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The Buzz

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Issue: "Four horsemen of the apocalypse," Oct. 4, 2008

Portrait of two ladies and their treatment by the Gray Lady

Sure, many conservatives say The New York Times is biased against Sarah Palin, but let's remember the Times editorial published right after John McCain made his choice: "So much for the snickers about Boring McCain. His choice of Sarah Palin enlivens a leaden campaign season. It energizes the Republicans. And for all Americans, not just women, it's a genuinely historic moment. The verbs of Sarah Palin's life convey her solidity: worked, earned, raised, ran, won, led. In selecting her, Mr. McCain pays signal tribute to the difficult path pursued by many American women."

The Times, in its usually fair-minded way, noted that some would say Palin's selection was merely political, but it then rebutted that criticism: "By choosing a woman who seems untested on the national stage, it will be said that Mr. McCain looks desperate, driven to gamble that the women's vote will turn into a plus. Maybe, but so what? That has always been the first criterion for running mates: Who will bring the most to the ticket?"

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OK, confession time: This was not the initial Times editorial about Sarah Palin. It was the editorial on July 13, 1984, that supported Democratic VP candidate Geraldine Ferraro: Merely trade Ferraro for Palin, and Walter Mondale (that year's Democratic presidential candidate) for McCain. This year, the Times is repeatedly demanding that Palin "fill in for the voting public the gaping blanks about her record and qualifications to be vice president." In 1984, as WORLD reader Keith Appell pointed out to me, "the Times made no such demands-but blindly accepted that she was ready."

Let's all admit that Palin doesn't have all the experience one might want, but neither does Barack Obama, and neither did Geraldine Ferraro, who was one of 435 members of the House of Representatives for three terms, and not even a leader. Match that against governing the largest state in the country: If Ferraro's experience was sufficient, so is Palin's. On the other hand, the intense questioning of Palin is fair only if Obama, No. 1 on his ticket, receives interrogation at least as hard-and so far he has not.

While we observe the hypocrisy in the gimlet eye of The New York Times, evangelicals also have the opportunity to notice what obscures our own vision. Sometimes we succumb to the impulse to hector other people on how to live their lives; it's better to note humbly that we've found a better way for our own lives, so we hope and pray that others will too. Sometimes we come across not as people of compassion but as politicians making our own power plays.

None of that justifies New York Times arrogance (sure, those reporters have read The Scarlet Letter, so they know how evangelicals think), but self-examination may reveal the major difference between evangelicals and Times secular fundamentalists-and it's not lipstick. The difference is that all of us are in the gutter, but some of us are looking up to God. - Marvin Olasky

A race

Just as the U.S. election cycle nears its end, Afghanistan's will begin. President Hamid Karzai announced last month that he will seek reelection in 2009 when his first five-year term is up (under Afghanistan's constitution presidents may serve two five-year terms). But he will have competition. A list of contenders compiled by Afghan news site Quqnoos includes Zalmay Khalilzad, the Afghan-born current U.S. ambassador to the UN and former U.S. ambassador to both Afghanistan and Iraq. Khalilzad made his first return to Afghanistan in 2001 after spending 30 years in the United States, where he served in the Reagan and Bush Sr. administrations and is currently the highest-ranking Muslim in any U.S. administration.

Woman's work

She still has one more hurdle to cross, but Tzipi Livni is likely to become Israel's prime minister, the first female to hold the post since Golda Meir held it 34 years ago. Livni won the Kadima Party primaries on Sept. 17 by a narrow margin of 431 votes. Exit polls showed a clear lead against chief rival Shaul Mofaz, a hard-line transportation minister and ex-general, but the gap narrowed as votes were counted. Outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert-knee-deep in corruption charges-vowed to step down as soon as his party elects a new leader.

Livni still has work to do: The 50-year-old mother of two has 42 days to cobble together a coalition government or a new general election will be declared for early 2009. And an early election means she would likely face off against hawkish Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu, a formidable rival. "The fact that I'm a woman doesn't make me a weak leader," Livni said during an interview a week prior to the election. "It's not that generals pull the trigger and women don't. I have no problem pulling the trigger when necessary."

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