Both Brian Cates and Ace (who provided a link to Jerry Bowyer at Forbes) had columns of value today, all with some common themes that show the greased pole we face when competing in the arena of ideas.
Jerry Bowyer lays out the concept of “kept conservatives”:
The kept conservative’s announced job is to represent the conservative point of view, but their real job is to give the illusion of balance without really challenging any of the core tenets of liberalism. They spend lots of time ‘reinventing’ the Republican Party, and the new invention is always the same: more liberal. They live among liberals, their friends are liberals, and, of course, they are paid by liberals.
Do, in fact, read it all. Ace cites Mika Brzezinski’s pet rock, Joe Scarborough, as a perfect example of same, to which I added some humor in the comments:
Just remember: As soon as Joe announces for the Presidency
(chorus of laughter)
As I was saying, as soon as Joe announces for the Presidency he’ll be declared the ‘maverick’ candidate, and if he should happen to get the nomination
Yes, yes, get it out of your systems.
(more laughter, petering out in time)
Yes, now should he get the nomination, he’ll be described as he was all along – as a reactionary conservative.
To me, this is the flowchart path of the kept conservative in Washington (and, to the extent necessary, those outside the beltway – e.g., Chris Christie). As long as they stay in place, they’re beloved; once they express traditional orthodoxy (or leave the KeptCon reservation), all bets are off. A case study is Sen. John McCain.
Long loved as the ultimate “maverick”, as soon as he secured the 2008 GOP nomination we began to hear (unfounded) whispers on his private life, photos showing him as bloodthirsty, and more. Once the election was over, and McCain was no longer a threat, he could return to KeptCon status. but ask a few tough questions of DefSec nominee Chuck Hagel? Chris Matthews goes and suggests McCain might be having a “flashback” to his POW days.
To me, the picture of the last two general elections, and of the ways in which the left and the media (but I repeat myself) have taken centrists and made them Birchers tells me we’re as well off to nominate a Conservative and get it over with.
For true conservatives, those Jerry Bowyer describes as “St. Thomas More Conservatives”, the evolution path is simpler. Some pseudocode:
If type.conservative = StThomasMore then Reaction.Media = vapors and investigation
Ask Sarah Palin. Ask Rick Perry. And not all of these are inflicted by the media, either; some are self-inflicted, with the blood drawing the sharks. And while the opinions of the KeptCon are left for those of us on the right to reveal, it is done knowing that the effort, while useful, will lead to
Reaction.Media = Republican infighting and disunity
while the media keeps its powder dry for any signs of St. Thomas More Conservatives.
Brian, in a similar vein, hammers on the questions an engaged media would be asking if only the occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave were a Republican (rather than Lapdog Media, I prefer the term “Tiger Beat Media”, as it gives more an appearance of the form of their trade they’re attempting to ply). And these two problems go hand in hand. For one has to have a desire to investigate to do investigative journalism. And one must be challenged with facts and the potential of shaming for ignoring a story if they refuse to do so. When the press assumes a unity viewpoint regarding power, as they have with this President, they in turn have vacated their independence, and are but organs of the state itself.
It’s late. That’s enough for now.