The Column That Writes Itself …

(Featured in this month’s “Presidio Sentinel.”)

You think it’s easy to write a column? C’mon. First, you have to think of something to write about – then, ponder what to say about said subject, structure your lead (will anyone read past that?), research, work out the point. Then you over-write it and must edit out your most provocative – to say nothing of brilliant – thoughts.

These days, though, the antics, double-speak, mis-speaks and idiocies of our public figures make slam-dunk, send-‘em-up columns just too irresistible, even with plenty of time ’til deadline.

Columnist Clyde Haberman probably ought to split his fee with Carl Paladino, Mr. would-be governor of New York, whose attacks upon, then quasi-apologies about gays and media-bashing, plus family-value hypocrisies (so big deal:  he had a daughter out of wedlock, but at least he wouldn’t take her to a gay-pride parade) filled up an entire column of late.

The Maureen Dowd and Gail Collins’ columns on those Ms. Dowd calls “The Republican Mean Girls” had to be walks-in-the-park for those scribes. Writes Ms. Dowd, “ … Jan, Meg, Carly, Sharron, Linda, Michele, Queen Bee Sarah and sweet wannabe Christine … Whether they’re mistreating the help or belittling the president’s manhood, making snide comments about a rival’s hair or ripping an opponent for spending money on a men’s fashion show, the Mean Girls have replaced Hope with Spite and Cool with Cold.” Etc. Examples come careening off the page – and gee, where are our “man-up” heroes when we need them?

Christine might be mean, but I doubt it.  Either by accident or design, she must instead be hell-bent on becoming the subject for any columnist who needs a day’s rest. Why else would she attack the Constitution’s First Amendment for not properly articulating her wish to unite church and state? Would it would be … by design.

Anyway, Christine’s got company in Amendment mangling. That the First Amendment also guarantees freedom of speech, Ms. Dowd says, “ …is news to Joe Miller, who sic’d security guards on an inquiring journalist, and to Carl Paladino, who threatened (sic) the N.Y.  Post’s Fred Dicker that the … amendment exists … even in Tea Party Land. ”

In the public relations profession, we no longer think that any ink’s better than no ink … and, spelling O’Donnell’s name wrong today might be all that saves her.

There’s also the poor, downtrodden Stimulus, attacked for its existence but exploited … well, just in case. Senator Scott Brown, Reps. Michele Bachmann, Pete Sessions, Walt Minnick and others hooted and hollered, kind’ve just before they sought its funds, crying all the way to the bank.

Said Ryan Alexander of Taxpayers for Common Sense, “I think that’s just the type of political doublespeak that makes voters crazy.”

To a columnist, everything is “material,” so I anticipate the take on Joy Behar and Whoopi walking off “The View” to protest Bill O’Reilly’s mis-use of “Muslims” for the more precise 9-11 “Muslim terrorists,” And Tea Party-ite Norman Dennison, who notes that the Bible hasn’t said one thing about climate change so it can’t be happening.  Anyway, he says, Rush says it isn’t.

If columnists can’t find contemporary material for a fast deadline, they can always pull up ancient history. Like Virginia Thomas seeking apologetic retribution from Anita Hill, an act for which I cannot begin to imagine a motive, although the media probably did spell her name right, and that might’ve been enough for her. Talk about Mrs. Thomas having a slow day. They can even dig further (so to speak), to contemplate the Dead Sea Scrolls, now being available to us, mere clicks away. Oh, wait: maybe that’s where the climate change debate began!

The Dead Sea Scrolls! If, along with the First Amendment, Christine hasn’t heard of them either, even I would have another really, easy, column.