[Editor’s note: This is the second installment of a weekly feature reprising the “The Official Village Voice Election-Season Guide to the Right-Wing Blogosphere.” Last week, Roy Edroso explored the folly of rightbloggers’ undying love of Big Oil. Look for it every Monday.]
With 82 percent of Americans saying America’s on the wrong track and Bush polling off (or, more properly, under) the charts, you might expect rightbloggers to be moanin’ low. But last week found many of them exceptionally perky, even in the teeth of bad news.
Take for example the victory of Democrat Travis Childers over Republican Greg Davis in the Mississippi special Congressional election. Coming on the heels of other recent GOP losses, this worried even John McCain. But Childers, optimistic rightbloggers argued, is a conservative Democrat — that is, though he supports liberal programs like S-CHIP and pummeled his opponent on economic issues (“While Greg Davis takes Big Oil money, Childers calls for solutions”), he’s pro-life and pro-gun.
Still, Davis was even more conservative (at least according to Dick Cheney, who should know) and you’d think committed conservatives would have preferred him. You’d also think that, in a district Bush carried by over twenty points in 2004, the endorsement of the liberal arch-fiend Obama would have doomed Childers; certainly the Mississippi GOP thought so, as shown by their advertising (“When Obama’s pastor cursed America… Childers said nothing!”). Yet the day before the election, Red State’s Moe Lane accused Childers’ supporters of “race-baiting” — that is, appealing to black voters — by linking Davis to a statue of Confederate hero Nathan Bedford Forrest (Right of Mississippi helpfully added, “This is completely false because Davis was referring to the JEFFERSON DAVIS STATUE, NOT THE NATHAN BEDFORD FORREST STATUE”).
Childers won anyway, and the new story is that Childers’ opponent was a “yuppie mayor from a Memphis suburb on the Tenn. border,” per Patterico’s Pontifications on the morning after, and “those conservative Dems are going to vote for McCain” anyway. “Recent election results may spell trouble for a currently misguided GOP,” admitted Riehl World View, “But they still speak volumes in support of a traditional America.” “If Obama wins,” added Race42008, “it will be popcorn time again,” because Childers will have to re-run in the fall with the presumably doomed national Democrat ticket. Strata-Sphere approved the Childers victory as a sign that “happy moderate conservatives now have choices because more than one party is wooing them.”
One wonders why, if Childers’ election was such good news for their cause, these analysts didn’t come out for him in the first place.
Another conservative silver lining comes from the California Supreme Court and its gay marriage vote. True, this rattled some nerves among the religious-rightbloggers: Rod Dreher, incensed, compared gay marriage to slavery, and blamed it on easy divorce and Protestantism (“It started with the Reformation”). But where Dreher saw Sodom and Gomorrah, others saw electoral rapture.
“Did [the California Supreme Court] just hand the state to McCain?” asked Instapundit. Ten points is a big spread to cover, but rightbloggers hope the shlockwaves will be felt nationwide — even though Obama has himself said he believes “marriage is between a man and woman.” Ed Driscoll called Obama’s position a “smoke-but-didn’t-inhale nuanced all-bases-covered position” because the Senator otherwise favors civil rights for gay people, in Driscoll’s view a fatal weakness. Power Line concurred: “There is good reason to believe that McCain’s judicial appointees would approach the issue quite differently from a legal standpoint than Obama’s would.” That won’t fit on a bumper sticker, so Ann Althouse suggested Republicans work their anti-gay magic in a whispering campaign: “McCain only needs to stimulate feelings that things are changing too fast, that courts are taking over too aggressively, and that unknown, worrisome things might happen — unless stable, restrained judges are put in place… Obama’s message has been change. He’s committed to that message, and it can be turned against him.” So, what scares Americans more: four more years of Republican rule, or homosexuals? We wait breathlessly for Clio’s judgment.
Till then, conservatives are encouraged to take heart that another pressing cultural issue is gathering momentum: Beyonce’s children’s clothing line. Michelle Malkin, appalled at the pop star’s “pedophilia chic” designs, reproduced some letters of support she received on the subject, and cited a Philadelphia Daily News column sharing her outrage, under the headline “The Beyonce Backlash Builds.” Later she quoted a commenter: “Normally, I want to b*tch slap Michelle Malkin. However, I agree with her.” Clearly the masses are coming around, and though we have no reason to believe Obama endorses the clothing line, what difference does that make? This can’t be good news for his campaign.
There were other such cheerful rightblogger effusions on even less momentous occasions. Instapundit saw rays of Republican hope in the Louisville NRA Convention, which he described as “noticeably cheerful and confident. The defensive crouch of a decade ago is gone.” He credited gun-rights gains, and warned Democrats that if the Supreme Court upheld D.C.’s gun ban, that would be “the best thing that could happen for John McCain’s candidacy — and for the GOP’s Congressional prospects.” (Between this and the gay-marriage thing, it’s starting to look like conservatives are the ones counting on activist judges to advance their agenda.)
Others needed no epiphany to lift their spirits. “WILL THE POLITICAL CLIMATE CHANGE?” asked The Astute Bloggers, before answering themselves, “YES!… It’s VERY obvious now that we are winning in Iraq… The economic news isn’t very bad, and it’s improving… And global warming ain’t happening, babe!” But Roger Kimball takes the palm for insisting that conservatives should be happy simply because they’re conservatives, and “tend to enjoy a more active and enabling sense of humor… Conservatives differ from progressives in many ways, but one important way is in the quota of cheerfulness and humor they deploy.” His fellow conservatives are well-advised to seek contentment within themselves, especially as events are unlikely to deliver it.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 19, 2008