Dinner party chatter with the right-leaning centrists

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Swampland emigrant Tom T (I love it that so far I’m only getting the cogent and nonabusive Swamplanders) wants to know, in a comment to my post about politicians’ ties to Wall Street:

[W]hy is it that these “entanglements” are only a problem when the one entangled is a Democrat? Why didn’t we hear more about Bush’s entanglement with oil companies in 2000? Is it a coincidence that there’s an oilman in the White House and Exxon/Mobile is posting record profits?

I think you know the answers to all of these questions, though I doubt you’re brave enough to write them on your blog. But if you want to be more than purveyor of right-leaning dinner party centrism (and I’m not sure why would, given that being such a purveyor is the only way to rise in the media establishment), you should address them.

Because my bravery knows no bounds, I hereby offer my (right-leaning, centrist) answers:

1) I don’t think it’s only Dems who catch flak for this stuff, although Terrapin is probably right (see those same comments) that the media jump too quickly on the hypocrisy angle when in fact we want politicians who vote against their personal financial interests. I would hope that the activities of Giuliani Partners in particular get some serious scrutiny in the press. If they don’t, raise some hell.

2) I remember Bush’s and Cheney’s oil industry ties coming up a lot during the 2000 campaign. I was living in the UK then, so my point of reference is a little off. But the information was pretty widely known.

3) Yeah, it’s mostly a coincidence. Skyrocketing oil demand in Asia and flagging production from some of the world’s biggest (non Exxon/Mobil-owned) oil fields are the biggest reasons why the company is making so much money right now. The fact that we undertax oil use, have weak and inconsistent fuel-efficiency standards and subsidize domestic oil drilling that doesn’t need to be subsidized–now that’s where the oilman in the White House comes in.

As for the right-leaning dinner party centrism: My wife and I throw lots of dinner parties, I am a centrist, and by Upper West Side standards I’m a veritable right-winger. But I think the issue with many mainstream journalists is that they’re left-leaning centrists who want to demonstrate that they’re entirely objective. Which leads them into all sorts of strange behaviors that the Republicans have been far more adept at exploiting in recent years than the Democrats have. Although thanks to, among others, all those Swampland commenters, that may be changing.

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