THE OP-EDDYS: RealClear Politics issues its first annual awards for the best–and worst–of the nation’s op-ed pages. Speaking of the worst:
WORST COLUMNIST OF THE YEAR: Maureen Dowd, New York Times
This one was a no-brainer, and I mean the pun in all seriousness. No one does less with the largest opinion platform in American than Dowd. Her vacuity is legendary, but 2003 was a banner year even by her standards. In addition to weaving her incessant Bush-hating pop culture analogies every single week, this year she also managed to (among other things) deride Clarence Thomas as an affirmative action baby and call into question her own veracity by altering a quote by President Bush. This Op-Eddy is well deserved.
Runner Up: Derrick Z. Jackson, Boston Globe
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been appalled by the divisive racial rhetoric Jackson uses in his columns. He makes Bob Herbert look absolutely tame by comparison. I suppose its liberal white guilt that causes the editors at the Globe to keep publishing Jackson’s weekly rants telling the Globe’s readers that America is just one big Southern plantation, circa 1850. It’s one thing to make serious arguments about racial injustice and inequality in America – both of which certainly still exist to a degree in our society – and something altogether different to declare that there is a “caste system” in America, as Jackson did earlier this year. If you want thoughtful liberal commentary on race in America skip Jackson and read Clarence Page or Leonard Pitts, Jr.
Spot-on. And it’s tough to argue with their lifetime achievement award.