That the New York Times is somewhat less of a sewer than it has been is primarily due to the presence of the two Michelles, Alexander and Goldberg, both whom reliably and effectively articulate a left/liberal perspective on its op-ed page.
Though they represent an improvement, a significant point of continuity should be mentioned: the Times remains a Bernie free zone. Neither endorsed Sanders in 2016. Their having failed to do so is an indication of their maintaining the “this far and no further” tradition of Times liberals of years past.
This was personified most notably by Anthony Lewis who famously referred to our genocidal conduct in Southeast Asia as “blundering efforts to do good” thereby distancing himself from irresponsible radicals of the new left who regarded the war as “an obscenity, a depraved act by weak and miserable men.”
Goldberg’s recent column on Ilhan Omar can be seen as more of the same pox on both houses philosophy. Thus, Goldberg correctly savages the right’s cynical weaponizing of the anti-semitism smear. But at the same time, she accepts the fundamental basis of their charge that Omar’s remarks were indeed anti-semitic.
That they were nothing of the kind should be apparent to anyone capable of minimal objectivity. Furthermore, by now we have decades of experience with the consequences of deploying this well worn triangulatory gambit.
A surefire way of losing to the right is to criticize their positions while conceding their underlying factual premises on which they are based. Whether on crime, austerity, the environment, health care, or education, every time we have done so, we have lost.
Sometimes politics isn’t complicated. In fact, it almost never is.
The only thing that needs to be said about this affair is very simple: #IstandwithIlhan.