10 Pundits You Should Ignore In 2013
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4. Michael Barone. There are rumors Barone was once a reason-based, intelligent lifeform. I have heard nice thing about The Almanac of American Politics. He continues to be revered by conservatives, who treat him like a combination of Nate Silver and Jesus. But there has been no trace of this supposedly erudite, analytical man for a very long time. In March 2003, Barone wrote that “Quick success in Iraq, followed by success as soon as possible in Syria and Iran, will help us deal with” the threat of North Korea’s nuclear weapons. (To recap: An invasion of two countries that hadn’t attacked us, so quickly on the heels of an invasion of yet another country that hadn’t attacked us.) Indeed, this is in keeping with a fellow who, in 2005, e-mailed Glenn Reynolds (below) to say “there might be something to Intelligent Design.” That same year, he predicted “the end” of political polarization. In 2006, he wrote that a McCain-Lieberman presidential ticket “would probably win easily.” By the time Barone said journalists didn’t care for Sarah Palin because "she did not abort her Down syndrome baby," it wasn’t really a surprise.
5. Charles Krauthammer. Krauthammer once argued, in the pages of America’s second-most-influential newspaper, that torture was okay under “the ticking time bomb” scenario, which does not exist and has never existed in real life. For reasons that escape me, the New Republic keeps on its masthead a man who lets a "24" wet-dream dictate his views on foreign policy. I hope it’s simply a matter of priorities -- the magazine has undergone a redesign -- but perhaps they believe, as does Politico, that he is “ sophisticated.” Krauthammer certainly fooled the Pulitzer committee, which must be so proud to have honored a man so addled he hates the Berenstain Bears and believes Obama blackmailed David Petraeus. In any case, by Krauthammer’s own metric, he ought to be put out to pasture. On April 22, 2003, he told an American Enterprise Institute audience, “Hans Blix had five months to find weapons. He found nothing. We’ve had five weeks. Come back to me in five months. If we haven’t found any, we will have a credibility problem.” And here we are.
6. Jennifer Rubin. Rubin’s descent into outright hackery (see this Drudge-sirened “ EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW” with, ugh, Ed Gillespie) wasn’t precipitous, even though she wrote for Commentary, a journal of sub-basement quality. Her columns filed during the previous election cycle for the New York Observer were relatively clear-eyed. Romney, she wrote, was “the least adept politician in the field.” She criticized his “manicured appearance and cautious language [ibid].” In another column, she noted that “Americans don’t like it one bit when candidates adopt positions (or entire platforms, for that matter) for political expediency.” (You don’t say!) It’s unclear what transpired between that election and the most recent, but this time around she functioned not as a reporter but as an unpaid spokeslady for the Romney campaign. Her advocacy was breathtaking brazen; she often resembled those fixtures of pre-Giuliani Times Square, cleaning up after each Romney flub. To Rubin’s credit, she admitted as much.
7. Andrew Sullivan. In an assessment of Sullivan’s sins related to the AIDS epidemic here, I neglected the larger problem: He is a one-man refutation of Blink. Every initial position he takes is wrong. In April 2011, he gazed into Paul Ryan's blue eyes, considered the man’s sociopathic, granny-starving budget, and concluded that, “whatever you think of it, is serious.” Three whole paragraphs later, he noted that the burden would be shouldered by the poor and the old. It took him two weeks to connect the dots. Then, after Obama’s somnolent first debate, he famously wept “it's hard to see how a president and his party recover.” There was no more evidence that Obama would lose the election than there was for the seriousness of Ryan’s budget. Much is made of the fact that Sullivan, unlike most high-profile bloggers, admits his mistakes and revisits his conclusions as needed. That is an unacceptable standard, particularly when the Daily Dish is blessed with an editorial staff and a fucking poetry editor.