The Top 10 Rightblogger Stories of 2008
Excited (not to say deranged) by the long Presidential campaign, conservative bloggers -- rightbloggers, in our affectionate parlance -- were in top form this year, and outstripped the sleepy Main Stream Media in every way. If mainstream Republicans were content to call Obama a socialist, rightbloggers insisted that he killed his grandmother. If the GOP lashed out at Al Gore, rightbloggers denounced his cartoon avatar Wall-E. Rightbloggers turned even the dullest political fodder into comedy gold, and we honor their achievements with a year-end top ten.
#10: Fred Thompson, The Natural. Early in the year, some rightbloggers actually expected former TV star Fred Thompson to lumber into the Presidency. Though Thompson's campaign was somnolent and inept, his choir fluffed him frenetically. National Review's Jim Geraghty went further than most, writing after one GOP debate, "This performance was so commanding, I wanted [Thompson's] last answer to echo back to the lights in the back of the auditorium, blow out all the lamps and spotlights, for the theme to 'The Natural' to play, and for him to trot around the stage in slow motion while sparks showered down in the background." Thompson instead went directly to the showers and, after a ten-month nap, took a job as a radio talk-show host.
#9: The Cheapskate's Guide to Civil Disobedience. In the late days of the campaign emails circulated about a guy who pissed off an Obama-supporting waiter by giving his tip to a bum instead. Haw haw! Rightblogger Dr. Helen discussed undertipping waiters, maids, gardeners, etc. if Obama won as a way for rich people to express their displeasure. "If we had deployed this strategy six months ago the election would not even be close," said Ghost of a Flea. Actually this one panned out: the election wasn't close. Maybe voters figured Republicans don't tip anyway.
#8: The Hoover Boom. "This election year does look quite a bit like Hoover vs. Roosevelt (and given that choice, I'll take Hoover)," said National Review's Jonah Goldberg, setting off a little avalanche of rightblogger warnings that "electing Obama and the congressional Democrats will be like electing FDR in 1932." Amazingly, U.S. voters failed to take the bait. Maybe rightbloggers should have promoted Hoovervilles as holiday camps for families on a budget.
#7: And Robin is Tony Blair. "A beam of light flashed into the night sky, the dark symbol of a bat projected onto the surface of the racing clouds... Oh, wait a minute. That's not a bat, actually. In fact, when you trace the outline with your finger, it looks kind of like . . . a 'W.'" In the Wall Street Journal Andrew Klavan explained why The Dark Knight is "a paean of praise to the fortitude and moral courage that has been shown by George W. Bush in this time of terror and war... Like W, Batman sometimes has to push the boundaries of civil rights to deal with an emergency." Maybe that explains why the Joker was more popular. (The Journal unfortunately didn't run Klavan's other essay about the Hollywood film that celebrated an earlier phase of Bush's career, Pineapple Express.)
#6: The War on Starbucks. For Michelle Malkin, even hot beverages are political. Malkin announced she was giving up Starbucks because they wouldn't let customers put the phrase "Laissez Faire" on their gift cards, and switched to Dunkin' Donuts because they were "unapologetic supporters of immigration enforcement." Then she denounced Dunkin' Donuts because Rachel Ray wore a keffiyeh in one of their ads, but relented when the ad was pulled. The price of breakfast is eternal vigilance!
#5: Rightwing Hillary Love. As her star started to fade, Hillary Clinton won the applause of rightbloggers theretofore committed to her destruction. "I am having a tiny little pang of missing Hillary," admitted National Review's Lisa Schiffren. "Not her, but hating her." BuzzMachine's Jeff Jarvis discovered a media conspiracy against Clinton. Commentary's Jennifer Rubin insisted that at least Hillary would never condescend to simple country folk as "tony Hawaii prep school" graduate Obama had, and attempted to exploit her gender resemblance to Sarah Palin, proving once again that if there's anything rightbloggers hate worse than Clintons, it's defeat.
#4: Michelle Obama: The Lost Sessions. First there was the alleged "Whitey" tape, in which the future First Lady used the epithet in a context that must forever remain a mystery, as no one has ever heard it. Then another alleged tape surfaced, in which Mrs. Obama was said to have railed against the media; transcriptions read like English as a Second Language ("All dirt has been thrown onto my husband's face and yet he loves this country"). No one ever heard that one either. We hold out hope for the discovery in a Chicago garage of Michelle's lost Millie Jackson collaborations.
#3: A Megan McArdle Christmas. The Atlantic's Megan McArdle saw one upside to the financial crisis: "It may break the rat race of constantly ratcheting consumption, which has surrounded most Americans with nice things that don't really make them happy." Later she provided readers with a "Holiday Video Game Guide ("[Mario Kart for Wii] comes with one Wii wheel, but I recommend getting at least one more for multiplayer; we have four") and a "Holiday Gift Guide: Electronics Edition" ("You don't want [the Sony Blu-Ray] player if your television is smaller than 40 inches"). Well, she didn't say these things made her happy.
#2: A Late Defense of Richard Nixon. When it was revealed that Julie Nixon Eisenhower had contributed to the Obama campaign, National Review's Lisa Schiffren rushed to defend Tricky Dick from her treasonous daughter. "The fact that [Julie] looks like a carbon copy of her mother --- a bit mad, but with a little more iron about the jaw -- suggests that she is not her father's daughter after all," wrote Schiffren. Regrettably, Schiffren did not include DNA evidence. At least Schiffren was able to offer dead Nixon some comfort: "Trisha Nixon Cox (the blond, putatively less ambitious, 'pretty one') still looks like the girl America knew, and, recognizably, has given her campaign donations to John McCain." It's like King Lear played out in a madhouse with hand puppets.
#1: Obama the Savage Messiah. Pop stars made a video for Obama and the American Spectator compared it to Triumph of the Will. National Review called Obama's national service plan the "Obama Youth." Obama spoke in Germany, and Melissa Clouthier compared his signage to that of the Third Reich.
Jonah Goldberg said liberals only liked Obama because they didn't know any real (that is, poor and dangerous) black people; Taranto said Democrats were intimidated into nominating him, as an old lady might be intimidated into surrendering her purse to a mugger.
The Anchoress told us that "Hillary cannot criticize Obama because he is black." "I guess I also don't understand why we have to use Hillary Clinton's middle name, but we're not allowed to use Obama's," said Jules Crittenden. "Hussein. Hussein, Hussein, Hussein. There, I said it."
After the Reverend Wright episode, rightbloggers held out hope. "Obama is unlikely to become president unless he can explain Malcolm X," said Pajamas Media's Bill Bradley (which would have been tough, as Obama is Malcolm X's son). Human Events thought Obama might be brought low by his troublesome connections with Jay-Z and Ludacris. Finally, in the 11th hour: proof positive that Obama had a girlfriend in the Virgin Islands! ("My source is someone in the blogosphere.")
When finally the worst came to pass, they declared that Obama would be just like Bush. That's as may be, but you have to wonder then why they went through all that trouble.
Bonus entries here.