On the Opinion Page: March 3, 2008

03Mar08

In which The Gay Recluse scores selected opinion pieces in The Times.

Paul Krugman/Deliverance or Diversion

The Short Version: Why did Obama have to come along and wreck everything?

In his words: “Some progressives are appalled by the direction their party seems to have taken: they wanted another F.D.R., yet feel that they’re getting an oratorically upgraded version of Michael Bloomberg instead.”

Score: C- (Crybaby)
Krugman spends an entire column whining about Obama distracting from the “real” message, which is the miserable condition of the country after being run by Bush & Company for 40 years. The “electability” argument he parrots — i.e., that Obama hasn’t been “tested” yet — strikes us as the opposite of progressive (to say the least) and leaves us longing to set this column aside, even before we’ve finished reading.

William Kristol/The Indispensable Man

The Short Version: Bill Buckley, my hero.

In his words: “It’s hard today to appreciate that before Buckley, there was no American conservative movement.”

The Score: F (Forgotten)
Buckley died a thousand years ago, so this appreciation feels beyond stale. (Leaving aside that the country Buckley left behind is a fucking mess.) Complete waste of space.

Roger Cohen/African Genocide Averted

The Short Version: Kofi Annan saves Kenya.

In his words: “I see Annan’s persistence as a reminder of how shallow Bush administration peace pursuits have been, with the exception of Christopher Hill’s North Korean labors.”

The Score: D (Doubtful)
Although we’re obviously happy to hear that Kenya is calming down, this column bugs us for two reasons: 1) we don’t trust Cohen, who has repeatedly demonstrated that he is capable of the most superficial brand of shallow-thinking optimism, particularly in the context of foreign relations, and 2) we don’t buy into the idea that one person — or in Cohen’s worldview, a clique of globetrotting diplomats — has (or should have) the responsibility of negotiating the fate of thousands; if this is in fact true, it raises questions that in the long term are just as disturbing as those it answers.

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