John Kerry: Too Smart to Take a Stand - February 27, 2004

February 27, 2004
John Kerry: Too Smart to Take a Stand
"What his critics see as an inability to take strong, clear positions seems to us to reflect his appreciation that life is not simple." - Editorial endorsing Sen. John Kerry in the New York Democratic primary, February 26.

Prosecuted For Her "Idealism," Not Her Intelligence Breach?

"Moreover, though Ms. Gun's alleged offense was a serious breach of discipline in the intelligence agencies, prosecuting her idealism risked a backlash against the government." - Patrick Tyler on Katharine Gun, an anti-war British linguist accused of leaking government intelligence, February 26.

Scold Mountain
"Mr. Gibson is temperamentally a more stolid, less formally adventurous filmmaker, but he is no less a connoisseur of violence, and it will be amusing to see some of the same scolds who condemned Mr. Tarantino's 'Kill Bill: Vol. 1' sing the praises of 'The Passion of the Christ.'" - A.O. Scott in a negative review of "The Passion," February 25.

Reality Check:
"With its relentless bloodshed and scrambled, inconclusive narrative, Quentin Tarantino's long-awaited fourth feature, "Kill Bill: Vol. 1," is certain to provoke both awe and revulsion.It will inevitably be said, in Mr. Tarantino's defense, that his violence is fundamentally cartoonishBut he undermines this argument with sequences that cross the line between jolting and sickening." - A.O. Scott on "Kill Bill: Vol. 1," October 10, 2003.

Republican "Conservatives" vs. Democratic "Party Faithful"
"But both parties seem consumed with rousing their core constituents for what is shaping up to be a fiercely polarized election. Just as Mr. Kerry is rousing his party's faithful with a challenge to 'Bring it on,' so is Mr. Bush taking pains to remind his constituents that while he has pledged to be compassionate, he is very definitely conservative." - Robin Toner, February 25.

Wedded to Anti-Bush Bias

"Except for a throwaway line about proceeding with 'kindness and good will and decency,' the president's speech was a call for taking rights away from gay Americans." - February 25 editorial on Bush calling for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

Gratitude Toward Reagan-Hating Marxists
"And be grateful that Mr. Kushner, in the liberal tradition of E. M. Forster, continues to probe the West's failure to connect with cultures different from its own." - Ben Brantley on socialist playwright Tony Kushner, February 22.

"Abhorrent Steps" by the Bushies
"The truth is that even most liberals would not be so upset about tightening border controls and easing F.B.I. restrictions if this administration showed some understanding of how to confront militant Islam with something other than force. It acts unilaterally and calls it leadership. That only makes one suspicious of everything it does." - Deputy foreign editor Ethan Bronner, February 22.

McCarthy-Stalin: Just Two Mean Joes
"Started by a group of New York socialists and intellectuals fed up with what they saw as rampant complacency in American thought, Dissent, a quarterly journal, was devoted to slaying orthodoxies on the right and on the left in an era dominated by Joseph McCarthy and Joseph Stalin." - Felicia Lee on the 50th anniversary of the left-wing magazine Dissent, February 21.

"Loony" (but Accurate) to Link Fonda and Kerry
"And now, of all unlikely developments, Jane Fonda has been roped into a comeback. A movie star who hasn't been seen in a Hollywood feature in almost 15 years and who is best known to younger Americans as Ted Turner's ex-wife has been drafted into a political attack on Mr. Kerry: he appears as a blurred extra sitting several rows behind her in a photo of an antiwar protest held two years before her famous, self-immolating trip to Hanoi. This is guilt by association so loony that even the perpetrators of the Hollywood blacklist might have found it a stretch." - columnist Frank Rich, February 22.

Reality Check:
"A 34-year-old flier lists speakers for an anti-Vietnam War rally at Valley Forge State Park, Pa., Sept. 7, 1970. Included were two of that era's most notorious leftist agitators, the Rev. James Bevel and Mark Lane, plus actress Jane Fonda, a symbol of extreme opposition to the war. Leading off the list was a less familiar name: John Kerry. So much for the contention by Kerry supporters that his connection with 'Hanoi Jane' (so called for her later visit to the enemy capital in time of war) was accidental juxtaposition in a photograph." - Robert Novak, in a February 19 column.