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Ed Driscoll

Stay Classy, Joe

May 20th, 2009 - 11:20 am

As always these days, Joe Klein is the very definition of reason, nuance, and sophisticated rhetoric, John Podhoretz writes:

This blog has had many differences with Joe Klein of Time magazine, whom I once considered a very friendly acquaintance before he accused me and those who argued for an aggressive policy in Iraq and with Iran of being war criminals and began spouting anti-Semitic conspiracy nonsense that, were his name Christiansen instead of Klein, would have seen him booted from the payroll of Time magazine faster than you could say Rickstengel. Now he has done something low and indefensible even for him. In an interview with Politico, Klein ascribes what he views as the deficiencies in Charles Krauthammer’s worldview to the fact that Krauthammer is a quadraplegic:

“He became Ground Zero among the neo-cons, but he’s vastly smarter than most of them,” said Time’s Joe Klein, an admirer and critic who praised Krauthammer’s “writing skills and polemical skills” as “so far above almost anybody writing columns today.”

“There’s something tragic about him too,” Klein said, referring to Krauthammer’s confinement to a wheelchair, the result of a diving accident during his first year of medical school. “His work would have a lot more nuance if he were able to see the situations he’s writing about.”

Is it conceivable that Joe Klein is saying a man in a wheelchair is incapable of understanding the nuances of Iraq and the war on terror because he can’t get on a plane and go there like Joe Klein can? Is it possible, in this day and age, for someone seriously to argue such a thing? We cannot go back in time and visit the battlefields of the Civil War, or Agincourt, or the Peloponnese—are we therefore incapable of seeing their nuances? FDR was in a wheelchair and did not visit the battlefields of World War II-—were its nuances beyond him as well?

“I think, due to the neo-con references, its actually a sort of modified chickhawk argument. More of a cripplehawk argument, I guess,” Jules Crittenden dryly suggests.

Orrin Judd writes, “So Mr. Klein must think David Patterson unfit for office, eh?” And at Hot Air, Allahpundit adds:

If he did mean it the way it sounds, then it looks like a derivative of the chickenhawk smear. He can’t rightly accuse a hawkish pundit who’s handicapped of being too gutless to lace up the boots, so instead he turns it into faux sympathy for how poor Charles can’t help but be blinkered as a prisoner of his condition. Here’s hoping Bret Baier has the stones to bring this up on tonight’s “Special Report” panel and let him respond at length.

Indeed.

Update: Klein feigns an apology; but, as John Podhoretz aptly writes, “Joe Klein’s Idea of An Apology…”

…is to make one, albeit with malapropisms, while simultaneously accusing the person to whom he is apologizing of responsibility for thousands of deaths and injuries. Did I call him a “small man”? Perhaps “man” was too generous.

Will Collier asks, “Seriously, Time: why does this clown still have a job?”