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Boydot’s paradox

Rudy Boschwitz is the former United States Senator who represented Minnesota for twelve years, from 1978-1991. He is a friend for whom I was proud to serve as treasurer in his 1996 campaign.
His life story is a tribute to the United States that he has never tired of retelling. As a child, he came with his family to America when his father had the foresight to leave Germany upon Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor in 1933.
Senator Boschwitz made a name for himself and even became something of an icon in Minnesota as a businessman before he ran for office in 1978. He served in the Senate with distinction and continued the private good works that have enhanced his reputation both before and after his public service.
It should therefore count as something of a fourth and fifth strike against our old-media adversary Jim Boyd, the cowardly lion of Portland Avenue, that he went substantially out of his way to smear both incumbent Senator Norm Coleman and Senator Boschwitz in his Star Tribune column this past Sunday after smearing Rocket Man and me in his column the previous Sunday.
We have already noted Boyd’s disgraceful treatment of Senator Coleman in his most recent column. We have held off commenting on Boyd’s assertions regarding Senator Boschwitz until now. In his column this past Sunday Boyd wrote:

About six weeks ago, former Sen. Rudy Boschwitz submitted a piece that took on former counterterrorism expert Richard Clarke. The piece contained demonstrably false statements. I required that they be stripped from the piece, and they were. The piece ran.

Let us observe preliminarily that when Jim Boyd talks about “demonstrably false statements,” we enter the paradoxical world in which one is asked to judge the veracity of statements such as “all men are liars.”
Speaking for himself, Senator Boschwitz has responded to Boyd’s smear with a letter to the editor of the Star Tribune that he sent earlier today. He has kindly granted us permission to share it with our readers. Here it is:

Imagine my surprise when I returned from vacation last Sunday, and saw in the Star Tribune an assault on my good name.
In an angry article by Jim Boyd, in which he congratulates himself for preventing “political smear” on your opinion page, he states:
“About six weeks ago, former Sen. Rudy Boschwitz submitted a piece that took on former counterterrorism expert Richard Clarke. The piece contained demonstrably false statements. I required that they be stripped from the piece, and they were. The piece ran.”

My my. This indeed was a surprise. I never wrote a piece about Clarke and I haven’t talked to Jim Boyd in several years.
I did write a piece, however, about Sandy Berger, Bill Clinton’s National Security Adviser. I had a couple of very nice conversations with Sue Wolkerstorfer of the [Star Tribune] editorial page who did object to certain things I wrote, facts that I had checked with my Washington sources, and with which she disagreed. I recognized that if my piece was to be accepted by the Star Tribune, it needed to be changed. So I made the requested changes. The changes certainly did not alter the substance of the article.
Jim Boyd doesn’t consider himself a purveyor of political smear such as he accuses others of being. Yet he calls John Hinderaker and Scott Johnson, who wrote two columns that appeared on your pages, “fraudulent” and “smear artists” engaged in “immorality.” Strong words indeed for a fellow who abhors political smear and accuses others of engaging in it! I know both of those young men well and find their work particularly well written and painstakingly researched.
They are clearly more accurate than Boyd.

Since his retirement from office by the voters in 1990, Senator Boschwitz has returned to the Twin Cities, rejoined the family business, and resumed an active civic and political life. For Boyd to drag Senator Boschwitz into a discussion that he has literally nothing to do with and to perform a kind of drive-by smear of his good name in the community prompts the following observation.
Jim Boyd’s professional behavior seems to have reached the point where we may have to ask of him the same question that Joseph Welch posed to Joe McCarthy, and that made Welch a political legend: “Have you no decency, Sir? At long last, have you no decency?”

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