And he's not the only one.
Let's be clear: columnist George Will is an utter ass, further proof of our oft-made case that men who wear bowties are normally snickering twerps. (Except with a tux, of course, when they are James Bond).
That said, Will has endeared himself to us, over the years, on precisely three occasions:
(1) In or around 1987, when a bunch of Sunday-morning-talking-heads stopped debating Reagan long enough to take turns predicting the outcome of that day's Superbowl. When the camera turned to Will, he screwed up his face like a prune and said, in effect, "You're all missing the real story. Who cares about some ... super-thingie? Spring training begins this week."
(2) With his repeated claim (the truth of which we cannot verify) that when asked why he doesn't write a novel, his usual response is, "Well, you see, I've read Middlemarch, so I know how it's supposed to be done."
(3) Just lately, with his scathing denunciations of both John McCain and Sarah Palin. Will has left readers with no doubt that he considers both halves of the Republican ticket to be incompetent, if for different reasons. Palin, in his opinion, is just what everybody figures: a dim, shallow opportunist with neither the knowledge nor the skills to handle a job of any magnitude. But his argument against McCain, as revealed in a recent column, is far more creative. It takes the usual conservative argument ("McCain is a Republican in Name Only") and ratchets up the intensity. To Will, McCain is basically Lenin without the facial hair.
Referring to McCain personally, Will argues his many recent blunders, particularly regarding the Wall Street mess, have left him "looking like a flustered rookie playing in a league way to high." In other words, he doesn't really know what he's talking about, a point McCain has proven pretty routinely throughout the campaign, on matters of the military and foreign affairs as well as finance. Also, he has "a dismaying temperament," meaning he's a hot-headed moralist.
But then Will does something tricky, and not entirely fair. Apropos of the pending bailout, he writes that:
The political left always aims to expand the permeation of economic life by politics. Today, the efficient means to that end is government control of capital. So, is not McCain's party now conducting the most leftist administration in American history?
Pause right there, and read that last sentence again. The rest is anticlimax:
The New Deal never acted so precipitously on such a scale. Treasury Secretary Paulson, asked about conservative complaints that his rescue program amounts to socialism, said, essentially: This is not socialism, this is necessary. That non sequitur might be politically necessary, but remember that government control of capital is government control of capitalism. Does McCain have qualms about this, or only quarrels?
See what he did there? The column is about McCain. But of course, McCain didn't come up with the bailout idea; his party did. Will has just accused Bernanke and Paulson in particular, and Republicans in general, of Socialism. McCain, because his objections to their plan have thus far been matters of detail rather than principle, is also a Socialist.
Fair enough, except that calling this "McCain's party" is a gratuitous slur. Neither McCain nor his advisors came up with the plan. It was Bush's advisors. So if it is indeed time for some back-to-school Red-baiting, logic would suggest looking at the incumbent rather than the candidate. What Will meant, but did not say, is that George Bush and his pals are a bunch of Commies.