October 18th, 2011 at 6:06 pm
How to Eviscerate a Pundit
Regular readers of the blog know that there is a small gallery of Washington pundits that I simply cannot abide; not because I disagree with their views, but because I despise the predictability of their positions, the ballast of their prose, and the intellectual laziness of their work.
That’s a group that includes Tom Friedman, Joe Klein, and E.J. Dionne, amongst others. But there’s a special place in pundit hell for the professional joiner: the columnist who always has to march in lockstep with Beltway fashion. That’s why it’s so delightful to see the once-respectable Fareed Zakaria get noted in the New Republic’s list of over-rated DC thinkers. The précis is priceless:
Fareed Zakaria is enormously important to an understanding of many things, because he provides a one-stop example of conventional thinking about them all. He is a barometer in a good suit, a creature of establishment consensus, an exemplary spokesman for the always-evolving middle. He was for the Iraq war when almost everybody was for it, criticized it when almost everybody criticized it, and now is an active member of the ubiquitous “declining American power” chorus. When Obama wanted to trust the Iranians, Zakaria agreed (“They May Not Want the Bomb,” was a story he did for Newsweek); and, when Obama learned different, Zakaria thought differently. There’s something suspicious about a thinker always so perfectly in tune with the moment.
Indeed. Fareed Zakaria is a man who writes Gallup polls in paragraph form. Nice to see the media take notice.
February 12th, 2011 at 5:56 pm
Retiring Kyl, Webb Got Different Results From Shunning The Limelight
This week heard two U.S. Senators – Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Jim Webb (D-VA) – announce their retirements. In 2012, Kyl will complete his third six-year term; Webb his first. Their time spent couldn’t be more different.
Kyl leaves as the number two Republican in Senate leadership. He compiled a record of legislative achievement on tax and defense policy unrivaled by his colleagues. Moreover, he did it by laboring outside the media limelight.
Though Webb helped pass a major G.I. Bill, he didn’t seem to emulate Kyl’s ability to balance the demands of being a senator (endless fundraising, piecemeal victories) with the drive to be a successful politician.
It’s obvious from his record that Kyl wanted to be a senator to enact programs like pro-growth tax policy and missile defense. Webb ran for office in 2006 because he was against the Iraq War and the continued marginalization of his Southern Scots-Irish clan.
Reflecting on the editorials that have been written about both men, it seems that there is at least one lesson to draw from Kyl’s success and Webb’s frustration: in the long run it’s far better to be for something than against everything.
March 25th, 2010 at 3:28 pm
Thomas Friedman Declares “Mission Accomplished” on Healthcare
Isn’t comprehensive legislation wonderful? With the stroke of several pens this week, 30 million Americans now have health care! Right now. Check out liberals’ columnist of record, Thomas Friedman, who exhilaratingly proclaims that “covering so many uninsured Americans is a historic achievement.” All that’s missing is a “Mission Accomplished” banner draped across the Mayo Clinic.
Except that none of the 30 million under-insured Americans has Obamacare health insurance today. Those on the left love to distort the 2003 “Mission Accomplished” banner on the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln, which celebrated its crew’s successful deployment, as some sort of premature statement by President Bush that the Iraq campaign was concluded. In this instance, however, Friedman may truly be celebrating a “mission accomplished” before his professed objective was, well, accomplished. So-called “progressives” may be celebrating, but not for anything more than making a law. That’s a result, not an achievement.