Ben and I used to be editorial writers at the same conservative-leaning newspaper in Southern California. And, in a strange and ironic twist, Deregulator also worked at that paper. Though we're all out of the official "voice of the newspaper business" these days, I'm guessing our combined experience as editorial writers approaches 25 years.
So surely Ben and Rick would be as surprised as I was to read how The Washington Post has done a public about-face on its editorial page on the question of treating Christmas Day Knickerbomber Umar Abdulmuttalab as a civilian criminal rather than an enemy combatant. An editorial board does not make such a decision lightly because it reveals a lack of serious pre-writing thought.
Granted, for a left-leaning American paper, you won't find one more supportive of America's war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan and battle against terrorists, in general. In fact, you won't find one that comes even close. So I was actually a little surprised that The Washington Post at first agreed with the way the Obama administration let Abdulmuttalab quickly lawyer up after his capture in Detroit. But, Scott at Powerline notes, The Post has reconsidered:
The Post writes that it "originally supported the administration's decision in the Abdulmutallab case, assuming that it had been made after due consideration. But the decision to try Mr. Abdulmutallab turns out to have resulted not from a deliberative process but as a knee-jerk default to a crime-and-punishment model."
This is a remarkable admission. The Post is basically saying that it initially agreed with the decision because the Obama administration is so packed with experienced, wise, intelligent folks ... that it just had to have come to a proper (and not lefty ideological) policy position. What White House is The Post watching?
The same White House that blew the biggest political opportunity for Democrats in a generation by employing crude, brute political force in Congress, insulting voters and wholly misreading the mood of the public?
The same White House that decided to close Gitmo with all the "due consideration" one can employ by the time the second day of one's term rolls around? How's that decision working out so far?
The same White House that pretended the decision to try Khalid Sheikh Muhammad in a civilian court in New York City was solely the call of Attorney General Eric Holder — who himself bungled his dubious explanations that he gave the matter "due consideration" before announcing it while Obama was flying out of the country on Air Force One?
We could go on all day with this. And I love that excuse by The Post, because it an apply to almost anything.
"I originally supported Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's decision to shack up and adopt 458 kids from around the world, assuming it had been made after due consideration. But the decision to shack up and adopt all those kids turns out to have resulted not from a deliberative process, but a knee-jerk default to a celebrities-can-do-whatever-they-want model."
"I originally supported the Packers' decision to release Brett Favre, assuming that it had been made after due consideration. But the decision cut Favre turns out to have resulted not from a deliberative process but as a knee-jerk default to a we-want-to-lose model."
"I originally supported the administration's decision to mock angry American voters as 'teabaggers' and 'Astroturf' dupes for corporate front groups, assuming that it had been made after due consideration. But the decision to mock the voters turns out to have resulted not from a deliberative process but as a knee-jerk default to an arrogant model."
"I originally supported Saturday Night Live's decision to book Ashley Simpson as a musical guest, assuming that it had been made after due consideration. But the decision to book Ashley Simpson turns out to have resulted not from a deliberative process but as a knee-jerk default to a they'll-never-know-she-lip-synchs model."
Scott at Powerline takes some other, more substantive shots at The Washington Post's turn-around that are worth reading.