Which Party Rewards Ideological Fidelity More?


The New Republic's Jonathan Chait, ladies & gentlemen, on June 11, 2010:

One of the most serious problems this country faces is that one of its two major political parties is run by people who attained their positions on the basis of ideological fidelity and lack very, very basic analytic skills.

In case you're wondering what party the unflagging Democratic stalwart and No. 1 Bush Hatah means, take a look at his October 27, 2008 display of very, very basic analytic skills. Click through below and skip ahead to 1.12 in the vid (not directly embeddable). But first, put down the coffee and take a deep breath.

The top Chait quote above comes in the context of an attack on Reason columnist Veronique de Rugy, who posted a piece critical of rumored deficit reduction effects of ObamaCare. Chait's non sequitur about political parties and ideological fidelity blah blah is particularly strange given that de Rugy is a hard-core, small l libertarian who made no secret of her contempt for George Bush and GOP spend spend spend policies. She blogs at National Review's The Corner, which is often a GOP love fest, but her posts are always critical of government overreach from either side of the aisle. And TNR is clearly in the tank for the Democratic Party. The things we say when we type with socks on our hands!

Links to her and Chait's most recent kerfluffle here.

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  1. Rugy is a serious person. Chait is not. Name one serious thinking leftwing journalist in this country? I can’t think of a single one. They are all lying hacks.

    1. Except for the fact that Chait completely demolished de Rugy’s case in this instance.

      1. You remind me of how subjective all this is (assuming you actually followed the arguments). It’s clear to me that she runs circles around Chait who comes across as an amateur who relies on emotion, ad hominem insults (as quoted above), and enraged rhetoric.
        I know a lot of people hate him around here, but Ezra Klein often comes across as one of the Left’s more serious thinkers because occasionally he can put his sensitive progressive feelings on hold to at least report data and analyze it. Chait lacks this capability.

        1. All Chait was doing was pointing out de Rugy’s inability to read a graph.

          I suppose it’s a little mean to say this is indicative of libertarians’ inability to address facts that don’t align with their creaky old worldview.

  2. Pretty sure Chait keeps those puppets around for his Chatroulette sessions. NEXT!

    1. No. He uses his special Krugman action figure sock puppet for Chatroulette

      1. While he wears an Obama mask?

  3. Who wrote this post? I demand transparency!

  4. Didn’t Chait write for Reason about fifteen years ago?
    “Name one serious thinking leftwing journalist in this country? I can’t think of a single one. They are all lying hacks.”
    Rick Pearlstein, Chris Mooney, Bill McKibben all come to mind.

    1. Pearlstein, the guy who thought the Democrats were going to “end the war”.…..index.html

      Mooney is a global warming hack convinced that global warming is going to cause “super hurricanes”

      Same with McKibben.

      Sorry come up with some new names.

      1. So Pearlstein isn’t serious because he was wrong about something once? Mooney, is another Reason contrib, btw:

        1. Anyone who thought in 2007 the Dems were going to end the war is an idiot. He couldn’t have honestly thought that. He was just writing propaganda to convince the anti-war people they were not being sold a bill of goods.

          1. The Perlstein article you link to does not say the Democrats were going to end the war, it describes the procedures by which they COULD.

  5. I actually like John Chait in spite of the fact that I don’t agree with him. He didn’t take cheap shots about the CRA/Rand Paul controversy (that I saw, at least) and that says something about his character, if you ask me. This isn’t his first issue with de Rugy, either, which suggests that at least he’s worried about what she’s saying (that also doesn’t mean what she’s saying is correct, btw).

    1. True, it doesn’t. What makes what she says correct is math.

  6. If Chait doesn’t audition for Avenue Q, he’s missing his calling.

  7. Mooney, is another Reason contrib, btw:


    Reason doesn’t exactly have a reputation for keeping TEAM BLUE! shills from running under its banner.

    Providing fake libertarian cover for careers in leftoid hackery is one of the things it’s best known for. Giving libertarianism a reputation for TEAM BLUE! shillery among TEAM RED! fans who might otherwise be libertarian-sympathetic is the other.

    (Yeah, that’s the same thing.)

    1. On the other hand, you have cases like Mike Flynn on reason’s payroll for years (maybe still is) who is shilling TEAM RED! pretty damn hard at his new editorship in the Brietbart empire.

  8. Chait’s up with a reply to this. We gonna keep it going, reason? Or are you going to ignore it because you know you lost?

    1. TNR only allows subscribers to post comments on their site, so they’ve already lost.

    2. You mean this?

      Second, note that Gillespie defends de Rugy from my characterization of “ideological fidelity” to the right by pointing out that she’s libertarian. Even as a kind of ad hominum attack?she’s a libertarian and you’re a Democrat! — this makes no sense even on its own terms. Notice I wrote “ideological fidelity,” but Gillespie changes the question to partisan fidelity.

      In the context, Chait was obviously referring to partisan fidelity. He was saying that one of the two parties valued ideological fidelity. It wasn’t Gillespie who brought that up. Not to mention the title of Chait’s original article was “Better Conservative Ideologues, Please” [emph mine].

      Then he goes on to explain that in order to not be ideologically fidelous, you have to be ideologically unpredictable, a condition that apparently precludes having any principles on any issues, since agreeing with conservatives on some issues and liberals on others still counts as ideology. Mainline liberals like Chait and his deity in the White House are the apex of ideological unpredictability, as they oppose war when a Republican is in charge of it and support it when a Democrat is in charge of it, and consider opposition to government actions patriotism when the government is controlled by Republicans, but treason when it is controlled by Democrats.

      1. This guy sucks. If I want adolescent bitching from a liberal perspective, I’ll go coach a middle school debate team.

  9. *barf*

  10. Interesting that Chait’s substantive point has been utterly ignored (that de Rugy’s analysis was not only incorrect, but badly-reasoned). That leaves more room for the endless go-team snark, I suppose.

    It PROVES that Chait cannot do reasoned analysis–he made a funny video a couple years ago!

    1. Chait’s point is about as substantive as spelling corrections in a comment thread. Yes, technically the specific chart de Rugy put up was flawed, but the reality is that the bill isn’t going to cut the deficit. Even the fucking AP knows that now.

      The gratuitous swing that Chait takes at de Rugy as a “conservative ideologue” who “lacks very basic analytical skills” is the thing that started this all. And his response that Tony trumpets about above is, well, not terribly impressive.

  11. What’s it like it like going to be at night knowing you get paid money to shit out corporatist ideological propaganda, Nick?

    Chait completely demolished De Rugy and you don’t have the intellectual honesty to own up to it. I hate TNR almost as much as I hate Reason, but man, you lost, and your weak attempt as distraction here (puppets! democrats!) just shows what hacks you are.

    Here is a link to Chait’s rebuttal:…..sanctimony

    1. That rebuttal is pretty weak. When you title your original article “Better Conservative Ideologues Please,” and wax moronic about “one party rewards ideological fidelity,” and then whimper that you weren’t talking about partisanship, that’s pretty sad.

      1. All due respect, Tulpa, but you’re offering nothing but snark. Partisanship and ideological fidelity are two completely distinct concepts. And Chait’s critique of de Rugy’s reasoning was substantive and on point (the bill will reduce the deficit in precisely the way that it says it will).

        There are serious people and unserious people. You’ve demonstrated which category you fall into with your last two contemptuous, snotty, snarky comments.

        1. “the bill will reduce the deficit in precisely the way that it says it will”

          Horseshit. You are dreaming, and you know it. Think the doc fix is gonna happen? You think more people are going to be seen by doctors after the bill, and that this trend will LOWER costs? You don’t need De Rugy’s charts to understand these simple concepts.

          I don’t understand why progressives can’t just fess up and admit that the healthcare bill’s only purpose was to extend healthcare access. They can’t admit that the cost-control talk was BS.

          You accuse Tulpa of offering nothing but snark, while you offer nothing but your brainless endorsement of a whiney chode like Chait.

          1. Well reasoned! I feel chastened.

          2. If you had bothered to read Chait’s posting, you would know that the “doc fix” has absolutely nothing to do with the deficit savings associated with the bill: the doc fix has been required every year since 1997, and is entirely discrete from any mandates in the health care bill. The CBO has scored the bill as reducing the deficit by $130 billion over the next 10 years, and even more in the years following that.

            All of which goes to show that idealogues (like yourself) are not really interested in the facts, when such ripping retorts as “Horseshit!” will suffice.

            Try reading the bill, and understanding the cost containment measures it includes (I strongly recommend reading Atul Gawande’s article in the Dec 14, 2009 New Yorker). There are literally hundreds of measures and pilot programs, all of which have some promise of reducing the future growth of health care costs.

            And yes, “whiney chode” is snark. And “Horseshit. You are dreaming” is not a rebuttal. It’s a display of emotion.

            For all the vitriol, condescension, and dismissiveness evidenced on this post and its responses, not ONE has taken up Chait’s point in any substantive way.

            1. Ok, you’re right, I was being vitriolic, but review this document put out by the people who wrote the bill:

              These measures are not serious, and it seems to me a smokescreen for the real progressive goal of expanding coverage.

              And the fact that the doc fix was separated from the health care bill is significant and affects these numbers as much as it is diminished.

    2. Is someone programming you people? Tony up top used the exact same phrase “completely demolished”.

      Yours is not even a fresh hackery.

      1. Another classic in the I KNOW YOU ARE BUT WHAT AM I defense.

  12. Well, you could say that Chait reduced de Rugy to smoking rubble, but why get fancy? “Completely demolished” fits the bill.

    Then there’s what happened to Nicky Gill. Try this: right now there’s a hand puppet lodged somewhere near the poor chump’s lungs, and it came in the back way.

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