Richard Cohen Brings On the Stupid

He always does, of course, but this one is a doozy. This time he spends a whole column sniping at Hillary Clinton for not paying much attention to the "General Betray Us" ad. And as usual, Cohen shows little awareness of the world in which he lives. Check out this gem, for example:
The swipe at Petraeus was contained in a full-page ad the antiwar group MoveOn.org placed in the New York Times last week. It charged that Petraeus was "cooking the books" about conditions in Iraq and cited statements of his that have turned out to be either (1) not true, (2) no longer true, (3) possibly not true or (4) like everything else in Iraq, impossible to tell. Whatever the case, using "betray" -- a word associated with treason -- recalls the ugly McCarthy era, when for too many Republicans dissent corresponded with disloyalty. MoveOn.org and the late senator from Wisconsin share a certain fondness for the low blow.
Amazing, huh? Cohen reaches back half a century to find an example of a Republican throwing around accusations of treason. It's as if he's been in a cocoon for the past six years. Honestly, hasn't Cohen been paying any attention to the conservative movement during the Bush era? Accusations of treason are their stock in trade; they're what makes the whole movement go. And I guess it just doesn't matter that Petraeus, by Cohen's own admission, seems to have a history of saying untrue things. Richard's not interested in that.

But that's not even the dumbest part of this column. Consider, for example, the following:
It may seem unfair to single out Clinton in this matter when the bunker in which she took shelter was crowded with her fellow quivering candidates.
But is Richard going to let a little unfairness stop him? Naaaahhhh!
But Clinton is the front-runner, quite possibly the next president of the United States, so it is reasonable to focus on her and wonder if, as some allege, she does indeed have a spine. In this instance, it was nowhere to be found.
So let me get this straight, Richard. "Having a spine" in your universe consists of making sure that Bush's hand-picked guy, who is delivering the White House's own specially spun report, doesn't get his feelings hurt by a citizens' group. "Having a spine" consists of making absolutely sure to show support for the Bush Administration, and to repudiate criticism thereof. In Cohen's world, apparently, a spine is best positioned supinely.

But wait, there's more:
Yesterday, Clinton announced her health-care plan. Good for her. But you never had any doubt, did you, that she was going to have one -- and a plan for everything else. The issue with Hillary Clinton is not whether she's smart or experienced but whether she has -- how do we say this? -- the character to be president.
Go on, Richard. Ask us if we'd like to have a beer with her. Policy is so boring and hard to understand if you're a highly paid Washington pundit. It's much easier to blather on about "character" and "likability." So go on, Richard, ask us the beer question. You know you want to.

Cross-posted at The Vanity Press.

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