CIRCULAR BLOVIATING SQUAD
Is there some new rule requiring all New York Times op-ed columnists to read nothing but one another's columns?
I'm asking because today Roger Cohen published an entire column apparently cribbed from a 2004 David Brooks column. In that column, Brooks complained that talk of conspiratorial "neocons" was paranoid and provided a derivation for the word "neocon":
con is short for "conservative" and neo is short for "Jewish"
Cohen today complains that talk of conspiratorial "neocons" is paranoid and writes that
... the term, in these Walt-Mearsheimered days, ... for many, has become shorthand for neocon-Zionist conspiracy, whatever that may be, although probably involving some combination of plans to exploit Iraqi oil, bomb Iran and apply U.S. power to Israel's benefit.
But this isn't an isolated example. Cohen's last Times column told us the next president must "switch from the politics of anxiety to the politics of confidence." Would such a leader, perhaps, be the "9/12 candidate" Thomas Friedman wrote about the day before, who (Friedman hopes) will reverse the fact that recently "Our government has been exporting fear, not hope"?
Frank Rich, on Sunday, argued that Democrats' chances in the '08 presidential election look good, but they might blow it. One sign of the party's skill at self-sabotage strikes him as so telling that he feels he has to mention it first:
So nothing can go wrong for the Democrats. Can it?
Of course it can, and not just because of the party's perennial penchant for cutting off its nose to spite its face. (Witness the Democratic National Committee's zeal in shutting down primary campaigning in Florida because the state moved up the primary's date.)
Hey, I think the Dems can blow it, too -- but who on earth thinks that Florida thing is terribly significant? Oh, yeah, right -- Gail Collins, who wrote an entire column saying it was.
Collins, of course, writes all of her op-eds in a watered-down version of Maureen Dowd's prose style. And Bob Herbert has been accused of cannibalizing his own columns.
Come on, kids. Go to the park with a good book. Stay in and read some blogs. Just stop reading one another for a few weeks.