Cohen's different than most of the people who will likely receive this honor. Most of the people on this illustrious list will be notable by the fact that they're pretty much wrong about everything all the time. Cohen occasionally gets it right and demonstrates that there's remnant of a decent human being floating around in there somewhere. But he's also horribly and smugly wrong so much of the time, in the way that only someone who has been sitting in their tenured Washington Post columnist chair for decades can be. He likes war. He is, to put it mildy, really icky about racial issues and has some problems with the wimmenfolk too. Really. He knows funny, and he knows not to mock or question the powerful. He committed a crime against humanity by forcing me to defend Joe Lieberman of all people.
Cohen's had a long career, wearing one of the "liberal" hats at the Washington Post. It's a bit sad, thinking about it, as occasionally the "good" Cohen makes an appearance and gets something really really right, but all of that is washed away by decades of the kind of wankery that can only come from lifetime employees of Fox on 15th. And when bad Richard makes an appearance, he's really, really bad. Monsters walk among us bad.
As for the big test of the decade - just how awesome do you think the Iraq war will be! - Cohen failed miserably. He was bested by the fools, the Frenchmen, and of course the dirty fucking hippies.
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.
As for the "real reason" we went to war, Cohen provided his answer a few years later.
Things are precisely the same with Iraq, and here, too, I -- No. 3 -- originally had no moral qualms about the war. Saddam Hussein was a beast who had twice invaded his neighbors, had killed his own people with abandon and posed a threat -- and not just a theoretical one -- to Israel. If anything, I was encouraged in my belief by the offensive opposition to the war -- silly arguments about oil or empire or, at bottom, the ineradicable and perpetual rottenness of America.
On the contrary, I thought. We are a good country, attempting to do a good thing. In a post-Sept. 11 world, I thought the prudent use of violence could be therapeutic. The United States had the power to change things for the better, and those who would do the changing -- the fighting -- were, after all, volunteers. This mattered to me.
Oh well. You should have used your powers for good, Richard.
P.S. You just about made this list Cole!!! ;)
And the 9th runner up is...