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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

 
Populist Neocon Princess

by digby

Ed Kilgore:

Today neoconservative patriarch Norman Podheretz appeared on that estimable right-wing bulletin board, the Wall Street Journal editorial page, to smite unnamed conservative critics of Palin, utilizing the Big Bertha of latter-day Republican rhetoric, the memory of Ronald Reagan:

Now I knew Ronald Reagan, and Sarah Palin is no Ronald Reagan. Then again, the first time I met Reagan all he talked about was the money he had saved the taxpayers as governor of California by changing the size of the folders used for storing the state's files. So nonplussed was I by the delight he showed at this great achievement that I came close to thinking that my friends were right and that I had made a mistake in supporting him. Ultimately, of course, we all wound up regarding him as a great man, but in 1979 none of us would have dreamed that this would be how we would feel only a few years later.


I don't know about you, but that sounds as arrogant and condescending toward Reagan as anything I've read. He's talking about 1979, after all, just a year before he became president. He sounds nearly addled (which is pretty much correct.) Moreover, the reasons for Podhoretz and his friends thinking that Reagan was "a great man" are not spelled out, leaving one with(I think the correct) impression that they simply decided Reagan was a great man on the basis of his political success. And I would suggest that it's the same with Palin. These folksy bozos are
useful to these guys. They can't win without the teabag contingent --- and after all, they do genuinely share their loathing of liberals:

Podhoretz goes on to suggest that liberal contempt for Palin is of a piece with liberal contempt for Reagan, and thus should never be echoed on the Right. This is all interesting because it's the neoconservative wing of the Republican Party--heavily focused on foreign policy, disproportionately led by people who are secular, Jewish, or both, and suspicious of the influence of the Christian Right and of right-wing "populism" generally--where disdain for Palin is most visible. Podhoretz is trying to rein that tendency in.

And it looks like his argument is already getting traction. In its "Arena" feature, Politico asked a bunch of prominent gabbers, most of them conservatives, to react to Podhoretz's piece, and they generally said he was right (with the occasional condescending reference to Palin's need for a little more seasoning).



This is completely predictable. Remember, Palin is the creature of Podhoretz's partner in neocrime's spawn, William Kristol.

It reminds me of this excellent example of intellectual dancing on the head of a pin, when all the right wing had to explain whether or not they believed in evolution. It wasn't pretty, but they did it. Here's our newest little apostate's pas de deux:

David Frum, American Enterprise Institute and National Review

Whether he personally believes in evolution: "I do believe in evolution."

What he thinks of intelligent design: "If intelligent design means that evolution occurs under some divine guidance, I believe that."

How evolution should be taught in public schools: "I don't believe that anything that offends nine-tenths of the American public should be taught in public schools. ... Christianity is the faith of nine-tenths of the American public. ... I don't believe that public schools should embark on teaching anything that offends Christian principle."
It ain't easy being a teabag intellectual. In fact it may not even be possible. Frum, after all, has been drummed out of the corps.

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