On fools and frenchman
Parker Molloy has a useful roundup of the astonishingly bad work from the nation’s top-tier pundits as the announced that they were buying 25 units of Glengarry Highlands from George W. Bush. Richard Cohen’s is still my favorite:
It is time once again to quote my favorite philosopher — Tevye, the lead character from “Fiddler on the Roof.” It was his habit to weigh his options by saying, “On the one hand, ” and then, “On the other hand,” until he confronted a situation where there was no other hand. This is where Colin Powell brought us all yesterday.
The evidence he presented to the United Nations — some of it circumstantial, some of it absolutely bone-chilling in its detail — had to prove to anyone that Iraq not only hasn’t accounted for its weapons of mass destruction but without a doubt still retains them. Only a fool — or possibly a Frenchman — could conclude otherwise.
Powell’s case was notoriously flimsy — he himself thought so! — and notably failed to persuade any potential allies who weren’t already on board, but you don’t get a decades-long sinecure despite a lack of any discernible talent by expressing skepticism toward arguments made by the Blob.
Bobo also turned in some amazing work, taking an extensive victory lap in April 2003:
In other words, there will be no magic “Aha!” moment that brings the dream palaces down. Even if Saddam’s remains are found, even if weapons of mass destruction are displayed, even if Iraq starts to move along a winding, muddled path toward normalcy, no day will come when the enemies of this endeavor turn around and say, “We were wrong. Bush was right.” They will just extend their forebodings into a more distant future. Nevertheless, the frame of the debate will shift. The war’s opponents will lose self-confidence and vitality. And they will backtrack. They will claim that they always accepted certain realities, which, in fact, they rejected only months ago.
Even if! And most of the cited arguments are equally bad.
More about this dismal period of American history here.