The Friday, November 16th editorial page of the New York Times demonstrates why this newspaper these days remains the most important organ of opinion in the country. In three hard-hitting editorials, the paper gave expression, in unvarnished, well-argued, and concisely-honed paragraphs, to outrage over the shameful behavior of the Bush Administration in three instances -- White House defiance of Congressional investigations; the Blackwater mess; and the stem cell fiasco.
The first editorial, "In Contempt" slammed the refusal of two of Bush aides, Chief of Staff Josh Bolton and former White House counsel Harriet Miers to respond to congressional subpoenas to testify in the United States attorneys scandal. Their disregard for congress's right to call witnesses was, as the paper said, not only an illegal obstruction in a lawful probe of an abuse of authority by the government, but also a dangerous effort to upset our careful system of checks and balances.
The second editorial, "Prosecuting Blackwater," reprimands the Bush Administration for its continuing failure to impose penalties on the lawless behavior of the Blackwater guards who killed at least 14 Iraqis in an indiscriminate and unjustified shooting spree last September.
Finally "A Stem Cell Achievement" chastizes President Bush for hobbling stem cell research because of the religious right. While the Times has at moments given pause in the past over events like its flawed coverage of the US decision to invade Iraq, its editorial pages continue on most occasions to hold high the flag of progressive thinking in America. Imagine this country without this paper.