Archive for ‘The Republicans Who Really Matter’

July 28, 2009

Every day, I check a blog called . .

. . . Memeorandum, which is not actually a blog, but an aggregation site. And when I logged on this morning, the item at the top right of the page was David Brooks’ latest column:

Every day, I check a blog called Marginal Revolution, which is famous for its erudite authors, Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok, and its intelligent contributors. Last week, one of those contributors asked a question that is fantastical but thought-provoking: What would happen if a freak solar event sterilized the people on the half of the earth that happened to be facing the sun? . . .

You can read the rest, which only serves to highlight the “fantastical but thought-provoking” question that has haunted American journalism for years: “Why the hell is David Brooks getting paid to write a column?”

My pet theory is that Brooks has a cache of photos, acquired by nefarious and clandestine means, showing New York Times publisher Pinch Sulzberger in compromising situations with someone who is not Mrs. Sulzberger.

Casting no direct aspersions upon Tyler Cowen and the gang at Marginal Revolution — it’s certainly not their fault Brooks reads their blog — theirs is hardly the most “thought-provoking” hypothetical ever entertained on a blog:

Swear to God, if they ever want a Gentile prime minister, my first order . . .

Just a thought experiment, you see. Whatever follows such a fantastical “if” is no more to be taken seriously than that Marginal Revolution question was to be considered a hopeful wish that half the earth’s population would be sterilized.

Furthermore, if one is going to write a column on such a theme, the diffident, philosophical approach taken by Brooks is the least interesting way to go about it. No, by God, make it passionate and intensely personal:

When he was 16, Bill McCain told his mother, “You won’t ever have to worry about me again.” He left the family farm in rural Randolph County, Alabama, and moved 40 miles away to West Point, Georgia, where he went to work on the night shift in a cotton mill.
You’ve heard of people who worked their way through college? My father worked his way through high school. Most of his cotton-mill pay went for room and board and books — in those days, public-school students in Georgia had to buy their own textbooks — at the school where he became a football star. . . .

You can read the whole thing and, if you do, consider what was intended by the final sentence of that little essay. In an era when the newspaper industry is laying off newsroom personnel to the tune of a thousand people a month, David Brooks is paid a full-time salary by Sulzberger. In return for this salary — his compensation package is rumored to be in the neighborhood $300,000 annually — Brooks is required to produce only two 800-word columns per week.

Do the math, and this amounts to 104 columns per year, at nearly $3,000 per column, so that Brooks’ rate is somewhere around $3.50 a word — and yet he apparently cannot be bothered to do any actual reporting.

Byron York breaks news every time he files for the Washington Examiner, a tabloid that is distributed free on the streets of the nation’s capital. Yet that ungrateful wretch Brooks is indulged as he wastes 804 words — yes, I counted — doing philosophy, rather than journalism. To borrow a phrase from Hunter S. Thompson, it’s “enough to make a man wonder what newsprint is for.”

My grievance with Brooks is not merely because, as Sister Toldjah says, he’s a phony political chameleon. Politics aside, Brooks is a goddamned disgrace to the profession of journalism.

Last week, I filed 3,000 words about IG-Gate for the September print edition of The American Spectator (subscribe now) and readers can rest assured that Al Regnery isn’t paying $3.50 a word or whatever preposterous sum Sulzberger pays David Brooks for his predictable expeditions into newsprint wastage.

Frankly, if it weren’t for generous readers hitting the tip jar, I couldn’t afford the gas to drive back and forth to D.C. for my “shoe leather” trips to Capitol Hill, to say nothing of such other necessary expenses as cigarettes, coffee and $1.29 chili cheese dogs. (Legitimate tax-deductible expenses, I hasten to add. The IRS may not understand the vital role that chili cheese dogs play in investigative journalism, but I’ve got witnesses. And receipts.)

Meanwhile, with the filthy lucre he receives from the Sulzberger empire, Brooks can actually afford to live a $12 cab fare away from the Capitol. Yet the only time Brooks can be bothered to do anything remotely resembling reporting is when he’s sucking up to Obama administration hacks at those Atlantic Monthly salmon-and-risotto soirees.

Last week, SIGTARP Neil Barofsky raised hell in a House Oversight Committe hearing, but I suppose that Brooks was too busy pondering existential philosophy to bother grabbing a notebook and hailing a cab over to the Hill.

Me? My e-mail inbox is overflowing and my wife cleaned my desk so that I lost the paper on which I’d printed out Gerald Walpin’s phone number. Therefore, in between everything else I had to do yesterday, I spent a couple hours plowing through my e-mail until I finally retreived that number.

Brooks isn’t merely wasting his time, he’s wasting mine, and I’ve got important work to do. Why expend more than 700 words on him today? Everything that needs to be said about that disgusting stain on the soul of American journalism was summed up three months ago by an award-winning blogger:

Fuck you, David Brooks.

Please hit the tip jar. I’m planning another trip to DC tomorrow, and I’ll need more chili cheese dogs.

July 13, 2009

How to Blog?

I’d love to be asked that question, but instead they asked Felix Salmon of Reuters:

Blogs are a conversation. Remember that. They’re not a sermon, they’re not a news article, they’re much closer to a discussion in the pub, or sometimes a graduate seminar. They can be funny, or serious, or angry; they can be two words or 20,000 words long; they can be pretty much whatever you want them to be, including heavily reported. But they’re distinguished by having voice, which is one necessary part of a conversation.

Hmmm. I’m tempted to react to that, but then there’s this:

Of course, having a good blog can get you hired, too: there are two sides to that coin, and right now the market in good bloggers is pretty hot, and the number of bloggers making six-figure incomes has never been higher.

Donald Douglas goes apeshit on that one:

I can’t imagine anyone making $100,000 a year blogging . . . I want some names! Let’s hear ’em: Who’s making 100k?

What intrigues me more than the $100K number is Salmon’s bland assertion that “having a good blog can get you hired” and that “the market in good bloggers is pretty hot,” which I’m tempted to translate as: “Your blog sucks, otherwise somebody would be hiring you to do it.”

Salmon, however, wrote his notes on blogging for the South Asian Journalists Association, and they are probably not perfectly applicable to the conservative blogosphere. I know conservatives who are getting paid to do political blogging of one form or another. But they aren’t being paid for “voice.” They’re doing fee-for-service work, delivering an online product rather than personality.

‘New Ideas’ and Old Mistakes
Adding a personal perspective without becoming entirely personal, conservatives face a demand-side problem in the current blog market. The people who might have the wherewithal to provide $100K incomes for bloggers don’t seem particularly interested in regular conservatism — that is, conservatism of the sort that the average Republican voter wants.

Instead, the money people want “new ideas” from kids like The New Establismentarians or perhaps even, as Professor Douglas notes, Scott Payne’s “Twenty-First Century Conservatism,” which looks very much like a formula for re-making the GOP in the image of Susan Collins — a conservatism that NARAL, AFSCME and the Sierra Club could love.

We see here a disconnect, a manifestation of the same problem that the Culture 11 disaster exemplified. Steve Forbes (and other investors whose identity we do not know) correctly believed that conservatism needed “something new,” but they didn’t have the slightest clue what that something should be. So they hired David Kuo and got Conor Friedersdorf and “The Conservative Case for Gay Marriage.”

Mercifully, the investors had the good sense to pull the plug before Culture 11 could give us “The Conservative Case for Cap-and-Trade,” “The Conservative Case for Keynesianism,” “The Conservative Case for Infanticide” . . .

Steve Forbes has been a free-marketeer his entire life, and yet where was the free-market voice at Culture 11? Where was there anything remotely like the cheerful Reaganesque sensibility — “Hope, Growth and Opportunity,” to borrow Forbes’ 1996 presidential campaign slogan?

Why is it that whenever someone like Steve Forbes gets the urge to give somebody a wad of money to generate “new conservative ideas,” the money never ends up in the hands of actual conservatives? It’s like watching a cable channel whose programming consists entirely of reruns of the David Brooks biopic: The Republicans Who Really Matter.

Lather, Rinse, Repeat
Immediately after the election, I warned against exactly the problems that are now affecting the conservative movement. Defeat inevitably induces doubt, and when the GOP gets its ass kicked, the experience characteristically induces in some Republicans a desire to emulate the liberal victors — ergo, “new ideas.”

In “You Did Not Lose,” I argued against the tendency to see election results as an ideological referendum, a rejection not only of conservatism as an idea, but of conservatives as people. In “Don’t Overthink It,” I argued against the tendency to make an electoral debacle an occasion for the sort of intellectual navel-gazing which predictably leads some to conclude that Republicans could win if only they were more like Democrats.

The reason I warned against these tendencies was because I’d seen them displayed after the Bob Dole debacle in 1996, when both David Brooks in The Weekly Standard and Christopher Caldwell in The Atlantic Monthly launched vicious attacks on the red-state conservative grassroots.

My warnings evidently went unnoticed by anyone important, for once again we see the same gormless quest for “new ideas” we saw 12 years ago, a quest that produced George W. Bush and “compassionate conservatism” and — eventually — brought us full circle, right back to Square One. Except that this Square One is not 1997 (when at least the GOP still held its congressional majority) but more like 1965, 1977 or 1993, when the liberal Colossus bestrode the world triumphant, scornful of any restraint.

What the Official Conservative Movement really needs now, as in the wake of those previous electoral catastrophes, is not “new ideas,” but rather courage and confidence in some very old ideas — cf., “How to Think About Liberalism (If You Must).”

However, because my blog sucks, nobody’s offering to pay me $100K to promote those ideas, so please hit the tip jar.

May 27, 2009

Oh, this is good!

David Frum is Moe Green and Mark Levin is Michael Corleone, and it’s time to settle old scores:

David Frum was never much of a thinker. Try as he might, he just can’t seem to attract interest, let alone a following, even when stabbing his old boss, President George W. Bush, in the back with a rambling screed. Profiting from a confidential relationship with a president is about as low as it gets. But Frum, the ex-speech-writer turned self-hating blogger, isn’t done descending. Now he spends his lonely days and nights at his keyboard trying to settle personal scores and demonizing those who dare to dismiss his ramblings as the work of an emotional wreck.
Go read every blood-drenched word. See why I like Levin? He is perfectly happy to spend his days going after Democrats and ignore the occasional insult. But if you ever really piss him off . . .

(Via Protein Wisdom.) Go read the whole thing, but check back here in an hour or so, because I’ll have an update I think you’ll want to read.

UPDATE: Believe it or not, I consider David Frum a friend. He did me a favor once when I needed it, and I try not to forget a favor.

Nothing hurts me worse than to see two friends at daggers drawn, as with Frum and Levin, but Levin is clearly the injured party here. As I sometimes say when somebody gets cross-ways with me, “Buddy, you done pissed off the wrong redneck.”

Frum wrote a truly excellent book about the 1970s, How We Got Here, and his wife, Danielle Crittenden, wrote a truly excellent book about feminism, What Our Mothers Never Told Us. I do not hesitate to recommend either book, even if you don’t like David Frum.

So, what happened to Frum? He made the mistake of joining the Bush speechwriting team without thinking of what he was getting himself into. As Matthew Scully has explained, Bush made the mistake of assigning his speechwriting shop to Michael Gerson, a worthless, self-serving, two-faced, second-rate scoundrel.

There is something about working for a mediocrity like Gerson that injures a man’s pride, which is why it is always dangerous to entrust managerial or supervisory duties to mediocrities. Gerson was a disloyal glory hog who was always leaking to the press. The rest of the speechwriting staff knew who was doing the leaking, they resented the hell out of it, and it destroyed morale.

That kind of stuff happens all the time in D.C.. When I showed up for my first day of work at The Washington Times in November 1997, I got talking to a guy named Michael Rust, a brilliant writer who died a few years ago of diabetes. Michael said, “Welcome to Washington, a town where people advance” — and here he made a motion with his hands, as if climbing a ladder — “on the knives stuck in the backs of their former friends.”

Ah, would that I had heeded Michael’s warning more closely! It was not until about 2006 that I began to understand what he meant. The specifics are irrelevant here, but the lesson that you must understand is that most feuds like this in Washington are not really about ideology, they’re about ambition.

There is another excellent book you should read by — surprise! — David Brooks. Bobos in Paradise (2000) includes a chapter describing the means by which political intellectuals ascend the ranks of the punditocracy. It’s a shrewd and devastatingly accurate analysis of how things work inside the Beltway, and the insightful reader realizes that Brooks followed his own cunning advice. (“Brooks, you brilliant bastard! I read your book!”)

When I write about The Republicans Who Really Matter, I’m trying to explain how ambition accounts for the bizarre peregrinations of so many “conservative” operatives in Washington. It isn’t that they don’t have principles or that they don’t have any core beliefs. Rather, it is that they stay in the game long enough to see how the game is played by the “winners” — e.g. , David Gergen — and decide to start playing that same game.

This is why I so admire Robert Novak. An excellent reporter who was originally a liberal Republican, Novak followed the facts wherever they led him — which is why he became a conservative. But if a Republican was doing the wrong thing, he always had to worry about Novak, because Novak was fearless and independent, and he would blow the whistle in a heartbeat if he found out someone was running a scam.

In his ill-advised article “Unpatriotic Conservatives,” Frum unjustly attacked Novak, and Rich Lowry should have been fired immediately for having had the bad taste to publish such a thing on the cover of National Review. (What did Ann Coulter call Lowry, a “girly man”?)

I’ve got friends on both sides of the paleoconservative/neoconservative divide. My paleo friends are laughing their asses off to see Levin and Frum going at one another. And half my family is Democrats, so you can imagine how they’re enjoying this internecine Republican bloodletting.

It’s just like when Charles Johnson goes after Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? Who assigned Charles as the Torquemada to lead the Blogospheric Inquisition? In any large collaborative enterprise, these kinds of feuds and schisms are to be expected, but sooner or later somebody has got to say, “Hey, knock it off with this Urge to Purge power trip.” I’ve got no personal beef with Charles, but at the point he accused Geller of being a pawn of Euro-fascism, he jumped the shark.

Same thing with Frum or Dreher or anyone else who wants to arrogate to themselves the right to say who is or is not a legitimate conservative spokesman. Like Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin and Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin has earned what he’s got by honest toil.

Levin’s independence is a function of his hard-earned success, and he speaks to an audience that is always free to turn the station. Even if I don’t always agree with him — even if I sometimes think, “Hey, Mark, could you maybe turn it down to 11?” — Levin is honest, and does not fawn or flatter or backstab.

If Levin’s got a problem with you, he’s going to come right at you. That’s just the way the bad boys roll. Either roll with them, or get out of the way, Moe Green.

My advice to David Frum would be to admit his error and try to make amends, because like I said, “Buddy, you done pissed off the wrong redneck.”

UPDATE II: Now linked at Memeorandum, and speaking of pissing off the wrong redneckCanadian, Kathy Shaidle jumps in and predicts the trench warfare will continue all week.
BTW, Kathy perfectly illustrates what I’m trying to say about trying to bridge the paleo/neo divide. Kathy is pro-Israel, which would normally make her neo, but she’s so bold in her political incorrectness, it’s as if Sam Francis had been reincarnated as a sawed-off Canadian girl. (NTTAWWT.)

And, by God, she fights. That’s what really counts with me. I admire conservatives who hate and despise liberalism with a primal ferocity, so that the minute the Left comes after one of our guys . . .

When you’re Jet,
You’re a Jet all the way,
From your first cigarette
To your last dying day.

Heaven help any fool who thinks he’s going to cross Kathy Shaidle and walk away unscathed.

UPDATE III: Just updated the right-sidebar headlines to link this post by Tigerhawk:

Sadly, it is fashionable among certain righty intellectuals to make a point of distancing themselves from Ann Coulter. . . .
The offensive reason, of course, is to establish their bona fides as “reasonable” conservatives so that they do not destroy their social lives. . . .
The more legitimate reason is that Ann, along with Rush, has been so successful promoting a sort of “low brow” conservatism (see John Derbyshire on this taxonomic classification and Rush Limbaugh’s impact on it) that the middle-brow version has been terribly diminished by comparison.

Like I said in the headline, “Watch it with that ‘lowbrow’ stuff, cracker.” Coulter and Limbaugh are obviously quite intelligent, and I credit them with knowing exactly what they’re doing. (See also: Dreher, Levin, and the Craft of Talk Radio.)

Some people like to imagine that they’re more sophisticated than Rush, more sensitive than Coulter, more civil than Levin. And anyone who thinks like that is an arrogant son of bitch, in my book.

When someone is very successful at what they do, they must be given credit for knowing what they’re doing. Don’t try to tell Jimmy Page how to play guitar and don’t tell Tiger Woods how to swing a three iron.

This is not to say that Page never misses a note, or that Tiger never shanks a drive, nor is it to say that Rush or Ann or Mark is immune to criticism. Rather, they have earned, by their demonstrable success, a certain level of respect for their judgment, and ought not be lectured self-righteously by some wannabe “expert” who never played the game. And I will repeat what I said before:

“One of the basic principles of military strategy is to reinforce success. If you see a man who fights and wins, give him reinforcements, and bid others to emulate his success.”

Conservatives who want to derogate successful leadership really need to ask themselves whether David Brooks, Kathleen Parker, Rod Dreher et al., have what it takes to inspire and lead conservatives to success. Evidence for such a proposition is lacking.

If Republicans had listened to Rush, John McCain never would have been the GOP nominee and Barack Obama would not have been the Democratic nominee. So if the Republican Party is in disarray, whose fault is that? It ain’t the fault of us “lowbrow” conservatives, is it?

Tigerhawk, you’re still a Jet in good standing, as far as I’m concerned. I’ve always liked John Derbyshire, but that was an article he never should have published. And if Rush or Ann see you quoting that kind of stuff, don’t say I didn’t try to warn you.

March 22, 2009

Oh, this is good . . .

Red Eye‘s Andy Levy on David Frum:

I’d seen the Kathy Shaidle post, but hadn’t actually played the video until I saw it linked by Paco.

Perhaps this would be a good occasion to explain why I have been reluctant to go all Rule 4 on David Frum, despite his anti-Rush cover story in Newsweek and his infamous “Unpatriotic ConservativesNational Review cover, which included Robert Novak, Pat Buchanan and other worthies in a vicious “anti-Semite” smear worthy of Ezra Klein.

When Frum first published How We Got Here, the best history of the 1970s ever written, I attended an American Enterprise Institute book event where Frum spoke, did a feature story about him and his book in The Washington Times. I’d already read his 1995 book, Dead Right, and so was familiar with him. I was also familiar with his wife, Danielle Crittenden, whose 1998 book, What Our Mothers Didn’t Tell Us, is a fascinating and eminently readable indictment of the feminist/careerist worldview.

Which is to say, my acquaintance with Frum goes back to the days before he became a Bush administration speechwriter. I know him to be capable of good work, and his subsequent excursions into RINO-land have been a disappointment.

However, I would contrast Frum’s errors to the case of David Brooks, who has in recent years only confirmed what shrewd observers have known ever since his 1997 “National Greatness” cover story in The Weekly Standard: That Brooks is an un-conservative, or better yet, an anti-conservative, whose every instinct and impulse is in opposition to the philosophical tradition of Edmund Burke, Richard Weaver, Friedrich Hayek, Russell Kirk, et al.

Furthermore, from Matthew Scully’s 2007 Atlantic Monthly article about the inner workings of the Bush speechwriting shop, I have deep sympathy for Frum — a successful journalist and author long before he signed up with the Bushies — having had to toil anonymously in an operation run by that towering monument of uselessness, Michael Gerson. (See, “Separated at birth?“)

Like Luke Skywalker insisting that there is still some spark of good in Darth Vader, I choose to believe that Frum’s grievous errors do not mean that he is as evil as Brooks or as useless as Gerson. Indeed, his New Majority Web site has offered publishing opportunities for some young conservatives of my acquaintance, including Tom Qualtere and Joe Marier. Thus it cannot be said that Frum does not continue to do good, despite his manifestations of RINOcity.

What I wish Frum would consider is that, by so assiduously aligning himself with the elite Establishment — “The Republicans Who Really Matter,” as one of our guestbloggers dubbed them — he undermines his potential for influence among the grassroots conservative activists who remain the heart and soul of the Republican Party.

When you’re a jet, you’re a jet all the way. Allying yourself with the grassroots won’t get you funding from foundations and deep-pocket RINO donors, it won’t get your a cover story in Newsweek, but being a well-paid backstabbing Brooksian crapweasel is really not the kind of thing you want in the first paragraph of your obituary.

A wise man lives as if life is short and tomorrow is not promised. Thus, I would do a dishonor to my children if I accursed the family name by becoming a vile creature like David Gergen who, if he were run over by a bus today, would deserve no notice from conservatives except, “Good riddance.” Let us pray that David Frum grows wise, considers his errors, and amends his ways.

March 17, 2009

It’s David Brooks Fisking Day Again!

Elegant falsehood:

It has been odd, over the past six months, not to have the gospel of success as part of the normal background music of life. You go about your day, taking in the news and the new movies, books and songs, and only gradually do you become aware that there is an absence. There are no aspirational stories of rags-to-riches success floating around. There are no new how-to-get-rich enthusiasms. There are few magazine covers breathlessly telling readers that some new possibility — biotechnology, nanotechnology — is about to change everything. That part of American culture that stokes ambition and encourages risk has gone silent.

The clever trick of this paragraph is the invisible poisonous gas of the second-person plural: “You go about your day . . .” Which is to say, he goes about his day in such a manner. The rhetorical “you” posited by David Brooks in fact means, “people like us.” The reader is invited to imagine himself a member of the Brooksian intellectual class whose chief activities consist of “taking in the news and the new movies, books and songs.”

Brooks’s “you” might include Kathleen Parker or Meghan McCain or any number of other influential, respectable and sophisticated people who occupy those comfortable sinecures where nobody has to hustle for a dollar. But the Brooksian “you” does not encompass Wally Onakoya, driving Fairway Cab No. 1 nights and weekends, paying for his daughter’s college tuition. His “you” does not include my older brother, the truck driver. “You” are not my wife, the school cafeteria lady. “You” are not Frequent Commenter Smitty, ex-Navy IT geek slammin’ the Cthulhu-fu just for fun.

The actual “you” — the Ordinary American — still works as hard as ever in hope of success, still gets up every morning thinking of some new way to make life better for you and your family. You are all right with me, but quite frankly, you don’t care any more for my opinion than you care for David Brooks’s opinion. The Ordinary American lives his life in the real world, where “image” is not everything, where no one is impressed by the intellectual’s ability to write elegant nonsense, where a Harvard diploma and $1.29 will get you a medium regular coffee at Sheetz.

David Brooks thinks you are too stupid to see through his clever little word games, the signifying jive of the privileged elite. But he’s not actually talking to you, he’s talking to The Republicans Who Really Matter, a private club that you will never be invited to join.

David Brooks gets paid $300,000 a year to tell the snobs what they want to hear: Ignore those barbarians, those hell-raisers and holy rollers. Don’t worry about the “revolt of the kulaks” and those silly Tea Party protesters.

How much do I get paid to point out the fact that David Brooks is so full of crap his eyes are brown? That depends on you. If 150,000 people hit my tip jar with $20 this year, I’ll be even with Brooks. But I’ll never stop punk-smacking his smirky little face. Every Tuesday until the Brooksian delusion is vanquished, the punk-smacking will continue. So hit the tip jar, you cheapskate bastards.

March 16, 2009

Fisk me harder, you savage beast!

My throat was dry from too much vodka, and her breasts, spilling out of pink pajamas, threatened my ability to. I was supposed to be excited, but I was bored and somewhat disgusted with myself, with her, with the whole business… and then whatever residual enthusiasm I felt for the venture dissipated, with shocking speed, as she nibbled at my ear and whispered — ‘You know, I’m on the pill…’ “

(Cynthia Yockey informs me that Lenten vows don’t forbid mere quotations. Andy recoils in reflexive gynophobia. And make sure you have plenty of brain bleach handy before you confront Dan Collins and the Mental Imagery From Hell.)

March 16, 2009

‘McCain’s right, of course . . .’

“. . . and the Brookses and Meghan McCains of the party might as well join up with the Democrats, for if we adopt the ‘moderate’ programs these folks are pushing, we might as well have a one-party Democratic state.”
Donald Douglas, on “Core Values Conservatism,” agreeing with me and Charles Murray (I think)

Professor Douglas is taking issue with Ross Douthat’s critique of Murray’s Thursday lecture at the American Enterprise Institute (yet another event to which I was not invited).

Not being a member of the intellectual leisure class — hit the tip jar, people — I have no time for fucking around with the fine points on this one, nor is there any need for that. We need not agree on the ideal size of government in order to agree on three major points:

  • Government is too big. It’s too expensive, too powerful, and too meddlesome. Even if we could get this much government at half the price, it’s still more government than is good for us.
  • Bush and Republicans were wrong to expand government. No Child Left Behind and Medicare Part D were giant steps in the wrong direction which, by blurring partisan distinctions, made it more difficult for the GOP to present itself as the party of limited government.
  • Democrats want government to be even bigger. Government can never be too big, too expensive, too wasteful or too intrusive to satisfy The Evil Coalition of Liars and Fools.

You need not agree with Grover Norquist on the desireability of shrinking the federal government until it’s small enough to drown in the bathtub. With government as big as it is now and rapidly growing much bigger, the current situation creates a clear line of demarcation. You are either a small-government conservative or you are not a conservative, period.

Murray, Douthat and the Professor are welcome to engage in a three-way intellectual Jello-wrestling match over the fine points of philosophy or policy on all this. As politics, however, the choice is clear: The Republican Party can either (a) try to reclaim its limited-government credibility by going all-in against Obama’s neo-Keynesian economic plan, or (b) employ the approach favored by The Republicans Who Really Matter by nitpicking the small change.

My hunch is that (b) is a one-way non-stop ticket to Republican irrelevance. Jennifer Rubin is right: The opposition party must oppose. This is that 4 a.m. call, and if my answer lacks nuance and sophistication, it at least has the merit of simplicity: WOLVERINES!

UPDATE: Not directly related, but one of The Republicans Who Really Matters weighs in:

Drive-by pundits . . . are non-journalists who have been demonizing the media for the past 20 years or so and who blame the current news crisis on bias.

Fuck you, Kathleen Parker. I started out in the news business making $4.50 an hour in 1986, and I’ll take no lectures from the overprivileged likes of you. What journalism has become is a disgrace, and the unwillingness of people in the news business to say “fuck you” to useless idiots like you is one of the reasons why. (H/T: Tim Graham.)

UPDATE II: Kevin Williamson weighs in with a more thorough fisking of Parker’s column, as opposed to my outraged punk-smacking. The outrage is that someone who has for so long been a mere opinion columnist — as opposed to working in the actual news end of the operation — should be lecturing anyone about what’s wrong with the news business.

“Newspaper columnist” used to be a gig that you had to work a long time in the news business to get. The late, great Lewis Grizzard, for example, started out as a brilliant young sports reporter, and nonetheless was past 30 — and had already served as executive sports editor of the Chicago Tribune — before he became a columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 1977.

Then in the 1980s and ’90s, as cable news and USA Today started encroaching on the turf of the metropolitan dailies, there was this big push for “diversity” and “youth,” the chief result of which was a lot of Clever Girl Columnists wasting newsprint. (Hello, Rheta Grimsley Johnson! Hello, Maureen Dowd!)

Kathleen Parker was one of the better Clever Girl Columnists who got the affirmative-action leg up in that manner. But she succumbed to the Elite Media Syndrome of thinking that working in the news business makes you somehow superior to the guy who drops 50 cents in the newsbox, and her insufferable elitism is an apt metaphor for what went wrong with the business.

It’s still possible to make a profit on a newspaper, but to do it, you’ve got to have a small staff of people who work their butts off. You’ve got to have do-everything staffers, rather than having specialists who won’t lift a finger to help outside their job description. And one of the luxuries that profitable newspapers can no longer afford is the overpaid op-ed columnist who never gets her shoes dirty.

Good-bye to bad rubbish.

March 15, 2009

Ross Douthat, porn expert?

“Forget ‘normalizing homosexuality’ — something the Right has been worrying over since the advent of gay liberation. Today, the Internet and DirecTV are normalizing everything, from group sex to bestiality to darker things that decency forbids mentioning. And as for pedophilia — why, any erotic website worth its salt promises links to images of the ‘barely legal,’ ‘young teen sluts,’ and all the rest. Today, Nabokov’s Humbert would need not be a tragic figure; instead, he could have spent his years ensconced in front of a glowing computer screen, with a thousand Lolitas for his delectation.”

* * *

“Over the past three decades, the VCR, on-demand cable service, and the Internet have completely overhauled the ways in which people interact with porn. Innovation has piled on innovation, making modern pornography a more immediate, visceral, and personalized experience. Nothing in the long history of erotica compares with the way millions of Americans experience porn today, and our moral intuitions are struggling to catch up.”

* * * *

A Catholic friend advises me that Lenten vows are not enforced on Sunday. Or, as we call it around here, Rule 5 Sunday.

March 15, 2009

Michelle Malkin brings the Mother Of All Punk-Smackings down on BBW Meghan

Just go read every brutal word of it. Michelle Malkin reminds me of my wife in this sense: You never want her mad at you.

Others have taken their turns punk-smacking Meghan: Jimmie Duncan, Donald Douglas, Monique Stuart and me. But just consider that Saturday night, while Meghan was doing whatever she was doing — hanging out with The Republicans Who Really Matter, perhaps — Malkin was at home, writing up that brutal punk-smacking, which Meghan didn’t even know was coming.

Pity the fool. That Rule 4’s gonna leave a mark on her chubby caboose.

UPDATE: Dan Riehl notes that Meghan’s got a fat head: Cellulite of the mind! And from Paleo Pat: “Memo to Meghan McCain: You don’t speak for me, bitch

UPDATE II: Welcome Pandagon readers! Perhaps you will also enjoy my recent 2,400-word treatise, “How to Hate Feminism (As You Must).”

UPDATE III: The chubby caboose gets kicked by Kyle Smith in his latest New York Post column, with a Kathy Shaidle assist helping Ed Driscoll to declare: “I Never Sold Out Because Nobody Asked Me.”

UPDATE IV: Mike at Cold Fury deems Kyle Smith’s column “some of the tastiest snark ever,” while Don Surber of the Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail calls it “a terrific little column.” (Don’t worry, Don. I’m sure Tina Brown will be in touch with you any day now.)

UPDATE V: Conservatives4Palin:

A few days ago, I got another SPAM email from Sen. McCain’s PAC asking for money. My reply was short and simple, “Dear Sen. McCain, every time your daughter shows up on television shooting her mouth off about things she knows nothing of, I donate to SarahPAC. I don’t have any time or money left for you.”

Give to SarahPAC. Or hit my tip jar. Either way, it’s a good cause. It’s almost Tuesday, you know. As I recently explained to a Texan who hit the tip jar for $10: “Another 29,999 like that, and I’ll be even with David Brooks.”

March 15, 2009

Lesbian war cry: "WOLVERINES!"

Conservative lesbian Cynthia Yockey declares herself part of the guerrilla resistance. One of the amazing things about Obamaism is how it has clarified allegiances so starkly. You are either a butt boy for The One, or else you will inevitably find yourself in the wilderness bunker with all the other outlaws whose names appear on Patriot Rock.

Jed Eckert: Well, who is on our side?
Col. Andy Tanner: Six hundred million screaming Chinamen.
Darryl Bates: Last I heard, there were a billion screaming Chinamen.
Col. Andy Tanner: There were.

The oft-repeated saying “9/11 changed everything,” is not literally true. Yet if 9/11 didn’t really change everything, it definitely changed some things, and the rise of the Pelosi/Reid/Obama hegemon has changed a few more. As I recently told my friend Tito Perdue, the past few years have been like watching a geological upheaval, as political alliances shift like tectonic plates.

You’re either with the Evil Coalition of Liars and Fools, or you’re against them , and if you’re against them, let me hear you scream: WOLVERINES!

(The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. However, the Apocalypse Will Be Blogged.)

A few years ago, Phyllis Chesler sent me her book The Death of Feminism, and when I got home with it and started reading, I was shocked to see her citing Jean Raspail’s notorious novel, The Camp of the Saints. (That passage is substantially excerpted in an online essay at her Web site.)

For years, Raspail’s 1973 French novel enjoyed a sort of samizdat cult following among critics of multiculturalism and opponents of open-borders immigration policy (which would be more properly termed a non-policy, but let us not digress.) Raspail himself has said that Le Camp Des Saints could not be published in France today because of the “human rights” nonsense that is slowly strangling free speech in Europe (and Canada). And the book’s reputation as a hateful expression of xenophobic nativism makes it one of those Books You’re Not Supposed to Read.

Thus, I was startled to see Chesler, a liberal feminist all her life, citing Raspail’s book as prophetic. Yet Chesler had been able to see past the superficial text of the novel to comprehend its deeper significance as a metaphor for the demoralization of the West. In this sense, Raspail was describing the same larger phenomenon that Shelby Steele describes in White Guilt, that Pat Buchanan describes in The Death of the West, that Michelle Malkin describes in Invasion, that Thomas Sowell describes in The Vision of the Anointed, and that Peter Brimelow describes in Alien Nation.

These are all very different writers, with different interests, different aims, and different philosophies. However, they all share the fundamental understanding that liberalism is a soul-destroying disease, a sort of intellectual anti-virus that exposes its host to destruction by weakening the individual cells of the national immune system. To the extent that your mind is cluttered with the glittering generalities of modern liberalism — “social justice,” etc. — you will be unable to resist and will inevitably succumb to the agonizing spiritual death that beckons at the end of that road.

In war, few things are more important to an army than morale. And it breaks my heart to see the discouragement and demoralization when the enemy is seemingly triumphant and when all the glory and honor of this world accrues to so-called “conservatives” who do everything in their power to undermine actual conservatism, while genuine conservatives are fighting their hearts out in obscurity. Dan Riehl:

I’m mostly sick of it and hard-pressed to find good reason for good conservatives not to simply go off the grid. If the day ever comes for conservatives to have a serious voice again, I’m unconvinced it will be through the GOP and I know for a fact, it’ll never be through the New York Times.

(H/T: Cold Fury.) To quote Jed Eckert again: “Let it turn.” Let them choke on their ill-gotten gains. Let them have their 30 pieces of silver. Let your rage and resentment toward them turn to something useful: The savage fury of the warrior.

Resolve to fight that much harder. Train your mind so that when you are not fighting, your constant object of contemplation is how to fight smarter. Excuse the martial metaphors, but a War of Ideas is a war nonetheless.

When you’re in a fight, the only things that really matter are the fight itself, your own willingness to fight like hell, and knowing who’s on your side. (IFF: Identity Friend or Foe.) Those who join up with The Republicans Who Really Matter like Coddy Voorhees and Brooksie Frumdreher are de facto allies of the Evil Coalition of Liars and Fools. You who live on scanty cold rations, huddled in the wilderness, short on supplies and wondering how much longer you can hold out — you, the soldiers in this Army of Davids, will one day proudly recall that you served with heroes in the Camp of the Saints.

Courageous new recruits like Cynthia Yockey are coming into camp every day. Whatever their histories, whatever their reasons for hating the Evil Coalition of Liars and Fools, their willingness to join a seemingly hopeless cause in combat against an evidently invulnerable opponent tells us that they are real fighters. These recruits need training and leadership. As this army grows stronger, we know that victory awaits us, but we don’t need to wait for Election Day to cheer.

Every time another soldier joins the ranks, this is a victory in its own right and should inspire the troops to scream out the battle cry: WOLVERINES!

UPDATE: Linked as “Quote of the Day” by Ed Driscoll.