Only one Dana Milbank

Drudge flags Dana Milbank’s mocking Washington Post article on John Roberts: “Roberts’s rules of decorum.” Milbank lingers over Judge Roberts’s 1984 criticism of Michael Jackson:

On April 30, 1984, Roberts wrote to oppose a presidential award that was to have been given to Jackson for his efforts against drunk driving. Roberts particularly objected to award wording that described Jackson as an “outstanding example” for American youth.
“If one wants the youth of America and the world sashaying around in garish sequined costumes, hair dripping with pomade, body shot full of female hormones to prevent voice change, mono-gloved, well, then, I suppose ‘Michael,’ as he is affectionately known in the trade, is in fact a good example. Quite apart from the problem of appearing to endorse Jackson’s androgynous life style, a Presidential award would be perceived as a shallow effort by the President to share in the constant publicity surrounding Jackson….The whole episode would, in my view, be demeaning to the President.”

Milbank gives Judge Roberts no credit for the astuteness of his criticism. Perhaps Milbank is still a fan of Jackson despite the notoriety his pedophilia has added to the luster of his 1984 celebrity. Or perhaps Milbank thinks that Judge Roberts’s concern for the power of presidential decorum and popular example is a silly eccentricity. Milbank pretends to fairness, however, by making a show of pointing out that Roberts’s concerns extended far beyond the gentleman subsequently dubbed Wacko Jacko:

In fairness to Roberts, his objections to celebrity extended far beyond Jackson. On Oct. 3, 1983, two months after opposing a Reagan remembrance of Bing Crosby, he wrote to oppose presidential remarks praising John Wayne as the epitome of American values:
“I am…somewhat troubled by the absence of a consistent policy governing our willingness to permit the President to participate in these private, commercial tributes…I think we are seeing evidence of what we often say will happen when we deny requests for Presidential endorsements of charitable efforts: once you do one it becomes impossible to turn down countless others. I know there’s only one John Wayne — but there’s only one Bob Hope, James Bond, Bing Crosby, etc. etc. etc.”

Milbank can’t resist a parting shot:

Only one James Bond?

We can only hope that Milbank will return to the subject and share his own views of the formerly gloved one with us at a later date, after the confirmation of Judge Roberts.
UPDATE: The incomparable Mark Steyn concurs: “Sashay this! The Washington Post might think it a negative, but I’d confirm [Roberts] just for his deft summation of Jacko.”


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