Saturday, October 11, 2003

Republican Shame

I am not sure if I should begin this post by criticizing the New York Times or Republican New York Governor George Pataki. Governor Pataki is embarking on one of the most shameful plans in American political history and the New York Times, having succumbed to right wing pressure not to seem even a little bit liberal, is complicit.

Larry Silverstein, the lease holder for the World Trade Center, is embroiled in a dispute with insurers to determine whether the 9/11 terror attacks are one or two separate incidents. What is the difference? The difference is worth $3.5 billion.

The Times headline for this story is Pataki Wants Insurance Settled So Trade Center Work Can Begin. It sounds pretty innocuous. But there is a sentence you would miss if you skimmed the article too quickly. "Mr. Pataki has said he wants the cornerstone for the first building at the trade center to be laid next August."

Why next August? Thanks to the shrewdness of the republicans their convention will take place in New York City in August of 2004. Republican Mayor Bloomberg was prepared to welcome the democrats as well, but thanks to that party's incompetence (that means you McAuliffe) only the republicans will have a convention in the media capital of the world two weeks before the 9/11 anniversary. It was reported earlier this year that the governor wanted the cornerstone laid during the convention, but the governor's office demanded and got corrections from the Times and other media.

How much longer can the republicans squeeze political benefit from the death of 3,000 people? Unless democrats and the media grow new spines they can get away with it through next year's presidential campaign. What will the press say if the governor succeeds in brokering a deal and the cornerstone is laid during the convention? Will they press the governor about the corrections and retractions they were forced to print?

I am not holding my breath.