Chris Powell: Just asking question gets Megyn Kelly canned

  White singer and actor    Al Jolson    wearing blackface in the musical film   The Jazz Singer   (1927). The movie was the first feature-length “talkie’’.

White singer and actor Al Jolson wearing blackface in the musical film The Jazz Singer (1927). The movie was the first feature-length “talkie’’.

MANCHESTER, Conn.

Anyone might be glad to be fired if it meant the tens of millions of dollars that Megyn Kelly will get in severance pay from NBC for cancellation of her Megyn Kelly Today show. There's little need to feel sorry for her.

But Kelly's dismissal is another blow to the national dialogue, since she was fired, at least nominally, just for asking a couple of questions on the air. That is, why is wearing blackface in Halloween costumes always wrong, and what is racist?

Kelly seemed to be wondering if blackface might be acceptable for someone who just wanted to dress up like a particular character. While blackface has a long association with racial mockery, Kelly didn't defend mockery.

So why wouldn't just answering Kelly's question and making an argument have been sufficient? Why was it necessary to execute her quickly, even after she apologized for her ignorance of history?

For if mere ignorance is cause for dismissal, lots of people are unfit for their posts, and Kelly's firing may strike them as raw intimidation by a political correctness that wants to punish without having to argue. That would be disrespect far greater than anything Kelly committed and would add to the country's bitter political resentments.

xxx

BIDEN MISSES LAMONT AD: Former Vice President Joe Biden came to Connecticut last week to campaign for the Democratic ticket and urge an end to vilification in politics. "Fear stokes bad behavior," Biden said. "Personal attacks stoke fear."

Ironically, just hours earlier one of the candidates Biden was endorsing, gubernatorial nominee Ned Lamont, began broadcasting a television commercial described as the hardest-hitting of the campaign, declaring that Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski's lack of enthusiasm for gun control might cause another mass murder at a school.

Of course, the campaign for governor has been mainly the vilification that Biden deplored, with Lamont likening Stefanowski to President Trump and Stefanowski likening Lamont to Gov. Dannel Malloy, even as the two candidates have proposed nothing useful about state government's catastrophic finances. Biden didn't help either.

xxx

REJECT THE AMENDMENTS: Two state constitutional amendments on next week's Connecticut election ballot should be rejected.

One, purporting to establish a "lockbox" for money collected by state government in the name of transportation, is as phony as the "spending cap" amendment offered to the voters in 1992 as an apology for the income tax imposed the previous year. To become effective the "spending cap" amendment needed implementing legislation, but the General Assembly let decades go by before enacting any.

The loophole in the "lockbox" amendment is that it would allow state government to withhold transportation revenue from deposit in transportation accounts, and the "lock" would not work until the revenue was actually deposited in the "box." Besides, transportation money should be subject to diversion in emergencies, as all state government money should be. The problem is that governors and legislators have defined emergency too broadly.

The second amendment, requiring public hearings for any disposal of public land, is too trivial for the Constitution. Its objective could be achieved by ordinary legislation.

The bigger problem with the two amendments is that they pretend that there is some substitute for the ordinary integrity and conscientiousness of legislators. There isn't.

Chris Powell is a columnist for the Journal Inquirer, in Manchester, Conn.