Monday, 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.


  1. Parker writes: "A younger generation, meanwhile, has little understanding or appreciation of the relationship between a free press and a free society."

    Oh really? Give this a read, Kat:

    I'll let this stew all day while I'm at work, and come up with a thorough beat-down this evening. Way to get my blood flowing first thing on a Monday morning, RSM.

  2. What is so hard to understand about offering A Choice, Not An Echo?

    Words to live by.

    If we liked the Democrats so god-damned much, we'd be Democrats.

  3. "McCain's right, of course . . ."

    Show off.

  4. Re: Kathleen Parker (and the newspapers, in general), I have some questions: when are you conservatives going to have the balls to ignore the LA and NY Times? CNN? MSNBC? The Guardian? ...Especially when it comes to whoever they decide is a conservative.

    I don't mean totally ignore them, but why do you keep giving them any credibility as "news" organizations? Why are the likes of Mitch McConnell, John Boenher, Michael Steele, and other so called "conservative leaders" always putting interviews with these phony propagandists ahead of interviews with capable writers?

    Why are people like Hugh Hewitt always giving the papers advice on how to succeed in the new reality, when the honorable, decent thing to do would be to just.let.them.die?

    Why do so many exceptional writers and bloggers seem to go out of their way to honor the myth of "journalism?", when it's rarely been on display since the days of James Callender and his ilk?

    We are in the age where the byline is the brand. Not only do you have to "write for money" as Stacy always points out he is doing, but you have to market and sell your writing yourself. (Yeah, hook up with whoever helps you, and use and other sources, but do the real work yourself.) That's the new reality. (BTW, It's time to buy his book.)

    As Gabriel Malor posted over at AoS-HQ, you can read up on this new reality here.

    (an excerpt)
    "The competition-deflecting effects of printing cost got destroyed by the internet, where everyone pays for the infrastructure, and then everyone gets to use it. And when Wal-Mart, and the local Maytag dealer, and the law firm hiring a secretary, and that kid down the block selling his bike, were all able to use that infrastructure to get out of their old relationship with the publisher, they did. They’d never really signed up to fund the Baghdad bureau anyway."

    (italics mine)

    So why not man up, and start treating the losers like they lost? It's time to start respecting real writers and information providers as Worthy Of Attention, and let the dead-enders wander off to their elephant graveyards to lie among their betters.

    [ We'll examine the problem of always referring to people like Ms. Parker, David Brooks and David Frum as "conservative" some other time.
    I'm not a conservative, but I have to caucus with you morons (and I mean that in the "friendly" way, so go pound sand) to help keep the country from sliding into totalitarianism. I have clear differences with conservatives and Libertarians, just as those bozos do, but you won't see me claiming to represent conservative thinking. ]

  5. Stacy,

    Re Kathleen Parker, right on!: I was but newly conservative in October 2008 and yet, more than once, made the time to e-mail Kathryn Lopez at NRO about firing Kathleen Parker. Here's a sample from 10/31/2008:

    Dear Ms. Lopez:

    Why does the National Review Online continue to besmirch its pixels with the mush-mouthed maunderings of Kathleen Parker? She has gone over to the Dark Side, she is a minion of the Axelrod of Evil!

    The gay men at HillBuzz, Hillary PUMAs who are now campaigning for John McCain, would call Parker an "Eeyore" because she has swallowed the Obamedia's story line hook, line and sinker and now goes about spreading doom and gloom. OK, this week it was equivocation, ass-covering and gloom, but you get my point.

    Parker has even made it to one of Iowahawk's parodies, along with her sister in Eeyore-dom, Peggy Noonan, and NRO's own apostate, Christopher Buckley. That means people have gone past getting angry with her because they disagree and moved on to disrespecting her opinion. Isn't the next stop after that questioning the judgment of people who continue to respect her, as evidenced by continuing to publish her?

    Yours truly,

    Cynthia Yockey