Newsweek Columnist: Sarah Palin Rhetorically 'Plotting How to Firebomb the Neighbors'

The liberal website Slate.com has once again done the admirable deed of announcing who its contributors will be voting for. (The count was 55 for Obama, four non-voting non-citizens, the house contrarian Rachel Larimore for McCain, and iconoclastic Jack Shafer for Bob Barr.) What I find interesting is the voting rationales of the Slate writers with mainstream-media pasts (or presents). In this camp, the wildest paragraph came from Dahlia Lithwick, who is now a columnist for Newsweek, who apparently is somehow linking Sarah Palin to Bernadine Dohrn, or at least your average neighborhood fire-bomber:

Dahlia Lithwick, Supreme Court Correspondent: Not VotingI will not vote. I am still Canadian. If I could, I would vote for Barack Obama because I am raggedy from the politics of division. I can't really blame John McCain for dipping into it in recent weeks, but I wish Sarah Palin would have relished it a bit less. We can't fight global terror, repair the economy, or do much of anything in America if we're too busy plotting how to firebomb the neighbors.

We need at least another paragraph to untangle that train wreck of a sentence. Mickey Kaus (briefly a Newsweek reporter) is for Obama. Melinda Henneberger (who had reporting stints with Newsweek and The New York Times) is, too:

You want me to count the reasons? Nah, you don't have that kind of time.

Fred Kaplan, a former reporter for the Boston Globe on defense issues years and years ago, and a staunch critic of Bush foreign and defense policies, is unsurprisingly favoring Obama:

I'm voting for Barack Obama because he has the right intellect, temperament, shrewdness, and curiosity. When he questions specialists, he always asks the central questions. I like the fact that he's "cool"—better that than a hothead. Though this wouldn't be a good reason to support him if it were the only reason, his victory would go a long way toward repairing our image in the world (though, of course, he'll have six months to form policies that justify the redemption). Finally, a McCain-Palin defeat would help redeem our own politics by demonstrating that mendacity and cynicism don't always succeed.

Timothy Noah wrote for both Newsweek, and then later, U.S. News & World Report in the James Fallows era:

It's a point of pride that I managed to get through this election without professing shock at John McCain's supposed defection to the Dark Side. I do not think that McCain, a man of good character who once seemed a plausible candidate for the Democratic ticket, has sold his soul to the devil. Smart liberals like Robert Wright and Josh Marshall say the McCain-Palin ticket has waged the most despicable presidential campaign in modern memory. I doubt they'll continue to believe that much past Nov. 4. McCain-Palin doesn't rank even as the most despicable presidential campaign in 2008. (That would be Hillary Clinton's primary campaign, which is far more susceptible to the accusation that it exploited Obama's race.) McCain made a bad decision. He chose not to leave a Republican Party that was drifting rightward while he drifted leftward. To win the GOP nomination, McCain had to scramble back to the right, withdrawing his criticisms of Christian right bullies and endorsing what he'd once identified, correctly, as President Bush's tax giveaway to the rich. The policies he embraced were terrible and the rhetoric he spewed was dishonest and sometimes offensive, but they were the things he had to say to hang onto the Republican base.

Jacob Weisberg, Slate’s editor-in-chief and a Newsweek columnist used to report for Newsweek (are we sensing a pattern by now?):

No surprise here: I'm voting Obama. I've been following his career since he was in the Illinois Senate and rooting for him to run for president since the spring of 2006, when I read his first book and interviewed him for a magazine story. I came away from that encounter deeply impressed by Obama's thoughtfulness, his sensitivity to language, and his unusual degree of self-knowledge. This guy is the antidote to the past eight years. He's wise where Bush is foolish, calm where Bush is rash, deep where Bush is shallow. My admiration for him has grown steadily over the past 22 months. Unlike McCain, Obama hasn't allowed running from president to distort his beliefs or his character. His campaign has been true to what he thinks and who he is as a person.

Our one question for Slate: where in the world is the paragraph from former Time correspondent John Dickerson?

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis