Friday, June 06, 2014

Jeffrey Toobin as celebrity political pundit

Toobin, who is usually billed as a "legal analyst" and wrote an interesting book about the Supreme Court, ran away from any pretense of speaking out of legal expertise on a recent New Yorker podcast. Editor Dorothy Wickenden asked Toobin what Rand Paul's constitutional claim was when he filibustered to demand the administration's legal justification for its targeted killing of a U.S. citizen.

Toobin just laughed. He said nothing about the legal issues, launching into a diatribe about how Rand Paul is out of step with the bellicose orientation of his own Republican party. This was celebrity pundit bloviating -- I expect more from New Yorker writers.

I hold no brief for Rand Paul. As far as I can tell he is a shape-shifting opportunist with a racist history. But demanding transparency from executive authorities in a democracy is pretty elementary stuff. Toobin could have served the listeners by explaining what legitimate case Paul had, if any. But that sort of analytical work doesn't raise raise the profile of a TV talking head.

Maybe it is time for Toobin to take his act solely onto CNN and for the New Yorker to get someone who will actually wrestle with the law.

I'm catching up on a podcast backlog. I'll probably have more short takes like this.

1 comment:

Hattie said...

I'd have trouble answering that question and might even try to laugh it off, but I'm not a pundit who presumably should know something about the issue.

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