Could I Put Myself in Colin McNickle's Place?Could I Put Myself in Colin McNickle's Place?
It looks as if Teresa Heinz Kerry did say something in public on the steps of the Massachusetts Statehouse at that now-infamous campaign event about people acting unAmerican. Colin McNickle had a right to question her about the comments. Colin is publically known (by readers in Pittsburgh) to be shamelessly Conservative and he often uses a distinct mocking tone when he discusses the Democrats. I'm not saying that's a bad thing. It is what it is. Colin is an editor of opinion and opinion columns, not a straight-on news reporter. He wasn't there to look for factual information; he was there to editorialize. I would imagine he was hoping for something incendiary. I understand how people like Colin McNickle might think. I'm not that much unlike him when it comes to the passion that moves us to write about politics. In the case of Teresa Heinz Kerry, Colin surely got that incendiary result. It may wind up resulting in him being looked at as a bit of a lout, but he'll have a lot to talk about, as will the right-wing red-meat faction.
Photo credit: pittsburghlive.com
I'd love to know exactly what Mrs. Kerry meant when she said "We need to turn back some of the creeping, un-Pennsylvanian and sometimes un-American traits that are coming into some of our politics." Perhaps Colin McNickle wanted to talk with her to get further clarification. Did he step over a line that Mrs. Kerry deemed to be inappropriate?
I imagine Colin isn't much different than me, except for the simple fact I'm leaning toward the ideological"other side". One big difference, though, is that my side of the ideological fence hasn't had the "benefit" of the vicious Scaife machine that David Brock exposes every day on Media Matters.
So, how would I feel if I was treated this way by Laura Bush? What if Laura had told me to "shove it" after I'd pressed her, a candidates's wife, to clarify the meaning of some words she had actually used in a public setting?
It would depend upon the situation. Perhaps I'd be flabbergasted that she said she didn't use those words when I had just heard her say them. But I don't really know how Colin McNickle framed his questions. I couldn't look him in the eye or hear the tone of his voice. The cameras did a poor job of relaying what occurred between the two of them. I'll tell you this-as opinionated as I can be, I'd never be less than professional and respectful to the wife of any political candidate.
Colin's a big boy and he put himself out there for any comment Teresa Heinz Kerry decided she would make in reply to his pressing. Teresa's outspoken comments were likely based on the way she believed she was being addressed and judged by Colin McNickle. I don't know if she had prior knowlege of Colin's obvious prejudgement of Democrats, but something tells me she sensed it clearly. She's no dummy.
Maybe she's sick of the right-wing mouth-machinery (as exposed by fellows like Rob Stein) and figured it was time to tell them, point blank, that she was not going to suffer any more of it like a good Stepford soldier. (I can't imagine Teresa being anyone's good Stepford soldier and I admire her honesty).
Rush Limbaugh is harping about all these pleas for civility, yet I distinctly remember a prominent Conservative he respects highly telling us a few years ago that civility often must be left behind in the pursuit of civic virtue. His name is Clarence Thomas. You remember Clarence, right? He was one of those nine voters who had the final say in "the people's" 2000 presidential election. Let's not be hypocritical. This is a fight for the soul of America and we must not fear our necessary honesty if it means a threat to the destruction of the virtues we personally cherish.
I'd like to remind Colin, since he's asked, that there is, indeed, a difference between a liberal and a socialist. If he was asking Mrs. Kerry something goofy like that particular question, I don't blame her for having the fortitude to tell him to "shove it". You couldn't hear the actual exchange between them on the news..it was muffled. I'd love to see a transcript (there's an unofficial one at Rush Limbaugh's site). It seems to me, judging by Mrs. Kerry's words "No, I didn't say that, I didn't say that," that she felt that Colin was trying to turn her words around to mean something different than she'd intended.
To Colin, I would say-- Be happy! Teresa made you a media star today.
If I was in Colin McNickle's place, though, that's not the way I'd wish to become a media star.
See reader comments at ThePittsburghChannel.com. John D. of Pittsburgh says: "..it is about time someone told Colin McNickle off!"
Read Mr. McNickle Goes to Boston
The LA Times editorial staff sounds off about the shove it.
Google: McNickle/Heinz Kerry