Wanker of the Day: Richard Cohen

Does it surprise anyone that Richard Cohen used his column today to blast public service unions? Probably the best part about his rant is his attempt to establish his union bona fides.

I pause now to assert my bona fides. I got my first union card while still in college and remained a member of the Newspaper Guild throughout my career, paying dues even when I no longer had to. I can whistle union ditties, and I swell with pride at the ancient picture of my grandfather, posed with his good friend, the union organizer. I know, too, what happens when unions are weak or nonexistent. Capitalism is cruel. Do not look for charity.

But, really, enough is enough. The Wisconsin state employees who are demonstrating in Madison have my sympathy but not my total support.

Yes, they have so much of Cohen’s sympathy that he concluded his column with this:

…when it comes to government workers, we are the boss and we pay the bill. To quote what Sam Spade told the woman he loved in the “The Maltese Falcon,” “I won’t play the sap for you.” When it comes to public-sector unions, my sentiments exactly.

And Cohen concluded with this despite acknowledging the following:

I recognize that [the Wisconsin union members] have offered givebacks, and I recognize, too, that Gov. Scott Walker has gone too far – if not trying to bust the unions, as it is alleged, then surely trying to cripple them.

So, he’s a great union man. He recognizes that the governor of Wisconsin has “gone too far” and is at least trying to cripple his state’s public service unions. He recognizes that the union members have offered to take a significant haircut. But he won’t play the sap for them. Screw them. Screw them and their government jobs and their cushy benefits. Damn them to hell. Gov. Walker is going to be a hero for taking these people on. You know who Walker reminds me of? Ronald Reagan!! Remember when Reagan was the governor of California and he went to Cal-Berkeley and told those goddamned hippies that they were a bunch of trustifarian cry babies? Yeah, that was awesome!! He became president because of that shit. And Walker could be president for this, too!! Because he went too far!!

You think I’m joking? Look at this shit:

In the manner of Ronald Reagan taking on student demonstrators at Berkeley in 1966, Walker will become the champion of the common man, the Middle American and all of that. This works. Reagan, you might recall, went on to become president.

Reagan personified the disgust many Americans felt toward unruly (and ungrateful) college students. Walker is personifying the feeling of resentment and anger toward government workers who have so gamed the system that some of them retire on larger stipends than the average American makes in salary – and with health care, too. Like Reagan, Walker has tapped into a feeling of disgust – the always-dangerous sense that you and I have played by the rules and saved for our modest retirements, while government workers, on our dime, have run off with pensions they do not deserve. We feel we have been played for a fool.

Richard Cohen has the right to express his opinions. But someone ought to edit his stuff for coherence. His columns almost never have internal consistency, and this column is no exception. And then there’s the fact that he’s a disingenuous jerk who long ago ceased having any liberal tendencies. He basically curries favor with some imaginary constituency that he thinks shares his eclectic tastes. In reality, he serves an elite that neither needs his help nor respects his product.

Wank on. Wank off.

14 comments for “Wanker of the Day: Richard Cohen

  1. February 22, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    Maybe there is some floor level of wankery and doltishness beneath which people actually don’t have the right to express their opinions.  If there is, Richie C is underneath it.

  2. February 22, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    Cohen, Brooks, Klein and Sullivan should all get together and play with their union busting Ken dolls and corporate lobbyist Barbie dolls.

  3. February 22, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    I draw comfort from reading countless Cohen columns that even rank stupidity may not prevent one from profiting nicely in purveying one’s opinion no matter how specious, illogical, or ultimately just plain stupid.  Yes, Cohen is proof positive that even a lazy, incompetent fool who can write complete sentences can make a lot of money prattling in print what would get him called out for bullshit in a pub.

  4. February 22, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    I see that Tuesday is punching bag day.  You set up Cohen and FDL sets up David Brooks.

    These guys used to be important to what was happening in US politics.  No longer.  They are now irrelevant.

    BTW, show up at your state capitols noon Saturday to create a 50-state protest against the Koch agenda that is being pushed in every state – moreso in states with Republican governors and majorities.  Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio are not unconnected.

  5. February 22, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    Indiana is in the game. House Dems walked earlier today, headed for parts unknown, probably IL &/or KY.

    House Democrats are leaving the state rather than vote on anti-union legislation, The Indianapolis Star has learned.

    A source said Democrats are headed to Illinois, though it was possible some also might go to Kentucky. They need to go to a state with a Democratic governor to avoid being taken into police custody and returned to Indiana.

  6. February 22, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    how Coolidge became prominent too, breaking a police strike?  At least we can see nothing changes.  

  7. February 22, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    I’m sorry about the slow server.  It’s been acting weird lately and it can’t handle Atrios’s load very well.  If you’re patient, the comments box will open, although I’ve had the sever hang up twice already.  

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