High praise, low standards

HIGH PRAISE, LOW STANDARDS…. Just one year ago, at this very blog, Kevin Drum hosted the Golden Wingnut Award, honoring the very worst from far-right blogs. Power Line’s John Hinderaker ran away with the top prize, after writing a post — or more accurately, a paean — about George W. Bush’s greatness: “A man of extraordinary vision and brilliance approaching to genius, he can’t get anyone to notice.”

On Sunday, Hinderaker, a one-time winner of Time’s blogger of the year award and one of the far-right’s most influential bloggers, made a play for the next Golden Wingnut Award with this jaw-dropping item:

Obama thinks he is a good talker, but he is often undisciplined when he speaks. He needs to understand that as President, his words will be scrutinized and will have impact whether he intends it or not. In this regard, President Bush is an excellent model; Obama should take a lesson from his example. Bush never gets sloppy when he is speaking publicly. He chooses his words with care and precision, which is why his style sometimes seems halting. In the eight years he has been President, it is remarkable how few gaffes or verbal blunders he has committed. If Obama doesn’t raise his standards, he will exceed Bush’s total before he is inaugurated.

I wonder if far-right bloggers appreciate how difficult it is to satirize their bizarre sensibilities when their original content is so painfully ridiculous.

In this case, I’ve read Hinderaker’s piece repeatedly, hoping to find some hint that he’s kidding. As he sees it, Obama, who’s known for his eloquence, should emulate Bush, who’s known for his Bushisms, on speaking with “care and precision.”

But Hinderaker is apparently sincere. He actually believes this.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.