Seriously, what?

Below I mentioned the NY Times columnist Nicholas Kristof in a sort of nice way. I found his column a week or so ago to be pretty thoughtful, interesting, and worth its place in on the Times op-ed page.

I used to read Kristof a lot in high school but c. 2002 I gave up on him. I found his pieces too fluffy, too filled with pat conventional wisdom, and occasionally filled to the brim with utter stupidity. Honestly, I found him to not be all that interesting.

And to make matters worse he was supposed to be a “liberal” columnist and didn’t do a very good job of making a case for liberalism. Or anything for that matter.

But anyway, I did find his piece last week, at least be interesting. Maybe in the the last 6 (!) years he’d grown as a writer and a thinker. So I decided that I would check out his work and see if it would be worth reading on a regular basis.

So that brings us to this week’s piece on John McCain. Here’s the money shot (italics are mine, of course):

I disagree with Mr. McCain on Iraq, taxes, abortion and almost every other major issue. He has a nasty temper, which isn’t ideal for the hand holding a nuclear trigger. For a man running partly on biography, he treated his first wife, Carol, poorly. And one of the meanest put-downs in modern political history was a savage joke that Mr. McCain publicly related about Chelsea Clinton when she was 18 years old; it was inexcusable.

Yet Mr. McCain himself would probably acknowledge every one of these flaws, and he is a rare politician with the courage not just to follow the crowd but also to lead it. It is refreshing to see that courage rewarded by voters.

Honestly these are two of the most fucking stupid paragraphs I have ever read in my life.

So basically what Kristof is saying is that McCain is a flaming asshole with terrible positions on the issue but he’s “honest” with voters so in Kristof’s book McCain is an OK-dude.

Seriously, what the fuck?

That has got to be the stupidest argument I’ve read in awhile. An honest asshole is still an asshole. Truly, does honest trump all other virtues? Someone can be terrible to their wife, terrible to children, and have temper but, you know, they’re honest. So everything is a-ok

I’ve never gotten the appeal of this whole “I disagre with him but at least he’s honest” phenomenon. If you completely disagree with someone on the issues, which supposedly Kristof does with McCain, why would you want to see them rewarded by the voters? Wouldn’t you want the voters to reward someone you agree with? Wouldn’t you want to tell voters, from you perch on the most important op-ed page in America, that this man has some fucking crazy ideas so please don’t reward him?

So I guess, yet again, my high school self was right about a thing or two. Kristof is still worthless.


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