Earlier today, Mark Plotkin held an online chat where he fielded questions about local politics, most of which had to do with his recent exchange with the First Lady. Plotkin received both his share of flak and praise. Some excerpts:
- Washington: Mark! You are becoming my all-time favorite journalist! Good for you for asking the necessary question to Her Majesty. Did she not think that not answering the question came off as being completely hypocritical? How do we make more like you? And what is the status of the D.C. voting rights legislation now that two hyprocr … I mean, the two “conservative” senators kept it off the floor?
Mark Plotkin: Well thanks for the praise. I’m susceptible to all flattery. The First Lady was ready to receive any question that had to do with the color of the Ballou High School Uniforms, the songs that they played, or her favorite instrument. But when it came to a question that had to do with the right to vote, then she could not come up with an answer. It was more then two conservative Senators that kept the bill off the floor. It was Max Baucus, a Democrat, and Mitch McConnell, and most of the Republican Party. There were eight Republicans who thought that the issue was important enough to debate and I repeat their names.
As I’ve said before, Bush would have vetoed the bill, I now feel without a doubt and there weren’t 2/3 to override in both houses that veto.
Arlington, Va.: You realize, of course, that Laura Bush has nothing at all to do with the issue of voting rights for the District don’t you? Thus making your question rude, impertinent and pointless.
Mark Plotkin: You’re absolutely wrong. She s a person who has opinions and I don’t hesitate to say that she has the Presidents ear. If you had read yesterdays Washington Post, you would have realized that she has become the administrations chief spokesperson on the issue of denial of democracy in Burma. In fact, she even testified on this issue on Capital Hill. Your description of my question is inaccurate and stupid. All questions are legitimate and as I’ve said before in my column, Mark My Words (on www.wtopnews.com), the press in the immortal words of Brendan Sullivan are not potted plants . Laura Bush is an adult. She had the right and the prerogative not to answer the question and she choose not to answer the question. The reason she didn’t answer is there is no defensible answer for the question I asked. People such as yourself, I don’t think realize, or understand, what the responsibility of the press is in a free society. I think you’d feel more comfortable in a dictatorship or maybe in the middle ages where the King or Queen is never questioned.
Dupont Circle, D.C.: Mark, with all due respect, your boyish attempt to pigeonhole Laura Bush at The White House was as amateurish as I think I’ve ever seen you. What were you possibly trying to accomplish by approaching her, and what are your thoughts on all of the negative publicity you have received for yourself and your employer?
Mark Plotkin: First of all, why is the attempt boyish? I don’t understand that description. Are you so deficient in selecting the right word that you come up with that word? Amateurish is also a ridiculous moniker for what I did. I’m a member of the press and I m paid for it so I’m not an amateur. What I was trying to accomplish was to get an answer. I guess that thought is lost on you because you have no appreciation, knowledge, or understanding of what the press is supposed to do. I really don’t think I should waste any more time responding to you because your choice of words is so woefully ignorant. But I will say, that all the publicity you referred to has been far from negative and my employer has stood by me from beginning to end.