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November 09, 2008


Can someone please explain to me the collective conservative freakout over Obama's call for Americans to serve? They're acting like the FBI is going to come to your house and force you to go down to the soup kitchen and serve meals.

i really do hope that this is one the side benefits of an Obama presidency--the chance for the rest of us (aka the civilized world) to just completely disregard the drooling fringe over at the NRO, Red State, etc. no more quoting from them, no more outrage at what they say--just total INDIFFERENCE.

people like John Derbyshire or K-Lo are no different than the guy with the tin-foil hat raving on the street corner about how the CIA put electrodes in his brain, and they should be treated with the same level of intellectual respect.

goodbye to all that, indeed.

May we please generate an explicit list of the crazies' names (on cable, talk radio, and online), beyond the glaringly obvious:

-- Malkin
-- Goldberg
-- Hannity
-- Limbaugh
-- O'Reilly

Who else needs to be called out and placed on the list of "avoidables"?

Like Olbermann's Worst Persons list on November 5th--"You know what? Who cares! You don't matter anymore!"

What a glorious feeling.

i'd say anyone who claimed Obama was the son of Malcolm X, the Hillary supporter who called Obama "an inadequate black man" (and was later a guest a Fox!), K-Lo, Derbyshire, Andy McCarthy, and most especially, Larry Johnson.

btw, when's that "whitey tape" gonna hit, Larry?

Rather than indifference I think gentle mocking humor (and not too much of it) is a good technique. That seems to be Barack Obama's style and it looks good to me.

David: making a list of people to be ignored sounds self-defeating to me.

@ hilzoy:

"I now have the luxury of debating only thoughtful, sane conservatives who argue in good faith, and I intend to enjoy it.

Well, if you are going to wait to debate "thoughtful, sane conservatives" in the blogosphere, I would suggest that the other luxury you are likely to be enjoying in the near future will be that of a lot of spare time. Said "thoughtful, sane" types are in short supply in the Net - and as the Obama Administration gets into full swing, they will probably become even rarer.

Two things:
1. It's important to pay attention to the distribution of political statements on the other side, especially its fringes ... before 9/11, Bush was a (relatively) milder incarnation of right-wing ideology in many ways. The politics picked up during the crisis, the insane vectors of neoconservative discourse, had to be teased out slowly over a few years by broader and broader publics.

2. "high-school debator kinds of voices..."
Let's be clear: high school debate is pretty sweet, and the wilingness to reciprocally imagine policy propositions you both agree and disagree with is something far beyond the intellectual ken of knavish right-wing blowhards.

Okay.....the list of avoidables/ignorables/mockables grows:

-- Michelle Malkin
-- Jonah Goldberg
-- Sean Hannity
-- Rush Limbaugh
-- Bill O'Reilly
-- Kathryn Jean Lopez
-- John Derbyshire
-- Andy McCarthy
-- Larry Johnson

A vile and despicable rogue's gallery, to be sure.


the Hillary supporter who called Obama "an inadequate black man" (and was later a guest a Fox!)

Harriet Christian. I got in on the ground floor of being disgusted with her. She was sitting behind me in the audience at the Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting, so I got to hear a preview of her ranting to her friends during the break, before she was thrown out and became a YouTube star.

Following up on Jay's point (but stripping away the snark), I'm curious, who are the "thoughtful, sane conservatives who argue in good faith"? I mean it, by the way. I'd actually like a list of conservatives that I should take seriously.

Well, ari, there are the ones who supported Obama -- probably not Ken Adelman, though.

Hmmm....some initial nominations for the "sane/thoughtful" list:

-- David Brooks
-- Michael Murphy
-- Rich Lowry

Oh....and George Will.

Rather than making lists of conservatives that are safe to ignore, how about a list of "thoughtful, sane" conservatives that you will read and debate? I nominate Daniel Larison, for one.


We got a puppy six weeks ago -- a Wire Fox Terrier -- who spends much of her day looking for trouble and finding it.

When she has escaped the fence of civilized behaviour, our strategy is to ignore her. Nothing is more effective at drawing her back into the fold.

We'll soon learn if the right blogosphere has as much sense -- and as much ssocialization -- as a 14 week old Wire Fox Terrier pup.

Sane conservative Ross Douthat:


Continuing the "sane/thoughtful" list:

-- George Will
-- David Brooks
-- Michael Murphy
-- Rich Lowry
-- Kathleen Parker
-- Peggy Noonan
-- Daniel Larison

This is not snark.

Hilzoy, like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, is such a good influence on me.

All it took was a bucket of water to melt the Wicked Witch and find our way back to Kansas, to resume our normal lives.

I was afraid the "Lord of the Rings" model would persist, with Orcs coming at us forever, and Gollum double-crossing us at every turn.

Like Legolas, however, I think I'll keep my quiver and bow behind the door, just in case.

David, is there some other Peggy Noonan you're talking about?



"sane/thoughtful" does not equal "reasonable/correct".

DMac, thanks for the pointer to Daniel Larison.

Unlike Gary, I don't read everything in sight and I find ObWi a wonderful source of information and time saving tips.

Two thoughts:

1) I'm afraid this is wishful thinking. I read, for example, this passage:

You had to listen to the hack complaints about academia from endlessly manipulative writers because it was perfectly plausible that whatever axe they were grinding was going to end up as a priority agenda item coming out of Margaret Spelling’s office or get incorporated into legislation by right-wing state legislators.

..and I'm reminded of the fact that my state, Oklahoma, has just elected a Republican majority to both houses of the state legislature for the first time in our history. Crazy, Horowitzian bills that had, in the past, been blocked by Democrats now will not be, and we will have to rely on our unreliable Democratic governor to veto them.

As an employee of a (red) state university (heck, as a resident of a really red state), Obama's election simply does not allow me to ignore the "really bad-faith conservatives," as they actually have more control over my state now than they did before this election. I sincerely hope that my many blue state allies in these fights won't take their toys and go home simply because things are now fine (or at least dramatically better) in our nation's capital.

2) I do actually believe that there are sane/thoughtful conservatives out there. I do not think, however, that it is either necessary or sufficient that a conservative supported Obama for him/her to make the list.

Agree with Ben on both his points.

And yes.....compassion and support needs to be extended to all of those who remain marooned in deep red places.

I know that there are those here who admire Larison.

Does it trouble anyone that he writes for a "Buchananite" magazine? Is it unfair guilt by association for me to dubious of someone who works for Buchanan at a magazine which also publishes a number of rather scummy types? (not everyone on the list).

I think I would add Andrew Sullivan to this list. He can be pompous and bull-headed but he clearly thinks deeply and thoughtfully about what he writes and doesn't go in for kooky conspiracy theories. He was also an Obama supporter so I trust him to be a sincere 'loyal opposition' in good faith.

Does John Cole count? He's a Democrat now but more because the Republican Party left him behind. I don't know if he still considers himself a conservative but he writes good posts nevertheless.

@Bernard Yomtov : Shouldn't Larison be judged by his writing? Beware the cocoon.

I agree about Andrew Sullivan.

And how about James Joyner:


That would make the current nominees for a "sane/thoughtful" list:

-- George Will
-- David Brooks
-- Michael Murphy
-- Rich Lowry
-- Kathleen Parker
-- Peggy Noonan
-- Daniel Larison
-- Ross Douthat
-- Andrew Sullivan
-- James Joyner

Bernard and DMac,

I've reading Larison for the last few months. It has been an...interesting experience. I'm not sure I'll continue though. Daniel is a sharp guy who seems to get "stuck" on some ideas. He can be really bad at justifying his opinions in some areas, and when people call him on it, his response can be childish and petulant.

I think the reason a lot of lefty types like him is that he has a natural predilection to anti-war/anti-intervention thinking on foreign policy but he isn't particularly good at thinking through his own biases and mental blind spots.

How does Ross Douthat get on that list? His broadside attacks on Doug Kmiec and on pro-choice catholics generally ought to remove him from "reasonable" and "sane and thoughtful" just as they removed him from "polite and intelligent" lists. Check out the Salon "wither conservative wittering" series to see Ross's temperament and intellect on display.


I agree with those above that a list of those to ignore is silly (should we research them carefully to determine whether they should be ignored, and monitor them to see when to stop ignoring them?), and a list of those to engage with more worthwhile - though I'd dispute most of the names on the above list (Brooks alternates between the vapid and the disingenuous, Kathleen Parker said some monumentally dumb and ugly things before she gratifyingly turned on Palin, and Noonan not only specializes in the shallow but was caught on an open mic giving her true impressions of Palin when she was publicly issuing the party spin). I think Will and Larison are thoughtful and sincere, and more Conservative than Partisan; Douthat has a similar reputation from a number of bloggers I respect, but I've never found reading him to be worthwhile. With respect to Bernard's question, well, I have some similar concerns, but consider that what I've seen Larison write has always seemed reasonable (which isn't to say I always agree), and The American Conservative is the only avowedly Conservative magazine I know of willing to host dissent or criticism of the Bush/Cheney administration or even the NeoCons generally, so it wasn't like Larison had a lot of options. I could wish that Larison wasn't so willing to engage with the truly slimy Robert Stacy McCain, though, and I fear that willingness may be a bad sign. In any case, at some point the R's will be back in power, and it behooves us to identify and encourage those among the R's who will be responsible, thoughtful, and honest people worthy of engaging with and whom we can eventually foresee holding that power without inspiring in us a deep sense of foreboding.


I have some serious differences with Larison (immigration policy, for one) but I still think he meets the sane and thoughtful threshold and often offers interesting insights, even if you disagree with his premises.

I'd also recommend looking over this site:


This group of bloggers is spearheaded by Patrick Ruffini, Jon Henke and Soren Dayton. I disagree with them about almost everything, but the interesting thing is that there is actually a debate going on there in contrast to the usual Righty tendency to ban all dissent. It seems likely that as the Republicans try to rebuild their party, these guys may well be influential and if so, it may be worth debating.

aimai: For my part, I'm trying to be catholic about this, and include people who sometimes have good things to say. That includes Douthat, and certainly Larison. I'd probably do this anyways, but the fact that so much of the right blogosphere seems to have gone more or less nuts makes me all the more willing to go on reading people who have not.

Fwiw, I was thinking of John Cole as having more or less switched sides, though I continue to wish that there was a conservative party worthy of him.

he isn't particularly good at thinking through his own biases and mental blind spots.

That's a fairly universal trait IMHO.

While you have some points regarding Larison, I'll admit to being a fan of his. Maybe I'm not as picky, but then I'm looking for conservatives who make sense on some issues - after all, if they made sense on all the issues they wouldn't exactly be conservatives now would they?


For me the dividing line between conservatives I'll give a fair hearing to and those to be ignored is whether they are intellectually committed to empiricism. I'll grant them some cognitive bias, and who amongst us isn't "stuck" to some degree on some issue or another? But if the discussion revolves around some policy issue and instead of at least attempting to use logic or evidence their answer boiled down to its essence is "because that's what the squirrels living in my attic say", then I don't have time for them.

@Bernard Yomtov : Shouldn't Larison be judged by his writing? Beware the cocoon.


Though I might also say that his pieces should be judged on their merits. Maybe we shouldn't be looking for a "sane, thoughtful" list as much for a "sometimes, maybe often, writes intelligent things," list.

George Will does that, for example, but he can be a terrible hack too. I recognize that Larison, among others, writes thoughtful articles, but I'm wary of elevating any of the listed writers to Thoughtful Commentator Who Must be Taken Seriously status.

I'd echo DMac on watching www.thenextright.com

One of the other criteria that I'm using to judge conservative arguments is political rather than policy oriented, namely: do they recognize that conservative policies need to be viable outside the base of the current GOP both demographically and regionally? Are they at least thinking about questions like: How can we win in California and New York? How can we appeal to minorities, or to highly educated voters? And not "win" in the sense of rigging elections but rather coming up with policies which appeal to a large enough segment of the electorate to have a shot at winning in those states.

The 50 state strategy of Dean, et. al. helped to shake the Dems out of their decades long topor. I'm watching and waiting to see what conservatives will come up with that is comparable. They need to recognize that in order to govern with decency you need to at least attempt to appeal to everybody in the country and not just write off huge chunks of the population as hopeless, because doing the latter is a slipperly slope which leads to demonizing opponents and dividing the country.

I'd correct Burke's "eight years" to "fourteen years." You can't say the Right was not powerful on the national level when they controlled the House.

because that's what the squirrels living in my attic say

The squirrels living in my attic are perfectly reasonable and have good ideas for American foreign policy, domestic priorities, and ACORNs.

Another nominee:


Dr. Stephen Taylor

I'm as bleeding heart liberal as they come. My daughter and I cried together (via instant messenger) on Tuesday night. But the whole idea of approved lists of commentators to whom we'll pay attention is repugnant to me.

Yes we should keep track of the wackos, for the purposes of amusement, schadenfreude and know thy enemy.

And yes, we should pay attention to thoughtful, rational conservatives - not an oxymoron, although it seemed so for the last several years. Who knows, some of their ideas, particularly libertarian ones, may be worth considering. But "approved lists"? Sorry, that's a very Dobson-esque, christianist concept to me. It is a way of thinking best left to the right side of the aisle.

I'm as bleeding heart liberal as they come. My daughter and I cried together (via instant messenger) on Tuesday night. But the whole idea of approved lists of commentators to whom we'll pay attention is repugnant to me.

Yes we should keep track of the wackos, for the purposes of amusement, schadenfreude and know thy enemy.

And yes, we should pay attention to thoughtful, rational conservatives - not an oxymoron, although it seemed so for the last several years. Who knows, some of their ideas, particularly libertarian ones, may be worth considering. But "approved lists"? Sorry, that's a very Dobson-esque, christianist concept to me. It is a way of thinking best left to the right side of the aisle.

"I was afraid the "Lord of the Rings" model would persist, with . . . Gollum double-crossing us at every turn.

Well, Reid hasn't taken away his chairmanship yet . . .

But "approved lists"? Sorry, that's a very Dobson-esque, christianist concept to me.


I can't speak for anyone else here, but from my viewpoint this is a grossly unfair and inaccurate way to characterize this discussion, which quite frankly is a bit insulting.

I'm not taking "the list" as a censorial exercise, rather as a starting point for directing my reading of the conservative blogosphere so as to make best use of a very finite resource - the amount of time that I have to spend reading and thinking about politics. IMHO the authors being mentioned are to be taken as exemplars of a style of political analysis and writing which I'm looking for and which by definition is open to others not mentioned or even known at this time who share similar characteristics, not a closed enumeration of acceptable voices.


Said "thoughtful, sane" types are in short supply in the Net

But they hang around here quite a bit and ObWi is much better for them.

Personally, I think there's nothing wrong with an "approved" list--as long as "approved" refers to the quality of the thought processes involved in the writer. Somebody who writes clearly, cogently, powerfully and honestly should be approved by anyone.

Try Culture 11 also.


and I 2nd the james joyner and andrew sullivan, both are well worth reading.

Fair enough. My feelings about Douthat are that he is disingenous in the extreme and that is a characteristic I detest even more than I detest, for example, Derbyshire's out and out racist fearmongering.

That being said my general feeling about all these guys is conflicted. On the one hand, I agree with the Rai people of Nepal. Hungry Ghosts are like dogs--just move away and don't tell them where you've gone and you can stop leaving food and propitiatory gifts out for them. One minute they are powerful and important ancestral figures and the next--nobodies.

On the other hand I really came to the bloggosphere for the snark and I'm not willing to give that up. NRO is like shooting fish in a barrel, at this point, and I expect to remain high on the schadenfreude for quite some time.


Obviously overlooked so far: Gregory Djerejian
Daniel Drezner
Most of the folk at Volokh Conspiracy.

And while I have problems with a number of the names mentioned so far, since we're being inclusive, and trying to look for people who simply are right some of the time, if egregiously wrong much of the time, I suppose I'd suggest including, much though the brickbats will fly at these names, Megan McArdle and Michael J. Totten. (Not that either even identifies as a "conservative," fwiw; they're not liberals, though.) Armed Liberal at Winds of Change, though he claims to be a liberal.

(Despite Kathleen Parker's recent burst of sanity on Palin, I can't forget this.)

"I think I would add Andrew Sullivan to this list. He can be pompous and bull-headed but he clearly thinks deeply and thoughtfully about what he writes and doesn't go in for kooky conspiracy theories."

So the whole Palin pregnancy thing was sane? He doesn't repeatedly get obsessive?

I'm not arguing that he isn't sensible a fair part of the time; he is. I'm just disagreeing that he doesn't go in for kooky conspiracy theories; he just goes in for his own sort of them.

Daniel Larison is a good writer, but I wonder how 'sane' and 'reasonable' someone who voted for Chuck Baldwin because the candidate they previously supported, Ron Paul, endorsed the Constitution Party candidate (and says "on the whole I have always been closer to the Constitution Party than the Libertarians") really is.

I find Larison to be informative and in the past have linked to Eunomia, but the fact that his blog links to VDare, Steve Sailer and The League of the South (both the LotS homepage and blog) gives me pause.

Remember: 'paleocon' is just a clever euphemism for 'neo-confederate'.

Of course, it's also hard to find people we disagree with (if they're conservatives, or libertarians, and we're not, that's the premise), whom we don't disagree with on a bunch of (important) stuff.

Almost everyone we disagree with about a bunch of stuff is bound to have some opinions we find offensive (and vice versa).

The main point is whether they're reasonable fair debators/thinkers about a reasonable amount of stuff; otherwise if we're looking for Others to argue with/compare notes with, it's a gimme that sometimes they will drive us mad.

Efgoodman, at least as I took it, the point of the exercise was not to identify Conservatives It Is Permitted To Read, but rather to identify Conservatives The Reading Of Whom You Might Find Worthwhile. In other words, those people with whom we might not often agree, but who seem to be thoughtful, smart, and sincere, as opposed to the hacks, mouthbreathers, and trolls. In still other words, what TLTIABQ said. This is hardly an outbreak of the thought police.

Aww, I never get to be the thought police!

I thiought that Ross Douthat displayed an absolutely shocking lack of self-awareness in the Slate roundtable discussion of the Conservative Crackup.

In his first comment he made what struck me as a very valid and sensible observation:

Two years ago, while the Republicans were busy losing the House and the Senate, a young conservative writer named Michael Brendan Dougherty inclined his ear to the sound of right-wing recriminations and observed that "at the end of the day, the arguments all seem to boil down to something similar: If it were more like me, the Republican Party would be better off. It's failing because it's like you."

In the wake of Barack Obama's victory, this will be the pattern of conservative commentary for months and perhaps years to come. Foreign-policy realists will insist neoconservatism doomed the Bush administration to failure. Anti-immigration activists will claim that the Republican Party would have beaten Obama if only it had nominated somebody who actually opposed illegal immigration, instead of just pretending. Small-government conservatives will claim that if the Bush administration had only held the line on domestic spending, everything would have turned out differently. The dwindling band of Rockefeller Republicans will blame the whole thing on social conservatives for being too strident about abortion and gay marriage and turning off moderates; social conservatives, for their part, will argue that John McCain didn't talk enough about abortion and gay marriage. And so on.

I have my own dog in a number of these fights, but it's important to point out that nearly every faction will be able to score some points and lay some blame: A pair of defeats as resounding as '06 and '08 have a thousand fathers, no matter how much every right-winger would like to assign paternity to someone else. Which means that the best thing, by far, for the American right would be for every sect within the conservative temple to spend some time in self-examination before it turns to flinging blame.

and then in summation at the end of the same comment:

And as long as we're all going to be living together, each faction would do well to give the beams in their own eyes at least as much attention as they give the motes in the eyes of their neighbors.

OK, so far so good. This is good general advice for any political coalition. As I see it he is making what should be an obvious point but one which too many Republicans seem to have forgetten - that political coalitions are fragile and will come apart when individual factions are no longer willing to put their favorite issues aside for the sake of the greater good, but instead insist on each dog gnawing its own bone while blaming the others.

But then he turns around and demonstrates the saliency of this very same point by savaging Douglas Kmiec like a rabid animal:

I am sure that Kmiec is weary of being called a fool by opponents of abortion for his tireless pro-Obama advocacy during this election cycle, but if so, then the thing for him to do is to cease acting like the sort of person for whom the term "useful idiot" was coined, rather than persisting in his folly.

and at the end:

I suppose I could find a thing or three to agree with in Kmiec's longer list of ideas for how the party he abandoned could win back his vote. But frankly, I don't see the point. I understand that the pro-life position on abortion does not command majority support in the United States and that people of good will can disagree on the subject. And I have no doubt that the Republican Party can profit from greater dialogue between its pro-life and pro-choice constituents—and do a better job, as well, of addressing itself to both pro-lifers and pro-choicers who aren't already inside its tent. But I can't begin to fathom why the GOP should consider taking any advice whatsoever from a "pro-lifer" who has spent the past year serving as an increasingly embarrassing shill for the opposition party's objectively pro-abortion nominee.

After reading that exchange, in a snarky way I'm left wondering whether Mr. Douthat is suffering from a mild form of multiple personality disorder. Kmeic's subsequent reply to Douthat was cringe inducing considering that some combination of "Did you actually read what you just wrote?" and "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!" was about all that Douthat's second comment really deserved.

Touche, Gary. Sullivan's craziness with Palin's medical records occurred to me after I had already hit Submit. I hate when that happens.

And if having a list of recommended websites is a sign of the thought police then my local book club is downright fascist.

I do think it's important not only to pay attention to conservative writers that we think are interesting/sane/important, but also ones that actual conservatives think are important, even if we don't find them sane or interesting.

Over the last thirty years, liberals have tended to have their favorite conservatives and conservatives their favorite liberals. I'm thinking of people like Kevin Philips and Garry Wills as examples of the former phenomenon, and Daniel Patrick Moynihan and a number of writers connected with The New Republic as examples of the latter.

It often turns out, however, that the conservatives favored by liberals aren't really conservatives and the liberals favored by conservatives aren't really liberals.

One of the points of reading the other side of the blogosphere is to understand what the other side is actually thinking, even if what one discovers isn't particularly edifying.


I would strike, George Will, Rich Lowry, David Brooks, Kathleen Parker, and the Nooner from your list. They are dishonest partisan hacks.

As for the rest, with the exception of Sullivan, I don't know much about them. Sullivan's spittle flecked diatribes during the run up to the war qualify him as a hack, too, his recent stuff notwithstanding.


Conservatives used to defend the divine right of kings.
They defended slavery.
They defended segregation.
They defended union busting.
They defended the rape of Viet Nam.
They consciously defend a revolutionary disruptive form of "capitalism"
as "conservative".

With the last point in mind, there has not been an honest conservative since Edmund Burke. Your search, well intentioned as it is, may be fruitless.

Gary Wills...might be the exception to this rule.

"But then he turns around and demonstrates the saliency of this very same point by [link]savaging Douglas Kmiec like a rabid animal[/link]"

Oh darn. I was hoping that was a youtube link, or at least involved some pictures . . .

" . . . then my local book club is downright fascist."

Shh! Don't give Jonah Goldberg any ideas . . .

bobbyp, the word "conservative" used to mean all sorts of nasty things. Then again, "Democrat" used to mean "appeaser of the slaveholding South", and "progressive" used to mean "anti-immigrant, anti-catholic, often anti-urbanite". Terms change their meanings, and unless you can (please!) find me a conservative who backs any* of the things you name, you might want to reconsider your approach to this discussion.

*(the war in Vietnam, I'll give you, though they would characterize it differently than as "rape"; and though most if not all conservatives are anti-union, I don't think many admit to supporting violent union-busting)

Not sure if this has been brought up on the thread already -- I'll read it over more fully after I post this -- but the danger of ignoring the loonies is that they can do the most damage when people are not aware of them. Lunatic conservatives have a history of running stealth campaigns for local office where turnout is low, getting elected by their fellow travelers, and moving e.g. the Texas State Board of Education far enough off the map to the right that its chairman was recently quoted as saying Obama was planning a terrorist attack on the US. If sites like Sadly, No and Alicublog are broadcasting their ravings, there is at least a marginally lower chance of this kind of thing succeeding. Also, I recognize that there are a lot of problems with comparing McCain in 2008 to Goldwater in 1964, but that's a case where the loonie right wing was soundly defeated and managed to come roaring back four years later. Best to keep some awareness of what they're up to.

For the last eight years, we’ve had to take them somewhat seriously because they had access to political power.

I'd say have access, at least until Obama's inauguration. Plus, as others have pointed out, there are still congresspeople who might be listening.

Let me add The American Scene to the list of good conservative blogs.

Reihan Salam and Noah Millman are especially worth reading. Reihan thinks at a million miles per second and can always be counted on for an unconventional approach. Millman is always thoughtful and has good judgment, even when I disagree with him. Here's his endorsement of Obama.

Conservatives used to defend the divine right of kings.
They defended slavery.
They defended segregation.
They defended union busting.
They defended the rape of Viet Nam.
They consciously defend a revolutionary disruptive form of "capitalism"
as "conservative".

Yeah and folks on teh Left defended the Jacobin terror of Revolutionary France, the Moscow show trials of the 1930s, and more recently Maoism and urban terrorists such as the Red Brigades.

See how easy the guilt by association game is to play? An evening of fun for the whole family!

I may be very naive but I thought at part of the point of seeking out and reading some conservatives was that we on the Left may not have all the answers and a little dose of humility in the form of at least listening to those who disagree with us is probably a good idea and it doesn't hurt to take our brain cells out for a jog around the neighborhood every now and then just to get some exercise.

"If sites like Sadly, No and Alicublog are broadcasting their ravings, there is at least a marginally lower chance of this kind of thing succeeding."

Sure, but not everyone has to do their job, either.

I just read the whole "Republican Crack-up" group discussion at Slate, where Douglas Kmeic, Ross Douthat, Christine Todd Whitman, Kathleen Parker, Tucker Carlson, and Jim Manzi, whom I'm not familiar with (ah, I see he's the former head of Lotus Development Corporation; hokay), debate Where The Party Should go, and all I can say is that they're in big trouble. Douthat savages Kmeic for praising Obama's abortion stance and Obama in general, Kmeic prays for Douthat's soul, Carlson attacks Kmeic for being a wimp, Todd Whitman calls for re-examing everything, Parker blames the crash on Palin and her supporters and anti-elitists, and there's very little agreement, or even good will. They got trouble in River City.

Actually, this response of Kmeic to Douthat's somewhat rabid attack on him is almost funny in how shocked he is.

Then Tucker Carlson responds: "Seriously. I've read suicide notes that were less passive-aggressive than this."

Incidentally, on Rahm Emanuel, Here's another good quote from Slate, from chief press critic Jack Shafer: "Emanuel games everybody and everything, so the press shouldn't take it personally—and it won't. In fact, as I write, the White House press corps is doing whippits in celebration of his appointment. The Obama campaign famously kept the press at arm's length. Emanuel, on the other hand, can't shut up."

But, in fact, ThatLeftTurnInABQ, a few folks who comment on ObWi, and on the left/liberal side, do make it clear that they pretty much think they have all the answers.

I'm sure it feels really good.

What TLTAABQ said.

Sorta vaguely barely kinda almost related (okay, not so much), as regards the kinds of comments some sites get, but mostly because it (NSFW, very vulgar) made me laugh: this example of an internet comment business meeting.

i dont think any of the people mentioned before are thoughtful - they all seem disingenuous - I thought about who was a decent republican (eg thoughtful and serious) and I can only come up with 3-4 names:
- John Dean
- Emil Krogh
- Mickey Edwards
- Chuck Hagel
sorry to recv Godwin redcard in here so early but IMO most "conservative commentators" tend to play to the brownshirt elements in American society whereas those in my list do not and are still self identifying GOPers and conservatives

Any list of thoughtful/sane conservatives that doesn't include Jay Cost of Real Clear Politics...is shamefully incomplete.

His blog was dedicated to the horserace and, as such, might be obsolete now (I see he hasn't updated since Nov 3rd), but he certainly deserves honorable mention for time served. And I hope he continues to blog in some fashion or another


There is not room in the Republican party for me and Sarah Palin.

Ever. I tolerated the buffoon wing of the party long enough, now that they have emerged as the clear leaders of the GOP, I am done with them for the forseeable future.

But what about the Coleitarians? Who else shall lead them in their hour of need?

Could some or all of these recommendations be added to the blogroll? I know some of them are, but a static list of recommended (as opposed to "approved") sites would be nice. Or perhaps a link to a page where the links could reside?

First, I agree with TLTIABQ. The reason to read what conservatives have to say, and to engage them in conversation, is because there is value in the conservative position.

That said, for me there is one bright line for deciding whether another person's point of view deserves consideration.

That line is whether the point of view is presented in good faith.

Are they arguing things they actually think are so? Are they arguing in the interest of promoting a better understanding of the issue at hand? Are they willing to hear what you have to say?

That's arguing in good faith. Any argument offered in good faith deserves a hearing.

Arguments not offered in good faith are not really worth engaging, because they aren't being offered for engagement -- there's some other agenda involved.

Thanks -

Geez, Bush is now more unpopular than Richard Nixon ever was:

[...] The 83 percent saying things are going badly is "more than in 1992, when the first President Bush was ousted because of the economy, stupid. That's more than in 1980, when President Carter got fired after the malaise crisis. That's more than in 1975, after Watergate and the Nixon pardon," said Bill Schneider, CNN senior political analyst.


The all-time low on the public's mood may have something to do with the poll's finding that President Bush is the most unpopular president since approval ratings were first sought more than six decades ago. Seventy-six percent of those questioned in the poll disapprove of how he is handling his job.

That's an all-time high in CNN polling and in Gallup polling dating back to World War II.

"No other president's disapproval rating has gone higher than 70 percent. Bush has managed to do that three times so far this year," Holland said. "That means that Bush is now more unpopular than Richard Nixon was when he resigned from office during Watergate with a 66 percent disapproval rating."

Before Bush, the record holder for presidential disapproval was Harry Truman, with a 67 percent disapproval rating in January of 1952, his last full year in office.

Congrats, President George W. Bush! You're #1!

I was about to respond to someone's earlier question about John Cole and point out with examples that while he is no longer a Republican, he is in fact still a conservative--and one that I've read daily since long before his conversion to the COTMUP. But now that he's here, I guess he can speak for himself. :>

As far as this goes:

Some of them have gone so far over the edge that they have lost any credibility they might ever have had.
Add me to the chorus of people who cannot fathom, on any level, the collective right-wing freakout over Obama's calls for public service. Do conservatives not value voluntary public service? Do they not want people to join the military or volunteer in their community? We're not talking about labor camps here, we're talking about expanding opportunities and incentives for people to help their country and their communities if they so choose. Perhaps I've just missed it, but I don't recall Obama ever saying anything about conscription or compulsory service.

I mean, seriously. This opposition makes zero sense coming from the party that kept trying to direct government money to religious organizations that provide services to the community, who object to government-funded community services in general and purport to instead value precisely the kind of community organizing--

Oh, wait.

To make my point a bit more directly and with marginally less snark, I get the distinct impression that the general Republican opposition to Obama's call to service is based not on principle but on office politics: they're pissed off that they didn't think of it first, because it's the /perfect/ vehicle for their now-laughable messages about self-reliance and individual responsibility.


For some reason my comments are not going through.

And that one appears to have. At any rate, there is not room in the GOP for me and Sarah Palin.

Someone else can pick up the pieces. I am with the Democrats until they go nuts.

I'm hoping to read substantive conservative commentary right here at Obsidian Wings.

Sebastian Holsclaw


O.C. Steve (if he would front-page)

Maybe some look-backs at Andrew Olmsted.

When is Slart going to replace the wood floors in his house with little more than a hammer and his bifocals perched on the end of his nose?

I'd even read DaveC. on the migration of the loons back to the wilderness as long as his Thoreauness didn't get ambushed by the quacks in his foundation.

John Cole, too, but it's more fun popping over to Balloon Juice to watch him tear his hair out and chew the scenery.

I second the comments recommending that everyone read George Will, James Joyner, Daniel Drezner and most of the Volokh Conspirators to see what a reasoned conservatism looks like.

Sullivan has his good moments, but you have to catch them at the intersection when he's racing from one extreme to another. I can't forget his "coastal enclaves" and similar absurdities about the war on terror, which did contribute to an environment in which it was acceptable to question whether New Yorkers -- the folks who actually died and burned and were widowed and orphaned on 9/11 -- were sufficiently concerned about terrorism and supportive of freedom and dmeocracy.

The trouble with Douthat is that he comes off as kind of a jerk, in contrast with someone like Noonan, who seems like a decent person going off on silly rhetorical flights of fancy. However, Douthat probably is young enough to grow up into a better person, which can't be said for, say, Tucker Carlson.

Daniel Larison? Sane?

"America was unabashedly Christian? Under an administration that was at pains to stress that Muslims and Christians worship the same God (theologically speaking, this is nonsense)," (Emphasis added)

What school of theology is this? The Catholic position is clear: Islam is a heresy, which does mean they worship the same God, but the Muslims are wrong about him; this seems only sporting, since the Muslims believe the converse. Protestant postions vary, but not that much; except for the illiterate "My God is bigger than your God" school, to which Larison appears to subscribe.

I would submit David Gergen, except that he may be too sane to be a conservative these days.

Sane conservatives are hard to find; Andrew Sullivan is often fighting the right enemies, but I'm not sure that "Trigg Palin is Bristol's lovechild" is any saner than the position he held on September 12, that the liberal coasts were going to submit to bin Laden.

Two things: first, even if Larison's position is insane, it doesn't follow that Larison is. Which means, even if he says something you find really, really hard to fathom, it doesn't mean that he isn't smart, arguing in good faith in general, etc.

Second, even if Larison's position is wrong, it doesn't follow from that that it's insane.

Third, I don't even think Larison's position is wrong. It really depends on what "worship the same God" means. (And Larison is Greek Orthodox, not Protestant.) I take it that one way in which the Christian God differs from the Muslim God is the fact that the Christian God is triune, whereas the Muslim God is unitary. I don't think it's insane to conclude that that's an important difference; indeed, for some time trinitarianism was considered to be the most distinct Christian position, and arguably it should still be so considered.

I should have said: "Three things:..."

Also, if Larison is Greek Orthodox, he lacks an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope.

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