Since the 2012 Presidential election, conservatives have been trying to think up ways to revive their movement. Last week a number of them approached the subject, including George F. Will (basically you’re doing great don’t change anything), Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (basically you’re doing great just change the marketing), and the Daily Caller’s Jamie Weinstein (basically you’re doing great just maybe let them smoke weed).
Rightbloggers pitched in, too, in direct responses or in reactions to Hillary Clinton’s Congressional hearing, the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and gun control, proving that whatever lesson there is to be learned from 2012, they will do whatever it takes not to find it.
In Jindal’s speech, which got a bit of play, the Governor said Republicans “must stop competing with Democrats for the job of ‘Government Manager'” if they wanted to be elected to manage the government, and that they also should give the crowds lots of neo-Thatcherism. Some rightbloggers demurred. John Hayward at Human Events didn’t appreciate that Jindal said the GOP was not the party of Big Business. It’s “worth bearing in mind,” Hayward wrote, “that Big Business conveys benefits that middle-class people very much appreciate… Wal-Mart got huge because being huge allowed them to offer amazingly low prices to consumers.” So let’s not mess with that special relationship, cowboy.
Allahpundit of Hot Air was not sure about Jindal’s argument that the GOP should stop “obsessing with zeroes on the budget spreadsheet.” “The counterargument, though,” said Allahpundit, “is that unless the public has it drummed into their skulls, often and in grotesque detail, just what sort of Thunderdome clusterfark we’re facing if mandatory spending (especially mandatory health-care spending) isn’t controlled, they won’t be prepared for those reforms when the time comes to make them.” That ought to work, as voters love nothing better than having their skulls drummed, especially if you can get your national candidates to say “clusterfark.” Chris Christie maybe?
Republicans got a chance to prove their foreign policy bona fides, anyway, by going after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a Congressional Benghazi hearing, delayed by the Secretary’s recent injury and resulting blood clot, which many rightbloggers had assumed was a fictitious scheme to protect her from scrutiny. Given that when Clinton finally appeared, she seemed to have no trouble with the Congresspeople (“Clinton Tears The GOP A New One,” one observer commented), and is unlikely to suffer ill effects to her popularity on that account, one wonders why anyone thought she was trying to duck it in the first place.
In the rightblogger universe, though, Clinton was roundly thrashed (“RAND PAUL BRINGS IT!… BLASTS Hillary Clinton!“), and the world was just too stupid to notice. They fixated on her response to the allegedly pressing question of whether the assault and four murders in Benghazi was a result of an anti-Islamic video or more generalized anti-American rage: “With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest, or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they’d go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make? It our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, senator.”
Conservatives made a hashtag of this, #whatdifferencedoesitmake, and appended witticisms to it such as “if my hillbilly husband bangs an intern virtually our daughter’s age. I’m getting me a Senate seat out of it!” “Perhaps that is the entire administration’s attitude about this nation,” mused Tammy Bruce, “It certainly seems to be Hillary sick and pathetic view of her own circumstances.” The Right Scoop criticized Clinton’s “very dismissive tone, acting as though she’s done nothing wrong despite taking responsibility.” Really, who acts like that at a Congressional hearing?
At National Review, Jim Geraghty was “reminded of a quite furious response from screenwriter Terry Rossio after he saw the 2006 movie Superman Returns.” Rossio disliked the movie, apparently, and remarked that “From Superman Returns on, I realized that there are truly no standards any more.” “When we look at how our government has responded to the night of September 11 in Benghazi, Libya,” sighed Geraghty, “we see there are truly no standards any more.” Well, at least some conservatives are trying to speak the language of the common people.
“I wonder how the democrats, then Senator Hillary Clinton, and the MSM would have reacted to somebody in the Bush administration for such a disregarding and countering question to the 9/11 Committee?” said babalu, without telling us what Republican officials were on anything resembling a hot seat in that instance, despite the larger domestic body count. neo-neocon acknowledged that “most people don’t care in the sense that those who weren’t already following the details are not going to follow the details now,” but also complained that “if the parties were reversed, the MSM would make a very big deal of it indeed, and people would react accordingly.”
“The reason Hillary can make such an utterance,” hand-wrung Aaron Goldstein at The American Spectator, “is because none of her shortcomings seem to bother a majority of our populace who continue to hold her in high esteem… If Hillary can say ‘what difference does it make’ regarding how her fellow Americans were killed in Benghazi without most of us batting an eyelash then she quite reasonably has every expectation to take up residence in the White House in four years time. Should that come to pass it would not speak well of us.” It is, indeed, hard out here for a GOP.
But Michael Leprarie of Wizbang had a wonderful recipe for lemonade, with Hillary’s blood clot as the main ingredient. “Bill Clinton was notoriously secretive about his medical records, so I believe we are justified in asking questions about Hillary Clinton’s overall health,” he wrote. “CVST is a serious condition, and if she develops additional problems it is unlikely that her handlers will be able to mask the symptoms… Age-related health issues on top of these other problems may spell an early end to an assumed 2016 Presidential candidacy.” Dream big, fellas.
Last week also brought the annual anti-abortion March for Life in Washington, the confluence of which with the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade gave rightbloggers a high-profile chance to defend that policy to the voters. At National Review, Robert Morrison chose rather a combative approach, targeting the baby-killing media. If polls have shown that Americans are not very hostile to Roe v. Wade, he said, that’s because they’re rigged: “The poll first informs respondents that — drum roll, then ruffles and flourishes, please — the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled,” he wrote. “So, if you want to stand athwart history, if you want to side with the segregationists of old, if you want to show disrespect for the black-robed members of that eminent tribunal, answer the following question in the negative.”
Abortion opponents are the victim of other forms of media framing, Morrison continued, including being called abortion opponents. “The mere fact that the media so often refer to pro-lifers as ‘abortion-rights opponents’ and our adversaries as ‘abortion-rights advocates’ is a huge advantage — to them.” Were they fair, the media would call the teams “pro-life” and “anti-life.” But the tide is turning, Morrison insisted: “People sense that the liberal media are not telling the truth. Americans are turning instead to the Internet, to Fox, to Talk Radio, to a host of alternative news sources. And I turn every morning to Scripture.” That long-delayed media revolution has been just around the corner for more than a decade now, but if you’re accustomed to wait upon the Rapture, you might as well wait for that, too.
Other worked out their rage at a Center for Reproductive Rights video in which a black guy with a red rose wishes Roe v. Wade a happy anniversary (“lookin’ good for 40”). The playful video seems designed to troll, and such eminences as Robert Stacy McCain (“The body language here is that the sexual means is its own end. All that matters is the sensual pleasure…”), Christina Martin (“Truth is, abortion isn’t romantic. Women abort on hospital tables with their legs in stirrups and hearts beating wildly in their chest”), and Mark Hemingway (“if anyone had any doubts about which side of the abortion debate was more morally serious, thanks to the Center for Reproductive Rights, they will wonder no more”) took the bait. So, mission accomplished, CCR, but Lena Dunham should get royalties.
Rightbloggers also continued their post-Newtown fight against gun control on the internet. They were joined by playwright David Mamet, whose essay began with Karl Marx and proceeded to compare gun control of even the weak sort proposed by President Obama to Marxism and slavery.
Mamet’s approach was expansive: He was outraged, for example, that Obama said he and Mitt Romney had more money than they needed. “Who elected him to speak for another citizen?” he thundered, having been out of town on November 6, 2012.
Mamet also declared affirmative action Marxist: “Rule by bureaucrats and functionaries is an example of the first part of the Marxist equation: that the Government shall determine the individual’s abilities,” he reasoned. “The government, for example, has determined that black people (somehow) have fewer abilities than white people, and, so, must be given certain preferences. Anyone acquainted with both black and white people knows this assessment is not only absurd but monstrous. And yet it is the law.” One likes to imagine Mamet telling a young black person what an insult it was that he got into college.
Mamet’s essay also made a number of points about gun ownership which might be convincing to some people but, as we noticed when Obama unveiled his modest initiatives, conservatives have become accustomed to pad their gun advocacy with strident anti-government sentiments more likely to convince the reader that the author is a crank. In fact we think that might be part of Obama’s strategy in drawing these folks out, and Mamet’s essay encourages us in this view. We might go further and say that on other subjects, too, rightbloggers — but perhaps we’ve said too much already.
Do you think they’ll ever catch on? Ace of Spades had a brainstorm last week: The problem is the media. Sure, they’ve been saying that since R.J. Rushdoony was a pup, but this time Spades is “truly alarmed about it,” because while the media used to “temper their scorn of conservatism, throw them a bone now and again just to prove they were capable of such a thing,” now “the media no longer hides it in their actions.” That John McCain, Paul Ryan, Bob Corker, Ray Kelly, Newt Gingrich, Jim DeMint were all on morning talk shows last Sunday is probably part of this conspiracy, and we may expect the bullet-riddled body of David Brooks to turn up by week’s end.
Spades went on to say that Fox News was an insufficient bulwark against media rule, because “Fox is often pitched too low to do any good with any but the already-alarmed,” which we take to mean that he wants a high-class version, maybe with presenters wearing smoking jackets and berets. In any case Spades pleaded for “some patriotic billionaires” to “band together to purchase or build a media outlet.”
Spades’ idea, such as it was, drew support. Anne Sorock at Legal Insurrection was inspired to cry, “It’s time to take on the media” — finally! She suggested readers “treat your local news anchors like your congressman. Call them, follow them on twitter, write about their biased reports, because they weave bias into their nightly news reports on fires and high school sports teams like you wouldn’t believe.” Once we straighten out that famously biased high school lacrosse coverage, the votes will follow.
But our favorite response was from neo-neocon, who did not propose a solution but drifted into a meditation on just how the traitor Obama had gulled America into reelecting him. “You may recall that during the 2008 there was a lot of blogosphere and internet speculation about Obama’s use of the power of suggestion/hypnosis during his public appearances,” she said. “I read some of it, and although I thought it was overstated, he certainly did appear to use some of these techniques.” Now if only we could find b-roll footage of Obama palming a mesmerizing disc or a gold watch on a chain, the sheeple will awaken.
Bonus neo-neocon line: “Race probably enters into it in some way I have yet to understand.”