Tuesday, May 21, 2013

True Gentleman: Bill Keller

Some might mistrust Master Keller based on the company he keeps at the Times, but he's a good egg. Faced with an increasingly unpleasant and uncivil swirl of accusation and innuendo that threatens to intrude on the white shoe season, Keller proposes the most dignified and polite way to sort out Benghazi, the IRS situation, and any other instance of bad behavior: find a gentleman of superior moral character and intellect, appoint him as Special Prosecutor, and grant him the resources to hunt for malfeasance wherever his character and intellect (which are, again, of the highest rank) should lead him.

As one gentleman knows another when he sees him, Keller places appropriate trust in the leaders of both political parties to appoint and oversee this investigation, which would have the wholesome effect of allowing the people's representatives of both parties to focus on the stern and serious business of governing.

Here are three reasons that, on this one, the president should give the Republicans what they claim to want.
First, it would demonstrate that the president understands that, in the cascade of controversies that have knocked his second term off course, the I.R.S. case is the one that matters most....
The second reason to bring in a special prosecutor is that it’s the surest way to get answers the public might trust....
The third reason for a special counsel is that the government has serious business to conduct, and the scandal circus on Capitol Hill is a terrible distraction....

Only a boorish hobo would suggest that a special prosecutor might fan the flames of scandal, pursue wild tangents in search of crimes, arouse partisan resentments, or encourage further conspiratorial speculations, let alone that raising a hellish conflagration of distraction and accusation might be a purposeful strategy to avoid governing or secure political advantage. Since such a thing has never happened before, we may rest assured that the honor of these gentlemen, whom Providence has placed at the head of our esteemed government, will secure and ensure their wise action.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Trip Gabriel: Gentleman (UPDATED)

Dr. Benjamin Carson made the following statement about his family's tax burdens:

Dr. Carson said that he is in the new top federal bracket of 39.6 percent for family income above $450,000, and with Maryland state taxes added in, “I pay a lot more than half of what I make,” he said.
Dr. Carson is a busy man, what with the separating of conjoined twins and the criticisms of the President at prayer breakfasts. I'm sure it was simply an oversight on his part that only the margin of his family's income above $450,000 is taxed at that rate, and that Maryland's top marginal tax rate for couples is 5.75% for couples on income over $300,000. Surely, the good doctor made an honest oversight of the fact that, even with Baltimore's 3.2% local income tax thrown in, there's absolutely no way his family pays anywhere close to fifty percent of its income in taxes. There's no chance that he was attempting to deceive anyone or exploit public ignorance of marginal tax rates for political purposes.

And it was tremendously gracious of Tripp Gabriel at the Times to reward Dr. Carson's good faith by declining to perform Google searches of state tax rates, basic arithmetic, or fact checking in the writing of his article.

UPDATE: After some obstreperous reader broke ranks to criticize the gentlemanly reporting of Mr. Gabriel, the Times public editor has apparently struck the clause of the sentence. This is as it should be. When a public figure speaks falsely or absurdly in a public forum aimed at influencing public policy, the polite thing to do is to pretend the statement was never made.