Thursday, January 17, 2008

Cohen the Gregarian

(Updated: minor wordsmithing)

In all the hullaboo over a certain recent addition to the NYT's OpEd page, we might have let our attention stray from Roger Cohen. (That assumes we were paying attention in the first place, I'll grant.) I usually skip him, because when he's not doing his best to make me think, "You know, maybe John Tierney wasn't really so boring, after all …," he's making High Broderism sound like Rove-level partisan strife.

For reasons passing understanding, I took a look at today's offering. I was shocked, shocked, to see someone else in the MSM contributing to the hagiography of St. John.

All right, let's get this over with. What's your opener, Rog?

Nobody’s been right all the time on Iraq, but Senator John McCain has been less wrong than most.

Not counting, of course, all of us who were against invading in the first place.

He backed the injection last year of some 30,000 troops, a surge that has produced results. … Violent attacks were down 60 percent in December from their 2007 high …

Wait, where have I heard this before? Even the choice of statistic seems strangely familiar.

McCain was politically dead six months ago, his campaign undone by his backing of President Bush’s Iraq policy. His remarkable resurgence, which has put him in the lead among Republican candidates, according to recent polls, is one measure of the Iraq shift.

Maybe. But it's probably a better measure of how completely distasteful all the other Republicans are, even to Republicans.

But, as Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute noted, "There’s no doubt that the one Republican candidate that leaves most Democrats quaking is McCain. They’re uneasy about the breadth of his appeal."

Actually, what we're uneasy about is the breadth of his appeal to groupthink-loving columnists.

The straight-talking survivor of more than five years of Vietnamese imprisonment …

And here I used to think I'd never be more sick of any meme than "He's the kind of guy you'd like to have a beer with."

Does Bush’s fraudulent, blunder-ridden rush to war matter more than the prizing of 26 million human beings from a sadistic tyrant who modeled himself on Hitler and Stalin?

I dunno. Maybe we should ask the Iraqis.

Okay, the end of the column looms. What do you want to do now, Roger, close the sale? Or, you know, revert to your usual form?

McCain’s not my choice for president. He’s too conservative across a range of social questions, and his temperament and age raise concerns.

Yup. Always be weaseling.

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