If you've been wondering about the unique magic of a Frank Rich column, Mark Goldblatt sums it up for you, as part of a larger, tongue-in-cheek article about what makes liberals tick:
To consider the question of what makes a liberal a liberal, I’ll need to slide on my special soul-searching goggles and peer deeply into the mental lives of people with whom I disagree, to indulge in amateur psychologizing, to treat wild supposition as fact, to disregard evidentiary standards and analytical decency—in other words, I’ll need to write a Frank Rich column. This is no easy task. Maybe if I were a film critic peter-principled into the realm of political discourse, I’d be more comfortable with foreshortening the argumentative process to a series of thumbs-up/thumbs-down rhetorical moments; instead, I’ve developed the inconvenient habit of substantiating what I say, of grounding inference in specific observation, of keeping broad generalizations to a minimum.
That's pretty much sums up Rich's writing. I was almost completely ready to laugh at the fact that he's a "film critic peter-principled in the realm of political discourse" until I remembered that most of us bloggers are that too (not film critics, iI mean, but certainly not people with political and public service careers behind us). However, I guess the distinction is that we're not paid a huge salary and advertised by the world's most powerful newspaper as brilliant political analysts. Again, it goes back to my rant about the newspapers' self-presentation: they pretend that their reporters are both qualified and objective. They'd do much better, and significantly enhance their credibility, if they'd admit their, and their reporters', own biases.