In the combox of my Friedersdorf post yesterday, brad said the following:
There’s a reason young Connor started as a summer break replacement for McMegan and eventually took over her gig there, and it ain’t cuz he has a better calculator. At his very “best” he manages to rise to the level of concern troll, that so many little big media lefties on blogs link to him is the same reason they linked to McMegan; social mandates. I retain hope more will recognize him for what he really is, but bros tend to stick together, and he’s in the club.
I definitely think the dynamic he’s describing exists. I’m not a pro journalist and I’m not in the club, but I’ve met some people here and there who are more prominent than I am and who write about politics, and I seriously doubt I haven’t hit the brakes a little when criticizing them as a result. Not entirely consciously, but all the same.
Disappointed with myself as I may be, though, I’m pretty sure I’ve never been quite so obvious about the whole insider/outsider divide as Jonathan Chait was yesterday in his response to Friedersdorf.
Before Chait responds to the one many of you call Young Connor, though, he takes on one self-identified Insomniac Libertarian, a blogger that I think it’s fair to say most of us have never heard of before. In other words, a blogger not in the club. Here’s Chait:
The Insomniac Libertarian, in an item wonderfully headlined “Obama Quisling Jonathan Chait Smears Rand Paul,” complains that my Paul piece “never discloses that [my] wife is an Obama campaign operative.” A brief annotated response:
1. I question the relevance of the charge, since Rand Paul is not running against Obama.
2. In point of fact, my wife is not an Obama campaign operative and has never worked for Obama’s campaign, or his administration, or volunteered for his campaign, or any campaign, and does not work in politics at all.
3. I question the headline labeling me an “Obama quisling,” a construction that implies that I have betrayed Obama, which seems to be the opposite of the Insomniac Libertarian’s meaning.
4. For reasons implied by points one through three, I urge the Insomniac Libertarian to familiarize himself with some of the science linking sleep deprivation to impaired brain function.
Pretty funny, right? Cutting. And that’s fine — that’s Chait’s style, often — or at least it is when he’s writing about conservatives and libertarians.
But then he turns to Friedersdorf, and suddenly all that piss and vinegar evaporates into a cordial deference to good-faith divergence of opinion. This is the most he can muster:
Friedersdorf’s view [of Ayn Rand] is certainly far more nuanced and considerably more positive than mine. He’s a nice, intelligent person and a good writer, but we’re not going to agree on this.
Nuanced, positive, intelligent and nice! It’s a good thing, isn’t it, to be in the club?