We need to kick around ballot initiatives leading to voter referenda. Liberals seem split on the idea, and not only in Massachusetts. Extremists on both left and right absolutely love citizens being able to put any law to a plebiscite.
Predictably, yesterday the Boston Globe's token staff conservative columnist, Jeff Jacoby, mouthed the sensational half-truths of others on the issue. It is certain that he is as lazy as a preacher taking every sermon idea from published homilies. Column after column parrot distortions or outright lies of the likes of Citizens for Limited Taxation (CLT) and MassResistance.
In his case, there is the obvious question about whether he is so ignorant and dull witted that he does not know that he is publishing lies and distortions. More likely, he can just lift sensationalist lies, being inflammatory and getting paid for little work. Of course, like Rush Limbaugh, his lack of respect for his readers' intellects is evident – twice a week is this case.
For one example, Jacoby's column and the originals he took from claim that if the new limits on ballot initiatives pass, anyone signing or donating would have name, address and phone published on the Net for all to see and for opponents toharasss. Instead, the proposed changes would have identified contributors giving over $5,000, in other words, those with seriously vested interests.
A bit different, no? Why would CLT and Jacoby assume their publics are too dumb to understand? Could it be that they simply take the cheap shot with an emotional appeal, intellect be damned?
You can also check others who note Jacoby's laziness and inaccuracy. For example, Jeff Jacoby Gets It Wrong (Again) by MassResistance Watch.
Posts here in the next few days will muse on the benefits and drawbacks of ballot initiatives.
Meanwhile, re-read Jacoby's column. These are arguments and lies you have seen and will see again. You can also check out the actual proposal. Start with a posting from this blog, which links to the bill.
Many letters to the Globe ask whether the paper can't find a conservative voice that is not so malicious or dishonest. Lord knows it makes an obvious effort to fill the op-ed pages with as much conservative and reactionary material in the name of balance as it can. Among those writers, surely there must be one who could and would turn out one or two thought-provoking, honest columns a week.