have the same effect. But the technology does have its uses.

In the next segment–the debate between Romney and Mike Huckabee over Huckabee’s college scholarships for the deserving children of illegal immigrants–I noticed something really distressing: When Huckabee said, "After all, these are children of God," the dials plummeted. And that happened time and again through the evening: Any time any candidate proposed doing anything nice for anyone poor, the dials plummeted (30s). These Republicans were hard.

But there was worse to come: When John McCain started talking about torture–specifically, about waterboarding–the dials plummeted again. Lower even than for the illegal Children of God.

Isn’t that sweet? Joe Klein used his valuable Time Magazine real estate to "congratulate" Mike Huckabee (and John McCain) for bravery in sticking with candidacy-killing positions they’ve already abandoned.

I’m sure no-one’ll get confused. Huckabee voters are, I’ve heard, a sophisticated group.

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Julia

Julia

Middle-aged (thank god); married (oddly enough); native New Yorker; one (thoroughly magnificent, thanks) child, She Who Must Be Obeyed, aka HM (Her Majesty). But a mere lowly end-user by profession, and a former [pretty much everything, at least in somewhat limited first-world terms].

Extravagant (mostly organic) cook, slapdash (completely organic) gardener, brain space originally assigned to names and faces piled up with the overflow from the desperately overcrowded Old Movie and Broadway Trivia section, garage space which was originally assigned to a car piled up with boxes of books.

Dreadful housekeeper, indifferent dresser, takeout menu ninja and the proud owner of a major percentage of the partially finished crafts projects on the east coast of the continental United States.

The handsome gentleman in the picture is Hoa Hakananai'a. He joined the collection of the British Museum in 1868. His name, which is thought to mean "stolen or hidden friend," was given to him by his previous owners when he was collected.

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