The Liberal Media's Elitist Conservative Rats Leave the Sinking Ship
Some person named Ross Whodat or somesuch, who just so happens to write for the same publication that employs the chief purveyor of Palin Derangement Syndrome, offers this apologia for all the faux "conservative" elitists who have wandered off the reservation this electoral go-round:
... There is unquestionably a sense in which center-right scriveners who work for institutions more liberal than they (or merely exist in a climate more liberal than they) have both personal and professional incentives to criticize their own side as often as they do the other one, and to advance arguments and strike attitudes that drive more committed partisans up the wall. I'm flattered that Julian Sanchez's list of conservative writers in this position includes David Brooks and, well, me, but I think it's pretty easy to come up with a longer tally - it would include everyone from Rod Dreher (one of the very few explicitly-conservative writers at Beliefnet and the Dallas Morning News, I believe) to Christopher Buckley (Forbes FYI editor, New Yorker contributor, and now Daily Beast blogger) to various other (Peggy Noonan, Tucker Carlson, Joe Scarborough, etc.) with one foot in the right-wing intelligentsia and one foot in the MSM. Not coincidentally, this list happens to overlap in many cases with a list of right-of-center pundits who have been highly critical of the McCain campaign and the GOP recently. And while I'm sure that these writers and talkers are striving for objectivity in all things and at all times, I'm also acutely aware, from my own experience, of the way that peer effects - the desire to be perceived as the "reasonable conservative" by friends and peers, the positive reinforcement from liberal readers, etc. - can subtly influence the topics one chooses to write about and the tone one chooses to take. It's not a matter of wanting a seat at the table in the Obama Administration, or anything absurd like that; it's just a matter of being aware of your audience, and wanting to be taken seriously by people who don't necessarily share your views, but who exert a significant influence over your professional success even so.My Comments:
Suppose that you accept the most cynical account of, say, Peggy Noonan's uncertainty about whom to vote for in this election, or Christopher Buckley's Obama endorsement - that they're just craven, self-interested bandwagon jumpers who want to keep getting invited to all those swanky cocktail parties I keep hearing about. Suppose that you regard every right-of-center writer - or single-issue fellow traveler with the Bush Republicans, in the case of Christopher Hitchens - who's publicly hurled brickbats at the McCain campaign as a quisling and a coward, a stooge for liberalism and a rat fleeing a fast-sinking ship. In such circumstances, what's the best course of action - denouncing the rats, or trying to figure out why the hell the ship is sinking? Even if Brooks and Noonan and Buckley and Dreher and Kathleen Parker and David Frum and Heather Mac Donald and Bruce Bartlett and George Will [ED.: Yeah that pretty much covers all the elitist jerks on my sh** list.] and on and on - note the ideological diversity in the ranks of conservatives who aren't Helping The Team these days - are all just snobs and careerists who quit or cavil or cover their asses when the going gets tough and their "seat at the table" is threatened, an American conservative movement that consists entirely of those pundits with the rock-hard testicular fortitude required to never take sides against the family seems like a pretty small tent at this point. And if I were Hanson or Levin or Steyn I'd be devoting a little less time to ritual denunciations of heretics and RINOs, and at least a little more time to figuring out how to build the sort of ship that will make the rats of the DC/NY corridor want to scramble back on board, however much it makes you sick to have them back. Who knows? It might just be the sort of ship that swing-state voters will want to climb on board as well.
You know what all these elitists have in common and what their REAL problem with the McCain campaign is? They're all embarassed by Gov. Palin. They're embarassed to be part of a "conservative movement" that includes her and what she represents ... or to be more specific ... that includes all us unwashed yokels out here who care about stopping the holocaust of a million dead babies per year and the judicial attack on the sanctity of marriage, not to mention who are more interested in main-street-common-sense solutions to the problems facing our families than with Wall Street nonsense.
Their REAL beef is that they're tired of having to make apologies to all their homosexual and knee-pad-donning-so-long-as-he-keeps-abortion-legal feminist friends for all those social conservative yahoos that give "center-right" intellectuals like them a bad name.
Be very clear about this: when David Brooks says that Sarah Palin represents a "cancer" on the Republican Party, what he really means is that the Republican Party and the conservative movement would be better off by cutting out the "malignancy" that is the social conservatism of the so-called "religious right". The reason they praise the "old McCain" vs. the "new McCain" is because the "old McCain" took his swings at social conservatives every chance he got. They don't like the "new McCain" who decided it was important enough to get the social conservative base on his side that he chose a pro-life "extremist" and "religious nut" from outside the beltway establishment as his running mate.
The biggest irony of this whole mass exodus by the "center-right" elitist class, as Regular Guy Paul points out, is that many of those jumping ship were among the same people saying that social conservatives needed to "shut up and eat their peas" and vote for the party nominee regardless of where the nominee stood on our issues. So, they pushed, in succession, Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney (who they tried to dress up as some sort of conservative culture warrior in an effort to fool us), and finally, the guy they wanted all along beginning 8 years ago, John McCain. But now they're jumping ship on the guy who was their guy in the first place. And the only thing to explain it is that they're embarassed by who he's chosen as his running mate and the social conservative "cancer" she represents. Seriously? You're going AWOL over the VP pick? Dear Lord!
I guess we should've seen the writing on the wall when the elitist class went apeshit over the prospect that Gov. Mike Huckabee might come anywhere near the top or the bottom of the ticket.
Well, screw you, Ross Asshat! I don't want to "figur[e] out how to build the sort of ship that will make the rats of the DC/NY corridor want to scramble back on board". I'm sick of riding on a ship in which I and the rest of the unwashed are forced into steerage while all you elitists party it up on the Lido deck. You can rot!
Unlike you and your kind, politics ain't a frickin' game to me. I don't like it. I don't enjoy participating in it. And I certainly don't like the unsavory coalitions that it has forced me into in order to try to achieve my objectives (which, by the way, always seem to get pushed to the back burner when "more important" issues like foreign and economic policy must take priority). I'm not in this to win elections (although I certainly recognize the importance of winning elections to achieving success in my public policy preferences). But I certainly ain't in this thing to impress the frickin' illuminati. Theirs is an elitism that is morally bankrupt. Our friend Darwin put it well when he said recently:
... the thing that I think that elitist conservatives often forget is that the educational and cultural and social institutions which they are attached to, which they consider elite (like top colleges and coastal cities and live theater and high brow books and magazines and such) have become not only morally but culturally corrupt. Going to an elite university these days will often impede your ability to actually develop an understanding and love for Western Culture and all that has made it worthy.The long and the short of it is that I'm not interested in luring "the rats of the DC/NY corridor" anywhere near me, because, quite frankly, I don't give a rat's ass about your issues. And the reason I don't is because you don't give a rat's ass about mine.
In this sense, it's only through a certain kind of populism that conservatism and Western culture and values can survive and be passed on.
Don't believe me when I say that the same rats who are now deserting the ship were the same people who were once telling social conservatives to "suck it up"? Well, here's a reminder that Christopher Buckley himself not so long ago told conservatives to "shut up" their criticism of the very John McCain that he just abandoned this past week.
Note that Buckley admits that, were it not a family newspaper in which he was writing, that he would have told us to "Shut the f*** up".
A commenter at HotAir hits the nail on the head:
As someone who hasn’t had a lot of interest in following the day-to-day progression of this election I seem to have missed all of the hubbub. Correct me if I’m wrong, but is what’s happening here that all of the RINO pundits that were pushing for McCain from the very beginning now trying to blame somebody else for their candidate’s miserable performance, Palin, and are now in the process of jumping ship to Obama, which is were they probably should have been in the first place?Yep, that's about it. That, and the fact that they despise the social conservatives of whom Gov. Palin is representative.
FloatingRock on October 15, 2008 at 12:10 AM