Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Hillary very good; Trump and Cruz very bad

The Washington Post is in the tank for Hillary Clinton. Sometimes, its readers benefit, as when the Post editorial board exposes the foolishness of this or that Bernie Sanders stance.

Other times, the Post simply embarrasses itself, and never more than when it handed former basketball great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar a spot on its op-ed page so he could try to explain why he’s endorsing Hillary Clinton for president. The result is the most sophomoric op-ed I can recall reading in the Post (full disclosure: I don’t read Eugene Robinson).

For Abdul-Jabbar, the choice between Clinton and the leading Republican contenders comes down to selecting between “hell and reason,” surely a no-brainer, don’t you think? Unlike much of what the Post’s liberal columnists and reporters offer, this isn’t name-calling disguised as political analysis; it’s just name-calling.

Abdul-Jabbar provides no argument or example to support his assertion that Ted Cruz is offering America “a hellish chaos of lies, misdirection, attacks on the Constitution and, most harmful to the country, a rejection of reason.” He doesn’t even provide an argument or example to show that Donald Trump is doing this, an easy enough task one would have thought.

Abdul-Jabbar may believe that Post readers require no proof that Trump and Cruz are hellish. He may be right in large part. But if the audience believes it already, what’s the point of writing this fatuous op-ed?

The point, other than vanity, appears to be to convince Post readers to back Clinton over Bernie Sanders. Here, Abdul-Jabbar runs into the same problem — he’s incapable of making an argument.

Sanders is a “decent man with the courage of his convictions,” the master of the sky hook and the hackneyed turn of phrase assures us. He will “make a strong ally for Clinton.”

But why shouldn’t it be the other way around; why shouldn’t Sanders play the lead and Clinton the ally? Because, says Abdul-Jabbar, Clinton “embodies the principles of the Age of Reason, and isn’t afraid to fight against the confederacy of dunces who would undermine the principles of inclusion and diversity that American stands for.”


When it comes to specifics, the best Abdul-Jabbar can do is cite Clinton’s “advoca[cy] of national health care since 1993.” But Sanders, a good socialist, has advocated national health care much longer than that.

Abdul-Jabbar claims that without Clinton’s push for national health care as First Lady, Obamacare wouldn’t have been enacted. This is a dubious claim for which the ex-basketball player offers no evidence.

Abdul-Jabbar also likes the fact that Clinton supports such Obama agenda items as bail reform, less stringent drug laws, and more affordable college education. But Sanders backs all of this too.

Abdul-Jabbar salutes, in banal terms, Clinton’s time as First Lady. Of her time as Secretary of State, he has nothing to say. This is odd, since that’s the most significant credential Clinton possesses that Sanders does not. Okay, maybe not so odd, all things considered.

Candidates often get the endorsements they deserve, but I’m not sure that even Hillary Clinton deserves an endorsement piece as lame as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s.


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