And They'll Cry If They Want To



Quelle surprise; you whack at a few blogs in print, and those blogs decide to whack back at you. The "Lazy Gopher Pachyderm," a contributor to the Minnesota Republican blog "Kennedy vs. the Machine" (as in imploding Senate candidate Mark Kennedy), wheels out some tired "in my day, Reason was a good magazine" zingers and then attacks my methodology for studying GOP punditry.

Three paragraphs are spent roasting Hugh Hewitt for uncritically blessing very move by Bush and the GOP. Weigel's supporting arguments? Well, none really. We just have to take his word for it. Proof that Hewitt is barking up the wrong tree? Amazon's discount price for Painting the Map Red. Like that never happened before.

The lousy sales of Painting the Map Red were one data point I mustered; the others were falling Fox News ratings and bad numbers for most of the year's red-meat conservative books. Mindless, "Go Red Team Go!" Republicanism is experiencing a steep decline. If it was a stock, you'd short it.

… anyone who has heard Hewitt's show knows that the Weigel charge is fraudulent. Yes, Hugh does preach vociferously during this election season that "Republicans are better than Democrats." Yet any honest libertarian (and I have been known to vote that ticket) would grudgingly agree.

Way to prove my point. Serious conservatives (and serious boosters of the GOP) know that libertarians are leaving the GOP's electoral coalition in droves. They understand that libertarians are frustrated by the Republican party's (let's use neutral terms) policies on spending, education, health care, foreign policy and civil liberties in the Bush era. But how can the GOP change? If it wins another term in two weeks, will it understand that as a validation of Bush-style "conservatism"? Is the party interested in a debate on any of these issues? Not really; its boosters confront arguments by saying "Republicans are better than Democrats," so stop whining and enjoy Medicare Part D and Alberto Gonzales. No wondering why a Democrat who's only as bad on spending as Republicans, but better on civil liberties than they've been in years, is winning conservative hearts in Montana.

What probably really irks them about Hewitt is his assertion that to vote libertarian is to vote "losertarian" (as he said on his show this evening), and that he's launched more National Review type thinkers than Reason could ever dream of producing for their world view.

Terrific: The "there's more of us so we're right!" argument. Well, if Hewitt was so good at creating like minds, my worries about the GOP's big-government lurch would be moot; his Mule-like powers would be rocketing the party toward a landslide.