Steven Pearlstein at The Washington Post and Timothy Egan at The New York Times both served as reporters before unleashing their opinions as columnists. Both are passionate liberals. Recently both men wrote arrogant jeremiads. So which article made its author look more like a jerk?
It might depend on which group you sympathize with -- Pearlstein went after Mitt Romney types in finance, while Egan went after the still-undecided voter. In an article titled "I am a job creator: A manifesto for the entitled," Pearlstein used the first person to express arrogant ignorance by his Romney-type:
I am the misunderstood superhero of American capitalism, single-handedly creating wealth and prosperity despite all the obstacles put in my way by employees, government and the media.
I am a job creator and I am entitled.
I am entitled to complain about the economy even when my stock price, my portfolio and my profits are at record levels.
I am entitled to a healthy and well-educated workforce, a modern and efficient transportation system and protection for my person and property, just as I am entitled to demonize the government workers who provide them.
I am entitled to complain bitterly about taxes that are always too high, even when they are at record lows.
I am entitled to a judicial system that efficiently enforces contracts and legal obligations on customers, suppliers and employees but does not afford them the same right in return.
I am entitled to complain about the poor quality of service provided by government agencies even as I leave my own customers on hold for 35 minutes while repeatedly telling them how important their call is....
I am entitled to use unlimited amounts of my own or company funds to buy elections without disclosing such expenditures to shareholders or the public.
I am entitled to use company funds to burnish my own charitable reputation. [I especially love this one, coming from a liberal whose favorite politicians burnish their own compassionate reputations with tax dollars.]
I am entitled to provide political support to radical, uncompromising politicians and then complain about how dysfunctional Washington has become.
Although I have no clue how government works, I am entitled to be consulted on public policy by politicians and bureaucrats who have no clue about how business works.
I am entitled to publicly criticize the president and members of Congress, who are not entitled to criticize me.
You get the point. Egan titled his column "Idiot's Delight." He simply cannot believe someone who is an adult and has registered to vote can fail to see Obama is the best choice. How can someone still be undecided? It's because they're dumb and lazy, apparently:
You’re an undecided voter. Your time is up. The rest of us are sick of pretending to care about you, saying nice things to you, doing your damn laundry...
You’re not Solomon, carefully weighing the choices. You’re a ditherer. You probably panic at “paper or plastic” in the supermarket, backing up the checkout line. We know all about you, because the campaigns have spent millions studying you, probing you, stuffing you with those little sausage things. Your every emotion is wired and registered....
You, most likely, were not among the millions of Americans who watched the first presidential debate. Of all voters, the undecided were the least interested in the debates, a Washington Post poll found last week.
So, here’s what you missed, or may have heard something about today: Mitt Romney wants to fire Big Bird. He’s got a plan, mostly secret, to restore America to fiscal sanity. But first, he wants to cut taxes by 20 percent. Ultimately, that will cost $5 trillion. At the same time, he wants to add things to the defense budget. And none of this will add a penny to the debt.
A third grader could tell you that his numbers don’t add up. Go ahead, ask a third grader. Romney knows it doesn’t add up, so he’s not specific. Oh, except for Big Bird — no more subsidies for PBS, you monotoned moochers. That’s 0.00014 percent of the budget.
I forgot: you hate policy-wonk stuff, so those numbers are not likely to move you. Then listen to your heart — the one that may stop beating earlier than you think, if you have a pre-existing condition. Romney vows to throw out Obamacare, which will cover that condition. But he says his plan would cover it as well. That’s true, but only if you live in a state, like Massachusetts, that already has Obamacare. Otherwise, in all truth, you’re toast. He said so earlier this month, when he explained that the millions of Americans who would lose health care once he kills it can always go the hospital emergency room.
Egan concluded: "I’m going to let you in on a little secret, after many years of sitting with you during past presidential debates: we don’t like you. Not because you can’t make up your mind, but because you won’t."