Praising with faint damnation

Last week, Gale Norton resigned from her position as Secretary of the Interior. Norton was one of my favorite cabinet members.
The Washington Post marks Norton’s departure by serving up a lame editorial criticizing Norton for not bridging “the deep gap between the mining and drilling companies that view America’s federal lands as an untapped source of mineral resources and the environmentalists who see them as pristine wilderness that must be preserved for future generations.” The Post takes Norton to task for not successfully brokering a compromise between these groups.
But it was not Norton’s job to broker compromises that would satisfy environmental extremists. It was her job to make sound decisions. The Post finds that “not all of [her] decisions were wrong” and notes that she made a “persuasive case” for her approach at a meeting with its editors. Translated from Post-speak, this means “we can’t point to any decision Norton made that was unreasonable, but we know we don’t like her policies because our friends don’t.”


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