Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Cal Thomas is Shocked - Shocked!

To find that campaigning is going on in here. In a characteristically stupid column, he expresses his utter disbelief that Senators Obama and Clinton have united, since it was only recently that they were campaigning against each other. Were they lying when they said all those nasty things about each other? Are they lying now? Who knows - they're Democrats, after all, so they could have been lying both times while secretly funneling campaign donations to al-Qaeda!

But don't worry, readers - Cal is on the case:
"This is why so many people are cynical about politicians. You never know if they are telling you what you want to hear, or what they hope you'll swallow in spite of evidence to the contrary [...] For all the talk of unity, it isn't union. One awaits the moment on "Meet the Press" or some other venue when Clinton and Obama are asked if they meant what they said about each other during the primary campaign, or should we believe what they are saying now?

If they were lying then, we can't trust him as president. If they were telling the truth then, we can't afford him as president."

This is a level of analysis that doesn't rise above the "utterly pedestrian" level, but even granting Cal's vague assertion that "so many people are cynical about politicians" (which probably is and has always been true), it would require an incredible amount of naïveté to be made cynical by this. I'm cynical about some politicians, but it's not because I watched a campaign and had my idealism ruined. Most likely it is due to one of three factors: 1) I've been watching their career, 2) I haven't had any coffee yet, or 3) It's been a while since I last watched The West Wing. But this sort of sanctimonious whining - Cal's specialty - is political pandering at its worst. Cal Thomas writes the way he does because he knows who his audience is.

That's what gets to me about this kind of writing. Is Cal Thomas surprised at what's happened throughout the primary process? Of course not. He's been covering politics for a long time. Will he mention similar attacks on John McCain from lots of GOP stars who are now warming to their party's candidate because the race is over? I wouldn't hold my breath. Would he ever assert that Republicans couldn't be trusted because campaign rhetoric didn't match up with general election camaraderie? Ha!

But that's the whole point. He knows that he's peddling junk, but he's hoping that his readers are dumb and won't realize it. He's a snake-oil salesman, selling indignation on opinion pages all around the country while hoping that his readers won't smell the stench of B.S. permeating his columns. And he thinks the politicians are the reason for the cynicism.

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