Michael Kinsley wrote an overview of the draft Democratic platform for the NYTimes, only to make me wonder, if this kind of laziness is rewarded in journalism, where do I sign up for a job?
Because this is certainly the sloppiest analysis I've ever seen: if this were a response essay from one of my students, I'd fail it. It offers no clear view of the document, no coherent analysis or opinion, and while it tries to be funny (I think?), it comes off as bitter and surly.
Considering his own style failure (funny/surly, close enough?), it's ironic that he goes after the style of the document. First of all, this is a draft of a party platform he's talking about, something meant to be revised and not meant to be poetry. But still:
...platforms traditionally follow the rhetorical rule that there are three of everything. This year, though (in a development that will, I fear, reinforce prejudices about liberal profligacy), the Democrats have replaced the Rule of Threes with a Rule of Fours: “policies that are smart and right and fair and good for America,” or “a government as decent, candid, purposeful and compassionate as the American people themselves.” Or sometimes even Fives or Sixes (I’ll spare you).It is artificial when a writer tries to cram every concept into a list of three things. And it would be equally artificial to do it with four. But then he tells us there are also fives and sixes and twos, and I think to myself, "what you're saying is there's no artificial pattern at all?" So why is he criticizing? Granted, a lot of what's written in this document is idealistic and vague, but it's a draft of a party platform: that's its mode. If Kinsley were writing about how amusingly idealistic and vague party platforms can be, this essay would have worked--and could even have been funny. Instead it is the half-thought-out griping of a grumpy old gus.
Sometimes there are only two.
“We will ensure that our patent laws protect legitimate rights while not stifling innovation and creativity” — an excellent summary of the dilemma of patents since this nation’s founding.But in other places, he's being willfully blind:
...how about a promise of more research money for “common and rare diseases”? That about covers it.
And speaking of health care, ordinarily it is not possible to overuse the word “American” or to overpraise this great country and its magnificent people. But the Democrats may have found a way in promising a health care system that is “uniquely American.” A uniquely American health care system is what we’ve got.
“Some of” the cost of catastrophic illness will be taken off the backs of “employers and employees.” And borne by? Who’s left? I guess the unemployed.Yes, because there are no people or entities in this country with bucketloads of income who are neither employers nor employed. Dur. "Neither employer nor employed" defines the richest tax-digging grounds in America.
...the Democrats advocate “creating a generic pathway for biologic drugs.” Whether this is a triumph for health and common sense or the miserable handiwork of a drug industry lobbyist (or both!), I have no idea.Why the confusion, buddy? Biologic drugs are a new class of genetically-engineered drugs that promise to do great things for sick people. Creating a generic pathway for such drugs would make them more affordable to more people faster. Is he simply throwed-off by the word "biologic"?
Oh well. Hey, the Krugman was good today!