By Jared Chausow
By Katie Toth
By Elizabeth Flock
By Albert Samaha
By Anna Merlan
By Jon Campbell
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
WHAT TO EXPECT: Quotes denunciatory of Democratic candidates, followed by snotty asides involving Walter Mondale, Robert Heinlein, and Osama Bin Laden. Also, heh.
ROD DREHER (CrunchyCon; blog.beliefnet.com/crunchycon) ORIENTATION: End-times conservative
TONE: Cheerful when discussing food or sluts; otherwise, grimly millenarian
FUN FACT: Claims to suffer from Sensory Processing Disorder, which makes it difficult for him to shop at Wal-Mart. May also be said to suffer from a religious form of attention-deficit disorder, having in the past 15 years moved from the Methodist faith to Catholicism and thence to Eastern Orthodoxy.
CANDIDATE: McCain in 5, 4, 3, 2 . . .
STUPID/EVIL RATIO: 50/50
HISTORY: Reviewed movies at New York Post (Runaway Bride is a runaway bore!); at the National Review Online, began promulgating Crunchy Conservatism, a mix of Christian conservatism and small-is-beautiful slow-food doctrines (also the topic of his book). Supported the invasion of Iraq, which he has since denounced; also denounced homosexuality, which he still denounces. Now a columnist at the Dallas Morning News. At CrunchyCon blog, Dreher vacillates between anger at Islamofascists and sympathy for Islamic fundamentalism, at least insofar as it resembles Christian fundamentalism. Outraged by a little-seen indie documentary about zoophilia, Dreher asked: What do you say to Muslims abroad whod genuinely wonder why, if this kind of decadence is the fruit of American liberty, they should welcome what we have to offer? Though originally angry at Jerry Falwells post-9/11 statements, Dreher later decided that God will judge America, and judge it harshly. And perhaps is judging America . . . Despite this, he strongly denounces Obama pastor Jeremiah Wright for his God damn America commentswhich would seem inconsistent, were we unaware of Drehers feelings on race, as seen in his frequent denunciations of black racism and reminiscences of how he was once denied a job in favor of a woman or a minority. In lighter moments, Dreher regales his readers with moral judgments (e.g., calling a bride who displayed a tattoo on her wedding day a slut) and his praise of artisanal cheeses and meats.
MODUS OPERANDI: Despite anti-war stand, he is typically ChristyCon on most issues. Criticizes capitalistic excesses (How Wal-Mart Harms the Free Market); however, his preferred method for reversing this problem isnt social policy but embracing Jesus. Culture war (This is how the left works: yell bigotry to silence critics) excites him far more than economics.
WHAT TO EXPECT: As always, will vote Republican because of the fetuses, and agitate for the McCain administration to support sustainable yogurt farming.
HINDROCKET, THE BIG TRUNK, THE DEACON (Power Line; powerlineblog.com)
ORIENTATION: Grassroots Establishmentarian
TONE: First-draft-of-right-wing-history important
FUN FACT: Named Blog of the Year in 2004 by Time. (I dont put much faith in anything that comes from Time magazine.Hindrocket, 2003)
STUPID/EVIL RATIO: 30/70
HISTORY: Powerline was founded in 2002 by lawyers John Hinderaker, Scott Johnson, and Paul Mirengoff, all fellows of the right-wing Claremont Institute and contributors to conservative publications. The genesis of their cognomens is unknown, but theyve been widely mocked (Assrocket) and were eventually soft-pedaled by the authors, who favor lengthy dissertations on moral and political topics (the Clinton-Gore lack of seriousness about issues), personal essays (Being a child of the 50s, I dont recall a time when Sammy Davis was not a celebrity . . .), and the occasional attempt at investigative journalism, some of which were howlingly unsuccessful (Bin Laden is dead. More leaks are starting to come out . . .July 27, 2002). Sometimes they struck pay-dirt, however, including the Rathergate controversy over George W. Bushs alleged military service, which figured in the blogs 2004 Time award. Thereafter, Powerline sometimes attempted to recapture the old magic, most notably by unsuccessfully debunking the damning Schiavo memo from Senator Mel Martinezs office, which was laid to rest with the admission Real Memo, Fake Story (While [it] . . . didnt turn out to be a Democratic dirty trick, the medias treatment of the memo was misleading at best). Mostly covered other peoples reporting from a right-wing Republican perspective, like Fox News with a scroll bar.
MODUS OPERANDI: Having built their reputation and traffic sufficiently, the authors appear to be coasting (Will Bush Rebound in 2008?). They do sometimes attempt to hold John McCains feet to the fire (Those of us who want to preserve the interrogation device that apparently caused Khalid Sheikh Muhammad to break down in minutes . . . remain free to punish McCain and/or Graham at the polls for their underlying efforts to ban waterboarding categorically), but their heart obviously isnt in it (Stop attacking McCain for his impurities ).
WHAT TO EXPECT: Pro forma boosterism, with frequent breathless dispatches on whatever scandal the GOP is pushing in October.
MEGAN McARDLE (The Atlantic Online; meganmcardle.theatlantic.com)
ORIENTATION: Lipstick libertarian
FUN FACT: Very concerned with diet; talks at length about her experience of vegetarianism and veganism, while denouncing the veggie-vegan dogma of free-lance preachers in the hemp shoes.
CANDIDATE: Obama, for the moment
STUPID/EVIL RATIO: 60/40
HISTORY: Began posting at Live From the WTC (later Asymmetrical Information) as Jane Galt shortly after 9/11, with Randian tropes and denunciations of Lefty Idiocy. Advocated patriotism, war, the execution of John Walker Lindh, and the beating of noisome war protestors with a two-by-four, the uproar over which made McArdle briefly quit blogging (-30-), only to return a week later, accusing her opponents of incivility. Struck libertarian themesfor example, opposing subsidized health care that would treat the guy whos been overeating for the last thirty years the same as worthier sick peoplebut frequently played both ends against the middle, as when she chided Phillip Morris for introducing a Christmas holiday cigarette while asking: What the hell is the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids doing complaining about this . . . Of course, we all knew that the kids were a smokescreen for the fact that these activists dont like tobacco, period. Also refrained from endorsing gay marriage, advocating humility from libertarians on social issues and quoting G.K. Chesterton. Enlivened her output with posts about the problems of being tall (Ive decided to start my own guerrilla movement, designed to force the world to accommodate larger size people) and other puckish subjects. These increased in frequency as Republican policies became less popular, even among her readers. Eventually abandoned her previous affection for the Iraq War while complaining that the wars opponents were trying to make her look bad (Do you get credit for being right, or being lucky?). Worked briefly at The Economist; later picked up by The Atlantic, for whom she blogs now under her own name, but in a similar (though apparently more heavily edited) manner.