Every day, very serious people read the Wall Street Journal. They unfold it on their desks in the morning, poring over its pages with furrowed brows, squinting at its pale, yellowish newsprint under their graying eyebrows. You see them on trains, grimly assessing its intricate contents in quiet, very serious seriousness. You see them on planes, carefully tapping their I-Pads with Rolex-adorned hands. The Journal is their chaste companion, constantly reassuring them that travelling in the air 65 days a year and living out of sterile hotels marks their lives with a deeper meaning.
These are smart, successful people (as they'll be the first to acknowledge). The non-fiction business bestsellers and biographies they read in their precious spare time provide them with an endless stream of advice and strategies to enhance their success. Most of those strategies involve the shrewd deployment of reason and logic, together with insight into character and interpersonal relationships. These are people who pride themselves as being at the top of their game.
What a stunning disconnect, then, must be experienced by these very serious people when they reach the back pages of Section One and are subjected to the chickenshit idiocy of the Journal's Editorial page (Warning--beware the evil firewall).
President Obama is expected to name Jack Lew as his Treasury secretary on Thursday, continuing his cabinet's second-term makeover in his own image. He is assembling a team of personal and ideological loyalists whose job will be less to offer independent advice than to advance and implement his agenda for a larger, more redistributionist government.Bring on the collective farms! Because Obama has appoiinted the reincarnation of Felix Dzerzhinsky!:
[A]s budget director and chief of staff in the Obama White House, Mr. Lew has been the President's most partisan and implacable negotiator.Is the Wall Street Journal really telling its readers to fear "an implacable negotiator?" In business circles, isn't that supposed to be a good thing?
Our sources who have been in the room with the 57-year-old say he is now a fierce defender of entitlements in their current form, resists all but token spending restraint, and favors higher tax rates. In taking these positions he no doubt reflects Mr. Obama, but no one should think he'll emerge as his own man at Treasury.They don't name their sources, but I trust they're good ones! After all, they were "in the room with the 57-year old"(!)
The hysteria continues:
He's the man you pick if you expect months of political trench warfare over taxes and spending. He's the partisan you nominate if your overriding political goal is to destroy House Republicans in the midterm elections, not strike a deal with them.Are we really talking about...
EDUCATION – Graduated with bachelor's degree from Harvard in 1978 and a law degree from Georgetown University in 1983.Doesn't sound like Che Guevara to me.
EXPERIENCE – White House chief of staff since January 2012; budget director, 2010-12; deputy secretary of state, 2009-10; White House budget director during Clinton administration, 1998-2001; began career in Washington in 1973 as legislative aide on Capitol Hill, including stint as domestic policy adviser to House Speaker Thomas P. O'Neill Jr. Private sector experience includes serving as managing director and chief operating officer of Citi's global wealth management branch.
You may ask yourself, "who writes this stuff?" Unfortunately no one at the WSJ has seen fit to own up to it. Presumably that means it's the paper's official position.
Loews (L) Chief Executive Officer James Tisch thinks Lew can connect with business leaders. “The business community doesn’t know him too well. My guess also is that once the business community gets to know him, they will like him. He is very fair-minded, open, accessible, knowledgeable of how the government works and how it’s financed, which is really, really important.”
Michael Schlein, who worked with Mr. Lew at Citigroup and is now head of a nonprofit financial services organization, Accion, countered: “People in the business community like to deal with people in Washington who they can trust. I think Jack already does, and will do, very well with Wall Street and with business leaders because he is a very, very straight shooter.”
“He appears to share a Wall Street mentality, particularly when it comes to financial reform,” said Dennis M. Kelleher, the president of Better Markets, a Washington-based nonprofit.And then there's this fellow who seems to hate Lew's guts because he's not liberal enough:
Lew is the real deal, another brick in Obama’s creation of Wall Street on the Potomac.Never mind all that, warns the Journal. The apocalypse is nigh:
Mr. Obama's main project is to reorder the relationship of Americans to their government. His goal is to extend and entrench entitlements into the daily expectations of the middle class—from cradle to college to health care during the working years to retirement and then the grave.
Leaving aside the apparent horror of a middle class saddled with expectations of health care throughout their working lives, or even "to the grave" (at which time health care presumably ceases to be an "expectation") isn't there a point where the very serious Journal reader applies his well-honed skills of reason and logic to conclude that all of this hyperbolic, over the top rhetoric doesn't come anywhere close to matching the reality right before their eyes? Where is the line of demarcation for these folks that separates their cognitive sensibilities from the chidlish propaganda they are fed by this publication? At what point does the disconnect become unbearable to their discerning minds?
The Journal appears to operate under the assumption that its readers will nod in agreement to its editorial pronouncements. A fair question, though, would be whether its readers come to this paper seeking validation of their pre-existing views, or if those views and opinions are actually the byproduct of reading the same drivel spewed by the Journal Editorial page over and over again. If it's the latter, then one has to wonder just how serious these Journal readers really are.