Richard Cohen has a knack for making venom-spewing enemies out of people who should be his allies.
Like on Tuesday, when The Washington Post columnist wrote about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s chances in the 2016 Iowa Republican caucuses and took a detour to consider Bill de Blasio, New York City’s newly elected mayor, and his multiracial family:
“People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York — a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children. (Should I mention that Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, used to be a lesbian?) This family represents the cultural changes that have enveloped parts — but not all — of America. To cultural conservatives, this doesn’t look like their country at all.”
Wow. So far, so offensive. But Cohen, you see, wasn’t imputing those “conventional” sentiments to himself; oh no. He was simply articulating what he as a card-carrying leftist in good standing for decades knows that conservatives are thinking in their dark little hearts of hearts. Yes, if you want to know what Red State Amerikkka truly believes, just ask an NYC-based progressive.
“I don’t understand it,” said the columnist, who lives in New York City. “What I was doing was expressing not my own views but those of extreme right-wing Republican tea party people. I don’t have a problem with interracial marriage or same-sex marriage. In fact, I exult in them. It’s a slander” to suggest otherwise. “This is just below the belt. It’s a purposeful misreading of what I wrote.”
There are four, and only four, Richard Cohen columns.
1. Boring conventional political column
2. Inscrutable, unfunny joke column
3. “I am scared of black people” column
4. “I am shocked and outraged that people called me racist/idiotic/humorless” column
Cohen’s editor is already falling on his sword:
Cohen’s boss, Post editorial-page editor Fred Hiatt, defends his man in this latest flap this way: “Anyone reading Richard’s entire column will see he is just saying that some Americans still have a hard time dealing with interracial marriage.” But Hiatt takes some of the heat himself, saying, “I erred in not editing that one sentence more carefully to make sure it could not be misinterpreted.”
For his part, Cohen is standing up to the fascist bullies of the Sarah Palin brigades such as HuffPo and Alex Pareene:
I think it’s reprehensible to say that because you disagree with something that you should fire me. That’s what totalitarians do.
Got it in one, Dick.