Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A Proposed Litmus Test

For years various people have suggested there are litmus tests for Democrats or Republicans or African-Americans or Liberals or Conservatives on one issue or another.

Let me propose a litmus test for all politicians.

When someone says something controversial, before reacting to imagine that the polar opposite politician had said the same thing.

John Gresham in his book A Time to Kill used that simple device in a summation. I'm not a big Gresham fan, but there it is.

Imagine, for example, David Vitter had said before any audience;
I want to make sure that when you're firing your bullets because you're dissatisfied you fire them at the right folks
Do you think there would have been calls to lynch him?


oyster said...

I agree with the principle in general, but it's a little simplistic. The same words said by different people often take on a new context.

I'm sorta unclear on the example used here. Nagin's quote was a careless one, but were there calls to "lynch" him, after he said it?

Is Vitter supposed to be Nagin's polar opposite?

bayoustjohndavid said...

I also agree with the principle, but I'd also add that Vitter isn't a New Orleans politician -- he's not primarily associated with a city with a rising crime rate. From my point of view, he's seems to represent the rest of the state more than the city; he's certainly not helping the city maintain and develop a medical corridor.

In this I think that the ridiculous over-reaction to Nagin's poor choice of words was based on the fact that indignation is easier than analysis. I personally have no use for politicians or pundits or bloggers who constantly do the indignation thing. I even thought the "that part of the world" on Bush's part was a little overdone.

bayoustjohndavid said...
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