The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

She’s Certainly Making the Right Enemies

Posted on | November 30, 2010 | 29 Comments

Congratulations, Governor Palin:

You can add the hatred of Charles Johnson, next to the pathological obsession of Andrew Sullivan, in your trophy case. As to Joe Scarborough’s accusation that Palin is a “cultural icon” of “anti-intellectualism” . . . Hey, let’s go to the video:

“To all you people who want to send me e-mails: Don’t waste your time. I’m not going to read it.”

In other words: “My mind’s made up. Don’t try to confuse me with your so-called ‘facts.'” An attitude we might call . . . uh, anti-intellectual.

And here’s something: Joe Scarborough didn’t write that column.

Those phrases — “her latest frenetic book tour,” “charging ahead maniacally,” “gaudy circus sideshow” — weren’t written by Scarborough.

Joe Scarborough may agree with those phrases, but he didn’t write them, and he damn well knows it. 

Politics ain’t beanbag, but fair is fair, and I’ll be damned if I’ll sit silent while he accuse her of “anti-intellectualism” in a column that is so obviously ghost-written — and, absent any other explanation, quite possibly ghosted by someone in the pay of one of Palin’s GOP rivals.

J’accuse, Joe.

UPDATE: Maybe I’d better walk this back a bit:

Prior to his career in television, Joe was the publisher and editor of the award-winning newspaper “The Florida Sun.”

Didn’t know Joe was an ex-newspaper editor. The Politico column’s flinging around of fancy adverbs and adjectives from the SAT prep list had me thinking, “Hey, that’s the work of a professional writer.”

UPDATE II: I have apologized via Twitter to Joe Scarborough for the accusation that his Politico column must be ghosted.

Let me hasten to explain that my red-alert reaction to those fancy phrases was not a snobby assumption that Joe Scarborough was “too dumb” to write fancy phrases — that he didn’t know what “frenetic” meant. Rather, my point is that writing is a habit.

People who write for a living, who pay their bills with their ability to crank out hundreds or sometimes thousands of words a day, generally write with greater fluency than people who make their livings as dentists or engineers. Not that the dentist or engineer is stupid, or that they are incapable of composing essays, you see.

Anyway, when I saw a column by a guy whom I knew as a former Florida congressman — and I assumed, based on the usual biography of congressmen, that Scarborough had been a lawyer before running for public office — with all those ornate modifiers, I immediately recognized it as the work of a professional writer.

In fact, I guessed that none other than Peggy Noonan herself had ghosted that column. The prose was quite Noonanish.

One of the perils of blogging, as opposed to working in the newspaper business as I did for more two decades, is that there is no copy editor to flag my errors before they’re published. So when I rush online with something extraordinarily stupid, I wish there were an “unpublish” button.

Mea culpa.

Wes Pruden would have scalded my ass for something like that, and when I err so spectacularly, I don’t hesitate to acknowledge the error.

But I still consider the accusation of “anti-intellectualism” unfair to Palin.


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