Mark Davis, Ronald Reagan, and trick questions
Having come back to Dallas after a couple of years in New York, I met with the editor of D Magazine to talk shop a few months back and asked him to name the city’s most prominent political commentator. This turned out to be Mark Davis, a popular radio host who also subs for Rush Limbaugh and writes a mediocre column for the Dallas Morning News.
I have a little test I use to gauge the competence of a pundit, which is to ask him a couple of questions designed to get him to accidentally denounce one of his political heroes; this helps to reveal the extent to which the pundit in question really does have some definitive set of values whereby he evaluates the world around him, rather than a penchant for making them up on the spot as convenient. A worldview should be a compilation of facts, rather than a filter to keep out those that one might find challenging. Moreover, someone such as myself who was not yet born when Reagan took office and who doesn’t have strong feelings about the fellow either way shouldn’t know more about Reagan than someone who experienced the whole of his presidency in adulthood and believes him to be some sort of extraordinary statesman worthy of emulation. Things just tend to work out that way.
Today, Mark Davis will discover what he would think of Reagan had Reagan been an enemy rather than an ally. If it’s any consolation, he will not lose a single listener over this or anything else, and will in fact probably gain a slightly wider audience, as there is absolutely no correlation between competence and success in the field of political commentary, which is why William Kristol still has his own magazine.