The late, splendid Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan once famously asserted, "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." The senator was wrong. (Of course, for those of us who still believe that objectivity is objective, a fact is still a fact, though the heavens may fall.)
The key word here is "entitled." In today's entitlement-crazy Washington, not only do folks believe that about half the country is entitled to other people's money and health insurance policies, they feel they are entitled to their own facts to support their claim to their own entitlement to other people's money and health insurance policies.
Not only that, they believe they are entitled to their own facts to describe the character and conduct of their political opponents. The Democratic Party collectively smeared scores of millions of American Tea Party participants as racist, homophobic, violent terrorists in the absence of a single verified fact in support of even one such incident being attributable to a single individual. Nor did their media pals even bother with the word "alleged."
At a more personal level, two prominent liberal magazines led their readers to believe (as evidenced by multiple reader comments) that in one of my columns last week, I plagiarized Winston Churchill's most famous speech as my own -- despite the fact that I expressly stated immediately before and immediately after the paraphrase that I was paraphrasing Churchill's "Finest Hour" speech from June 1940. I even stated that I apologized for paraphrasing his immortal words. New Republic did have the decency to correct that misimpression after I wrote to complain. The other magazine I will leave in its obscurity.
Not only was Moynihan wrong, so was John Adams, who said, "Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence. ("Argument in Defense of the Soldiers in the Boston Massacre Trials," December 1770).
Though he may have been correct technically -- the facts cannot be altered in the eyes of God -- he was wrong to the extent that the facts cannot be altered in the eyes of the public.
The advocates of the new "thing" that was passed a week ago Sunday and signed into law by the chief executive claimed it would reduce the deficit by $140 billion over the first 10 years. No informed person believes that "fact." Also, fairly happily, according to Sunday's Washington Post poll, 65 percent of the public think the new law will increase the budget deficit.
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.