Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Ruth's Morning Edition Report

Monday brought us the political analysis of Cokie Roberts. Steve [Inskeep] tried to participate in the discussion.

Morning Edition, May 23, 2005 · Political analyst Cokie Roberts discusses issues dividing Congress, including the expected showdown in the Senate over judicial filibusters and debate over stem cell research in the House. Some polls show congressional approval ratings at the lowest they've been in years.

Cokie: To show you how different things are in the Senate than they were in the days of old, Steve, you had this weekend Chuck Hagel, a moderate from Nebraska, on the stump against his colleague, the Democratic senator from Nebraska Ben Nelson. Elizabeth Dole, the chairman of the Republican Campaign Committee, was in Nebraska spurring on Chuck Hagel to hold tough on changing the filibuster rules. But more important than that was the fact that Hagel was there in the first place. In the old days you did not have senators of the same state campaigning against each other. These are two men who have to work together every day in the Senate for their state. They basically agree on much more than many people in the same party agree on but still they are ready to campaign against each other. And in atmosphere like that it is very hard to see where people have trust for a compromise plan.

Maybe I just agreed with some of what Cokie was saying today but, I felt, she got off some strong points, for a change. She then went on to discuss stem cells when Steve asked what appeared to be a prepared question. When it seems he's asking a prepared question, he rushes through his words in a flat tone.

But maybe the reason I was more receptive to Cokie this morning was that "This I Believe" on Morning Edition featured William F. Buckley pontificating in that lock jaw manner. I honestly think if you're last name isn't Hepburn, you'll have trouble pulling that off. But Buckley, nudnik that he is, continues to try. This morning he informed us of religion and how skeptics are people who don't value ... well, let's allow him to tell it:

It has more than once reminded me that skepticism about life and nature is most often expressed by those who take it for granted that belief is an indulgence of the superstitious -- indeed their opiate, to quote a historical cosmologist most profoundly dead.

It has been my own reflection that a shmegegge doesn't bother to contemplate the wonders around him because he so often has little appreciation for them.

Today Mr. Buckley told us of a story that struck him as a child and left an impression, mental not physical. As he continued burtching, I imagined how he'd respond to a request for his opinion of the beloved tale of Robin Hood: Socialistic garbage or communistic clap-trap?

It's amusing to picture the tsutcheppenish sniping over a children's story; however, like most things involving Mr. Buckley, they are far more amusing in the abstract. In reality, he doesn't even invite guffaws or chuckles. My very good friend Treva, the activist, can actually watch a Tucker Carlson and do a humerous running commentary on his half-truths and evasions. I felt at a loss for what to write on Mr. Buckley when she phoned from New York City.

I read her what I'd written in my notes and she said the difference between a Tucker Carlson and a William F. Buckley is that a lifetime of conservatism had drained all the energy and life out of a Buckley or Robert Novak.

"All that's left is reactionary fear," she told me.

Listening to him poke a few jabs of Darwinists, I realized she was correct. There was no passion for the topic, no delight in his voice. You can't hot wire a corpse.