THE GELERNTER FILES….A while back the LA Times decided to follow the lead of papers like the New York Times and Washington Post and beef up its stable of regular columnists. I happen to like regular columnists, so I thought this was a good idea.

Unfortunately, the problem with hiring a regular columnist is that if you hire an idiot, you’re stuck with an idiot. For example, you could hire the guy who said this last year:

Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina seems like a decent and likable man, the political equivalent of a handsome, slightly under-ripe bunch of bananas, just the thing if you are looking for bananas and can’t find any ripe ones, or don’t know the difference.

That was David Gelernter, writing in ? wait for it ? the LA Times last July. His reward for this was to be given a regular column on the op-ed page starting last week.

Needless to say, I feared the worst, and today I got it. This morning’s column is just embarrassing, the sort of thing the Onion might run as a parody of an op-ed. It starts with the dimwittedly contrarian premise that the Republican party is the true heir of FDR ? Look Ma, I can be provocative! ? and then descends into the spittle-flicked rant of a man who woke up constipated one morning and just started pouring his rage into his word processor. And then emailed it off.

There are plenty of conservatives out there who can pen a decent column. Not one that I’d agree with, but still decent. David Gelernter isn’t one of them, and I suspect it won’t take long before the Times regrets hiring him. Seething juvenile tirades don’t make either the Times or conservatism look good.

UPDATE: Gelernter responds to his critics in comments. I think it’s fair to say that no one’s mind was changed, but I’ll give him this: he was civil throughout despite considerable provocation.

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