Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Another One Bites The Dust

Richard Perez-Pena* reports in today's New York Times that conservative columnist William Kristol, by mutual agreement with the paper, will not be renewing his one year contract as a columnist for the Op-Ed page. Kristol will be writing for the Washington Post and contributing to its blog, Post Partisan. Note to the Post, where the Radical's old buddy from Oligarch OCD days, Ruth Marcus is holding down the fort: this is almost as cute a name as Tenured Radical. But not quite.

Ah Bill, we hardly knew ye. But Kristol could not have been happy at the Times. It's one thing to see your hideous little political world go down in flames, but quite another to be surrounded by a bunch of insanely happy liberals while it is happening. Perhaps because of constant liberal crowing, Kristol has seemed increasingly delusional since the Obama candidacy became an actual presidency. In yesterday's Will Obama Save Liberalism? Kristol asserted that "conservatives have more often been right than not." Do you mean on the right, dearie? Because if you mean correct, I have to ask you why our military is in pieces, our education and health systems are a laughing stock, the constitution has taken its worst body blows since Lincoln suspended habeus corpus, a quarter of the world is in flames, more Americans lose their jobs every day, and the American economy is in the worst shape it has been in for eighty years? I have to ask that, Bill. And lest we forget, how about the December 22, 2008 column in which Kristol shrugged his shoulders about Dick Cheney's historically low approval rating (15% at the time of the inaugural) and asserted that Cheney is a just and civil man. How does Kristol know this? Because when asked by Chris Wallace about whether he had any regrets about -- not the war, not torture, not subverting the Constitution -- but about telling Patrick Leahy to "bleep" himself, Cheney replied: "No, I thought he merited it at the time. (Laughter.) And we’ve since, I think, patched over that wound and we’re civil to one another now." Kristol reflected:

No spin. No doubletalk. A cogent defense of his action — and one that shows a well-considered sense of justice. (“I thought he merited it.”) Indeed, if justice is seeking to give each his due, one might say that Dick Cheney aspires to being a just man. And a thoughtful one, because he knows that justice is sometimes too harsh, and should be tempered by civility.

Bleeping awesome, Bill. Hold the tar, hold the feathers. And have fun in Washington. I hope your party doesn't hold the Palin thing against you for too long.

As a coda, I hope that the New York Times and other liberal media outlets will re-think the informal policy they apear to have adopted over the last eight years of hiring pet in-house conservatives simply because they are conservatives. In the first place, it's not something any conservative newspaper or magazine would do, and if my small experience as a blogger is at all representative, right-wingers will never, ever be convinced of the intellectual legitimacy of anyone outside their circles. But if you must hire a conservative, to keep poor, overworked conservative journalist David Brooks (currently house conservative at the Times, NPR, and the Lehrer News Hour) company, hire one who is willing to think rather than repeat and defend the same old cant. That's what will add real diversity to the Times Op-Ed page. Kristol's tenure at the Times was ridiculous from beginning to end (so ridiculous that this is the first time I believe I have written about it) because he is nothing but an ideologue who bends history and facts to his sunny, right-wing world view. The time for such people is over.

*SOS to GayProf: how do I do proper accent marks on Blogger?


Robert Zimmerman said...

Despite the wrong sexual orientation,I couldn't ignore the SOS. There are "entities" you can insert to make special characters. Here's a table.

You can just cut and paste from the first column and get Peña.

GayProf said...

I highly recommend everybody switch their keyboards to "US -- International" (Under "Regional and Language Options" in the Control Panel). That way, no matter the program you are using, if you type "'" or "~" and follow it with a letter that needs an accent or tilde, it will appear magically: á or ñ. That's for PC. U.S.-Mac's used to have problems with making it easy to insert international characters, but I don't if they have resolved that problem.

I am amazed that radical conservatives have been trying darn hard to convince that they were actually correct in the past eight years. It is also a bit disheartening that Obama seems so willing to placate them (I blame Daschle).

Anonymous said...

it's actually really easy on a mac (which i assume you have). you can do it in any place where you type text, regardless of program or website.

for a tilde (ñ), press option+n, then n again.

for a regular accent (é), press option+e, then whatever letter you want under it (like e or a or i or o).

--zenith student

Anonymous said...

'it's not something any conservative newspaper or magazine would do'.

The Spectator (can't get much more conservative than that!) hired Rod Liddle, well-known left wing journalist, to write for them. They seem happy to have on board a range of political views among their contributors.

Which makes a real change from most publications.

Robert Zimmerman said...

The Windows- and Mac-native codes for those special characters have not always played well on the web. If you're surfing on a mac and you come across a web page with a sprinkling of funky characters (mostly in place of quotes, apostrophes, and dashes), that's because it was put up with raw Windows character codes. With blogger and a modern browser this no longer seems to be an issue.

The other day I ran across a funny column by Rich Galen, a conservative pundit who does time on NPR sometimes. He was exercised because the ACLU threatened to torture Obama--they said they'd hold his feet to the fire so that he'd follow through on his promises to renounce torture, etc. And I guess it's well known that the ACLU will stop at nothing.

Rob said...

"right-wingers will never, ever be convinced of the intellectual legitimacy of anyone outside their circles"

As a former student at "Zenith" and a conservative activist during my time there, I can attest that this intellectual blindness cuts both ways.

Not a comment about Prof. Potter, as I never had the pleasure of taking one of her classes, but rather about the general intellectual climate and narrow range of debate that occurs in many corners of campus (and, to be fair, many other campuses as well).

Anonymous said...

Re the observation that conservative publications do not have in-house lefties, Katrina is certainly correct. The Wall Street Journal op-ed page is another example: they have consistently had a "leftie" columnist. Currently, it is Tom Franks. Several years ago, it was Alexander Cockburn.

I suspect, however, that the goal is not to provide balance, but to provide an easy target for the rage of their readers. Its almost cathartic, particularly when you can submit a comment on-line that just rips to shreds the analysis, integrity and morality of the columnist. Kristol was a master at providing these opportunities. I suspect that most of his columns, particularly recently, were written to elevate both his “comment” count and the blood pressure of the NYT readers. A typical column was in no way a serious analysis of anything.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

It does not bother me that openly conservative media do not have liberal writers. The NYT and WaPo, however, claim to offer the best political coverage. Their liberal columnists, however, have become so predictable on the issues that it's difficult for me to read them.

Dowd and Rich were pretty awful during the Democratic primaries and the general election. Kristol will face the same thing at the WaPo. Dionne and Robinson are one-track writers these days. Being progressive does mean being loyal to a party or candidate - but to principles.

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