Vaunted and venerated only by its enemies
Given some of the editorialized reporting that you see out of the LATimes, it's nice to know they have one intriguing voice from the Right in Jonah Goldberg. His column today is pretty effective:
That was the thesis of Kos' and Armstrong's tendentiously boring book.
That's the upshot of an alternately brilliant and tendentious cover story in the latest New Republic, in which Jonathan Chait argues that the so-called netroots "are the most significant mass movement in U.S. politics since the rise of the Christian right." Chait persuasively argues that the netroots — Democratic activist blogs and other online communities — are transforming the Democratic Party by championing a new emphasis on partisan fervor and political unity.
Back to Goldberg:
This thought isn't particularly unique to Goldberg, but he synthesizes it well.
The conservative infrastructure that arouses so much envy among liberals today was an afterthought. It was created because the far more valuable real estate — universities, foundations, newspapers and TV networks — were held by liberals. Conservatives used their institutions to have serious arguments about what conservatives should believe.
The netroots crowd seems mostly determined to skip the serious argument part and to settle on the idea that liberals should simply all believe the same thing, first and foremost on the Iraq war. And as important as Iraq is right now, it is hardly a serious substitute for the intellectual catalyst of World War II and the Cold War. Netrooters may have a terrible shock in store for them when the war is over and their reason for existence is too.
If conservatism were nothing more than a noise machine, that would be a shame. (I don't buy it.) But even if the netrooters are right, what exactly has that noise machine bought? Not that much. Ronald Reagan won the presidency without benefit of Rush Limbaugh or Fox News, and Newt Gingrich took back Congress two years before Fox News was even launched. Folks like Limbaugh helped. But surely that had something to do with the substance of what Limbaugh had to say and not just his ability to say it. If merely having a radio show is all it takes, Al Franken would be a hugely successful radio host today. He isn't.
Hat tip to Kevin's sidebar link blog.
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