Jun
24

The End Of Reason




Posted at 16:56 by Brad

Welp, Richard Cohen has done outdone hisself in today’s column. He acknowledges that both Obama and McCain are something of an ideological chameleon — that each has changed his positions on certain issues in order to suit his political ambitions.

But guess what? McCain’s flip-flops demonstrate that he has more character than Obama does! Why? Who the hell knows! Just try to follow the reasoning behind this:

McCain’s Core Advantage

In politics, we’re having a Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr kind of year. It was Karr, a French writer, who coined the phrase plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, which means, as Barack Obama has shown, that the more things change, the more they stay the same. N’est-ce pas?

Oui . And the same principle holds for John McCain. Like Obama, he was going to give us change, and in a sense, he has. He has abandoned his maverick persona of old and moved to assure the GOP that on most matters, he is devoutly orthodox. This is change, all right, but for most voters, who hanker for something other than what they’ve had for most of the last eight years, this is not much change at all.

So: We’ve established that McCain has significantly changed his position on a whole range of things. This seems to indicate to me that McCain has some character issues — that is, he’ll change his previously-stated ideological convictions in order to gain a political edge. In this case, he’s trying to shore up support from the right-wing crazies who kinda hate his guts.

Fine.

Now, moving on:

We shall return to McCain in a moment. First, Obama. The Democratic nominee reversed himself on the public funding of presidential campaigns and decided that he would, after all, raise the money himself. The reason for this reversal is that Obama is going to raise much more money on his own than the $84 million the government is prepared to give him. This is the kind of math even I can understand, and I forgive Obama for valuing victory over consistency.

But what is far less forgivable is the socialist realism language he used to rationalize his decision. He couched his selfishness as the essence of civic duty. He explained that he had to adapt to an exigency that was there all along but that he had somehow not foreseen when he pledged to accept public financing: to respond to those slimy campaign committees of the type that Swift-boated poor John Kerry.

Do I personally buy Obama’s explanation for why he opted out of public campaign financing? Well, no. But I never really held him on that high of a pedestal to begin with. As I’ve explained before, politicians are a means to an end. They use us to gain power through votes, we then use them to achieve our desired public policy goals. I’m not expecting politicians to be overly ethical or to have deep-seated convictions, but rather to simply be malleable enough to support things that I think are important. Anyone who exalts a politician as a person of high character is bound to be disappointed.

Unless, of course, you’re Richard Cohen and you’re writing about John McCain:

In some recent magazine articles, I and certain of my colleagues have been accused of being soft on McCain, forgiving him his flips, his flops and his mostly conservative ideology. I do not plead guilty to this charge, because, over the years, the man’s imperfections have not escaped my keen eye. But, for the record, let’s recapitulate: McCain has either reversed himself or significantly amended his positions on immigration, tax cuts for the wealthy, campaign spending (as it applies to use of his wife’s corporate airplane) and, most recently, offshore drilling. In the more distant past, he has denounced then embraced certain ministers of medieval views and changed his mind about the Confederate flag, which flies by state sanction in South Carolina only, I suspect, to provide Republican candidates with a chance to choose tradition over common decency. There, I’ve said it all.

And here comes the big “but” that he’s been setting you up for the entire time:

But here is the difference between McCain and Obama — and Obama had better pay attention. McCain is a known commodity. It’s not just that he’s been around a long time and staked out positions antithetical to those of his Republican base. It’s also — and more important — that we know his bottom line. As his North Vietnamese captors found out, there is only so far he will go, and then his pride or his sense of honor takes over. This — not just his candor and nonstop verbosity on the Straight Talk Express — is what commends him to so many journalists.

Amazing.

Cohen acknowledges that McCain has indeed changed his position on several very important issues, including tax cuts, the environment and campaign finance. But because he was tortured by the VC, this demonstrates that “there is only so far he will go” in selling out his ideological convictions (never mind that he even flip-flopped on his previous stance against torture!). So while McCain might actually be a disastrous president in the mold of Bush, at least he won’t back down when Charlie busts into the Oval Office and demands he lick Hanoi’s blood-stained boots — he’ll tell ‘em to go to hell, he will! That’s rough-’n'-tumble Johnny Mac for ya! Sellin’ out to the oil companies is one thing, but at least McCain won’t let Charlie call the shots!

You really and truly cannot make this shit up, friends.

Obama might have a similar bottom line, core principles for which, in some sense, he is willing to die. If so, we don’t know what they are. Nothing so far in his life approaches McCain’s decision to refuse repatriation as a POW so as to deny his jailors a propaganda coup. In fact, there is scant evidence the Illinois senator takes positions that challenge his base or otherwise threaten him politically.

Uh, have you been paying attention to the latest stuff about FISA?

That’s why his reversal on campaign financing and his transparently false justification of it matter more than similar acts by McCain.

I’m just about to lose it.

Look, if you think that Obama did wrong by opting out of public campaign financing, then fine. If you think his explanation was completely ridiculous, then OK. But please. Please, please, please don’t tell me that what Obama did is completely inexcusable while “similar acts” by McCain are a-OK because you and your press corps buddies all have gigantic crushes on his manly characteristic. Spare me.

A presidential race is only incidentally about issues. It’s really about likability and character.

Well yes it is, especially since media wankers such as Richard Cohen devote all their precious column space to judging others’ character using anecdotal evidence and double standards.

Obama is, to paraphrase what he said about Hillary Clinton, more than “likable enough” — in fact, so much so that he is the most charismatic presidential candidate I’ve seen since Robert F. Kennedy. But the character question hangs — not because of any evidence to the contrary and not in any moral sense, either, but because he is still young and lacks the job references McCain picked up in a North Vietnamese prison. McCain has a bottom line. Obama just moved his.

That settles it, then: Obama needs to get tortured by the VC so that Richard Cohen can declare him worthy of the preznitcy.

GET OUTTA HERE, YOU MANIAC!!!


Update: See also.

Gavin adds: Shorter Richard Cohen:

  • Apropos flip-flopping, the key difference between Obama and McCain is that McCain can get away with it. For instance, watch this.

109 Comments »

  1. D.N. Nation said,

    June 24, 2008 at 17:00

    It’s also — and more important — that we know his bottom line. As his North Vietnamese captors found out, there is only so far he will go, and then his pride or his sense of honor takes over.

    And the reason for this is…um…mumble mumble sploot.

    This is some country-fried Hooters Hewitt shit.

  2. El Cid said,

    June 24, 2008 at 17:00

    Shorter Cohen: I already have a long-established history of worshiping McCain, and I’m tired of defending myself against it, so I’ll just generalize and say that everyone is pretty much used to worshiping McCain and it’s Obama’s responsibility to change all of our minds.

  3. American Citizen said,

    June 24, 2008 at 17:10

    It isn’t quite an irresistable force-immovable object thing, but you’ve the media’s adoration of McCain vs. voters’ adoration of Obama.

  4. javafascist said,

    June 24, 2008 at 17:15

    Richard Cohen’s “keen eyes” have found John McCain’s bottom line. How do we know? Because he’s told us so. That’s it. We don’t get to know what the bottom line is but Cohen knows and that’s enough for us. Obama has moved his again because Cohen, and only Cohen, knows where Obama’s lines are.

    Welp, that’s good enough for me. McCain 08!

  5. norbizness said,

    June 24, 2008 at 17:15

    Can’t sleep, Richard Cohen will eat me… can’t sleep, Richard Cohen will eat me…

  6. Woodrowfar said,

    June 24, 2008 at 17:17

    And let us not ignore this particular example of Cohan’s “reasoning”
    far less forgivable is the socialist realism language he used to rationalize his decision.

    WTF? Socialist realism???? What? He changed his mind on public financing so every cooperative will have a tractor by the end of the next 5 year plan?

  7. slag said,

    June 24, 2008 at 17:18

    FISA? Is that some sort of pain medication?

    Seriously, the only reason that the media can claim that Obama doesn’t stray from his base is that Americans never hear from his base. Aside from Keith Olbermann and the occasional Daily Show reference, we don’t exist outside of the blogosphere. We’re not real Americans.

  8. Lesly said,

    June 24, 2008 at 17:18

    They use us to gain power through votes, we then use them to achieve our desired public policy goals.

    Unfortunately I don’t think this is true. One of Pelosi’s excuses for supporting the latest unnecessary legislation amending FISA is undermining GOP propaganda about libruls = pussies ASAP. It sounds awfully like triangulation to me. After initially opposing it Obama supports it, too.

    This is one expanding power issue Dems/libs/pro’s and, to their credit, some conservatives, have been adamant about stopping. Bush’s ratings are in the tank (though not as low as Congress’), they’re almost guaranteed a bigger majority in November and they’re still fucking us over. We’re supposed to believe, for the most part, Democratic party leadership really really really doesn’t agree with the amendment and trust them that it will all be better as soon as we reward their betrayal with a bigger majority.

    Bullshit.

  9. SomeNYGuy said,

    June 24, 2008 at 17:20

    Silly Brad! Aren’t you familiar with the acronym IOKIYAR?

    It’s
    O
    K
    If
    You’re
    A
    RepubliCOHEN!

  10. Please Ruppert Don't Hurt 'Em said,

    June 24, 2008 at 17:20

    Tha’
    Tha’
    Tha’
    Tha’ fact is
    (Oh my Lord!)
    This Sadly, No! is makin’ me bored
    Commies!
    Is your brand
    Ain’t gonna work in my Heartland

  11. Rick Massimo said,

    June 24, 2008 at 17:21

    You know what? Cohen’s right. It’s about character. It’s about the biographical facts and what conclusions we can draw from them.

    I am voting for Jimmy Carter.

  12. Bubba said,

    June 24, 2008 at 17:21

    So in 2004 the whole “flip flop” thing with Kerry probably swung the Repubs a few votes. Of course, ANY senator with a long career will show position changes on some topics- it’s the nature of politics and being a senator. I believe it’s the core reason why so few senators become President without being a VP first. Now that the Repubs have their own senator with a long career is entering the general Presidential election, they surely realize how easily McCain can be hoisted by their own petard. Therefore, it’s only natural that they try to find some issue that Obama has “flip-flopped” on and then use pretzel logic to tar him in a manner that doesn’t tar McCain. Columns like this will be all too column, I’m afraid, as they try to shore up McCain’s weak points with noise, noise, noise.

    Of course, I think Cohen should get extra credit for bringing the Vietnamese torture angle. Anybody who’s seen Rambo First Blood Part II will automatically understand McCain’s bottom line.

  13. roy edroso said,

    June 24, 2008 at 17:22

    Don’t you get it, moonbat? In his opening gambit, Cohen tied Obama to the French language. The French language! Who’s going to vote for an elitist like that?

  14. Jennifer said,

    June 24, 2008 at 17:23

    As his North Vietnamese captors found out, there is only so far he will go, and then his pride or his sense of honor takes over.

    Yes, accusing his wife of sleeping with a black man and giving birth to a black child and calling him “unstable” and “crazy” as a result of his heroic service to counry skated right up to the line of where his pride and sense of honor takes over…but fortunately, not beyond it. Otherwise, we never would have had that picture of McCain playing huggy bear with the guy who, you know, was responsible for all that stuff being said.

    Richard Cohen should be locked into a full port-a-let which is then upended.

  15. Bitter Scribe said,

    June 24, 2008 at 17:27

    …there is only so far he will go, and then his pride or his sense of honor takes over he gets caught.

    Fixed.

  16. D.N. Nation said,

    June 24, 2008 at 17:27

    Obama might have a similar bottom line, core principles for which, in some sense, he is willing to die. If so, we don’t know what they are. Nothing so far in his life approaches McCain’s decision to refuse repatriation as a POW so as to deny his jailors a propaganda coup.

    So there it is. Remember, everyone, bringing up Kerry’s military service in 2004 was THE WORST CAMPAIGN STRATEGY EVAR!!!!!!!! but doing it for McCain in 2008 is all sorts of correct.

    This ad hoc nonsense hurts my head.

    In fact, there is scant evidence the Illinois senator takes positions that challenge his base or otherwise threaten him politically.

    I love it. We’ve gone from Obama the Black Panther Muslim Radical Marxist to Obama the White Country Club Member Centrist. I wouldn’t dare ask what the hell these dopes will whip up next.

  17. sagra said,

    June 24, 2008 at 17:30

    I don’t want Obama taking public financing. I want him to raise a zillion dollars and use it to ass rape the Republican party so thoroughly that it runs to the Canadian border, begging and pleading for asylum.

    We got the fire to burn this motherfucker down.

  18. jim said,

    June 24, 2008 at 17:32

    But, for the record, let’s recapitulate: McCain has either reversed himself or significantly amended his positions on immigration, tax cuts for the wealthy, campaign spending (as it applies to use of his wife’s corporate airplane) and, most recently, offshore drilling. In the more distant past, he has denounced then embraced certain ministers of medieval views and changed his mind about the Confederate flag, which flies by state sanction in South Carolina only, I suspect, to provide Republican candidates with a chance to choose tradition over common decency. There, I’ve said it all.

    He has NOT “said it all” – he very conveniently left out the trivial detail that he, a torture victim, also reversed himself when he endorsed the use of torture on SUSPECTED terrorists by his own government, despite the obvious other trivial detail that, as such a victim, he ought to be the last person on Earth ever expected to cave on such a central (& morally hideous) issue. Even Obama advocating a tactical air-strike on Bob Jones University couldn’t come within a country mile of craven hypocrisy like that. Little wonder that most Vietnam vets, let alone ex-POWs, can’t stomach the sight of him, & have loathed the man since long before he smiled as he embraced the President that butchered his public image in 2000 – John Sidney McCain III: worst case of Stockholm Syndrome, ever.

    PS – being a POW is NOT a qualification for political office. Those saying it is need either Haldol or Thorazine, & some quiet-time in a nice padded room.

  19. Dragon-King Wangchuck said,

    June 24, 2008 at 17:38

    Shorter Cohen: I already have a long-established history of worshiping McCain, and I’m tired of defending myself against it, so I’ll just generalize and say that everyone is pretty much used to worshiping McCain and it’s Obama’s responsibility to change all of our minds.

    Actually, here’s what Cohen claims:

    In some recent magazine articles, I and certain of my colleagues have been accused of being soft on McCain, forgiving him his flips, his flops and his mostly conservative ideology. I do not plead guilty to this charge, because, over the years, the man’s imperfections have not escaped my keen eye.

    I think he’s talking about this article where he totally skewers McCain for being so principled. Note for those who have already read too much Cohen, the linked article is the February version of this one. As in – exactly the same.

  20. Robert Denby said,

    June 24, 2008 at 17:40

    Dear Mr. Cohen,

    Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

  21. Arky - Chuthuhlusexual said,

    June 24, 2008 at 17:43

    Joe LIEberman has inspected McCane’s bearings, Cohen the Barbarian’s keen eye has checked his bottom line and found it good.

    No wonder McGramps is so grouchy. We gotta get him some better looking fans.

    Nothing so far in his life approaches McCain’s decision to refuse repatriation as a POW so as to deny his jailors a propaganda coup.

    And so the bar is set. Unless you’ve been a POW and tortured you can’t run for president.

    Guess Mr. Cohen will want to repeal the rule that keeps non-US born citizens from running for president. In a generation or so we’ll have to get our candidates from places like Afghanistan and Iraq or cancel the elections all together.

  22. dex said,

    June 24, 2008 at 17:52

    i yield my comment to the esteemed tenth doctor, as portrayed by the always-excellent david tennant:

    “what? wh-wha? what?”

  23. tigrismus said,

    June 24, 2008 at 17:52

    McCain doesn’t just flip-flop, he somersaults: he didn’t just flip-flop on torture, as others have pointed out, he went from complete disavowal to embracing acceptance, and he didn’t just flip-flop on campaign funding, he blatantly broke the law HE COSPONSORED. Enter him in the floor exercises in Beijing and he’ll bring home a gold medal.

  24. SowellFan said,

    June 24, 2008 at 17:55

    Liberals need to learn the law of economics and the free market, which dictate that McCain is the only proper choice for this, as he avows socialism and hate Americanism, which Obama likes.

  25. Righteous Bubba said,

    June 24, 2008 at 17:56

    Otherwise, we never would have had that picture of McCain playing huggy bear with the guy who, you know, was responsible for all that stuff being said.

    John McCain is strong enough to tongue the anus of the man who destroyed him with nigger-baby rumours.

  26. Jim said,

    June 24, 2008 at 17:57

    McCain has a bottom line.

    The kind of brilliant tact that Cohen takes is that he refuses to tell you what that bottom line is.
    So basically, you have to wait until November, or maybe in the worst of all possible worlds, January 20, to find out precisely what McCain’s bottom line is. Is it torture? Is it torture for everyone except him? Is it free donuts for him? Is it calling people “cunts”?
    What is McCain’s bottom line?
    Richard Cohen doesn’t know, but he knows it’s there.

  27. Dragon-King Wangchuck said,

    June 24, 2008 at 18:01

    Well all this McCain fluffing reminded me to check in on Michael Scherer. He’s got some nonsense about liveprayer.com as his latest post (first thing today) probably to provide a distraction from the post he made yesterday at 5PM. He’s trying to tapdance around the Charlie Black “McCain wins if there’s a terrorist attack on US soil” thing. First he provides the McCain damage control spin from both McCain and from Black. Slips in a comment about how McCain is so principled that he would rather lose than have an attack on the US. And then, despite actually reporting the opposite at the top of his post, ends it with

    Try to keep this in mind: Whatever the gasbags tell you, neither Democrats nor Republicans, Obama nor McCain want the terrorists to win. It’s one of the few things they definitely have in common.

    Next post he’ll address the trollopy make-up issue by reminding us that neither Obama nor McCain want to be remembered for calling their wives cunts.

  28. sagra said,

    June 24, 2008 at 18:03

    Jessica Lynch ’20!

    Because the hospital food in Iraq is just awful.

  29. FGFM said,

    June 24, 2008 at 18:06

    I don’t have a citation, but anyone else remember Cohen blaming the OKC bombing on feminists?

  30. Jay B. said,

    June 24, 2008 at 18:07

    But what is far less forgivable is the socialist realism language he used to rationalize his decision. He couched his selfishness as the essence of civic duty.

    Selfishness? Socialist Realism?

    What the fuck is this defect talking about? Maybe he can give it to me in french.

    Preening asshole he is, Cohen packs pure ignorance and smug justifications in every sentence. People are giving Obama lots of money in small denominations — in essence, the Internet and Obama’s organization have allowed small donors to amplify their ability to donate. This is a good thing as it levels the influence of corporate money without limiting First Amendment principles (thin, but there, IMO) and what’s more THIS ISN’T PUBLIC MONEY. Ergo, “socialist realism” is an idiotic/odious example of what it is. Because it’s the opposite.

    Brad, you may have found the stupidest column ever written and published outside of The Corner , Townhall and Human Events. That’s worthy of an anti-award.

  31. sagra said,

    June 24, 2008 at 18:08

    McCain hates Americanism?

    Woah… harsh.

  32. Gus said,

    June 24, 2008 at 18:08

    Meh, there’s a reason I don’t read this fucking clown. I no longer expect anything but stupid hackery from him, so I can’t get all exercised about this. I recommend ignoring him. It’s a real time and blood pressure saver, and you’re missing exactly nothing.

  33. histrogeek said,

    June 24, 2008 at 18:12

    Why do I get the feeling that Obama hasn’t invited enough of the Beltway Heathers around for cocktails? Damn these people are catty! “Obama is a scary unknown quality, but McCain has changed positions on every important issue in the last fifteen years. But McCain has proven how dependable he is by something he did in his 20s, before anyone under forty was born.”

  34. sagra said,

    June 24, 2008 at 18:12

    Mocking asshats makes my blood pressure go down, actually.

  35. D.N. Nation said,

    June 24, 2008 at 18:18

    SowellFan = The New Ruppert.

    Discuss. Amazing, too, seeing how the real one seems to barely have survived a week.

  36. Tom Hilton said,

    June 24, 2008 at 18:20

    A presidential race is only incidentally about issues. It’s really about likability and character.

    Everything that’s hideously wrong with election coverage distilled into two short sentences. Well done, Mister Cohen.

  37. PeeJ said,

    June 24, 2008 at 18:23

    I’m far too fucking lazy to research it but as I recall, the O-man never pledged to go the public financing route. As I recall, he promised to come to agreement with McCain that they would both do it. If they could come to agreement. In a way, he was saying he’d meet with the McCainists without preconditions.

    Also, I just relaized: JiSM3 is named for CAIN! He has the mark of CAIN! He’s the antichristy! AIIIYIEYIEYIYEYE

  38. Bitter Scribe said,

    June 24, 2008 at 18:23

    To adapt what my father, rest his soul, used to say about Bob Dole:

    Sure, I’d vote for McCain for president…of the VFW.

  39. The God-Fearing Citizens of Rock Ridge said,

    June 24, 2008 at 18:25

    I think we should listen to Richard Cohen Johnson. He speaks for the simple people. The common clay of the new post 911 west.

  40. pedestrian said,

    June 24, 2008 at 18:27

    WTF? Socialist realism???? What? He changed his mind on public financing so every cooperative will have a tractor by the end of the next 5 year plan?

    We can all look forward to some very inspiring murals.

  41. David Brooks said,

    June 24, 2008 at 18:31

    A presidential race is only incidentally about issues. It’s really about likability and character.

    Clearly, a man who gets it. Unlike you goo-goo liberals, what with your not heartland and your not understanding Applebee’s, like me, a person who does. Suck on THAT.

  42. ifthethunderdontgetya™²³®© said,

    June 24, 2008 at 18:35

    Hot damn. I went to the (blog verboten) Borg today, and I did read Richie’s drivel.

    My immediate thoughts: 1) Wanker of the Day! and 2) This is everything that Bob Somerby has written about, all in one craptastic package of drivel.

  43. Totally Heterosexul Conservative said,

    June 24, 2008 at 18:39

    Because John McCain has been bumbling, lying, flip-flopping, and generally wanking FOR LONGER than Obama, McCain is the best man to run teh USA.

  44. jimmiraybob said,

    June 24, 2008 at 18:39

    This is a good thing as it levels the influence of corporate money without limiting First Amendment principles…

    But this is clearly a bad thing in that it levels the influence of Richard Cohen Johnson and the rest of the Johnsons. I mean, it’s shear anarchy I tells ya.

  45. PeeJ said,

    June 24, 2008 at 18:45

    In a bit of good news, I want to point out that the liberal homosexual agenda, in conjunction with unelected activist judges, has canceled Fathers (Father’s?) Day FOREVA!

    We go gurlz! Our sights are now set on …ummm….Thanksging! No wait, lets kill…..Christmas! Yeah, let’s finally do in Christ himself!

    Oh, the Jews beat us to it? We’ll find SOME great religious tradition thing we can ruin, you can count on that. You just wait, we’ll be back. You’ll see.

  46. Sarcastro said,

    June 24, 2008 at 18:46

    A presidential race is only incidentally about issues. It’s really about likability and character.

    So how come we’ve got a president at the moment who is loathed by the majority of Americans and has all of the character of a saltine cracker?

  47. Righteous Bubba said,

    June 24, 2008 at 18:46

    SowellFan = The New Ruppert.

    No. Trolling about laws of economics is nowhere near as absurd or entertaining as your average “The fact is” formulation. It is, however, something of a triumph in troll terms to get attention with such sleep-inducing material. I look for a new troll to come along complaining that liberals don’t understand the proper usage of a mashie niblick.

  48. Righteous Bubba said,

    June 24, 2008 at 18:48

    I want to point out that the liberal homosexual agenda, in conjunction with unelected activist judges, has canceled Fathers (Father’s?) Day FOREVA!

    The stock market plunges as tie manufacturers face a shareholder exodus.

  49. ifthethunderdontgetya™²³®© said,

    June 24, 2008 at 18:49

    Also, McCain is breaking the law wrt to the public financing he agreed to.

    But that’s one of those icky issues thinghies gasbags like Richie Cohen can’t be bothered with.

  50. tata said,

    June 24, 2008 at 18:50

    Why do I get the feeling that Obama hasn’t invited enough of the Beltway Heathers around for cocktails?

    This is nothing that can’t be solved with a couple rounds of Presidential Spin-the-Bottle.

  51. Jim said,

    June 24, 2008 at 18:51

    Also, McCain is breaking the law wrt to the public financing he agreed to.

    But that’s one of those icky issues thinghies gasbags like Richie Cohen can’t be bothered with.

    No no no no no. It’s just not a problem, because it’s above McCain’s bottom line.

  52. Monty said,

    June 24, 2008 at 18:55

    I hate the liberal media.

  53. The Truth said,

    June 24, 2008 at 18:56

    slag said,

    June 24, 2008 at 17:18

    FISA? Is that some sort of pain medication?

    Seriously, the only reason that the media can claim that Obama doesn’t stray from his base is that Americans never hear from his base. Aside from Keith Olbermann and the occasional Daily Show reference, we don’t exist outside of the blogosphere. We’re not real Americans.

    Amongst all the echo chamber chest thumping of S,N!, slag drops in this nugget of reality. It went unnoticed, of course, but I’d like all of you liberals to remember it. Not that slag himself gets it, mind you, but you may think back to comments like these when you are trying to understand how Obama got beat in a landslide.

  54. Kathleen said,

    June 24, 2008 at 19:01

    Funny how Cohen never says what McCain’s core principles are, since one assumes he would know.

  55. Snort said,

    June 24, 2008 at 19:01

    when you are trying to understand how McCain got beat like a mule

  56. ifthethunderdontgetya™²³®© said,

    June 24, 2008 at 19:03

    …. but I’d like all of you liberals to remember it.

    I remember some parody troll promising to return in November.

    It’s not like we’ve missed you…

  57. Tom Hilton said,

    June 24, 2008 at 19:04

    Amongst all the echo chamber chest thumping…

    I always wondered what chest thumping would sound like in an echo chamber. I still wonder.

  58. Dragon-King Wangchuck said,

    June 24, 2008 at 19:08

    SowellFan, Truth, all that’s missing is Iris and the Fool and we can get a Barbershop Troll-tet going.

  59. Lesly said,

    June 24, 2008 at 19:08

    Apparently Obama colored his words.

  60. Barbershop Troll-tet said,

    June 24, 2008 at 19:14

    Oh, when the sun beats down the Obots and their misogyny
    And your flames get so hot you wish your understood economy
    Under the boardwalk, down by the sea, yeah
    Fluffing McCain while listening to Imagine is where I’ll be

    (Under the boardwalk) trolls like to play
    (Under the boardwalk) McCain’ll win the day
    (Under the boardwalk) Just hear the news
    (Under the boardwalk) I can beat up 95% of yous

    From the park you hear the happy sound of a carousel
    Mm-mm, you can almost taste the hot dogs and French fries they sell
    Under the boardwalk, down by the sea
    On a blanket with my baby is where I’ll be

    (Under the boardwalk) out of the sun
    (Under the boardwalk) we’ll be havin’ some fun
    (Under the boardwalk) people walking above
    (Under the boardwalk) we’ll be making love
    Under the board-walk (board-walk!)

  61. Iris said,

    June 24, 2008 at 19:15

    You know, I was almost expecting the Obots here at Sadly, O! to take a hint or four from Cohen. Want to know why your beloved Unity Pony was so hated in important demographic quarters, or why he lost the popular vote in the Democrat primary, or why places like Shakesville despise him so much? It’s because, unlike McCain, whose American values and integrity are tried and true, the Unity Pony only cares about the Unity Pony. Oh, sure, you’ve been huffed and puffed full of the usual Yes We Can rhetoric- all while Obambi slandered Hillary with his misogyny, his anti-American rhetoric, his disdain for Appalachia and Reagan Democrats, the true blue core of the Democrat Party- and while the Unity Pony rhetoric goes a long way with you idiot men, it can only go so far with the rest of the true American universe. So keep that in mind while you’re beating us over the head with the Unity Pony…it’s enough to make us walk away from the Democrat Party, hands down. Party Unity My Ass.

  62. Snort said,

    June 24, 2008 at 19:17

    This — not just his candor and nonstop verbosity on the Straight Talk Express — is what commends him to so many journalists.

    Money shot!

    (Is Iris still off limits, or can we start poking it with a stick?)

  63. Dragon-King Wangchuck said,

    June 24, 2008 at 19:18

    Want to know why your beloved Unity Pony was so hated in important demographic quarters, or why he lost the popular vote in the Democrat primary, or why places like Shakesville despise him so much? It’s because, unlike McCain, whose American values and integrity are tried and true, the Unity Pony only cares about the Unity Pony Obama’s black.

  64. Dragon-King Wangchuck said,

    June 24, 2008 at 19:19

    (Is Iris still off limits, or can we start poking it with a stick?)
    ummm, I’d have to say yes.

  65. Jake H. said,

    June 24, 2008 at 19:23

    Here’s a question: what “evidence” do we have that Richard Cohen has any character whatsoever? Why is he a relevant judge of the character of others?

    This is what gets me more than anything else about columns like this. Because you can tell when you read it that Cohen is play-acting–pretending to be a person who cares about concepts like character and morality. That’s why he’s so blithe and arbitrary about it–he doesn’t actually give a crap. He just thinks he needs some sort of angle with which to approach this election as a columnist.

    But it’s all so transparent, it sort of makes you step back and realize how utterly absurd and outdated is Cohen’s whole profession–the whole notion that some person with no real qualifications or talents can be set up with the job of telling us what to think. Establishment Beltway pundits add absolutely nothing to our society anymore. They’re pointless. America is keeping the Richard Cohens of the world around the way we kept our VHS movies around three or four years too long, fooling ourselves into believing we’re going to watch them again.

  66. Robert Waldmann said,

    June 24, 2008 at 19:26

    “There, I’ve said it all.” wrote Cohen but of course he hadn’t said it all. You note that McCain flip flopped on the minor issue of torture. I would add that McCain has not just change his position on “campaign spending (as it applies to use of his wife’s corporate airplane) ” but also on whether he is bound by the law.

    As everyone here knows, according to the Republican chairman of the FEC McCain is violating the law (which law provides for a sentence of up to five years). Cohen is arguing that Obama’s perfectly legal decision to not take public financing is a huge issue while McCain’s clearly illegal decision to take public financing and then claim he can opt out on his own is … well nothing … didn’t happen. Cohen claims that he said it all and he didn’t even mention it.

    McCain’s argument is that the opinion of the chairman of the FEC is just an opinion and his lawyer says that what he is doing is legal so it’s OK. Now I want change and, especially, I don’t want another President who thinks he doesn’t have to obey the law if his lawyer says what he is doing is legal.

    The ability to not mention this little issue when discussing campaign finance shocks me and I thought I was past being shocked.

    To paraphrase Brad DeLong Richard Cohen is worse than I imagine possible, even after I take account of the fact that he is worse than I imagine possible.

  67. ifthethunderdontgetya™²³®© said,

    June 24, 2008 at 19:28

    Speaking of flip-flopping, Little Richie seems to have forgotten his freedom fries, what with all his francaising.

  68. Arky - Chuthuhlusexual said,

    June 24, 2008 at 19:29

    We go gurlz! Our sights are now set on …ummm….Thanksging! No wait, lets kill…..Christmas! Yeah, let’s finally do in Christ himself!

    Independence Day. We must smooth the way for our Islahomofascist overlords. We’ll replace each stricken holiday with Halloween so we can terrorize the Christians with our chaps and sequins.

    Seriously. Wow. They are rapidly becoming lamer than even I predicted.

    Could it be the frightened fathers of FRC are secretly hoping they’ll be taken to the Radical Lesbian Breeding Farms? (Lookit me! I’ve got kids! My loins are full of the juice of life!)

    It would be irresponsible not to speculate.

  69. CWD said,

    June 24, 2008 at 19:32

    Nothing so far in his life approaches McCain’s decision to refuse repatriation as a POW so as to deny his jailors a propaganda coup.

    So, dear Dickie is claiming that McCain intercepted that SA2 with his A4 intentionally so that he could make a principled stand as a POW to further his future political ambitions?

    Why don’t people ask him more specific questions about being shot down? There are legitimate questions about whether or not it was an intentional act.

    Where is my Purple Parachute band-aid?

  70. ifthethunderdontgetya™²³®© said,

    June 24, 2008 at 19:38

    Nothing so far in his life approaches McCain’s decision to refuse repatriation as a POW so as to deny his jailors a propaganda coup throw in with crooks known as the Keating Five.

  71. Snort said,

    June 24, 2008 at 19:38

    The press and McCain share a bond, a fraternal order forged during the endless bull sessions on the “Straight Talk Express” bus in 2000, when the candidate and those covering him became buddy-roo, fellow vaudevillians. Columnist Richard Cohen of The Washington Post experienced Peter Pan delight at being part of this rolling jam session of free association.

    Wolcott in the latest Vanity Fair.

  72. LA Confidential Pantload said,

    June 24, 2008 at 19:49

    The only thing Cohen left out was, “..and this is central to my point.”

  73. Dragon-King Wangchuck said,

    June 24, 2008 at 19:51

    In 2000, I boarded John McCain’s campaign bus, the Straight Talk Express, and, in a metaphorical sense, never got off.

    Richard, you should have added “the bus” to the end of that sentence, because reading your stuff, it’s quite obvious that you got off a lot while aboard the JiSM3′s bus.

  74. Dragon-King Wangchuck said,

    June 24, 2008 at 19:58

    There, I’ve said it all.

    When looking for a list of JiSM3′s flip-flops, I like Steve Benen’s list. Richard Cohen, however, likes to ask McCain to write the column for him.

  75. fadgeophile said,

    June 24, 2008 at 20:17

    Iris is a figment.

    And I thank god I have never ‘gotten off’ the Straight Talk Express.

    This is what I think of when I think of Getting Off on the Straight Talk Express. (NSFW)

    Except McCain lack the appeal of those corpses.

  76. MileHi Hawkeye said,

    June 24, 2008 at 20:25

    There’s got to be a reason that JiSM3 was nicknamed “Songbird” by his capturers. I’m guessing it was not because of his lovely voice.

  77. kenga said,

    June 24, 2008 at 20:35

    bottom line

    So help me, whenever I read that in the comments I keep thinking it refers to a conversational pickup gambit for subs. And then I feel queasy.
    Then I think “wait – the RNC convention is in Minneapolis this year. I thought they decided to switch to some Morse-like code transmitted via feet.”

  78. kc said,

    June 24, 2008 at 21:21

    Looks like the WaPo has gotten rid of the comments section. Too bad.

  79. Righteous Bubba said,

    June 24, 2008 at 21:28

    Looks like the WaPo has gotten rid of the comments section. Too bad.

    Comments exist.

    jdcw wrote:
    For all his talk about change, Obama remains a product of a Chicago and Illinois political culture renowned for corruption and filled with characters who range from felonious to just outrageous

    Indeed. And the party John McCain represents which party of sober and rational individuals?

  80. Righteous Bubba said,

    June 24, 2008 at 21:28

    I can’t write today. Please kill me.

  81. attaturk said,

    June 24, 2008 at 21:32

    Does that mean that the greatest man of character in the world was Peter Jennings when he put up with being made a cuckold by…

    Richard Cohen?

  82. FlipYrWhig said,

    June 24, 2008 at 22:23

    So if John McCain’s principles were forged in the crucible of his POW experience, but lately he no longer holds them, isn’t that, like, the flip-flop of all muthafuckin’ flip-flops? He used to be one thing (supposedly), now he’s another. That’s the QUINTESSENCE of the whole flippity-floppity remark. But for Cohen, it’s somehow the OPPOSITE of the flippity-floppity.

    Funny guy, if he do say so himself.

  83. Anne Laurie said,

    June 24, 2008 at 22:40

    A presidential race is only incidentally about issues. It’s really about likability and character.

    … Traits that obsess Cohen for the same reason titties obsess 13-year-old boys: He’s told they’re *wonderful*, yet Richard despairs of ever getting within fondling distance.

  84. Cervantes said,

    June 24, 2008 at 22:42

    Jennifer: Richard Cohen should be locked into a full port-a-let which is then upended.

    Richard Cohen is a full port-a-let. Regular up-ending produces his columns.

  85. Smut Clyde said,

    June 24, 2008 at 22:57

    But what is far less forgivable is the socialist realism language

    Tikhii Don, by Mikhail Sholokhov, deals with the life of the Kossacks living in the Don River valley during the early 21th century, probably around 2008, and their struggle for a fair system of election funding.
    I never heard anything about the language being particularly unforgivable, but perhaps Cohen dislikes folk songs.

  86. Smut Clyde said,

    June 24, 2008 at 23:13

    He acknowledges that both Obama and McCain are something of an ideological chameleon

    They’re a single ideological chameleon? At the same time? It has two heads, I imagine. I also imagine it coruscating with all the colours of the rainbow as its heads alternatively switch its body from red to blue and back again.
    That’s going to keep me awake at night.

  87. Dragon-King Wangchuck said,

    June 24, 2008 at 23:43

    Okay, this one’s not from the eighties, but if you watch one post-apocalyptical movie where the Russians have taken over a nuclear wasteland of America, and it’s a race to Vegas to see who will suceed Elvis as the leader of the free world, let it be this one.

    It has everything that an Islamo-elitist would want. It has commie-Elvises, it’s got a Wind farm, it’s got cannibals, it’s got a hero who carries a fricking parasol.

  88. Dragon-King Wangchuck said,

    June 24, 2008 at 23:44

    Whoops, wrong thread.

  89. SamFromUtah said,

    June 24, 2008 at 23:50

    Whoops, wrong thread.

    Actually, it seems to fit right in. Well done!

  90. Smut Clyde said,

    June 24, 2008 at 23:54

    In a just world, Six-String Samurai would receive praise on every thread.

  91. sagra said,

    June 25, 2008 at 1:32

    A presidential race is only incidentally about issues. It’s really about likability and character.

    Worst character wins?

  92. Smut Clyde said,

    June 25, 2008 at 1:51

    A presidential race is only incidentally about issues. It’s really about likability and character.
    Conveniently but coincidentally, that takes away the onus from newspaper columnists to research the issues and policies, and acquire some understanding of them.

  93. pablo said,

    June 25, 2008 at 2:08

    Why do i get the feeling that every time McCain is against the ropes, he’ll talk about his capitivity in North Vietnam?

  94. skippy said,

    June 25, 2008 at 2:13

    gee, why would richard cohen thinks a man who cheats on his wife had “character”? i wonder

  95. dSmith said,

    June 25, 2008 at 2:20

    “It was Karr, a French writer, who coined the phrase plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” Isn’t it plus ça change, plus ci la même chose?
    I don’t feel like looking it up but that’s what I remember.

  96. Rightwingsnarkle said,

    June 25, 2008 at 4:40

    I can’t be bothered looking it up, either (Hey! I write a column for the Washington Post!), but I’ve always said, “La plus ça change, la plus ça ne change pas.”

  97. MzNicky said,

    June 25, 2008 at 4:54

    Hey, that’s some awesome Photoshopping on that silly-lookin’ dude! That hair, those glasses, that face-fringe…

    Oh wait. What?

  98. Tom said,

    June 25, 2008 at 5:54

    Shorter Cohen: As long as there is a chance that John will let me blow him there is nothing that he can do wrong.

  99. Lawnguylander said,

    June 25, 2008 at 5:57

    The question mark isn’t photoshopped in either.

  100. Tom said,

    June 25, 2008 at 6:13

    America is keeping the Richard Cohens of the world around the way we kept our VHS movies around three or four years too long, fooling ourselves into believing we’re going to watch them again.

    I think this is a brilliant analysis of both Richard Cohen and the boxes of VHS tapes in my basement.

  101. Howard C. Kveck said,

    June 25, 2008 at 8:05

    norbizness said:

    “Can’t sleep, Richard Cohen will eat me… can’t sleep, Richard Cohen will eat me…”

    And he’ll have little bits of norbizness in that natty beard for later. Mmmmm.

  102. W. Kiernan said,

    June 25, 2008 at 12:24

    Millionaire: A presidential race is only incidentally about issues. It’s really about likability and character.

    Obviously, however, this is only the case for the ignorant “lower class,” which comprises ninety-nine percent of the voters in this country, the ninety-nine percent with the lowest incomes. For the richest one percent, who own and run everything, particularly the news media, presidential races are all about issues, or to be exact, one issue: “We wanna tax cut! We don’t care if the entire country gets wrecked in the process, we demand our tax cut! Gimme gimme GIMME MY TAX CUT!!!!!”

  103. Johnny Pez said,

    June 25, 2008 at 12:53

    Even Shorter Richard Cohen:

    I got nothin’.

  104. millionaire said,

    June 25, 2008 at 13:43

    Many feel that in order to become a millionaire and have a successful business you will need to start strong and make all your money right away so you don’t have to wait. However, the best millionaire businesses are willing to start out small sized and grow at a slower rate.

  105. tigrismus said,

    June 25, 2008 at 16:47

    “It was Karr, a French writer, who coined the phrase plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” Isn’t it plus ça change, plus ci la même chose?
    I don’t feel like looking it up but that’s what I remember.

    Nope

  106. Gavin M. said,

    June 25, 2008 at 20:26

    They’re a single ideological chameleon? At the same time? It has two heads, I imagine. I also imagine it coruscating with all the colours of the rainbow as its heads alternatively switch its body from red to blue and back again.
    That’s going to keep me awake at night.

    Oh no. This is my fault.

    Brad originally wrote a phrase like ‘both Obama and McCain are something of ideological chameleons,’ and I was like, “Hm, this appears to be a typo of the hasty-typing variety,” and I tried and tried to make the parts agree better, but it couldn’t be done

    Each Obama and McCain is something of a…?

    Both Obama and McCain are somethings of a…?

    Obama and McCain are both individually something of ideological chameleons, or are respectively an ideological chameleon?

    Each are, both is…?

  107. john in california said,

    June 25, 2008 at 21:58

    “As his North Vietnamese captors found out, there is only so far he will go, and then his pride or his sense of honor takes over.”

    Yes, as I remember he actually made tapes for the North admitting he was a war criminal but would not let them film him actually giving bj’s to his captors or having little after dinner chats while smoking Havana Primos. After all, a man has his pride.

  108. Gabriel Ratchet said,

    June 26, 2008 at 5:20

    Shorter Richard Cohen:

    I don’t care what you say — I’m not going to stop sucking John McCain’s cock and you can’t make me!

  109. rootless-e said,

    June 26, 2008 at 9:21

    therapeutic violence

    cohen’s contribution to the iraq war debate. illustrates his grasp of basic morality.

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