George Will: hack or idiot?

As a general rule, I’ve got better things to do on this blog than to point out the hackery of conservative pundits.  Yet, George Will has always especially bothered me, as he’s seen as some genuine intellectual because of his bow tie, love of baseball, and well-chosen vocabulary, yet he’s just as much of a hack as almost any.  Okay, its not like he’s Hannity or O’Reilly, it’s just that he gets way more respect than he deserves.

His latest Newsweek column is all about a tax reform proposal supported by Judd Gregg and Ron Wyden.  It does seem to make sense, but Will completely ignores all the political realities behind lowering rates and “broadening the [tax] base.”  Yeah, of course that’s sensible, but there’s a reason it doesn’t happen and it has nothing to do with Will’s absurd statements about Obama (which I’ll get to in a moment).  Broadening the tax base means extending taxes to good, services, activities, etc., that have not previously been taxed.   If you know anything about American politics, you know that those interests which are not currently taxed but will be (or increased under the proposal) will fight tooth and nail to prevent it from happening.  That’s the problem.  Not Will’s utterly ridiclous assertions about Obama:

Barack Obama, with his single-minded focus on enlarging government’s share of GDP…

It is change Obama could believe in if he did not so ardently believe in creating prosperity by growing government.

Is there any evidence whatsoever that Obama has a “single-minded focus” on enlarging government or that he believes that growing government is the key to creating prosperity.  In a word: no.  If George Will actually believes this, he is a delusional idiot.  If he doesn’t, he’s clearly a lying hack.  Either way, he sure doesn’t deserve all the respect he gets.

UPDATE: Commenter John F. is actually much pithier than me on the matter.  Here’s a portion of his explanation for Will’s success:

1- Object using manners 1 would observe at an 18th century English tea party
2- Insert obscure, irrelevant or tangentially related reference that was clearly rehearsed in the mirror before the show
3- Use a vocabulary word or two that most people will need to look up, demonstrating not only his superiority but also the obviousness of the fact that he also rehearsed the pronunciation in the mirror before the show

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