This is 31 flavors of stupid:
“There was a conscious effort on our part to counter some of the criticism of The Inquirer as being a knee-jerk liberal publication,” Mr. [Harold] Jackson [the Inquirer’s editorial page editor] said. “We made a conscious effort to add some conservative voices to our mix.”
Asked if the release of the memos affected his view of hiring Mr. Yoo, Mr. Jackson said: “From a personal perspective, yes. We certainly know more now than we did [in 2008], but we didn’t go into that contract blindly. I’m not going to say the same decision wouldn’t have been made.”
But Mr. Tierney said the memos did not alter his opinion.
“What I liked about John Yoo is he’s a Philadelphian,” [the paper’s publisher, Brian] Tierney said. “He went to Episcopal Academy, where I went to school. He’s a very, very bright guy. He’s on the faculty at Berkeley, one of the most liberal universities in the country.”
It would be hard to adequately describe the laziness at work in those two explanations. I certainly have no problem with the Inquirer highlighting, albeit unintentionally, the fact that most contemporary conservatives have no evident qualms about using the power of the state to break people in half; that defenders of waterboarding fail to grasp the difference between consent and force is, as my blogging colleague djw pointed out the other day, “easily on the seven or eight creepiest things about the contemporary right.” The more people come to understand this, the better the world will be. But if I were a different sort of conservative — one who, say, objected to tokenism or believed that presidential authority pulled up somewhere short of the right to crush a child’s testicles — I’d probably wonder why Jackson and Tierney couldn’t have found someone whose main function, it seems, will be to placate me while pissing off readers who believe (among other things) attorneys shouldn’t be rewarded for urging their clients to break the law. Beyond that, what exactly are Yoo’s merits as a public intellectual? His column the other day was bog-standard Republican crap about activist judges and affirmative action, thrown together with a few Amity Shlaes talking points about FDR and the New Deal.
Why, it’s almost enough to make one question the intellectual mien of the administration that took his other, even more repugnant ideas so seriously.