Over the last few months, I have been sketching out a new blog written specifically to deal with the mendacity and incompetence of the Oregonian‘s resident wingnut “editor” and columnist, David Reinhard. A few weeks ago, a rumor was being floated that he was finally leaving the newspaper and he himself finally announced that he was going. And going. And going.
Reinhard has been consistent throughout his tenure: consistently wrong, consistently shallow, and consistently pounding out the Republican talking point of the moment. For 12 years now he has never strayed from the neocon agenda, never offered a single independent thought contrary to the Bush/Cheney/Rove/Fox interpretation of reality. His editorials would not have been anywhere near as infuriating if they had shown even a glimmer of intelligence or thought.
Reinhard is also the jolly fellow who suggested that Republicans in Oregon switch parties for the primary in order to disrupt the Democrats, which was in clear violation of the law. After the fact, of course, he claimed it was all in good fun and not meant to be taken seriously.
At long last (fingers crossed), it appears that this stain on Northwest journalism is departing, at least leaving the pages of the Oregonian.
A couple of Sundays back I mentioned in a column on our uncivil political discourse that I would be leaving The Oregonian after the election. Some readers believed it was my final column and probably have wondered how they can miss me if I never leave.
Today’s column is my last. I’m leaving. I promise.
It is an odd thing to walk away from a job you once so longed to have. I wanted to a follow in the line of H.L. Mencken, Red Smith, Murray Kempton, G.K. Chesterton and Malcolm Muggeridge. I wanted to be what St. Augustine once called “a vendor of words.” I wanted to be a newspaper columnist in the worst way, and no doubt many readers would say I achieved just that goal early in my career here. But it’s time to move on.
I was brought here by a publisher Fred A. Stickel, who had the wisdom and marketing sense to see that The Oregonian needed its own conservative writer and that the paper’s editorial board needed some right-ward ballast. For the past 12 years, I’ve worked for an editorial-page editor, Bob Caldwell, who has always encouraged me to write the strongest opinions possible — even, often especially, when he vehemently disagreed with those opinions. We’ve gone at it hammer and tong many times, but he never spiked one of my columns. He’s now taking special pains to ensure that conservative opinion writers, national and local, will remain a regular part of the opinion section.