On Dec. 19, 2007, I published an article in Newsmax, "Eleanor Roosevelt's Thoughts on Hillary," based on a dream I had in which I interviewed Eleanor Roosevelt. In the dream, I ask her what she thinks of Hillary Clinton. Last night the former first lady came again to me in a dream.
The following is our conversation.
Zeifman: What are your thoughts on the current controversy between Sen. John McCain and The New York Times regarding the Iraq war?
Roosevelt: I am dismayed by the recent refusal of the Times to publish an article by Sen. McCain in rebuttal to its prior Op-Ed article by Sen. Obama advocating time tables for troop withdrawals from Iraq. However, I am not surprised.
It seems to me that when Arthur Sulzberger Jr. took over the ownership of the Times in 1992, it lost its moral compass.
Zeifman: Please elaborate.
Roosevelt: The Times was a fine paper during the presidencies of Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, and George Bush senior. At that time, Abe Rosenthal served as its top editor. Its then owner and publisher was Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, whose nickname was “Punch.” During that period the Times had a good reputation and won a Pulitzer prize.
Abe Rosenthal had started out as an office boy and stayed with the Times for 55 years. As editor he did not express opinions based on undisclosed “reliable sources” and documented his editorials with undistorted facts. As a result he was respected on both sides of the political aisle.
As a young man, Punch Sulzberger, like his close friend, Art Buchwald, a famous humorist who was later banned from the Clinton White House, had enlisted voluntarily in the Marine Corps during World War II. In 1951, after earning a BA degree in English, he was recalled to active duty during the Korean War. He took charge of the Times in 1963.
During his tenure, the Times won a Pulitzer Prize. He served with distinction until 1992, when he retired and gave control to his son Arthur Sulzberger Jr.
Zeifman: What are your thoughts on Arthur Jr.’s reasons for changing the Times?
Roosevelt: Sadly, I see him as a bad apple who fell far from his father’s tree. When Bill and Hillary first launched their “two for one” campaign for the presidency, Arthur Jr. decided that it would be financially profitable for him to hitch the Times wagon to the two rising stars. After that he considered enemies of the Clintons as his enemies.
For example, he soon fired Abe Rosenthal for writing an article critical of Hillary, stating, "In concept the first ladyship is an affront to American democracy. In practice it skews the administration of government, evades anti-nepotism statutes and avoids the responsibility that should go with authority . . . In lieu of salary, it provides the jobholder with staff, luxury, and that most important of all perks — power.
Zeifman: What do you think of the Times coverage of the presidency of George W. Bush?
Roosevelt: Just as arms dealers profiteer from military wars, it seems to me that Arthur Jr. has been profiteering from inciting culture wars. For example, Arthur Jr. allied himself with MoveOn.org, which started by petitioning Congress to "move on" past the impeachment of President Clinton.
Together Arthur Jr. and MoveOn.org became the media’s leading practitioners of the politics of personal destruction.
I was chagrined, but also not surprised, months ago when the Times published a full page advertisement by MoveOn.org, maligning Gen. David Petraeus as “General Betray Us.” It also favored MoveOn.org with an ad price of $77,508, when its regular price for all other advertisers was $142,083. At that time Arthur Jr’s tactics caused the Democratic-controlled Senate to adopt a resolution by a vote of 72 to 25, condemning the attempt at character assassination of Gen. Petraeus, whose then recent appoint had been unanimously confirmed.
Zeifman: Whom do you currently support for president?
Roosevelt: As you know, during our party’s primaries I opposed Sen. Clinton, who was endorsed by The New York Times. I then supported Sen. Obama as the lesser of two evils. However, in the current presidential campaign, I now wholeheartedly support Sen. McCain.
Zeifman: Please Elaborate.
Roosevelt: It seems to me that the overly partisan tactics used by our present Democratic leaders and Barack Obama make them unworthy of winning the White House. Throughout his entire career in the Senate, Barack Obama has pandered to senior party leaders and acquiesced in their tactics of demonizing President Bush.
By the end of 2007, he was first on the National Journal's approval voting list of doctrinaire Democratic party liners.
In short, he has won the Democratic nomination by adhering strictly to the uncompromising partisan lines of self-serving politicians who use distortions to demonize their opponents.
In contrast, John McCain has put the national interest above partisan politics throughout his entire adult life. As a result, doctrinaire conservatives have long been displeased with his frequent participation in bipartisan coalitions. He also has had a history of constructive opposition to President Bush’s initial failure to send sufficient ground forces into the Iraq war.
If we are to survive the dangers of terrorist nations using nuclear weapons and jihadists engaging in suicidal bombings, in my view it is a moral imperative for John McCain to become our commander in chief.
Jerry Zeifman is a lifelong Democrat and served for 17 years as Counsel to the House Judiciary Committee. For his books and articles on law and politics, see his Web site http://www.jzeifman.com.
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