The Register’s “Empty Suit” Column on Sunday

Regardless of how inspiring most Americans find the words of Senator Barack Obama, for the past three years, the OC Register’s Sunday opinion pages have used quotes from the Illinois Senator in their new “empty suit platitude” column that run on page 1. 

Why Obama three weeks in a row? 

The Register’s editorial pages run pretty hard to the right. Guest columns run hard to the right.  Regular columnists pretty much run hard to the right.  Rarely, will you find any praise for anything anyone on the Left says or does on the editorial pages or columns of the Register despite the fact that OC has the second highest concentration of Democratic voters in California.  A little balance would be nice.

I remember being invited to a 2005 special election post mortem meeting run by the Register at the paper’s auditorium which very much catered to conservative readers.  I believe the editors leading the session opened with the line, “let the healing begin.”  Besides me, there was one other progressive in the room.

Some of the writers openly despise the Clintons and many have made it clear that Barack Obama isn’t much better.  Not that they are enthralled with Senator McCain, but he clearly wins the lesser of three evils award for the presidential race from the Register’s editorial pages.

I do find Senator Obama to be an inspiring speaker.  He is, perhaps, the most gifted and inspirational speaker in American politics since Ronald Reagan (and where would Reagan be without the words of Peggy Noonan?).  I think if some of Obama’s speeches were attributed to Reagan, the Register’s editorial writers would gush over them.  Likewise, if Obama were to deliver a Reagan speech, it would probably carry the empty suit award for the fourth straight week.  I’ve read this feature for the past three weeks and have concluded its not the message the writer is critical of, but the messenger.

On Tuesday night, Senator McCain delivered a victory speech loaded with red meat for conservatives.  But read this and tell me its not worthy of an empty suit platitude?

These are some of the challenges that confront us. There are others just as urgent, and during this campaign I’ll travel across the country in cities and rural areas, in communities of all ethnic backgrounds and income levels, offering my ideas and listening to the concerns and advice of Americans. Americans aren’t interested in an election where they are just talked to and not listened to; an election that offers platitudes instead of principles and insults instead of ideas (note: McCain responded to one question in NH with “Thanks for the question, you little jerk”); an election that results — no matter who wins — in four years of unkept promises and a government that is just a battleground for the next election. Their patience is at an end for politicians who value ambition over principle, and for partisanship that is less a contest of ideas than an uncivil brawl over the spoils of power.

Nothing is inevitable in America. We are the captains of our fate. We’re not a country that prefers nostalgia to optimism; a country that would rather go back than forward. We’re the world’s leader, and leaders don’t pine for the past and dread the future. We make the future better than the past. We don’t hide from history. We make history. That, my friends (drink!), is the essence of hope in America, hope built on courage, and faith in the values and principles that have made us great. I intend to make my stand on those principles and chart a course for our future greatness, and trust in the judgment of the people I have served all my life. So stand up with me, my friends (drink again), stand up and fight for America — for her strength, her ideals, and her future. The contest begins tonight. It will have its ups and downs. But we will fight every minute of every day to make certain we have a government that is as capable, wise, brave and decent as the great people we serve. That is our responsibility and I will not let you down.

Thank you.

Where have we heard this all before?  Sure smells like BS to me. 

  7 comments for “The Register’s “Empty Suit” Column on Sunday

  1. Steven Greenhut
    March 8, 2008 at 11:26 am

    Dan:
    How about some balance on TheLiberalOC? I never read any praise for Republicans or Libertarians. Oh, that’s right — yours is an opinion blog with a clear liberal bias. That’s the whole point. Well, the Register has a liberterian editorial page. That’s our view. That’s the point. Unlike you, we do regularly print non-Libertarian voices in our reader rebuttals, etc. By the way, you’re savvy enough to know that we are libertarian, not hard right, as you allege. We have been consistently against the war, we are very critical of the Bush administration, we advocate for liberalized immigration quotes, an end to the drug war, and a focus on civil liberties. We don’t praise many politicians of any sort, given that they all are about expanding government power!

    Steven Greenhut

  2. RHackett
    March 8, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    Steve, libertarians are those who shun the concept of serious policy debate.

    Their mantra is this belief in a la la land “free market” that solves
    all of societies ills.

    Until they bring something to the table more significant than living in
    Fantasyland they’ll be interesting to observe and kept for around for
    intellectual amusement. Sort of like watching the animals in the zoo.

    Given how the readership at the OC Register continues to fall, it doesn’t
    take an Ivy League MBA to recognize the market place is indeed voting with
    its pocketbook.

  3. Steven Greenhut
    March 8, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    RHackett:
    Say what you want about libertarians, but my point is that it’s ridiculous to attack the Register ed page for being far right. It just ain’t so. It’s also ridiculous to insist on more balance on an opinion page — especially coming from an unbalance blog! Per your point about newspapers, ALL newspapers except for the Wall Street Journal perhaps, are facing massive problems in the wake of the changing Internet and news industry. Readers are rejecting papers with liberal, conservative and libertarian editorial pages. So you need to go back to the drawing board with your theory.
    Steven Greenhut

  4. RHackett
    March 8, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    Steve, I guess that’s a reassuring thought as one is walking out the door.

    Let us know how it works out.

  5. rebecca
    March 8, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    Well, the OC Weekly was doing pretty well financially, even after the 9/11 downturn and despite the rise in paper prices. Invisible Hand Talking!

  6. Dan Chmielewski
    March 9, 2008 at 9:40 pm

    Steve –
    I took the weekend off, so I am getting to your comments late. Gosh, I’m pretty sure we’ve said a few nice things about Ron Paul, but I, for one, am challenged to find anything good about anything the Republicans or Conservatives have done in the past several years at the federal, state or local levels.

    Libertarians represent 80,000 registered voters in the state. That’s 40 percent the size of Irvine alone. Republicans have about 45-48 percent county registration and Democrats have 27-29 percent, (I’m guestimating of course). To be majority Libertarian in representation in a county with a significant Liberal/Democratic viewpoint, means you’re leaving readers behind. Even “liberal” newspapers like the NY Times and LA Times carry columns by William Kristol and Jonah Goldberg. Tell me Steve, who is the Liberal columnist at the Register? You carry George Will, John Stossel and Mark Steyn. The ocassional reader rebuttal from Larry Agran or Frank Barbarro is hardly representative of the county’s makeup.

    Steve, with Red County and Flash Report, and Orange Punch, other than OC Weekly, we represent “balance” for the left in OC. But unlike every other blog I mentioned, we all hold regular jobs. Matt and Jon rely on politics for their paychecks. The Reg and Weekly need those ad dollars. This is our hobby. None of us gets paid for this.

    And RHackett, while I appreciate all your comments, all newspapers have having trouble because someone needs to tell Wall Street to readjust their expectations that 20 percent annual profit is no longer realistic with today’s Internet model. As newspapers cut reporters, the quality of journalism goes down; as the quality of journalism goes down, so does readership and circulation, and when that goes down, so does ad revenue. Then what you have left is the Mercury News that went from more than 400 reporters to somewhere around 150. Produce good journalism, and I’m a reader. The OC Weekly does prove that liberal media bias can generate ad revenue.

    I still believe the Register puts out a good product. But I’d really like to see a hard core liberal columnist like Paul Krugman on your pages once in awhile.

  7. Dan Chmielewski
    March 10, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    Steve –
    I tried search the Register’s site and using Google, but I could’t find any stories about LA Senator David Vitter’s use of the DC Madam’s services while there are two stories on the Orange Punch blog about Gov. Elliot Spitzer. If you have a post about Vitter, please share it because I couldn’t find it. And if you don’t have one about Vitter, you’ll have to explain to me why Spitzer’s got more play on the site than Vitter.

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