By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
JONAH GOLDBERG (The Corner/Goldberg File/Liberal Fascism blog, National Review Online)
ORIENTATION: Legacy-pledge conservative
CANDIDATE: McCain, duh
STUPID/EVIL RATIO: 90/10
HISTORY: Worked for wire services and produced TV projects and documentaries prior to joining National Review in 1998. Shortly thereafter, Goldberg launched the National Review Online (NRO). Writes for the Review online and off, and for other publications. Themes and style were evident from his earliest NRO "Goldberg File" contributions. Prefaced a post on Bill Clinton's Kosovo intervention with a quote from The Princess Bride (which remains one of his cultural touchstones, along with Animal House, Star Trek, and Battlestar Galactica) and took a breezy attitude toward matters of life and death ("We should kill Milosevic . . . Stalin moved populations like I play Risk on my computer"). Later, welcomed "the opportunity to wax Swiftian and offer my modest proposal for saving the rainforest," resulting in a wan P.J. O'Rourke rip-off proposing to "sell the rainforest to Disney" (which "is becoming an incredibly liberal company anyway"). His muddled, heedless style often necessitated a lengthy "Corrections" section, with errors mostly belligerently defended or blown off ("my crack team of researchers is unavailable to me, and I will have to get back to that one at the end of the week"). In January 2002, he created the Corner, where the short-form posts suited his lighter side ("Okay, I just tried to take a follow-up nap"), leaving Goldberg Files for longer examinations of single topics with a pretense of seriousness, e.g.: "It's so depressing that 'people of color' has replaced 'colored people' . . . the practice is just one small sign of how completely the racialist Left has abandoned the moral juggernaut that was Martin Luther King's original argument: that everyone should be judged by the content of their character . . ." Breezily acknowledged his own non sequiturs: "Like saying violence never solves anything, people understand what I mean even when in reality what I'm saying isn't true." In 2007, Goldberg published Liberal Fascism, expanding his NRO method to book length, alternating accusations of fascism against liberals such as Hillary Clinton with insistences that he was saying nothing of the kind.
MODUS OPERANDI: Goldberg's comical persona—once pretty much all he had—is now mainly a fallback position in his attempts at serious commentary. For example, he begins one Goldberg File with the observation that "God, unlike, say, North Dakota, has an uncanny gift for staying in the headlines"; then launches into an incoherent but apparently earnest defense of religion based on the obnoxiousness of scientists and Penn Jillette; then wraps up with a philosophical assertion—"whatever electrochemical signals my brain may be receiving, my awareness of their existence doesn't diminish the fact that I love my wife or that I think love is something more than mere electrochemical signals"—and a joke about a turkey sandwich.
WHAT TO EXPECT: Comparisons of the Democratic candidate (whoever he or she happens to be) to amusing inanimate objects and Nazis.
TONE: Very, very angry
FUN FACT: In 2004, attacked Wonkette's Ana Marie Cox and her protégée, Washington call girl Jessica Cutler, as "the female Beavis and Butt-head" and "skanks"; was thereafter subjected to years of mercilessly mockery by Wonkette scribes, including doctored photos of Malkin frolicking in a bikini, which were strenuously debunked by her ("updated: tracking the source of the bogus Flickr photos . . . Wonkette editors demonstrate further malice . . .").
CANDIDATE: None—McCain's too liberal
STUPID/EVIL RATIO: 97/3
HISTORY: In the early '90s, reporter and editorial writer for the Los Angeles Daily News; later wrote for the Seattle Times, became a Fox News commentator, and joined Creators Syndicate, which currently distributes her columns. Has published books about the internment of Japanese-Americans in World War II (pro), illegal immigration, and "Liberals Gone Wild" (both con). Columns have focused on culture-war subjects ("Voices From the Womb") from a more-right-wing-than-thou perspective (e.g., citing "President Bush's cave-in on government funding of embryonic stem-cell research"). Illegal immigrants get special attention, as do nefarious nonwhite Americans, be they of Asian ("Asian-Americans milking 9-11"), Arab ("myth of the Muslim hate crime epidemic"), or African ("Sept. 11 brought home the lesson that vile ideas have bloody consequences—no matter how 'daggone funky' they may sound to mush-headed music critics") descent. Began blogging in 2004, mainly bringing Internet-response speed to the usual subjects, plus a few new tropes, including frequent accusations of "dhimmitude" against parties insufficiently hostile toward Muslims, including YouTube ("JihadTube").
MODUS OPERANDI: Parses news feverishly for offenses to her worldview. Has been enraged by the D.C. networking group Professionals in the City (for holding an event at the Cuban embassy), Jessica Alba (for "making pro-assimilation remarks"), and Google (for bias in news-site affiliate selection, logos, and search results). Doesn't spare conservative outlets ("P.C. at the Washington Times") or the Republican Party ("Is the GOP Lost?") when they run afoul of her on doctrinal matters, especially regarding immigration. Attacks McCain on this subject, often without the benefit of hyphens ("I don't want another George W. Bush open borders type in the White House").