Sunday Tour of the RTD Editorial Pages

You can always count on the Richmond Times-Dispatch (RTD) to have a nice mix of total malarkey, usually courtesy of retired goofball editorial page editor Ross ‘Homophobia’ Mackenzie and shrill letters to the editor written by hapless citizens with narrow viewpoints (I know because I have had the honor of being a ‘Correspondent of the Day’ years ago).

And so this Sunday is no exception. Let’s run down the featured moments of hilarious logic-less punditry attempting to present a conservative viewpoint, so terribly unsuccessfully that it makes Rush Limbaugh seem like the genius he thinks he is.

The Op/Ed page begins with a column by Charles Krauthammer, former psychiatrist and the foreign policy genius who brought us the misplaced term ‘Reagan Doctrine’. In ‘The Great Non Sequitur’ ‘Sour’ Kraut-the-Hammer argues that the current crisis has been brought on by ‘Overeducated, Gucci-wearing smart-ass MBAs’ who invented terrible debt models that got us into this credit catastrophe. Being trained in psychiatry, we assume Sourkraut is simply practicing profession-bashing rather than really believing the simplistic idiocy he dishes out.

Sourkraut’s overall point is that our current president’s policies, rather than being direct responses to the actual problem, are cleverly disguised ways to socialize health care, education, and energy. His complaint is that, while Obama’s politics are clever, he is being intellectually dishonest. Perhaps Chuck should be glad that our current president has the ability to be intellectual at all. Oh whoops, did I just denigrate the ‘dread Bush administration’, but that’s Ross Mackenzie’s phrase as we soon will point out in…

‘Briefs’ by the retired and crusty Ross ‘The Mac’ Mackenzie, he of the suspenders and bow tie (which they crop out of his picture these days…. boo!). Mackenzie’s modus operandi is usually to pose ridiculous questions that he dreamed up and then answer them in a sort of internal monologue. However, this week he simply picks random subjects to comment upon. Unfortunately, it is difficult to determine the focus of his ‘brief’ snippets, so I will help readers out by doing the copy editors job of adding headlines to each:

  • Recent Snow Proof That Global Warming Is Bunk
  • Mention of Playboy in This Column Proof that Ross Is Not Gay
  • Ross Looking Forward to Getting Stoned As Soon As U.S. AG Relaxes Medical Marijuna Laws
  • Ross Is On Patrol In the Middle East. His Conclusion? Iran Nukes Bad!
  • News Flash: Politician Breaks Campaign Pledge – Sort of
  • ‘Savior-based’ Economy Looks Towards Judgment Day for Relief
  • China Should Be In Charge: U.S. Congress Filled with Actors
  • News Flash: Racism in Africa! Europeans Hate Jews!
  • News Flash: Presidential Appearances Flanked by U.S. Flags!
  • News Flash: Elite, Well-Connected Washington Types Skirt Tax Laws! (I always find it interesting when conservatives point out the taxes not paid by those that they don’t agree with while fundamentally being against taxes in general… wouldn’t you think not paying taxes in some way would be a reason for a conservative to cheer?)
  • Ross Whips Out His Vast Expertise in the Tax Code (ditto my last comment)
  • ‘TARP’ Now Called Something Else: Proof that Obama is Big Brother!
  • Two Months Ago: Obama Fails To Show Up At Military Inaugural Ball. Proof that Obama is… uh… in hot demand? Against the military? Wha-?
  • News Flash: Big Football College Pays Coach More Than University President!
  • Herbert Hoover and FDR Terrible Presidents For Expressing Optimism. Obama Stands With Them (except that Obama has been universally criticized by pundits for, prior to his Congressional address, sounding too dismal regarding the economy).
  • Random Quote By Fed Chairman: “We’re not completely in the dark.”

Mackenzie’s biggest problem is that he thinks he’s being insightful by pointing out things that are indeed obvious and/or pointless or echoes of the Limbaugh/Fox News axis. Yes, while pointing out the pointless may seem interesting, it is not. It just makes Ross seem out of touch and a tad bit crotchety.

But is that not the charm of ‘the Mac’? He’s sort of there to represent the Old Guard. He’s so worried about this good ol’ country of ours he wants to ensure he leaves no stone unturned to ensure we are all well informed of the multiple threats to our well being. Whether it’s overpaid college coaches at USC (that liberal bastion – those bastards!) or the tax foibles of current administration officials, he makes sure we are kept in the know.

Never mind that his blurbs have no connection to any solid argument for or against anything in particular. Just a string of unrelated jabs here and there. One envisions ol’ Ross in an unfurnished room, with plenty of extra padding on the walls, jabbing here and jabbing there, each shadow he sees another presumed target of his expert upper cut. So Obama missed the Military Inaugural Ball? Out of 10 official balls and 10 unofficial balls, the inaugural ball Ross is complaining about, started in the Eisenhower Administration, is not one he even planned to attend. Guess what? Obama’s full time job would be attending ‘inaugural balls’ if had to show up to every single deserving cause-related event. Get real.

But Ol’ Mac at least delivers the expected drivel we love him so much for. Turning to the ‘Letters to the Editor’ section we shookour heads with disbelief as we are faced with a piece of ripe cow dung in the form of a missive labeled ‘Correspondent of the Day’. This giant bovine turd of a letter has the staggering audacity to blame customers of Circuit City’s last days as somehow insulting to the company’s employees and its business. This coming from a Circuit City employee named David Taylor. Mr. Taylor shrieks ‘Where was this support when we needed it?’ regarding the Black Friday-like crowds attending the store’s last days. I would like to ask where were these deals when it may have helped the company move merchandise? See, that’s what sane businesses do. But, the amazing arrogance of Circuit City was rooted in a near monopoly over the hi-fi business for years. When Best Buy came in, they scoffed. ‘Why be competitive in our core business?’ they asked themselves. And instead they went off on magic carpet rides, some successful (Car Max) and some wildly unsuccessful (Divx). But have a meaningful sale? Only when it’s too late.

“I can only hope that customers can try to see things from our side for a change,” wails the RTD’s Correspondent of the Day. No, Mr. Taylor. You are paid to serve customers. That is your job. That is why you exist and that is why you stay in business. You are disappearing off the face of the retail universe for the very attitude you are expressing. The customer owes you nothing. While it is regretful that there are idiots and assholes who may frequent your business, in good days you could simply refuse them service. Now? You just have to deal with it.

Finally, the RTD unsuprisingly comes out in favor of recent tobacco regulation that will favor local corporate uber-giant Altria (parent company of cigarette giant Phillip Morris). Of course, the editorial staff must mention that “we are generally skeptical about expanding government regulation”, but in this case heck it favors our buds so it can’t be bad, can it?

Then the RTD decides that socialism is a great thing as long as it is part of some giant war effort, but it is decidedly a ‘sobering thought to remember that throughout modern times economic turmoil has served as a cause of war’. So war is good, but it’s bad, but it’s good. At least it’s sobering.

At least we can count on George Will for a breath of fresh air in the form of some actual well-researched commentary on a fresh subject that is not simply an excuse to make a political point of some sort. His insightful linking of corn consumption since WWII and obesity and the health care crisis is on target. We at Swatting at Flies wish to see more thoughtful debate on subjects that impact our lives such as this.


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