It seems my nomination of Ken Layne to take over the job at Slate has raised some eyebrows. Ken claims he does not want it, and the Instapundit says it would make Slate more lively. It would be more lively, for sure. Think the Nation on ether.
But the real reason we need someone like Layne at the helm of Slate is because of the deplorable, disrespectful, dishonest face the modern left has, and how through their whining, negativity, dishonesty, and incessant distortion of facts they have managed to marginalize their own legitimate positions. While it may be that this development will lead to short term gains by partisan Republicans, no one wins when one party in a two party process is decimated and the other runs virtually unchecked.
Bear with me. I, like a great many of my fellow citizens, simply reject what most Democrats have to say, because it has become clear (at least to me) that the radical elements of the Democrat party have taken over.
-When the anointed leaders who are given face time include Gary Ackerman and Jerry Nadler and Jesse Jackson, Jr., it is hard to take the party seriously.
-When Tom Daschle and Dick Gephardt are tripping all over themselves, trying to find the best poll driven answer, it is hard to take anything the Democrats say seriously.
-When Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are not shouted down by members within their own party, and Marion Berry can reconsider running for office, it is hard to take the Democrats seriously.
-When my friends in the union who work in coal mines are voting for George Bush, and the treacherous scoundrel Sydney Blumenthal is the face of Washington Democrats, it is hard to take them seriously.
-When Mary Francis Berry is given free reign of the USCCR to run it like a petty dictatorship, and Al Gore spends the entire primary season race-baiting Bill Bradley and letting his campaign staff make homosexual innuendos about Ralph Nader, it is hard to take the Democrats seriously.
-When Hillary Clinton can vote for Campaign Finance Reform a year after trading Presidential Pardons for Jewish votes, it is hard to take Democrats seriously.
-When the NY Times tries to link Democrat causes like CFR to everything under the sun (missile defense, Enron, 9/11), it is hard to take Democrats seriously.
-When Noam Chomsky, Alec Baldwin, Barbara Streisand, and Rosie O’Donnell are not only not laughed off the staged, but are actively courted by Democrat candidates, it is hard to take the party seriously.
-When the faces of Democrat politics in California are Maxine Waters (who was recently in attendance at the Farrakhan debacle), Gary Condit, and Gray Davis, it is hard to take the party seriously.
-When Pat Moynihan is abused by the Democrats for his stance on Social Security, and Pat Caddell is disgusted by the party leadership, there is a problem
The funniest aspect of this is that it has been a largely self-inflicted wound. In the mid 90’s, the Democrats successfully villainized the right wing by making Newt Gingrich and Jesse Helms the face of the Republican Party. The Republican response appears to be just let the loony left go unchecked, and go about business, and try not to get in the way of the Democrats as they hang themselves. Sure, there is Rush Limbaugh out there every day, but this is the quintessential example of preaching to the choir, as only hard core kool-aid crowd dittoheads listen to him every day.
Do not think this means I do not realize that there are a number of cretins within the Republican party. There are, but the party has been much smarter and much fairer about the way they handle their kooks. Tom Delay looks like has has been heavily sedated the last five times I have seen him on tv, and the party has generally been allowing the moderates to speak. When a party is broad enough to allow Colin Powell to state his views on condoms, views which differ RADICALLY from the official White House position, and the only hysteria is in the more liberal wings of the press (in attempts to, sigh, tar the White House), that is a sign of health. When fascists (I know there is a blogger moratorium on the word fascist, but these two are fascists, I don’t care what anyone says) like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell make disgusting remarks linking homosexuality and 9/11, they are appropriately shouted down and exposed by REPUBLICANS. The circle-the-wagon, there is no truth, everybody does it mentality of the Democrat party for the last ten years has served no one well. When the extreme wing talks for a party, the rest of us don’t listen. That is in part what Ken Layne was talking about when he mocked the lefty liberals in Cincinnati who get together to hold hands and read the Nation:
Note to Unhinged Liberals: When you can’t tell the difference between Susan Sontag being mocked on talk radio and an international terrorist organization murdering 3,000-plus of your fellow citizens in an hour, you should feel lonely, because you’ve lost all touch with reality. Your bogus claims of victimization are not only insulting to the millions of people around the world who truly have no rights and no freedoms, they’re also poison to legitimate dissent and rational opposition.
In particular, it has not served me well, either. Two quick examples. The other day (yesterday), Harvard student and editor of the Independent Matthew Yglesias pointed out a Spinsanity article detailing the snake oil the Bush administration has been peddling regarding the tax cuts. A lot of their reasoning is just blather, and there is no reason to make up this nonsense. Bush had it right during the campaign when he stated that no one should pay more than 1/3 (1/3??!! My goodness, what a bunch of tax and spenders our modern conservatives are) of their income in taxes. That is it. That is all the argument he needs to make on the subject, because he is RIGHT (IMHO).
Why does this hurt me, evben though I support larger tax cuts? Because dishonesty in politics hurts EVERYONE, and had I read this at Common Dreams or in a Paul Krugman article, I would have dismissed it as more bickering from people with no credibility. Because I have respect for the folks at Spinsanity and for Matt Yglesias, I read it, paid attention to it, and found myself agreeing with much of it. Since there is no organized and rational dissent, because the credibility of the modern left is either non-existent or in tatters, you don’t read that anywhere else, or if you do read it somewhere else, you will probably dismiss it because of the source. Think about it- i Bush were to come out in favor of a clean air initiative tomorrow, the New York Times would criticize him for not going for fresh water too. No wonder the majority of the nation does not pay any attention to the left’s opinion leaders anymore.
Another example would be Matt Welch’s excellent eye-opening article in Reason. It has been terribly easy to dismiss this issue, because the only people carping about it are lunatics like Chomsky, or fruity ax-grinders like Marc Herold. When Matt Welch speaks, I listen, though.
This is why I think we need someone like Ken Layne to run Slate. Someone with the convictions, integrity, and willingness to speak the truth as he sees it, and to not bow to cheap tricks for short-term partisan gain. They can be a voice for reasonable and intelligent dissent, a stopgap to keep us from sliding into a right-wing groupthink. Think about it… Who do you believe? Christopher Hitchens, Matt Welch, Ken Layne, Ted Barlow, and Matt Yglesias, or Tom Daschle, Hillary Clinton, Maureen Dowd, Jacob Weisberg, Ted Rall, Robert Fisk and the folks at Common Dreams? I know where I stand, and I have the benefit of having an insatiable desire to read anything and everything that is put in front of me (I get mad when there is no graffiti in public bathrooms to occupy me). Where is the rest of the country getting their news? We need a new face for the left. Period.