Psychologists use the term projection to describe a defense mechanism used by those who have unwanted or undesirable impulses or motivations. Lacking an effective way of dealing with those impulses or motivations, the individual projects them onto others. In essence, a person claims that other people are driven by the forces that he or she is driven by.
That's what I thought of when I read the Wall Street Journal Editorial Page today.
While accusing me and others of plotting various partisan agendas, motivations and vendettas should the Democratic party gain control in November, I was left wondering about the Journal's standing to make such accusations in light of its own "storied" history in journalism.
When the Journal editorial page takes on Democrats on tax policy, I wonder if this is the same Wall Street Journal editorial page, that in 2002 called those who are in the bottom 20 percent of wage earners "lucky duckies", as the President pushed a tax bill that did nothing to benefit the working poor?
Is that the level of mendacity they are projecting?
When the Journal editorial page takes on Democrats on budget and spending policy, I wonder if this is the same Wall Street Journal editorial page that in 1993 labeled President Clinton's 1993 budget, which is widely credited with producing the best economy in American history, as a "Class-Warfare Economy"?
Is that the laughably bad economic know-how they are projecting?
When the Journal editorial page accuses me and other Democrats of plotting partisan vendettas based on conspiracy theories, I don't see how they can keep a straight face.
After all, is this the same Wall Street Journal editorial page that -- under headlines like "Mysterious Mena" and "Investigate Mena" urging the Republican Congress to examine allegations that President Clinton and the C.I.A. conspired to run drugs through an Arkansas airport? (I would simply note that the Republican Congress complied with this request).
Is this the same Wall Street Journal editorial page that so viciously attacked Clinton White House Counsel Vince Foster with conspiratorial headlines like "Who is Vince Foster"? These attacks were a substantial cause of Vince Foster's depression and subsequent suicide. Rather than apologizing for these attacks, is this the same Wall Street Journal that ran an editorial entitled "A Washington Death" urging an investigation into whether Foster's suicide was, in fact, a murder and disgustingly implying that the Clinton's were involved? (I would simply note that the Republican Congress complied with this request. The Chairman of the Committee that conducted this investigation, a hero of the Wall Street Journal editorial page, famously conducted his own ballistics tests in his backyard to prove foul play, shooting a watermelon repeatedly with a handgun.)
In a fine denouement to the Wall Street Journal editorial page's sterling record of accuracy during the Clinton years, didn't it shamelessly flog the hoax of widespread vandalism by outgoing Clinton staffers during the Clinton/Bush transition, with one writer labeling it a crime?
I guess I shouldn't be surprised that the Journal lies to make its case against Democrats. With respect to my staff's report, the "Constitution in Crisis," they claim it is "a road map of Mr. Conyers's explicit intention to investigate grounds for impeaching President Bush."
I think they need a dictionary and a fact checker. Explicit means "fully and clearly expressed or demonstrated; leaving nothing merely implied; unequivocal." I have explicitly said exactly the opposite of what they claim I have said. And the report doesn't accuse the President or others of "violating no fewer than 26 laws or regulations." It says 26 laws and regulations are "implicated by" their alleged conduct. It's a distinction between allegation and fact, apparently too fine for the Journal's editorial writers to grasp.
I guess I shouldn't be surprised that the Journal thinks Democrats will be out to get Bush the same way they and the Republican Congress were out to get President Clinton. We will not. But with a long record of a propensity to engage in delusions and conspiracy theories mixed with a pitiful record of fact checking, I guess it must be projection.