You may recall the tale of Juan Williams, controversially fired from NPR after saying he feared Muslims on planes. Conservatives rallied around him at the time--he was subsequently hired by Fox. It's possible, though, the right is beginning to regret this adoption. This Sunday as part of a panel hosted by Chris Wallace, Williams offered his frank assessment of possible 2012 Republican candidates (video below). "This is such a weak field," he remarked. It's too weak, even, to exploit Obama's considerable flaws. The only potential candidate who could match Obama in charisma is Sarah Palin, he concluded, "and she can't stand on the intellectual stage with Obama." Bill Kristol was not happy, and the other panelists didn't look too charmed, either.
A few thoughts from the blogosphere in response:
- 'That's Gonna Leave a Mark,' comments Doug Mataconis at Outside the Beltway. "This is likely to end the conservative love affair with Juan Williams."
- Since When Is Obama an Intellectual? Conservative Glenn Reynolds points out that University of Chicago law professor Richard Epstein has said he "like[s]" Obama but "reject[s] the suggestion that he is an intellectual. He is an activist merely mimicking the mannerisms of an intellectual." Adds Reynolds:
Personally, I think Richard Epstein’s a better judge of who's intellectual than Juan Williams is. But I think most of the press--for whom the phrase "an activist merely mimicking the mannerisms of an intellectual" may also apply--is easier to fool.
- Pay Attention to the Main Point Obama has problems, summarizes Taylor Marsh, but he need not panic yet. "Juan Williams took this on directly" by pointing out that "beyond the intellectual issue, Republicans have a lot more troubles [than Obama] and it runs deep."
- Hey, Palin Never Expected Williams to Support Her The Washington Post's Aaron Blake points out that, back in October when writing about Williams, Palin posted the following: "I don't expect Juan Williams to support me (he's said some tough things about me in the past--but I will always support his right and the right of all Americans to speak honestly about the threats this country faces."