When Ellen Ratner went a couple weeks without any major liberal loopiness, one wondered whether perhaps Jim Pinkerton was having a salubrious effect on her. But things got back to normal this morning when Ratner let Pinkerton goad her into boasting that she supports "open immigration."
The opening topic on today's 'Long & the Short of It' segment on Fox & Friends Weekend dealt with Howard Dean's recent claim that job # 1 in his view is tougher border security.
Pinkerton smelled politics, describing Dean as "somebody who is reading the polls. . . I know for a fact Americans by a majority of three or four to one are in favor of tighter border security. So I think Dean is, as it were, getting on the right train going the right direction about tougher border security. I hope he can now bring along Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi."
Ratner seemed to share Pinkerton's take: "Look, everybody will talk about tougher border security. That's what people want to talk about now. Whether it can be accomplished is a whole other issue but it will be a campaign issue in 2006."
That's when Pinkerton baited his hook. Addressing host Kiran Chetry [whose beautiful back-from-maternity-leave photo I am legally obliged to display], he slyly said:
"Kiran, in the last month or so Ellen has done a terrible job representing the far left on this immigration issue which proves to me how powerful it is. The old issue was 'unlimited border - let everyone in'. The new issue is 'get tough, build a wall'. We are getting there. I sense enormous progress. Politics do work."
Ratner went for the bait like a ravenous bluefish hitting a, well, whatever it is they hit when they're running in Long Island Sound.
"I'm in favor of open immigration, Jim!" she exclaimed. OK, then, Ellen, your far-left credentials have been renewed - at least for the time being.
Talk then turned to the 2008 presidential sweepstakes, and Kiran opened with this rather dismissive description of John Kerry's ambitions: "Let me ask about John Kerry - his statements leading some of us to think he is not, you know, giving up for 2008."
If Kiran seemed less than moved at the prospect of a Kerry candidacy, the conservative Pinkerton was positively giddy: "I hope he feels the urge to run for president. He is the worst candidate since George McGovern. I can't believe [Democrats] are that dumb."
Invited by Kiran to hop aboard the Kerry love train, Ellen allowed that "what I want is probably Senator Feingold" but did make it clear that she would "throw my weight in back of anybody that I think can win that nomination."
Pinkerton was quick to take 'yes' for an answer: "I join with Ellen in supporting Kerry for the Democrat nomination!"
Claimed Ratner: "I think there are a lot of great candidates and I bet the Democrats come up with somebody really good this time, Jim, and Democrats will win the White House in 2008. I know that will keep you up at night."
Pinkerton closed with with what is surely in the minds of many Democrats and Republicans alike: "I don't think they would win with Kerry." Hmm, unless this is some truly Machiavellian maneuvering on Pinkerton's part, egging Dems into discarding Kerry in favor of the ultimately-more-vulnerable Hillary?
Finkelstein lives in the liberal haven of Ithaca, NY, where he hosts the award-winning public-access show 'Right Angle'. Contact him at: email@example.com