THEY NEVER LEARN.

Ankush notes that Frank Rich is once again trotting out asinine tautologies about the meaningless issue of Hillary Clinton's "authenticity." As Bob Somerby elaborates, it's amazing to see Rich discussing the "conventional wisdom" of the 2000 campaign without discussing is own considerable role in the kneecapping of Gore. For some reason, Rich's belated, not-telling-you-anything-you-don't-already-know criticisms of the calamitous Bush administration have blinded some progressives to the fact that nobody was more responsible for pushing the idiotic "Gush-Bore" storyline of the 2000 campaign, helping Bush immeasurably by making the campaign about Al Gore's suits rather than about the substantial policy and competence differences between the two candidates. Rich is not a useful political analyst, and is not in any meaningful sense a progressive ally. If Clinton is the Democratic nominee, we're in for another year of this crap, and if this helps Clinton lose, starting in 2010 Rich will sorrowfully concede that the invasions of Iran and Syria haven't worked out that well.

And, of course, when it comes to crocodile tears about Bush after working assiduously for a year to put him in the White House, even Rich can't hold a candle to his embarrassing colleague Maureen Dowd. To let you know about the sexism that's inevitably coming, Dowd passes along some charming misogyny from Leon Wieseltier: "Others do not underestimate her relentlessness. As Leon Wieseltier, the literary editor of The New Republic, once told me: “She’s never going to get out of our faces. ... She’s like some hellish housewife who has seen something that she really, really wants and won’t stop nagging you about it until finally you say, fine, take it, be the damn president, just leave me alone." Question: can someone identify a male Republican presidential candidate being criticized for the crime -- highly unusual among people who want to be president! -- of being ambitious? Again, it's pretty clear that her too-little-too-late discovery that Bush is a bad president won't stop her from mounting an airhead assault on the most likely Democratic nominee. It would be nice if the Times could replace Dowd n' Rich with some columnists who actually write about politics.

--Scott Lemieux

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