Thursday, May 8, 2008

When Having the Right Doesn't Make it Right

LA Times columnist Rosa Brooks illustrates how having the right to do something -- as in Hillary's right to keep campaigning -- might not be the right or sensible thing to do. Key passage:
Much of the time, "rights" arguments are red herrings, designed to keep you from seeing the real issues: Will Clinton hurt the Democratic Party if she continues a divisive race? Is Wright's wounded pride damaging his judgment? .... Worse, framing absolutely everything in terms of rights risks creating a boy-who-cried-wolf situation. When every squabble leads people to squawk about their threatened rights, we tune out. Rights, rights, rights, yada, yada, yada. Then, when serious threats to rights come along -- attacks on habeas corpus, for instance -- who's gonna notice, or care?
Hillary now reminds me of the character Julie Hagerty played in Albert Brooks's 1985 film Lost In America. After selling everything she and her husband had to take off and live the rest of their lives in a Winnebago, she burns through their entire savings in one night at the roulette wheel: "Twenty-two! Twenty-two! Come on back to me, come on back to me!" She needs to cut her losses and call it a night (if not now, then very soon).

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