Ed Driscoll

Frank Rich Brings New Meaning to the Phrase, 'Circular Firing Squad'

“Immediately after the assassination and ever since, the right has tried to deflect any connection between its fevered Kennedy hatred and Oswald’s addled psyche with the fact that the assassin had briefly defected to the Soviet Union.”

— Frank Rich, New York magazine, yesterday.

“The G.O.P. Stalinists Invade Upstate New York.”

— Headline on Frank Rich column at the New York Times, October 31st, 2009.

And speaking of the New York Times, nobody show Rich this front page article from November 24th, 1963 headlined, “MARXISM CALLED OSWALD RELIGION — Suspect ‘Refused to Eschew Violence.”

In his brilliant 2007 book Camelot and the Cultural Revolution, James Piereson noted that the shock that occurred amongst the far left when one of their own assassinated JFK, along with the concurrent sleight of hand in attempting to pass the blame to conservatives caused enormous cognitive dissonance on the port side of the aisle. (See also: Paul Krugman of the New York Times and others on the left instantly attempting to blame the Tea Party for the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the death of Bush #41-appointed Federal Judge John Roll, and others in the Tuscon Massacre this past January.) Rich’s crackup yesterday, along with this similar meltdown from Media Matters’ Eric Boehlert in 2009 is a reminder that the mental shock appears to be permanent.

As Kathy Shaidle writes, “Frank Rich thinks ‘right wingers’ killed JFK; has newspaper column and you don’t.” On the other hand, as Glenn Reynolds wrote right around this time a decade ago, “Any time you start to doubt yourself, and wonder if you’re fit for the big leagues of American thought and opinion, you can just read The Times and be thankful that the standards of the big leagues aren’t so high.”

Though we must give credit to the Gray Lady for finally trading Rich to New York magazine earlier this year for draft picks to be determined later.