News & Politics

Defending Big Oil and Other Delights of the Right-Wing Blogosphere


[Editor’s note: After braving the wilds of the darkest recesses of conservative cyberspace last month to pen the wildly popular “The Official Village Voice Election-Season Guide to the Right-Wing Blogosphere,” Roy Edroso has agreed to make it an ongoing mission. It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it. Look for “The Voice Explores the Right-Wing Blogosphere” every Monday.]

Early last week, rightbloggers kept hope alive for a Reverend Wright “debacle” effect on the Presidential chances of Barack Obama. “We watch the Obama Hope-and-Change fraud collapse in on itself,” announced Red State on Monday; also, “Obama is NO Tiger Woods.”

Alas for them, Tuesday’s Indiana and North Carolina primaries gave Obama an even stronger claim to the Democratic nomination. This seemed to pull the gates on the Wright carnival, but rightbloggers remained stuck on the ferris wheel. “Obama’s Church Printed Pro-Hezbollah Articles” reported Sweetness & Light on May 11. One of two quoted items from the Trinity Church newsletter Trumpet referred to “Hezbollah’s opportunistic raid,” and the other didn’t mention Hezbollah at all, but to S&L that only proved the perfidy of the Wright/Obama axis: “Note how the term ‘Hezbollah’ never passes the holy man’s lips. Obviously Israel is totally to blame for all the troubles in Lebanon… Mr. Obama, despite being a regular attendee for more than twenty years never noticed any of this.” Across America, anxious church-going politicians riffled their parish bulletins to see what political timebombs had been planted among the bake sale notices.

As the Obama juggernaut rolled, rightbloggers began to profess sympathy for Hillary Clinton, or at least for the anti-Obama enmity they hoped her supporters would carry into the general election. At Power Line on May 10, Paul Mirengoff analyzed: “Surely, many feminists, as they hit 50 and beyond and in the aftermath of 9/11, have developed some sense that that the world is a dangerous place, and not because the U.S. is making it so. Life must have taught some of them, as it seems to have taught Clinton… ” Mirengoff expected from this “a mildly salutary effect on our politics,” by which he perhaps meant that menopause is good for Republicans, though this is hardly a new idea.

At the Commentary magazine blog on May 7, Yuval Levin praised “Clinton’s transformation into a beer-drinking, blue-collar everyman… a genuinely anti-elitist, culturally moderate Democrat [who] would crush every Republican candidate we can conceive of today,” in contrast to Obama, “another elitist liberal who looks down on most of his voters” (yet somehow, Levin failed to note, receives most of their votes).

On May 11 Levin’s colleague Jennifer Rubin suggested that some Clintonites “would rather vote for the other experienced, qualified candidate” than for “that whipper-snapper… we’ll find out soon whether McCain can capitalize on this by outreach to the aggrieved Clinton female voters (or by putting a woman on the ticket).” Rubin offered no VP choices for McCain, though there is one obvious candidate.

McCain could certainly use advice, as he didn’t exactly set the world on fire last week. Other rightbloggers rushed into the breach: At his blog at The Atlantic on May 8, Ross Douthat looked at the growing contributions Democrats are getting from high-rollers, and declared, “the GOP is now a working-class party” and that it “needed to start acting like one” — how, he didn’t say, though it may be McCain heard and tried to heed Douthat’s counsel with his TV references. Surely Americans worried about losing their jobs will identify with Vice President Dwight Schrute.

Rightbloggers were not wholly devoted to electoral matters, though. On May 9, National Review Online’s Jonah Goldberg likened Congressional Democrats’ proposed windfall profits tax on oil companies — which have of late grown rich beyond the dreams of avarice — to a “vampiric lust for entrepreneurial blood” that would stifle the creation of better mousetraps by small businessmen. Goldberg anticipated objections: “That analogy is bogus. ExxonMobil isn’t some garage-workshop Horatio Alger.” To which he replied: “Exactly!” Because “Unlike the guy building the better mousetrap, oil companies aren’t in it for the glory, they’re in it for the money.” So they’ll stop looking for oil because there won’t be enough money in it, and presumably turn to more profitable trades, if such a thing can be imagined, or write that novel they’ve been kicking around since college. Better we should stick with the status quo and hope for the best, perhaps alternative energy — oops, Goldberg already denounced that as “buffoonery” (“the economic Shangri-La of ‘energy independence’ — whatever that is”). Well, live without hope, then, like your forefathers did.

Thank God we have a culture war to distract us from these depressing realities! At Libertas, the blog of the rightwing Liberty Film Institute, we’re told there are no good movie roles for women anymore because today’s Hollywood ladies are confused “over what to do with their new-found power, executive and otherwise.” Some of these women, of course, have become major producers, but this is not the author’s concern: he is worried that present-day actresses don’t follow the example of the ones he sees on TCM, who “don’t cuss like sailors, show us their tatas, or take whomever to bed in a fit of some twisted definition of empowerment at the expense of respect.” Libertas has itself shown affection for starlets who turned out to be no better than they should be, and peddled cheesecake while blaming its existence on “the feminist movement.” But let us be fair: in filmland, simultaneously showing and denouncing lewd behavior has been box-office gold since the silent era. Why begrudge Libertas for working the censorious side of the street? Times are tough, and even rightwing bloggers have to eat.

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 12, 2008

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