John Podhoretz makes a good point about anti-Bush opportunism in the wake of the tsunami, but I think he’s dreaming if the anti-Bush crowd can be shamed on this score. Recall how just days after 9/11 folks like Joe Conason, immediately concluded that the important lesson of 9/11 was that SDI didn’t make sense and that one of the greatest threats to our republic was the “real story” about the diversion of Air Force One after the attack? Of course, Conason didn’t care about the real story at all once it was clear that it didn’t hurt Bush.
As for John’s main target, the New York Times, these were the same editorialists who immediately made Matthew Shepherd’s death about the lack of a hate crimes bill in Washington. The political utility of tragedy is built into our political culture and I don’t think it can be removed, particularly given the media climate we live in today