There’s still plenty of chatter about Sarah Palin in the blogs, but as much fun as the topic has given us, we grow a little weary of it. There are many real things happening politically, and rightbloggers have at intervals addressed these topics.
For instance, it has been revealed that fireman Frank Ricci — the rejection of whose case by an appeals panel on which Sotomayor served was overturned last month by the Supreme Court (a 5-4 decision, though you may have heard differently), and who will testify against Sotomayor at this week’s hearings — had previously taken other legal actions, contending he’d been unfairly denied employment on account of his dyslexia. That Ricci had used the courts to get himself a job is in itself unobjectionable — good for him, we say — but mildly conflicts with his portrayal by GOP operatives as the Susan Boyle of reverse discrimination, a legal virgin, as it were, who came out of nowhere to fight the power.
This revelation was swiftly characterized by rightbloggers as a character assassination campaign by dishonest liberals. Don Surber, for example, compared Ricci to previous conservative martyr Joe the Plumber. As to Dahlia Lithwick’s characterization at Slate, accurate though admittedly negative, of Ricci as a “serial plaintiff,” Surber remarked, “Serial plaintiff? He did not sue over his pants being lost at the dry cleaners.” Other rightbloggers came forward to denounce this revelation as “Smearing the ‘Little People,'” “politics of personal destruction,” etc.
Actually this is pretty similar to rightbloggers’ pro-Palin strategy: to rebut unfriendly evidence against their champions as assaults on ordinary people — notwithstanding that these ordinary people have been elevated by the Republicans to national prominence. Maybe we can’t get past Palin after all.
Fortunately rightbloggers do have something more than such complaints to offer. As the economy limps along, for example, some hold out hope for the revival of the Going Galt movement.
Thought they’d dropped that one? Not hardly! Shadow’s World announced, “I’ve taken advantage of a business ‘slump’ to take 6 weeks of ‘unpaid vacation’ – leave without pay. By my estimate, that will cost the Obama administration something on the close order of $4500 in lost income taxes plus about 6 tankfulls of lost gasoline tax. It’s a pittance compared to the other ‘John Galts’ but as my father used to say, ‘Every little bit helps.'”
We’re not sure what other John Galts he means, as we have found them thin on the ground, but if that makes his downtime more fun for him, we say go for it. Rick Newcombe, head of Creators Syndicate, also found a Galtian spin on economic exigency: because Los Angeles is threatening his company — which sells comic strips, columns, and horoscopes — with more taxes, he counter-threatened in a Wall Street Journal op-ed to take his dozens of employees and bolt the city. He didn’t say where to, and has also filed a lawsuit over his business tax reclassification. Understandably Newcombe portrays his plight as a warning to all his fellow citizens: “As long as City Hall operates like a banana republic, why is anyone surprised that jobs have left the city in droves and Los Angeles is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy?”
No Apologies saw in Newcombe’s case proof that “the majority of Americans — and Canadians — has adopted government-security and the Messianic State in place of Christian faith.” Five Feet of Fury took a refreshing local angle: “City invaded by Marxists and Mexican lawbreakers turns into banana republic.”
But only Don Surber offered practical rather than merely rhetorical aid, inviting Newcombe to relocate Creators Syndicate to his home state of West Virginia. While Pocatella, where Surber hangs his hat, “probably is not the best fit for his business,” Morgantown is “home to West Virginia University and it is near the Pittsburgh airport. I am sure Gov. Joe Manchin would go out of his way to help Newcombe relocate.” We too are sure Manchin would be happy to have them, but can only imagine what Creators’ employees will make of the prospect. Maybe it will move them to pitch in and help Newcombe meet the tax hike. (The cartoonists and columnists, who do not work on premises, have no such worry.) Newcombe may be interested to learn that the Mountaineer State, like Cali, is a “Forced-Unionism State.”
Alas, other wealth producers would probably also find a Galtian removal to the sticks onerous. Megan McArdle considered the sad case of “a Democrat of my acquaintance” who also faces tax increases and is disturbed by the prospect. McArdle told us that the gentleman “makes something, but not a huge something, over $200,000 a year.” But we should not withdraw our sympathy on the mistaken notion that he is “rich,” she said, because “the rich don’t live in eight hundred moderately roach-infested square feet in an unfashionable neighborhood of New York.” In comments McArdle added, “in New York, it’s really easy to be so tapped out on $200K that you do, indeed, notice the extra missing money… And it’s no good saying that they chose to live in New York — most people living in New York couldn’t earn their ‘fabulous’ income anywhere else.”
You see the problem. Galt-Going in the abstract is fun, but to paraphrase the old song, how ya gonna keep ’em down on Galt’s Gulch after they’ve seen Paree?
Let’s see what other Galt references we’ve got here — “Sarah Palin ‘Going Galt.'” Sigh. It always comes back to her, doesn’t it?
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 12, 2009