Skip to main content

Norman Podhoretz and other people who don't deserve to be taken seriously

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed defending Sarah Palin as much smarter than she seems, Norman Podhoretz can't resist getting a little dig at President Obama:
What she does know—and in this respect, she does resemble Reagan—is that the United States has been a force for good in the world, which is more than Barack Obama, whose IQ is no doubt higher than hers, has yet to learn.
What crap.

Podhoretz, of course, is talking about the same Barack Obama who stood in Europe and bragged about how America had saved that continent from the Nazi menace and then guaranteed security there for decades afterward to the present day. The same Barack Obama who stood before a Muslim audience at Cairo University and said, "the United States has been one of the greatest sources of progress that the world has ever known." I'm not aware of an opportunity that the president has missed -- when given -- to talk about all the good things America has done in the world.

Podhoretz surely knows this -- and has decided to ignore it. In which case he is (despite his "intellectual" reputation) a hack, more concerned with advancing an agenda that includes painting the president as somehow insufficiently proud of America than in paying attention to the truth. In which case, he deserves to be ignored. Or maybe he doesn't know it. In which case he is too ill-informed to take as a reliable source of opinion about anything, and thus deserves to be ignored.

I'm inclined to think he's a hack. But I'm open-minded.

A lot of folks on the right continually make this charge against Obama. It's not enough for them to disagree with him on the substance of the issues: They have to portray him as probably anti-American. But it's not true. And the same logic applies to them: Either they should know better or they're liars. Truth matters.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Yoga

I've been making some life changes lately — trying to use the time I have, now that I'm back in Kansas, to improve my health and lifestyle. Among the changes: More exercise. 30 minutes a day on the treadmill. Doesn't sound like a lot, but some is more than none, and I know from experience that getting overambitious early leads to failure. So. Thirty minutes a day.

One other thing: Yoga, a couple of times a week. It's nothing huge — a 15-minute flexibility routine downloaded from an iPhone app. But I've noticed that I'm increasingly limber.

Tonight, friends, I noticed a piece of trash on the floor. I bent over at the waist and picked it up, and threw it away.

Then I wept. I literally could not remember the last time I'd tried to pick something off the floor without grunting and bracing myself. I just did it.

Small victories, people. Small victories.

Liberals: We're overthinking this. Hillary didn't lose. This is what it should mean.

Interesting:
Nate Cohn of the New York Times estimates that when every vote is tallied, some 63.4 million Americans will have voted for Clinton and 61.2 million for Trump. That means Clinton will have turned out more supporters than any presidential candidate in history except for Obama in 2008 and 2012. And as David Wasserman of Cook Political Report notes, the total vote count—including third party votes—has already crossed 127 million, and will “easily beat” the 129 million total from 2012. The idea that voters stayed home in 2016 because they hated Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is a myth. We already know the Electoral College can produce undemocratic results, but what we don't know is why — aside from how it serves entrenched interests — it benefits the American people to have their preference for national executive overturned because of archaic rules designed, in part, to protect the institution of slavery. 

A form of choosing the national leader that — as has happened in …

I'm not cutting off my pro-Trump friends

Here and there on Facebook, I've seen a few of my friends declare they no longer wish the friendship of Trump supporters — and vowing to cut them out of their social media lives entirely.

I'm not going to do that.

To cut ourselves off from people who have made what we think was a grievous error in their vote is to give up on persuading them, to give up on understanding why they voted, to give up on understanding them in any but the most cartoonish stereotypes.

As a matter of idealism, cutting off your pro-Trump friends is to give up on democracy. As a matter of tactics, cutting off your pro-Trump friends is to give up on ever again winning in a democratic process.

And as a long-term issues, confining ourselves to echo chambers is part of our national problem.

Don't get me wrong: I expect a Trumpian presidency is a disaster, particularly for people of color. And in total honesty: My own relationships have been tested by this campaign season. There's probably some damage…