Tag Archives: Patterico

Ellie Light Responds

Ellie Light responds but she might have been better off if she’d just kept her mouth shut. On the very off chance that you haven’t already seen Ellie’s letter,* here it is.

A YEAR AGO, if we’d read that employers were hiring again, that health-care legislation was proceeding without a bump, that Afghanistan suddenly was a nice place to take kids, we’d have known we were being lied to. We knew the problems President Obama inherited wouldn’t go away overnight.

During his campaign, Obama clearly said that an economy that took eight years to break couldn’t be fixed in a year, that Afghanistan was a graveyard of empires, and wouldn’t be an easy venture.

Candidate Obama didn’t feed us happy talk, which is why we elected him. He never said America could solve our health-care, economic and security problems without raising the deficit. He talked of hard choices, of government taking painful and contentious first steps toward fixing problems that can’t be left for another day.

Right after the election, we seemed to grasp this. We understood that companies would be happy to squeeze more work out of frightened employees, and would be slow to hire.

We understood that the banks were lying when they said they’d share their recovery. That a national consensus on health care wouldn’t come easily. Candidate Obama never claimed that his proposed solutions would work flawlessly right out of the box, and we respected him for that.

Today, the president is being attacked as if he’d promised that our problems would wash off in the morning. He never did. It’s time for Americans to realize that governing is hard work, and that a president can’t just wave a magic wand and fix everything.

Ellie Light

Despite the letter having appeared, apparently, in dozens of newspapers across the country, “Light said she didnt [sic] submit her letter to all the outlets that published it, and said many carried it after it was cited several weeks ago by Politico’s Ben Smith. She says she prefers submitting her letters to smaller papers, ‘specifically because I think rationality needs a broader audience.'”

Rationality needs a broader audience? Right. Not to mention less competition for publication.

But what does that even mean? If I wanted a broader audience, I’d submit to larger papers, but I’m obviously not as clever as Ellie, so maybe I just don’t get it.

Ellie doesn’t know when to quit. She goes on:

If my letter were boilerplate [White House senior adviser David] Axelrod dribble, as has been suggested by your new fan club, it would not have been published. Many of my friends have written letters to the editor and bemoan the fact that they never get published. I reply that everything they wrote in their letters has been said before by others. I think, however, this one letter that I wrote, is unique enough, that it was worth widespread attention, simple as that.

I don’t know about you, but when I first read Ellie’s letter, I thought it sounded as though it had been written by a high school student (and, indeed, the Flesch-Kincaid grade level is 9.4). Ellie, however, is of the opinion that her letter – far from being “boilerplate Axelrod dribble” (and I assure you, I almost dribbled my drink down my front when I read that bit of drivel) – was “unique enough” (don’t get me started on adding a qualifer to a superlative) that editors across the country scrambled to print it. Yeah. And she’s smarter and more original than her friends. They’re lucky to know her, really.

(Note to Ben Smith: If Obama’s supporters are having a hard time crystallizing the rather simple thoughts Ellie included in her letter, maybe liberals really aren’t the smart ones after all. Just sayin’.)

*If you aren’t familiar with this story, click through on this link, read the article, and follow the links.

Update 1: Ellie still ♥ her letter, or so she told Michael Smerconish, a talk show host based in Atlanta.

“My letter was pretty darn good. It took a long time to write. I took more interest in honing it than most people take today.”

She also admitted to faking her address (which would appear to be at odds with her earlier statement about not having submitted her letter to the many outlets that published it).

“I need to own up – I did misrepresent my home town in some places,” Light told Smerconish. Her logic in faking the addresses is one familiar to advocacy groups: “If I thought it was written by a neighbor of mine, I would give it more credence.”

I don’t know about you, but I never put much credence in the words of known liars. But maybe that’s just me.


Filed under Journalism, Media