Farah asked if he could speak on the issue (birther movement), but that isn't something we're interested in.Well, I guess that issue's resolved. But then Henke adds:
There are a couple other demagogues who appeal to our baser instincts that I would like to see CPAC decline to host, too . . .OK, Jon, name names. As I tend to keep busy schmoozing my way around the lobby or the exhibition hall, exchanging business cards, I usually only cover the really big speeches. Maybe I missed something. If CPAC has been scheduling speeches by "demagogues who appeal to our baser instincts," please name these dangerous influences, so we can all join your campaign to oust them.
Meanwhile, as promised, let's deal with Conor Friedersdorf, who in the course of a single blog post, manages to take shots at:
- Human Events
- Fox News
- Sarah Palin
- Glenn Beck
- Rush Limbaugh
Whence this rage, this desire to antagonize virtually the entire conservative movement as we know it? To begin with, let's observe that Conor has a habit of hating the exact same conservatives whom liberals hate and of aligning himself with the exact same conservatives whom liberals tolerate.
Furthermore, Conor does not bother to disguise the fact that his ambition is to be an intellectual -- not a mere journalist, nor even strictly a political commentator, but a genuine Trilling-class thinker. Peruse his encomium to Katie Roiphe or his engagement with Ben Domenech as examples of Conor in intellectual audition mode.
And then there is Friedersdorf's defense of Douthatism, which contains this roundhouse putdown:
I'll merely add that it is very difficult to write for the publications where Mr. Douthat made his mark -- the print Atlantic, the print National Review, The New York Times -- and comparatively easy to write copy for Human Events, Newsmax, Townhall, or any number of other places where a talented twentysomething actually interested in maximizing their profit per hour worked would write all their copy, if they really didn't care about anything else.Well, I gave up any thought of ever writing for National Review long before I attributed Rich Lowry's decline to tertiary syphilis, but it never occurred to me to trash conservative journalism in bulk, as Friedersdorf has done here.
Can this career strategy work? We don't know, for it has no parallel in history. Yet the man has clearly chosen to play the role of my doppelganger. It seems I never get into an online argument with anyone without finding Conor quickly siding with my antagonist. Something of an anti-Other McCain, as it were.
OK, so where did this begin? I'd been teasing Friedersdorf for months -- his extreme sincerity struck me as amusing -- but it was probably my rebuff of his Culture 11 "conservative" argument for same-sex marriage that did the trick. Why?
Well, that AmSpecBlog item was posted on Jan. 2 and, by the end of the month, Culture 11 ceased to exist. The reasons given for the demise of Culture 11 were strictly financial. In just five months of publication, David Kuo had burned through his start-up capital and -- given the economic meltdown -- no more funding was to be had.
Still, in retrospect, I've occasionally wondered if maybe someone didn't see my AmSpecBlog item and bring it to the attention of Culture 11's funders (reported to be Bill Bennett and Steve Forbes) who experienced an epiphany as a result: "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? This is the 'hip, smart cultural conservatism' we're paying for?"
Quite unlikely, but nevertheless possible, and when I later indulged in some extremely vicious schadenfreude over the demise of Culture 11, this probably didn't endear me to Friedersdorf, a victim of the spectacular implosion. And like a certain Austrian art student, whose rejection from the Vienna academy permanently embittered him, now Friedersdorf stalks not only me, but every conservative who reminds him of me, in a campaign of bloody-minded vengeance.
So you see that the blame for Conor's jihad against the conservative movement is mine alone. It's always a good rule of thumb: When in doubt, blame McCain.