CLOWNFARTS MCOLD  3:40 pm July 28, 2009

World’s Worst Writer Richard Cohen Back In Form, Pens Worst Article Anywhere On Internet Right Now

by Jim Newell

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]

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Buzz Feedback July 28, 2009 at 3:44 pm

Late-stage Alzheimer’s in print.

norbizness July 28, 2009 at 3:50 pm

This is a long form of the admission made by the Sea Captain after the raft he offered Homer sunk to the bottom of the river: “Arrr… I don’t know what I’m doin’.”

assistant/atlas July 28, 2009 at 3:50 pm

“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” … Ever thought you might be retarded, Richard? It’s certainly crossed my mind more than once….

ManchuCandidate July 28, 2009 at 3:51 pm

White House: “Who the fuck is Dicky Cohen?”

Madeline July 28, 2009 at 3:51 pm

(3) I think you mean “yenta”. Although maybe Richard Cohen cross-dressed as a man in order to study the Talmud. Who knows with this douchebag?

V572625694 July 28, 2009 at 3:52 pm

[re=372787]assistant/atlas[/re]: He’s on Medicare…no health insurance worries for The Dickster! A single-payer system sucks, except when you have one.

freakishlystrong July 28, 2009 at 3:52 pm

Guano Faucet, print version.

ExecutorElassus July 28, 2009 at 3:53 pm

[re=372772]Buzz Feedback[/re]: No, then his left margin would be slowly drifting to the right, and the typeface getting slowely less legible, in a public letter, to America.

Wakka wakka!

Jim Newell July 28, 2009 at 3:53 pm

[re=372790]Madeline[/re]: Both! But thank you.

shortsshortsshorts July 28, 2009 at 3:54 pm

I’m sorry Wonkette overlords— but Byron York is the world’s worst writer.

chascates July 28, 2009 at 3:54 pm

“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.”

Exclusive interviews are yawners all right. Maybe you and David Broder and Helen Thomas can start a club. You can discuss bipartionship and what really happened to Aimee Semple McPherson.

Todd Mecklem July 28, 2009 at 3:58 pm

If anyone needs a tiny clone of himself, it’s Richard. A sort of Mini-Cohen, complete with idiot grin, following him around saying “You’re funny, boss. You’re a funny guy!” Because no one else is gonna say it.

magic titty July 28, 2009 at 3:58 pm

Jesus. Did he forget to masturbate this morning?

Texan Bulldoggette July 28, 2009 at 3:58 pm

Poor Dicky–this is so reminiscent of the time in 3rd grade (& the 4th grade & the 5th grade…) when the popular guy did not pick him to be on his kickball team in PE. Call him, Barry, & put him out of his misery!

Don Juanquete July 28, 2009 at 3:59 pm

[re=372797]shortsshortsshorts[/re]: Tom Friedman. Worst pseudolib writer evah. No contest.

boinggg July 28, 2009 at 4:00 pm

Yeah, that’s pretty thick stuff. It could be condensed into one short paragraph. But then it wouldn’t be a column, would it? We used to call writing like this, “easy inches”.

snideinplainsight July 28, 2009 at 4:00 pm

Yet still, here is a columnist, a syndicated, bonified columnist in the Washdup-Post, who is willing to admit there is a subject he doesn’t know much about. Ya know, I wish this guy would eat lunch at the same cafeteria table as Will, Krauthhammer, Kristol, Gherkins et al.

Tommmcatt July 28, 2009 at 4:02 pm

That column is the Taj Mahal of passive agression.

Extemporanus July 28, 2009 at 4:05 pm

[re=372788]ManchuCandidate[/re]: “Dicky Cohen” is the nickname given to the little anti-fapping collar a doctor puts on one’s penis post-circumcision.

Smoke Filled Roommate July 28, 2009 at 4:05 pm

Say what you will about Old Man Cohen, his popcorn remains superb.

slappypaddy July 28, 2009 at 4:05 pm

say hallelujah, somebody, methuselah labors on doing his work of sissy-fits while gazing enraptured into the depths of his own linty navel.

o how far you’ve fallen, once-mighty wapo, tottering on your crumbling feet of clay.

Crank Tango July 28, 2009 at 4:07 pm

so he touches himself while typing– doesn’t that just make him a blogger?

dr.giraud July 28, 2009 at 4:08 pm

Well, he was right once in the column: “I suppose this is all my fault since, I learn from reading my e-mails, almost everything is.”

I take it back. He can’t possibly know how to read e-mail on his own.

AxmxZ July 28, 2009 at 4:15 pm

“Fine, don’t pick me for the tree-house club! I don’t WANNA be in your club! Your club is stoopid anyway.”

But at night, a sound of pillow-muffled sobs will be heard from his room.

the bf July 28, 2009 at 4:15 pm

He said “bone up”.

S.Luggo July 28, 2009 at 4:16 pm

[re=372820]Tommmcatt[/re]: Win.

Richard Cohen IS the news.

Gopherit July 28, 2009 at 4:17 pm

[re=372797]shortsshortsshorts[/re]: That’s probably true shorts, but Cohen better not waste his time waiting for that call from the Pulitzer Committee….it appears from today’s article that the ‘Heimers is about to take him out of the competition.

NoWireHangers July 28, 2009 at 4:18 pm

I’ve been working the Internets all the livelong dayyyyy…

Noodle Salad July 28, 2009 at 4:19 pm

I don’t know anything about health care, and I’ve never met the president, either. I’m also willing to publicly admit both statements in legible English. I can haz WaPo paycheck?

chascates July 28, 2009 at 4:19 pm

[re=372830]Crank Tango[/re]: Yes.

Hooray For Anything July 28, 2009 at 4:26 pm

Does Fred Hiatt require all of the Post’s columnists wear safety helmets to protect themselves during editorial meetings?

SayItWithWookies July 28, 2009 at 4:30 pm

He reminds me of the guy in the joke who cleans the elephants’ toenails for the circus. You know, he bitches to his friends that he deals with giant toenail clippings and grit and hay all day, and then comes home smelling like elephants’ feet. And one buddy asks him why he doesn’t quit, and he says, “Are you kidding — and leave show business?”

JooJoo Bee July 28, 2009 at 4:59 pm

At last, a column from Richard Cohen in which he admits to not knowing shit. This almost, but not quite, makes up for the column about what a stupidly thing the Iraq War was even though he wrote columns (PLURAL!) endorsing it back when it was a shiny new thing, and Kay Graham was too dead to fire him for it.

Fred Wertham Jr. July 28, 2009 at 5:02 pm

If you think this is the worst article on the internet right now, that can only mean you haven’t read David Brooks today.

Monsieur Grumpe July 28, 2009 at 5:03 pm

Jim, Richard Cohen is your Father. It’s kind of like Star Wars only worse.

widget09 July 28, 2009 at 5:29 pm

Nevah forget to pay homadge to St. Ronald of Reagan! So many words, so little content, no wonder barry’s not gonna roll you a blunt in the situation room.

finallyhappy July 28, 2009 at 5:31 pm

[re=372907]Fred Wertham Jr.[/re]: Before I do, is about a Republican touching him all night?

4sheets July 28, 2009 at 5:45 pm

So much to parody, so little energy. I think I’ll take just one of these blue capsu……ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

gjdodger July 28, 2009 at 5:45 pm

[re=372811]Don Juanquete[/re]: You guys are all kicked out of the Peggister McNoonanshire LLP Friday’s club.

Marlowe July 28, 2009 at 5:52 pm

His column reminded me of ‘Fall Out’, the last episode”The Prisoner”.

Patrick McGoohan, the Prisoner, is trying to find out who is Number 1.
He’s chasing a cloaked figure while “I,I,I” chants in the background.

He catched up to the figure, pulls the mask off, and sees a jabbering monkey.

They could have used Dicky Cohen instead.

hillarys_left_nut July 28, 2009 at 5:52 pm

um, I love me some Hopey and all, and nothing more needs to be said about the nosed-pressed-up-against-the-window neediness of this pathetic codger’s plaint….

BUT, let’s face it, this part is kinda sorta (regrettably) true:

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…

Sure would have liked to have seen an Obama plan, instead of a Jesus-whatever-we-do-let’s-not-put the-insurance-companies-out-of-business plan, coz what do you expect from folks who run every two years and have to feed the beast w/ insurance co campaign $$$$?

4sheets July 28, 2009 at 6:00 pm

I demand access to the secret room where the monkeys in green eyeshades are knocking this stuff out.

problemwithcaring July 28, 2009 at 6:02 pm

Shorter: Who’s NOT honoring me NOW?

Capricatony July 28, 2009 at 6:03 pm

Can I beat this man over the head with a copy of the Elements of Style? Not that I think it offers good writing advice. It would just be amusing.

loquaciousmusic July 28, 2009 at 6:06 pm

My dad has been a nationally-syndicated columnist for 25 years, and he’s never written shit like this.

Usually, his columns consist of advice to women who have gout and men who have toenail fungus, but still. (He writes better than Dick Cohen, too, and I’m not just saying that because it paid for college.)

Fred Wertham Jr. July 28, 2009 at 6:39 pm

[re=373002]Capricatony[/re]: I would use Robert Graves’s “The Reader Over Your Shoulder” instead. It’s a lot bigger.

Red Zeppelin July 28, 2009 at 6:44 pm

[re=372811]Don Juanquete[/re]: I’m with ya there, bro. Really, could ANYTHING be worse than reading one of Friedman’s columns cast as a letter or memo to a world leader? I would rather drink my own piss than read one of those again.

desertwind July 28, 2009 at 6:52 pm

He’s drinkin’ again, isn’t he?

Nedrick July 28, 2009 at 6:58 pm

He is about five Friedman metaphors away from being worthy of the “Worst Writer on the Internet” title, but only because Free Republic exists.

Mahousu July 28, 2009 at 7:41 pm

Dick, I hate to break it to you, but when your colleagues said “you have a lock on the Pulitzer Prize for stupidity,” they were joking with you. There really isn’t such a prize.

Uncle Al July 28, 2009 at 8:15 pm

Most embarrassing sentence:
“I recently came across Anderson Cooper, who was interviewing Obama in Africa or some such place, and after noticing how they were both so trim, I quickly channel-surfed my way to Animal Planet.”

He was always the laziest columnist at the Post, but now he’s become Grampa Simpson, channel-surfing his days away in the nursing home.

Also he’s always making references to men who are handsomer than he is (aka everybody). Remember the column where he railed against guys who wear those tight bicycle shorts? Is there something you want to tell us before you die, Dick? Never mind, we already figured it out.

torera July 28, 2009 at 8:16 pm

I have to agree with hillarys_left_nut: Cohen’s “analysis” of who’s writing the healthcare bills sounds right to me. Besides, George Will is a MUCH worse writer. Sorry.

Jim Newell July 28, 2009 at 8:37 pm

[re=373085]torera[/re]: 3 in the house, 2 in the senate. the health & finance committees in each chamber, plus the energy and commerce in the house. It would be the biggest piece of legislation in decades, so various committees have to approve it. It should not be that hard for Richard Cohen, veteran of Washington for decades himself and supposed reader of 6 newspapers & the entire internet, to figure this out, and explain it. Instead he whines about how it “bores” him, this thing that he should be able to understand on a basic level, that could insure 40 million people and help delay the bankruptcy of the country another 10 years.

imissopus July 28, 2009 at 8:44 pm

Yeah, I’ll bet if Obama had simply proposed lowering the age of Medicare–to what, birth?–Congress would have gone along with that, no problem. Is he fucking kidding? The Repubs haven’t been screaming “socialism” loudly enough at the plan Obama DID propose?

I know AP Government class was nearly twenty years ago, but I’m pretty sure a bunch of Congressional committees watering down (read: fucking up) legislative proposals from the president is usually how it works. Is the number of House and Senate committees working on health care larger than usual, or is he just paying attention to the legislative process for the first time in his career as a political columnist?

Oh, and Dicky’s divorced? Shocking that someone thought highly enough of him to marry him in the first place. What an unbelievable idiot.

widget09 July 28, 2009 at 8:46 pm

[re=372827]Smoke Filled Roommate[/re]: I agree, his popcorn is tops.

Oldskool July 28, 2009 at 8:46 pm

Richard should carry around George Will’s column on people who wear blue jeans (I kid you not) for whenever he feels sad.

vkladchik July 28, 2009 at 10:42 pm

“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.”

This is sheer brilliance.

ladymacbeth July 29, 2009 at 12:23 am

well that’s great. we have now summoned the ghost of richard cohen’s irate mother.

lulzmonger July 29, 2009 at 1:37 am

Cohen makes the classic error of writing more than three sentences – never a good call for a chronic idiot.

I think “The Corner” on NRO has got it right: slap off 20-40 words on some current topic that make you sound witty & in-the-know (& get to see your name on the Interwebs yet again!*woody*) before anyone can notice what a clueless tool you really are. “Prove” your “point” by linking to a fellow birther/creationist/anti-Illuminati blogging dipshit for L33T H4XX0R bonus-points!

Aurelio July 29, 2009 at 2:08 am

Don’t feel sorry for Richard Cohen. He likes that job himself.

auduboner July 29, 2009 at 2:47 am

Holy shit! He’s admitting to being too stupid to know what healthcare reform is all about! Plus, his analogy to Reagan’s missiles backs up his admission, albeit inadvertently!

That’s the single most honest thing he’s written in years, possibly millennia (he’s that old)!

Too bad most useless syndicated columnists won’t admit they know nothing about the issues of the Day, even when it’s clear from their daily drivel that such is the case…

Thanks, Richard!

hobospacejunkie July 29, 2009 at 3:16 am

[re=372827]Smoke Filled Roommate[/re]: Good popcorn, better honorary scholar. The popcorn guy received an honorary degree at my college graduation. Now it appears he’s farting out columns at wapo under an assumed name.

AngryAtheist July 29, 2009 at 7:17 am

I didn’t even know this clown existed before reading about his antics here on Wonkette…seriously.

Shouldn’t he give Wonkette some credit for expanding his fame?

Boojum July 29, 2009 at 7:25 am

[re=373102]Jim Newell[/re]: Oh yeah? Well, WHERES TEH BIRTH CERTIFICATE?!!!11!!

proudgrampa July 29, 2009 at 10:18 am

I can’t believe that I am still unemployed while dipshits like him continue to get paid for their drivel. Well, I guess no one ever said the universe was fair…

[re=373228]AngryAtheist[/re]: Oh, and who is Richard Cohen? Also.

Capitol Hillbilly July 29, 2009 at 10:57 am

If this appeared in the Weekly Regurgitator in Bumphuck, Mississipi, it would still be an embarrassment.

sezme July 29, 2009 at 12:38 pm

[re=373102]Jim Newell[/re]: Not to mention his reasoning that he can’t ask Obama about health care because he doesn’t understand Obama’s position on health care, getting answers apparently not being the point of asking questions at all (real purpose: Pulitzers!). Not that he’d invited for that exclusive interview even if he were the last columnist on earth.

Kidshowbusiness July 29, 2009 at 7:17 pm

I am glad, though, that Mr. Cohen apparently thinks that the best way to influence important decision-makers about a topic is to write a nationally syndicated (!) column confessing total ignorance/boredom as to said topic. This should continue to ensure that he has absolutely no impact on any issue of any importance to anyone. Keep up the good work, Dicky! You jackass.

Edywin July 29, 2009 at 9:09 pm

[re=373229]Boojum[/re]: In 1969, Neil Armstrong ( From whom Cohen did not get an exclusive interview either) found a large black obelisk that was Richard Cohen’s long form birth certificate, signed by the attending physician Hippocrates.

Zorg July 30, 2009 at 12:11 am

[re=372841]AxmxZ[/re]: Are you calling this great, good man a pillow-biter?

Prommie July 30, 2009 at 10:44 am

[re=373102]Jim Newell[/re]: Sincerity! You have committed the ultimate offense, you have committed sincerity, and, holy shit, something approaching a practicality-tinged idealism! But I forgive you.

Prommie July 30, 2009 at 10:56 am

[re=373196]auduboner[/re]: Hey, the “Reagan’s Missiles Revery” should go down in history, that wasn’t just bad writing, or a completely meaningless comparison, or a logical non-sequitor; no, it was so much more than that. It was a chest-beating boast, it was his way of waving his huge dick in our faces, he is saying, in his brilliantly passive aggressive way, “I have forgotten more than you know,” his way of saying “I was around when there were giants on the earth, like Saint Ronnie, and I knew once about stuff of substance, throw weights and first strike capability, the very stuff of armegeddon, stuff that could have resulted in the death of us all in an instantaneous flash of light, I could learn this health care stuff, but pah, and balderdash, it is beneath me.”

Bretagnelaw July 31, 2009 at 5:57 pm

Srsly what is worth the emdashes and commas. Content aside, I concur worst writer ever based on his confusing clauses.

No one has referred to themselves as a “touch typist” since before the internets. Also.

ante meridiem August 12, 2009 at 3:58 pm

I could not fathom what the president wants to do with health care. I suppose this is all my fault
Do not fret, Richard Cohen! It is not your fault! God made you stupid!

exclusively sneak a smoke with him in the Situation Room
And often, some kinds of smoke make me stupid, too!

But do not worry! I need a job! I will help you sound out the big health-care words, for a low, low, price! Call me, when your phone is not busy! (The Pulitzer Prize committee called! They don’t want anything back!)

DustBowlBlues February 2, 2010 at 5:03 pm

[re=372787]assistant/atlas[/re]: I’m not as old as this guy, and if I read 6 newspapers, was online, watching the teevee (including NEWHOUR!) at the same time, I couldn’t figure out anything, either. This old guy needs to focus.

Looked up the wiki entry and sure enough, there is “our” wonkette.

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