But What About the Pundits?


It's really beating a path through the blogosphere today, but torgive me if I find this Washington Post feature on "conservative pundits renouncing Bush" incredibly silly. It makes sense for a paper covering the beltway to count the number of words Norman Podhoretz, George Will and the White House strategic initiatives office have churned out in an intra-movement Super Soaker fight. It makes less sense to impart great lessons from the tenor of the debate in DC.

Bush aides were bothered by a George F. Will column last week
mocking neoconservative desires to transform the Middle East: "Foreign
policy 'realists' considered Middle East stability the goal. The
realists' critics, who regard realism as reprehensibly unambitious,
considered stability the problem. That problem has been solved."

White House responded with a 2,432-word rebuttal—three times as long
as the column—e-mailed to supporters and journalists. "Mr. Will's
kind of 'stability' and 'realism'—a kind of world-weary belief that
nothing can be done and so nothing should be tried—would eventually
lead to death and destruction on a scale that is almost unimaginable,"
wrote White House strategic initiatives director Peter H. Wehner.

What a waste of the White House's (by extension, taxpayers') time and money. Bush doesn't need pundits' votes to hold onto Congress. He needs the votes of disaffected moderates and Republicans who are fed up with the Iraq War and the entire situation in the Middle East. They'll never see a two-and-a-half grand rebuttal to George Will. They're paying attention to army and National Guard units being shipped overseas to referee conflicts between (as they see it) ungrateful, violent factions. I'm sure the WH press shop is giggling at Pat Buchanan's latest brimstone deposit, but I guarantee if they ripped his message off wholesale they'd get further than they're getting with their War on Pundits.

(Cross-posted at AS.com.)

NEXT: Political Realignment Watch

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  1. For all of its problems, realism with beat bat-shit-insanism every time.

    An idealism that is actually grounded in reality insteaf of self-flattering fantasy, and which sets achievable goals instead of drawing pretty pictures, on the other hand, will stomp them both.

  2. huh huh!…Peter Wehner….huh huh!…Is his brother named Oscar, or something?….huh huh!

  3. Republican voters are paying attention to the pundits. The right wing media is the only thing the Republicans have to get their message out, such as it is. You have to go to the media outlet that ostensibly has the same agenda as your own.

    I’m just glad Hannity was spammed and not me.

  4. Before too many liberals wet their beds, its probably important to remember that George Bush is not running for re-election again. His term is almost over in a political sense. That means that right wing pundits are free to finally bash him to demonstrate their sage indepedence without fear of harming much politically. And it’s all so that they can distance themselves from a lame duck and pick a new hero.

    This isn’t some sort of sea change. This happens, like, every time there’s a lame duck President. It doesn’t mean that liberals have finally won. It means that conservative pundits are looking ahead.

  5. plunge makes a good point. it’s too well orchestrated — all of the right-wing pundits changing their tune at the same time. it must just be the latest set of talking points out of rove’s office of strategery.

  6. I’d rather blame sycophancy and a desire to cling to the breadcrumbs of power.

  7. “plunge makes a good point. it’s too well orchestrated — all of the right-wing pundits changing their tune at the same time.”

    George Will left the reservation quite some time ago.

    “But unless America’s foreign policy is New Age therapy to make the public feel mellow, feeling good about the consequences of an action does not obviate the need to assess the original rationale for the action. Until WMDs are found, or their absence accounted for, there is urgent explaining to be done.”

    –June 22, 2003.

    “The administration also intimates that ending a tyranny was a sufficient justification for war. Foreign policy conservatism has become colored by triumphalism and crusading zeal.”

    –July 24, 2003.

    To be fair, that Iraq was an exercise in nation building was pretty obvious from thee outset; the invasion made little sense otherwise. Will likely allowed himself to ignore this in the runup due to the forgiveable sin of believing in the guys on your own team.

    By the time the “WMDs are besides the point” arguments started, he had jumped decidedly off the bandwagon.

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