It’s been a while since we last checked in on the Washington Post op-ed stable’s elderly “left-center” know-nothing Richard Cohen, the Worst Writer in the World. After a profound month-long streak of weekly 800-word diarrhea baths earlier this year — climaxing with the legendary, “What if Dick Cheney is right?” — Cohen laid low for a while, talked about how nuts George Bush’s Iraq War was for a couple of weeks, safe stuff. NO MORE! Cohen has returned to form triumphantly (sadly) today with just… just a real lousy effort. Man alive. Take your bathroom break *now,* before clicking the clicky, because what you’re about to witness is… a Richard Cohen “concept” column!
Read this first graf very slowly. The overarching conceit introduced here — we think he intends for it to be a “joke,” but, eh… let’s just stick with “conceit” — is that the Pulitzer committee has presented him with a very special award!
When the Pulitzer committee called to say that I had won the prize for being the only syndicated columnist, or for that matter touch-typist, who had not had an exclusive interview with Barack Obama, I was shocked. I had to check to see if indeed I had not exclusively interviewed the president and, if I had, what he had said and, if I hadn’t — which turned out to be the case — how it had happened.
There’s a lot going on here.
(1) He is insanely jealous, if not altogether covetous to Biblical proportions, of all the other columnists who have won Pulitzer Prizes during their careers. He has not won any. Even though he is so old!
(2) He is insanely jealous, if not altogether covetous to Biblical proportions, of all the other columnists who have been offered exclusive interviews with Barack Obama. He has not been offered any. Even though he is so old!
(3) He wants to be sure that you know he is a syndicated columnist, not just your local community yenta. He has reach all across the country. He is syndicated! Good heavens!
(4) “Touch-typist” is obvious Cohenese for “whippersnapper liberal-left Internet blog ‘writers’ who think they’re all fresh hot potato pies, even though they… even though THEY never started out working at an Important Newspaper, pulling the mules around! Actual mules, in the Newspaper office! Grunt work! Mowing the GODDAMN LAWN.” In other words, he is insanely jealous, if not altogether covetous to Biblical proportions, of all the “touch-typists” at the Huffington Poop who have been offered exclusive interviews with Barack Obama. He has not been offered any. Even though he is so old!
(5) He is pretending that he of course has been offered like a billion opportunities to sit down one-on-one with the President — too many to remember! — because he is Richard Cohen. Richard Cohen can sit down with any President, any time, damnit. Richard Cohen was there in the ’60s! Right there, in America, listening to the Beatles and going to college and fighting for Civil Rights! Barack Obama may think he’s a real prize these days, but Richard Cohen, he met his first black person when Barack Obama was only eight. How about that? How about that?
Moving on to the second act here, in today’s column, bwah: Richard Cohen turned down all those “opportunities” (birthrights!) to interview Barack Obama because what were they gonna talk about, health care. Health care. What *is* that? LBJ brought health care to most people, last he checked! Know where Cohen was when LBJ signed health money bills for peasants and old folks or whatever? Wouldn’t you like to know!
In truth, I did not seek an exclusive interview with the president of the United States not only because I wanted to write something that would be noticed but also — actually mainly — because I feared that if I did get an exclusive interview I would be expected to ask him something about health-care reform, about which I know next to nothing. What was worse, despite reading six newspapers a day, watching cable news shows, network news shows, the “NewsHour” and being online all the livelong day, I could not fathom what the president wants to do with health care. I suppose this is all my fault since, I learn from reading my e-mails, almost everything is.
Again, what the hell is this gobbledy-gook, health, bwah, can’t wrap his head around the damn thing! Smells like malarkey.
As far as I could figure out, the president turned over health-care reform to about 24 committees of the House and about eight committees of the Senate, and they have all come up with plans that simultaneously sell out to the private sector and yet somehow socialize medicine . . . as we know it. They are also partisan, nonpartisan, bipartisan (don’t ask, don’t tell) and in the out years — and at the end of the day — mind-numbingly boring. I am thinking outside the box here.
REAGAN! Was there for Reagan to boot, for his health care reform. Did it then too! Always doing it, jesus… back then though they called ’em “missiles.” We called the doctors “missiles.” This was during the Cold War, you see.
For me, health-care reform is Missiles Redux — specifically the Reagan-era disputes over SS-20s and such, not to mention throw-weight, which is measured in kilograms or metric tons, whatever they are. I was expected to know something about such matters, being a Washington columnist and all, but I could never keep the damn terms and numbers straight. I would bone up, talk to the experts, read the stupefying reports, write the requisite column — and promptly forget it all. The Soviet Union collapsed anyway.
Finally: could this last graf get much more bitter? Was he fucking crying while writing this?
Lucky for me, this has not been done, and so I have been ducking that call from the White House, inviting me to exclusively spend the day with the president, exclusively interview the president or — this would be really hard to turn down — exclusively sneak a smoke with him in the Situation Room. My Pulitzer is coming because I alone have not interviewed the president. It turns out, that’s an exclusive.
My Big Exclusive [WP]