Shorter Richard Cohen: Lying is okay if you have “experience”




Yesterday I resolved to stop reading stupid WaPo op-eds. That lasted about eight hours, thanks to the . . . let’s just say “inimitable” . . . Richard Cohen. He starts out with a huge lie, saying that John Edwards fibbed about the cost of his haircut (whaaa???), which is particularly ironic because the rest of the column is about the problem of lies in politics. It looks like he just threw it in there to have another Democrat along with the subsequent list of (real, actual) Republican lies, which then segues to an entire column about how one Obama misstatement has basically ruined Obama for him. Richard Cohen is very disappointed in you, Barack! Even though it doesn’t always bother him when politicians lie. But this time it really did. Following so far? More fun after the jump.

The real entertainment is the following: after describing Obama’s statement that there are more young black men in prison than in college as incorrect (which it is [UPDATE: apparently the statement would be true stated either as 1. All black men or 2. All young black men in prison *and on parole or probation*]), he says this: “Ought to be true is not the same as true.” Ought? Ought?? This ought to be true? Either Cohen doesn’t know what “ought” means, or he has some profoundly weird ideas about what the state of the world should be.

And lest you think this is a rhetorical goof, he follows it up with a truly wankerrific list of further “oughts” — “After all, it ought to be true that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. It ought to be true that he had ties with Osama bin Laden. It ought to be true that aluminum tubes were intended for a nuclear weapons program, and it ought to be true, really, that none of this mattered since what mattered most of all was a larger truth: Hussein had to go and the Middle East had to be urban-renewed for the sake of democracy.” Richard Cohen is obviously a very serious person. “Urban-renewed,” that’s what we’re doing in the Middle East. Uh huh.

The finishing touch is when he says that John McCain lies, but that’s okay because Cohen knows McCain’s character and McCain has a lot of experience. I kid you not — lying is okay if you have experience and good character, according to the piece. But Obama doesn’t have any experience and so his lies mean he’s a bad person. Or something.

And just so you know, Richard Cohen is a journalism professor at Columbia. Good times!

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