'Ethicist' for NY Times: 'Great to Have President Who's Competent and Not Insane'

Appearing on Friday's Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, Randy Cohen, the “The Ethicist” columnist for the New York Times Magazine, blurted: “I'm a huge Obama fan. I think it's such an unbelievably great thing to have a President who's competent and not insane.”

Cohen's praise for President Barack Obama, combined with the cheap insult of former President George Bush, came just before a “but” as he expressed disappointment with Obama's pledge to not prosecute CIA operatives who “tortured” terrorists.  

Cohen, who also helms the “Moral of the Story” blog for NYTimes.com, has long had disdain for Bush. In 2003 he questioned if Bush could “honorably” continue to serve in office and in late 2005 he was disgusted with Bush compared to Bill Clinton: “We've got a guy now who lied the country into a war.”

My November 20, 2005 NewsBusters item, “New York Times’ 'Ethicist' Charges Bush 'Lied the Country Into a War,'” recounted:
Sunday’s New York Times Magazine features another weekly submission from Randy Cohen, writer of "The Ethicist" column, about a non-political topic -- who should pay for damage done to an office building by a doctor’s patient -- but on Friday’s Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on CBS Cohen made clear his disgust with President Bush. When Ferguson raised Bill Clinton’s name, Cohen reacted with outrage that Ferguson was still concerned about such old news: "Oh, Clinton, he's been out of office for, you know, how long? Seven years. Some little lie about his personal life. We've got a guy now who lied the country into a war. You're talking about Clinton from seven years ago?" Actually, Clinton left office fewer than five years ago. Cohen advised that on Monica Lewinsky “he should have said, 'None of your business' and then after that, it's between him and his wife.”

Cohen’s hostility to President Bush isn’t based on recent events. A MRC CyberAlert item in June of 2003 recounted: “Since President Bush is either a 'liar’ or 'corrupt’ or just plain 'incompetent’ now that his reasons for war with Iraq have all been found to be untrue, the 'ethicist’ columnist for the New York Times wondered on CNN whether Bush can 'honorably’ continue to serve in office.”
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center