The Stupefying Richard Cohen

Now this story I’m about to unfold took place back in the early nineties–just about the time of our conflict with Saddam and the Iraqis. I only mention it ’cause sometimes there’s a man–I won’t say a hero, ’cause what’s a hero?–but sometimes there’s a man……and I’m talkin’ about Richard Cohen here– sometimes there’s a man, well, he’s the man for his time and place, he fits right in there–and that’s Richard Cohen, in Washington DC…Richard Cohen was certainly that–quite possibly the laziest journalist in the District of Columbia…which would place him high in the runnin’ for laziest worldwide–but sometimes there’s a man…sometimes there’s a man.

Lost my train of thought here. But —-aw hell, I done introduced him enough.

…when President George H.W. Bush sabotaged Lawrence Walsh’s probe by issuing six Iran-Contra pardons on Christmas Eve 1992, prominent journalists praised Bush’s actions. They brushed aside Walsh’s complaint that the move was the final act in a long-running cover-up that protected a secret history of criminal behavior and Bush’s personal role.

“Liberal” Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen spoke for many of his colleagues when he defended Bush’s fatal blow against the Iran-Contra investigation. Cohen especially liked Bush’s pardon of former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, who had been indicted for obstruction of justice but was popular around Washington.

In a Dec. 30, 1992, column, Cohen said his view was colored by how impressed he was when he would see Weinberger in the Georgetown Safeway store, pushing his own shopping cart.

“Based on my Safeway encounters, I came to think of Weinberger as a basic sort of guy, candid and no nonsense – which is the way much of official Washington saw him,” Cohen wrote. “Cap, my Safeway buddy, walks, and that’s all right with me.”

Because nothing says “candid” like lying “under oath to Congress and congressional investigators three times in 1987” about your “advance knowledge of a secret arms shipment to Iran and secret Saudi funding for the U.S.-backed Nicaraguan contra rebels.”

Not if you squeeze eggplants at the same Safeway as Richard Cohen, anyway.

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