Yes, Virginia, there is a December headline cliché

Yes, Virginia, there is a December headline cliché December 27, 2011

Back when I still worked in a fully staffed newsroom — back when there still was such a thing as a fully staffed newsroom — we had a rule for the holidays. Once per year we would allow one headline beginning “‘Tis the Season …” and one beginning, “Yes, Virginia …”

But only one per year. And that was probably still one too many.

The “Yes, Virginia …” headline still seems irresistible, with about 500 recent examples in Google News, including:

  • “Yes, Virginia, consumers will buy big-ticket items via mobile”
  • “Yes, Virginia, there is no Newt (on the ballot)”
  • “Yes, Virginia, the Internet does not replace old-fashioned politics”
  • “Yes, Virginia, Consumers Won a Couple in Washington”
  • “Yes, Virginia, there is a Supreme Court”
  • Yes, Virginia, There Is a Pooping Log
  • “Yes, Virginia, There are Rainbow Trout in Texas”
  • “Yes, Virginia, there are things to do this weekend”
  • “Yes, Virginia, there is a Christ in Christmas”
  • Yes, Virginia, Ron Paul Is a Kook

That last one is from Kevin Drum, responding to a 1991 Ron Paul fundraising letter in which the Texas Republican warned that then-new paper currency designed to make counterfeiting more difficult was some kind of Stalinist plot.

It’s hard to know how to respond to the hyperventilating paranoia and conspiratorial weirdness of Paul’s newsletters when you stack that set of delusional extremist ideas against Paul’s other delusional, extremist ideas — the ones trumpeted in the explicitly racist, homophobic and misogynist articles of the congressman’s horrifying newsletters.

Those newsletters are now being tweeted, line-by-despicable-line.

Any single one of those lines ought to be, by itself, the kind of appalling gaffe that would end a political career — disqualifying Ron Paul not just from his party’s presidential nomination, but from re-election, even in Texas. Cumulatively, the effect is devastating.

It’s more than enough to raise the question asked by Ashley F. Miller: “Why does anyone like Ron Paul?

The erratically libertarian icon’s supporters rushed to answer that question in the comments to Miller’s post, noting that, for example, she’s a woman and therefore shouldn’t be allowed to vote or to express opinions. OK, then, question answered.


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