My darlings, it has finally occurred to some on the right that they must declare intellectual bankruptcy:
Yup. It's dead, Jim. When a man bemoaning the lack of intellectual heft on the right turns to those folks as evidence there's still hope, there's nothing for it than to pronounce the movement brain dead.Noting the passing of Irving Kristol, Slate's Jacob Weisberg argued yesterday that the era of "intellectually serious conservatism" has also died.
Weisberg's pitch is simple but persuasive: Republicans have given up on being the "party of ideas," have no plausible alternatives to major policy challenges, and don't take policy matters seriously at all. Conservatives, Weisberg said, have "devolved" so far, "ostensibly intelligent people [are] cheering on Sarah Palin." With the rise of neoconservatives, the right's focus shifted to political power, and away from interest in policy.
Now, Weisberg holds Irving Kristol's work in much higher regard than I do -- which is to say, Weisberg finds value in Kristol's efforts and I don't -- but the larger point is compelling. The political right of the 21st century is obviously and shamelessly intellectually bankrupt.
Which is not to say Hayward is despondent. He believes Jonah Goldberg's "Liberal Fascism" is an intellectual text, and he believes Hugh Hewitt, Michael Medved, and William Bennett are "brainiacs" with "popular" talk shows. Hayward is also impressed with Glenn Beck's reading habits and choice of authors and guests. Beck, Hayward argued, has demonstrated an "interest in serious analysis of liberalism's patrimony."
Where Hayward finds hope, in other words, is with Jonah Goldberg, Hugh Hewitt, and Glenn Beck. Seriously.
Greg Sargent adds:
And that's all it is at this point - an illusion. They haven't had anything more to offer than shouting, drama and dumbshit schemes with no substance for a very long time.The point is that the argument right now is being fought almost entirely on liberal turf. Glenn Beck’s shouting can only obscure that reality for so long, and if the economy picks up and a health care reform proposal passes that Americans decide they like, the illusion that conservatism is even part of the conversation in any meaningful sense anymore will be that much tougher to sustain.
Now, one might hope that there's chance for a comeback - after all, Lindsey Graham isn't terribly impressed with Beck - but no, while there's sizzle, there's no steak there, either. He thinks Beck "did a pretty good job on ACORN" and is mostly dismissive of him because "when a person says he represents conservatism and that the country’s better off with Barack Obama than John McCain, that sort of ends the debate for me as to how much more I’m going to listen."
So no, Lindsey Graham's not dismissive because Beck is a batshit insane dumbfuck who uses Vicks to work up a good head of tears, who has the intellectual heft of an amoeba and the credibility of a snake-oil salesman. Nope. It's because Beck trashed his bestest buddy.
I guess this means Lindsey wasn't persuaded by the frog argument.
Meanwhile, Irving Kristol's son continues celebrating America's Olympic defeat:
You know, we hated Bush with a passion, but I can't see us yammering about him being a "cowboy unilateralist" for talking up America to the IOC. We would've been deeply embarrassed by his inevitable gaffes, of course, but we wouldn't have been rooting for failure.Today on Fox News Sunday, Bill Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard — whose headquarters erupted in “cheers” when America lost — said that Obama’s decision to go to Copenhagen was an example of George W. Bush-like bullying:
KRISTOL: Our economy doesn’t need the boost of the Olympics. And then an American president in sort of a George W. Bush-like way goes and tries to bully the International Olympic Committee. [...]
Come walk with us. I’m here for America. Can you imagine if some Republican — if Bush had done this and we hadn’t gotten it? Typical Bush heavy-handedness, cowboy unilateralist, hegemonic imperialist action. Obama falls into that trap and they went for it. I must say you couldn’t help be amused by it.
For bonus fun, can you imagine how loud Cons would've howled if Obama hadn't gone to make our case? After all, all the other countries under consideration sent their leaders to make their best case to the Committee. This is another of those situations where whatever Obama does, Cons are going to be against him.
Further evidence of the Cons' intellectual death comes from the fact they can't understand how the box office works. Pathetic.
We'll end Happy Hour with another shining example of why we shall never serve anything from Whole Foods here:
What an arrogant asshole John Mackey is.
"I honestly don't know why the article became such a lightning rod," says John Mackey, CEO and founder of Whole Foods Market Inc., as he tries to explain the firestorm caused by his August op-ed on these pages opposing government-run health care. "I think a lot of people who got angry haven't read what I actually wrote. There was a lot of emotional reaction—fear and anger. I just wanted to get people to think about whether there was a better way to reform the system."
If Mackey's intent was to get people to consider his point of view, why use the smear, "ObamaCare," in the headline? Not helpful. And if he was genuinely trying to persuade and not simply poke progressives in the eye, why would start off by quoting a right-wing hero bashing socialism? Did Mackey really think all those progressive customers who made him rich would appreciate his reliance on multiple right-wing frames before his piece even began?
But going back to Mackey's current interview in the WSJ.
"A healthy diet is a solution to many of our health-care problems. It's the most important solution. How much sugar do you think Americans consume? [...] We can spend all the money we want on bypass surgeries, chemotherapy and diabetes, but . . . two-thirds [of Americans] are overweight, one-third are obese." He's on a roll: "And it's not that they have to shop at a Whole Foods Market. But people need to eat whole food plant foods, primarily . . . whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. That diet supports our lives. We ought to live to be 90 or 100 without getting any diseases."
In other words: get off your fat asses, America, and stop eating all that McDonald's. Then you won't get brain cancer or your child won't need a kidney transplant or your wife won't be afflicted with some rare, fatal disease that so unfairly cuts into the profits of those honest-to-God insurance companies, just struggling to make ends meet, while they keep your lazy, shiftless fat butts alive.
Somebody buy that man a backhoe. The hole he's digging for himself is rather beyond shovels at this point.
Let's hope science comes up with an intelligence-boosting pill soon. There's a fuck of a lot of people who desperately need it.