Your politically partisan Sept. 5 editorial is most revealing and rather spiteful. I have lost track of how often in the past you have made the claim that your paper makes no endorsements in political contests as a matter of course. Yet any reader of your column on a regular basis would have to be a complete imbecile to not recognize that your opinions are solidly in the Democratic Party fold. To feign objectivity in this way is to be disingenuous.
This week’s column takes the cake. Sen. John McCain chose Gov. Sarah Palin to be his running mate, and despite being relentlessly savaged in the press even before the public had a chance to hear her speak, she delivered a captivating speech at the Republican convention. Ms. Palin’s speech has created quite a lot of excitement and even received grudgingly admitted praise from many Democrats.
As you put it, however, as far as your wish for someday having a woman lead this nation, “We meant, of course, a qualified and capable woman. Sarah Palin is not the fulfillment of that dream. We greatly fear she is a nightmare.”
Now I understand how bitter you must be that your apparent candidate of choice, a Democratic woman, Sen. Clinton was defeated by Mr. Obama and then even passed over for the No. 2 spot in the ticket by the very inexperienced senator from Illinois.
But the sour grapes and mean-spiritedness you direct toward the enormously popular governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, is inexcusable. Her popularity rate in her home state is more than 80 percent. I would assume that would include more than a few Democrats. She has demonstrated a maverick streak, just like Sen. McCain. You disparage her home state as small (population wise it is not much less populous than Biden’s home state of Delaware) and its size and resources make it an extremely important state. You disparage Ms. Palin herself by referring to her repeatedly as a “bright-eyed Alaskan” as if she is some obedient puppy dog and not a strong and accomplished woman in her own right. I can just imagine your reaction if someone referred to Ms. Clinton as a “bright-eyed New Yorker.” For shame!
Finally, you delved into an area that is bordering on age discrimination and truly beyond the pale. You printed the actuarial numbers representing the odds of Mr. McCain serving his full term or terms in office. I don’t know if it is possible to get any lower than that. The man, whether you like him and his running mate or not, is a true American hero and deserves far better than talk of his potential demise. That is hateful talk and certainly does not reflect solid Jewish values on your part.
If he survived five years in the Hanoi Hilton, I’m sure eight years in the White House would be a breeze by comparison. As it is, even were he to serve two four-year terms in the White House he would leave as an 80-year-old man. This fall the State of New Jersey appears headed toward electing 84-year-old Sen. Frank Lautenberg to another six-year term in office.
The editor responds: This writer seems not to have noticed that the actuarial tables came from the U.S. government and were published in the Los Angeles Times. We did not make them up. (We also said of Sen. McCain, “may he live to 120.”) As for the quote about “this bright-eyed Alaskan,” that was indeed a quote, again from the L.A. Times – and to call someone “bright-eyed” and an “Alaskan” is certainly not a slur.