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December 15, 2005

About Patrick Ruffini

Recently there's been a giant online fight about Dan Froomkin's column for If you don't know the background, a good place to start is here. The short version is: Washington Post editors are fretting that Froomkin is blatantly liberal and people might think he's a reporter rather than a columnist and if that happened Planet Earth would explode.

The source of their anxiety appears to be complaints from Republican political operatives—specifically Patrick Ruffini, webmaster for the Bush/Cheney 04 campaign, and now eCampaign Director for the Republican National Committee. Brad DeLong recently had a conversation with Post editor John Harris in which Harris weirdly refused to answer what he (Harris) knew about Ruffini.

I, however, am happy to say what I know about Patrick Ruffini. It's this: he doesn't understand the basic mechanics of Social Security. (He's confused about how benefits are calculated and how this determines the effect productivity growth has on Social Security's solvency.) He wrote something on his site demonstrating this back in March. It seemed clear he was honestly mistaken rather than consciously deceitful, so while I did leave comments correcting him, I attempted to be polite while doing so.

As you'll see if you read the comments (I used the cover name "Jon"), my attempted politeness was not reciprocated. First Ruffini was snide while making further mistakes; then, once he realized he was wrong, he lost the bluster but didn't have the grace to concede he'd been inaccurate.

I formed an opinion about Ruffini at that point that has not changed since. I sympathize with Dan Froomkin.

ALSO: For some Patrick Ruffini-themed jokes, see here.

Posted at December 15, 2005 02:40 AM | TrackBack