I understand that a lot of people are slamming Richard Cohen for saying that physical revulsion at the thought of interracial families is a “conventional view.” But I think that is one of the smaller sins he committed in his piece. The whole point of the column was supposed to be that Chris Christie can’t win the Iowa caucuses and therefore probably cannot win the Republican nomination. The mayor-elect of New York’s multiracial family has no bearing on how well Chris Christie will do in Iowa, nor does winning Iowa have much to do with winning the Republican nomination.
The first time that the Iowa Caucuses were a major focus was in 1980. Poppy Bush won, and Reagan became the nominee. In 1988, Bob Dole won, and Poppy won the nomination. In 1996, Dole won and became the nominee, and in 2000 Dubya won and became the nominee. In 2008, Huckabee won and
Romney McCain became the nominee, and in 2012, Santorum narrowly won and Romney became the nominee. Since 1980, the winner of the Iowa caucuses has won the nomination in two cycles out of six. That’s a thirty-three percent average.
Another sin was referring to Christie as a “cuddly moderate conservative.” How does a guy yelling in your face translate to “cuddly” or “moderate”? And then he ends the piece by saying that Christie is “too Joisey” and “too brash.” I’m from Joisey and I understand “too brash.” It ain’t cuddly. If you’re a guy and you call a Jersey Boy “cuddly,” you’re likely to get a fist in the mouth. Anyone who can write that a person is both “too Joisey” and a “cuddly moderate” is not getting enough oxygen to the brain.
The column is a giant non-sequitur, and that’s its biggest shortcoming. Why is he talking about Bill de Blasio at all? Why is he contrasting cuddly Christie to prickly Santorum, when they are both conservative Catholics from neighboring Mid-Atlantic states? Why is he acting like it matters if Chris Christie can’t win the Iowa caucuses? After all, Ted Cruz can’t win anywhere in New England.
Cohen got into trouble for talking about a gag-reflex reaction to interracial families, but he should be in trouble for a lot more than that. He is a terrible columnist and an even worse analyst. But the publisher thinks he’s brilliant.