Rebel pundit names the names of three colleagues: The Washington Post’s David Ignatius just keeps breaking the rules.
Last year, he published the text of the “talking points” Susan Rice was given concerning Benghazi. In doing so, he established a key premise: Rice had simply presented the CIA’s best understanding, at that time, of what had occurred.
Yesterday, Ignatius did it again. He wrote a column which suggested that Obama shouldn’t be getting hammered so hard about recent events in Syria.
At the start of his piece, he outlined his case—and he shattered a rule:
IGNATIUS (9/19/13): How did it happen that, less than a year after Barack Obama convincingly won reelection, his every move as president now draws hoots and catcalls from nearly every point on the political spectrum?With respect to Syria, Obama “has accomplished goals that most Americans endorse, given the unpalatable menu of choices.” And yet he’s getting widely hammered in the press, Ignatius says.
Perhaps his Syria policy really is a story of “epic incompetence,” as Charles Krauthammer opined last week. Maybe he has an “unbelievably small” presidency, as Marc Thiessen commented, or that no one is afraid of him, as Ruth Marcus argued. And that’s just a sampling of opinion from my colleagues at The Post.
What’s puzzling about this latest bout of Obama-phobia is that recent developments in Syria have generally been positive from the standpoint of U.S. interests.
Obama has accomplished goals that most Americans endorse, given the unpalatable menu of choices. Polls suggest that the public overwhelmingly backs the course Obama has chosen...
And not only that. Ignatius names three names!
Unheard of! It seems to be one of the rules of the guild. You don’t name the names of your high-ranking colleagues unless you’re lavishing praise on such people for their astonishing brilliance. In this piece, Ignatius helps show how absurd that convention is.
Ignatius names three colleagues—Krauthammer, Thiessen and Marcus. On-line, he even links to their columns!
It’s clear that he disagrees with the judgments these colleagues have reached. But what’s the big whoop about that?
Ignatius is perfectly courteous and collegial as he names the names of these colleagues. He simply does his readers a favor. He removes the mystery concerning who he’s talking about.
Down through the years, we have suggested that Paul Krugman might-maybe should do this more often. We thought of those many helpful suggestions as we read his new column:
KRUGMAN (9/20/13): [A]t the moment, it seems highly likely that the Republican Party will refuse to fund the government, forcing a shutdown at the beginning of next month, unless President Obama dismantles the health reform that is the signature achievement of his presidency. Republican leaders realize that this is a bad idea, but, until recently, their notion of preaching moderation was to urge party radicals not to hold America hostage over the federal budget so they could wait a few weeks and hold it hostage over the debt ceiling instead. Now they’ve given up even on that delaying tactic. The latest news is that John Boehner, the speaker of the House, has abandoned his efforts to craft a face-saving climbdown on the budget, which means that we’re all set for shutdown, possibly followed by debt crisis.Krugman only gets 800 words. He certainly doesn’t necessarily have to name names every single time out.
How did we get here?
Some pundits insist, even now, that this is somehow Mr. Obama’s fault. Why can’t he sit down with Mr. Boehner the way Ronald Reagan used to sit down with Tip O’Neill? But O’Neill didn’t lead a party whose base demanded that he shut down the government unless Reagan revoked his tax cuts, and O’Neill didn’t face a caucus prepared to depose him as speaker at the first hint of compromise.
But who is Krugman thinking of here? Who is insisting, even now, that the possible government shutdown “is somehow Obama’s fault?”
Inquiring minds are eager to know. In his latest act of rebellion, Ignatius showed it’s possible to drop the occasional name.