Bob Herbert Leaves NYTimes

Bob Herbert is leaving the NYTimes today – his last editorial post is quite good, Losing Our Way. Here is a sampling of what Bob has to say:

So here we are pouring shiploads of cash into yet another war, this time in Libya, while simultaneously demolishing school budgets, closing libraries, laying off teachers and police officers, and generally letting the bottom fall out of the quality of life here at home. Welcome to America in the second decade of the 21st century. An army of long-term unemployed workers is spread across the land, the human fallout from the Great Recession and long years of misguided economic policies. Optimism is in short supply. The few jobs now being created too often pay a pittance, not nearly enough to pry open the doors to a middle-class standard of living.

Tough assessment? Maybe. But as analysis becomes so nuanced or just foolheartedly  wrong at the NYTimes, it has been refreshing to get a view of the big picture on a consistent basis from Bob Herbert. Here is a quick sampler of some of the best of Bob Herbert’s editorial pieces:
The Source of Obama’s Trouble -Democrats, who seem to be on a relentless quest to pass a health care bill, don’t seem to grasp the issue truly important to Americans: jobs. Bob beat everyone to this punching  note.
Falling Further Behind – Ignoring the sad state of our nation’s schools and infrastructure will hurt us.
Where the Bar Ought to Be – In Harlem, an educator is expecting the best, not the worst, from students at her charter schools. Second in a series on education trends in America.
Wars, Endless Wars – the nation as we’ve known it is fading before our very eyes, but we’re still pouring billions of dollars into wars in Afghanistan and Iraq with missions we are still unable to define. Again returns to a worrying theme.
Where the Money Is – A financial transactions tax, a small fee on the sale or transfer of stocks and bonds, would raise a ton of money that the government sorely needs. Like Tom Friedman’s gas tax: so right, yet so  political-powers-that-be wrong.
In America; Listen To the Children – The teen-ager called to ask if he could be excused from classes. Something bad had happened. He had attended a christening and a shootout had erupted. “I have to go with my mother to visit my brother in jail,” the boy told school officials. “He’s up for attempted murder. Then I’m going with her to bring my other brother’s body home. He was killed in the shootout and I still have to go back to the doctor because I got shot in the pelvis.” His first column in June 1993.

And if you have any doubts  about the ye Editor’s evaluation – just read the comments to Bob’s last NYTimes column. The NYTimes is going to have to watch out – with the departure of Frank Rich and Bob Herbert the NYTimes is losing some eloquent voices for the moral right. What will be sorely missed in the case of Bob Herbert is the ability to overlay the pithy political  and economic analysis of Rich and Krugman with the Bob’s big and strong moral persuasions.

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