You know, too often people speak about The Washington Post's Richard Cohen, bandying about phrases like "worst columnist in human history" or "the reason my two eye-sockets are, at this very moment, spurting arterial blood, because I never want to see another word that man writes ever again," but rarely does he manage to serve up a precise example why those phrases are so applicable. Luckily, today's column, headlined something like "A Paean To My Uselessness, Written In The Teeth Of A Looming Deadline" will likely do the trick.
The piece is literally written as an explanation of why he hasn't been bothered to learn anything about the health care reform debate. In a world where NO ONE in the media wants to talk about health care reform, Cohen goes to Herculean efforts to prove that he does not want to talk about health care reform more than anyone! As you might imagine, it's tiresome. Cohen writes:
In truth, I did not seek an exclusive interview with the president of the United States not only because I wanted to write something that would be noticed but also -- actually mainly -- because I feared that if I did get an exclusive interview I would be expected to ask him something about health-care reform, about which I know next to nothing.
WHO SIGNS THIS MAN'S PAYCHECKS? BECAUSE IT IS LIKE SETTING MONEY ON FIRE.
I cannot for the life of me figure out why Obama did not simply expand Medicare, lowering the eligible age until everyone was covered. This would take one House committee and one Senate committee and one news conference. It would both provide your average patriotic American with health insurance and keep Obama off TV. This is known as a win-win.
No. That is what's known as INSANE and NAIVE and GAH. Cohen is leaving out the part where health care industry lobbyists -- particularly the insurance companies that would all be put out of business -- pour the eleventy kabillion dollars onto the efforts of those two committees in an effort to derail and dismember and defile whatever gains there are to be had by expanding Medicare. He's also leaving out the part about the large segments of the electorate that would start burning Obama in effigy as a pinko, about doctors who hate Medicare, and about how a key goal of health care reform is to bring Medicare costs down. It also assumes that no one in the media would be bothered to mount any sort of effort to question this proposal, but, now that I think about it, that's probably what's at the root of Cohen's fantasia.
Anyway, Cohen claims to be "ducking that call from the White House," but there is no call from the White House. There has never been and God willing there never will be. Why? Because the White House already understands what the column seeks to prove: that Richard Cohen is insufferably lazy and whiny and useless.