Sunday, March 27, 2005

 

Riskind: Lazy, lazy, lazy

We just don't get the Dispatch. Doesn't the paper want to have a good Washington bureau, or it content just to let the AP do the heavy lifting in DC? Does the bureau just act as a place to do a favor to super lobbyist Vic Goodman & family?

Case in point, again, is Washington bureau chief Jonathan Riskind's lastest column (Riskind is Goodman's son-in-law). In this column, he apparently wants to be seen trying to bring some of his heavy DC savvy to bear on the Social Security issue. But, what readers get is some warmed over stuff about how RNC chair Ken Mehlman is blowing smoke about how the public is warming to the Bush administration's non-proposal proposals on privatizing Social Security.

Riskind notes that two recent polls don't really show the support the Mehlman claims is there. This is all well and good, but not really very insightful. But it's all pretty pedestrian and readers could have picked up this same information from about 400 other sources - last week.

What should we expect from a bureau chief - either 1) the ability to bring some of his connections to bear on the issue to give some truly new information to readers, or b) the ability to bring an angle that might not be so obvious to the readers. Riskind has never shown he has a), so it would have to b) latter.

What are we talking about and what quality of insight should Dispatch readers expect? Definitely not just that the polls don't support Bush. The polls have never shown overall support for his plans. So that's not really news - unless Riskind has the balls to flat out call Mehlman a liar.

So, Jonathan, how about giving readers some valuable context?

Here's one context: the polls not only are bad for Bush, but they are dropping. They show that the more people know about the Bush plan, the more they are opposed. That's not a matter of the Republican wording versus the Democrat's wording. That's simply people seeing that they increasingly don't want what Bush is selling.

Here's another context: the polls show that support for the Bush proposals is in a free-fall among young adults. From the Washington Post, Jonathan!
Support for President Bush's plan to create personal Social Security retirement accounts which might include stocks or mutual funds has dropped over the last month among Americans under age 30, according to a poll released Thursday.

Young adults have been the strongest supporters of the proposal for months. Support among those 18-29 dipped from seven in 10 to just under half, according to the poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. A quarter of young adults now say they're not sure how they feel about such personal accounts.

The poll found that just over four in 10, 44 percent, of all those polled, support creation of the accounts, down from 54 percent in December, while 40 percent are opposed.
So, if you want to know why Bush is in deep trouble on this issue, it's not because Ken Mehlman is a pollyanna. And if you want to know why the Judd Greggs of the Senate are bailing out on private accounts its because of the plummeting support! The Republican phony "town meetings" have been a disaster and ultimately were the final nail in the coffin of the Dispatch's sweetheart, Deborah Pryce.

But don't ask Riskind that, because he apparently doesn't know. What are they paying this guy for?

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