Ya gotta trust somebody
Chris Suellentrop is a writer for Slate who I have started reading lately. Here's his latest article from him, which is critical of Kerry
. That's only part of why I'm linking the article. I agree with Chris here, and the very fact that he is this intellectually honest(relative to my honest assessment of reality, of course.) about Kerry is the real reason. You can find this kind of view of Kerry in other places, and the fact that Suellentrop supports Kerry(last I read) doesn't strengthen or weaken his case here for me. That's the key. In fact, if you read it closely he is actually simplifying Kerry's message to a great degree, which probably helps Kerry. I read it one way, a Kerry supporter reads it another: "Hey! Finally someone who can boil Kerry down to a single line position!" That's key too.
I want to say something good about him because a)he writes well and b)as far as I know, is at least somewhat center-left or so. I could be wrong and that's a broad label, but he is the kind of guy who I have grown to trust despite this. That's key. My first experience with him was an incident the elder Nawtin brought to my attention about a certain Kerry quote about not being able to decide what to have to eat.
Nawtin noticed a difference between meanings derived from reading the NYT version of the quote versus reading the more complete, and therefore more contextually accurate, quoting by Suellentrop. Nawtin corresponded with Suellentrop, who was at the event, and we determined that his quote was correct and the NYT had not done a great job of reporting. I did not correspond with Chris myself, but I did get the sense from the email that his sense of integrity was affronted by the suggestion that he would make up a whole clause on a quote like that. I understand that completely. But I think he understands us too.
We don't know who to trust. We think for ourselves and we'd seen enough of this election cycle's press to not rule out the possibility of someone doing exactly that. Come on, presumed integrity? What kind of idiots do these guys think we are, right? We laugh at the Daily Show, after all. I didn't know Chris Suellentrop from a snake-oil salesman. Well, so he buttressed his credibility by writing back, and also by being correct. Advantage Chris. And because he apparently does have integrity, continued to write provocative pieces that I could agree with or disagree with, but were well-written and even-handed at the same time. Advantage Chris.
That he's willing to criticize his own candidate(with the truth, mind you) means that I should be willing to listen to his criticism of Bush with a more open(while still critical) ear. Right? Right. I mean, of course I might still disagree with him, but this goes to show that he can be trusted a little more as a first premise when reading him than when reading Paul Krugman or somebody else who requires immediate Fisking after reading. He has been steadily building his credibility with me, and that means something.
Not that I trust him to vote for Bush because he criticized Kerry once. Not that I trust him to say nice things about Bush(though if there are nice things to say, I trust him more to do that as well) but to say TRUE things about Bush whether he is being critical or nice and the same with Kerry. See? That's all we ask. I don't expect him to have to say nice things about Bush, because he shouldn't have to think there is anything nice about the man. I think similar thoughts about Kerry. Fair enough. But man, we gotta stick to truth being the first rule. The truth, the WHOLE truth, and nothin' but the truth. Well done, Chris Suellentrop.
posted by M@ at 11:45 PM