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10 Pundits You Should Ignore In 2013

Spare yourself some lazy thinking and lame punditry.

Purely for kicks, I once followed Luke Russert and Kathryn Jean Lopez on Twitter. Both are uniquely stupid and utterly lacking self-awareness; the former has no idea he’s being humored by his colleagues in misguided deference to his father, while the latter doesn’t realize that live-tweeting Mass is a sad snooze. Even in bite-sized doses, exposure to these morons made me feeble, so I cut them loose.

Readers, I recommend you do likewise. Herewith, a barrel of horribles who ought to be jettisoned, exuberantly flung from civilization. They are boils on the ass of the media beast, and it is my well-considered opinion, they should be ruthlessly lanced. With one exception, these offenders were not chosen simply on the basis of awful election-year prognostications, though all were indeed guilty. No, this is a lifetime achievement award. These folks (with one exception) have been awful for a very long time; I propose that in the new year we stand athwart their shitty track records and yell “Enough!”

1. Dick Morris. Regrettably, the Big Dog’s coattails are impossibly long (see Penn, Mark). If Morris couldn’t put “former Clinton adviser” in front of his name, he would be just another toe-sucking mercenary with a gift for impossibly goofy predictions. What’s remarkable -- indeed, an achievement -- is Morris’ ability to continually find suckers willing to compensate him. This includes The Hill, that respected Washington rag, where he still collects a check. The staffers are suitably embarrassed by Morris’ weekly dross. But I do not include Morris for his predictive failures. Stupidity is forgivable, but his sin, operating in bad faith, is not. Morris confessed to Father Sean Hannity a week after Mitt Romney lost the election that he, Dick Morris, projected a Romney victory because “the Romney campaign was falling apart, people were not optimistic” and “nobody thought there was a chance of victory.” There is no value in a man willing to tell you what you want to hear.

2. Niall Ferguson. In America a Scottish brogue, a nice build and good hair can get you pretty far. These attributes go a long way, I assume, toward explaining why Ferguson hasn’t been run out of Harvard Square on a rail. A review of Paul Krugman’s clips are instructive; if he’s not racist, he’s brutally stupid -- ignorant of borrowing costs and willing to lie to his audience about the cost of healthcare reform. Ferguson really showed his ass in the week before the presidential election: in a single Daily Beast column, he argued that Barack Obama still needed to win over undecided voters ( he didn’t), that polls were “scar[y] for the incumbent” (they weren’t, which accounts for the War on Nate Silver), and that Obama, on the cusp of the election, would support an Israeli attack on Iran. So: Ferguson was, in the words of Meat Loaf, doubly blessed: ill-equipped to adequately comment on economics -- his area of “expertise” -- and politics. Since he’s also a two-time loser (an adviser to McCain ‘n’ Mittens, respectively), there is no compelling reason to give him the time of day. 

3. Peggy Noonan. Mary Ellen Noonan has been around so long it is assumed she must have been, in the supply-sider universe far, far away, talented. Her reputations rests on “a thousand points of light,” a meaningless, ambrosia salad phrase made funny by Dana Carvey, and “Read my lips: no new taxes,” a lie. But that’s enough for a lifetime Journal sinecure, apparently. Noonan’s prose, turgid and purple, is at its worst when evoking the name of Ronald Reagan, which is always. The irony: Her relationship to the 40th president was tenuous. As a former Reagan adviser pointed out, after Noonan trashed her fellow speechwriters in the pages of the Wall Street Journal, Noonan was “never part of the team” and her gifts, such as they were, were limited to self-promotion. And yet Noonan, like the execrable Mr. Morris, has dined out on this skimpy presidential connection well past the sell-by date.

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