Friday, August 26, 2005

Clearing away the cotton to get at Roberts

John Roberts is an honest guy, right? In fact, the man is so honest that he simply must have a picture of Abe Lincoln on his office wall, right? Wrong... try Jefferson Davis.

No, I do not jest. The Washington Post has outdone itself today by publishing an article on Roberts that is so utterly silly you will swear it is a parody:

When John G. Roberts Jr. prepared to ghostwrite an article for President Ronald Reagan a little over two decades ago, his pen took a Civil War reenactment detour.

The article, which was to appear in the scholarly National Forum journal, was called "The Presidency: Roles and Responsibilities." Roberts was writing by hand a section on how the congressional appropriations process had evolved.

A fastidious editor of other people's copy as well as his own, Roberts began with the words "Until about the time of the Civil War." Then, the Indiana native scratched out the words "Civil War" and replaced them with "War Between the States."

The handwritten document is one of tens of thousands of pages of Roberts files released over the past several weeks from his 1982-1986 tenure as an associate counsel to the president.

While it is true that the Civil War is also known as the War Between the States, the Encyclopedia Americana notes that the term is used mainly by southerners. Sam McSeveney, a history professor emeritus at Vanderbilt University who specialized in the Civil War, said that Roberts's choice of words was significant.

"Many people who are sympathetic to the Confederate position are more comfortable with the idea of a 'War Between the States,' " McSeveney explained. "People opposed to the civil rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s would undoubtedly be more comfortable with the words he chose."

So there you have it. Roberts is a rebel-flag toting Dixieland confederate who longs for the good old days of the plantation. Just remember folks, somewhere, in a disheveled little office at the Washington Post, an editor actually gave this story the go-ahead...

Technorati Tags: , , , ,