New York Times Editorial Page editor Andrew Rosenthal's Sunday Review was wall-to-wall for Obama this week, with two left-wing op-eds on Obama on the front page, a full-page endorsement of Obama for re-election, and three liberal columnists simultaneously obsessed with abortion, including the paper's foreign policy columnist Thomas Friedman. (Right-of-center Ross Douthat also covered women's issues, but questioned Obama's "weirdly paternalistic form of social liberalism.")
On Page 1 of the Sunday Review, "The Price of a Black President" by Frederick Harris (director of the Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia University) praised blacks for voting for Obama before going on to criticize Obama from the left.
When African-Americans go to the polls next week, they are likely to support Barack Obama at a level approaching the 95 percent share of the black vote he received in 2008. As well they should, given the symbolic exceptionalism of his presidency and the modern Republican Party’s utter disregard for economic justice, civil rights and the social safety net.
The other Page 1 op-ed was by Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize winning economist and scold who is also a professor at Columbia University (no Upper West Side liberalism here!). He wrote on his current obsession, inequality.
Mitt Romney has been explicit: inequality should be talked about only in quiet voices behind closed doors. But with the normally conservative magazine The Economist publishing a special series showing the extremes to which American inequality has grown -- joining a growing chorus (of which my book “The Price of Inequality” is an example) arguing that the extremes of American inequality, its nature and origins, are adversely affecting our economy -- it is an issue that not even the Republicans can ignore. It is no longer just a moral issue, a question of social justice.
Stiglitz went on to bust "economic myths," including: "America is a land of opportunity....Trickle-down economics works."
Columnist Maureen Dowd offered her usual measured take on women's issues in "Of Mad Men, Mad Women and Meat Loaf."
Our mom, a strict Catholic, taught us that it was immoral for a woman to be expected to carry a rapist’s baby for nine months. (Don’t even mention that rapists can assert parental rights in 31 states.)
But compassion is scant among the Puritan tribe of Republicans running now. As The Huffington Post reports, at least a dozen G.O.P. Senate candidates oppose abortion for rape victims. The party platform calls for a constitutional amendment with no exceptions for rape, incest or the mother’s life.
Dowd predictably bashed two Republican election seekers, Rep. Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock, for controversial comments related to abortion and rape, then went into full condescension mode to explain why women may vote for the Republican ticket anyway:
Republicans are geniuses at getting people to vote against their own self-interest. Hispanics, however, do not seem inclined to vote against their self-interest on immigration laws, and Obama is counting on that to buoy him.
Columnist Nicholas Kristof also raised the arcane rape statistic in his column on the same page, "Want a Real Reason to Be Outraged?"
Even foreign policy columnist Thomas Friedman got into the act, under the sarcastic headline "Why I Am Pro-Life." Of course he's not actually against abortion, he'st just making the tired government argument that "pro-life" also means things like more money for the EPA and Head Start. He also details the Akin and Mourdock controversies. (Are Obama supporters highlighting anything else at this point?)
Sunday also offered an official full-page endorsement of President Obama. (No surprise: The last Republican the paper endorsed was Dwight Eisenhower in 1956.) Principled liberals might like to know that the long editorial offered not one word on drone attacks or the other war on terror issues Obama has embraced, instead.
The paper warned: "An ideological assault from the right has started to undermine the vital health reform law passed in 2010. Those forces are eroding women’s access to health care, and their right to control their lives. Nearly 50 years after passage of the Civil Rights Act, all Americans’ rights are cheapened by the right wing’s determination to deny marriage benefits to a selected group of us. Astonishingly, even the very right to vote is being challenged."
-- Clay Waters is Editor of the MRC's TimesWatch site.