A Rich Argument for Bad Manners
HANDS down, the State of the Union’s big moment was Barack Obama’s direct hit on the delicate sensibilities of the Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. The president was right to blast the 5-to-4 decision giving corporate interests an even greater stranglehold over a government they already regard as a partially owned onshore subsidiary. How satisfying it was to watch him provoke Alito into a “You lie!” snit. Here was a fight we could believe in.Rich is certainly no stickler for the truth or common manners when it comes to throwing red meat to his liberal readers.
First of all, Alito didn't say, "You lie." Having just heard the President of the United States mischaracterize the substance of the court's ruling in Citizens United v. the FEC in order to encourage pro-censorship Democrats jumped to their feet to applaud his attack on the court, Alito sadly shook his head. He is said to have mouthed the words, "Not true."
That Frank Rich thinks using the theater of the SOTU to launch a partisan attack on the Supreme Court is a brilliant political move, just goes to show the kind of tin-earred arrogance the New York Times is becoming well known for. The "we" in the "fight we can believe in" are, of course, Rich and his fellow New York liberals. If they think having the president publicly berate one of the few Washington institutions that the public still has a modicum of faith in, well they should certainly have at it.
The Supreme Court is hardly above criticism. But there is a time and a place for everything. And in this case not only was the president showing a case of very bad manners, he was flat-out wrong on the substance of his assertion.
The New York Times and its writers are on record as believing that some corporations (theirs, of course) deserve to have their First Amendment rights protected and respected by politicians and the government, while others not so much.
Ain't that Rich?