Monday, December 15, 2003

Reasons for taking a break

Yesterday, when the news of Saddam's capture broke, I made a conscious decision to suspend discussion of the political implications for 24 hours. Generally speaking, long-term speculation while breaking news is still breaking is liable to leave you open to making a lot of foolish comments. (This is also why I generally avoid watching the commentariat during such periods). There is also the fact that I didn't want to let my partisan impulses influence my writing during the course of a story that should be celebrated for the good news that it is. There are times when politics just have to be left at the door and yesterday was one of them (I was glad to see that Howard Dean took essentially the same tack. To bad a few other candidates did not.)

Note that this rule applies regardless of whether the news is "good" or "bad" for your side. This means that those who have gloated about how this hurts Democratic chances in 2004 are just as bad as those Democrats who tried to portray it as meaningless. They are all trying to put political spin on news that is apolitically good.

Now, while 24 hours have passed, I'm still not much in the mood for political speculation on this point. I'm sure the mood will return, but I'm not going to force it.

In the meantime, I recommend this post from Jesse at Pandagon:

Does it strike anyone else that major reaction on much of the right (internet, print and TV) yesterday to Saddam's capture was about Democrats, liberals, and anti-war folk? It's almost as if they only cared about the War in Iraq as a means to cement domestic political power rather than...nah.

This kind of proves my point about how the 24 hour rule should apply to all sides. The "winners" embarrass themselves when they deliberately go looking for people to whomp on when things like this happen. I know it is hard to resist the temptation to gloat, but really, do you think you are helping your side at all when you talk as if the primary benefit of the capture of Saddam is that it might improve Bush's re-election chances?


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