I have a confession to make. I’m a fan of Conor Friedersdorf.
I respect his opinion, even when I disagree with it. I find him articulate, insightful, and shrewd. He speaks comfortably to a generation of liberty-minded Americans who don’t get their news on the AM dial. I suspect we both trust “Republicans” in Congress less than “Democrats” because the latter are frank with their unapologetic progressivism, while the former scream “constitutional conservatism!” while feeding the beast on political pork.
As Jeff demurred from speaking for Jonah Goldberg or John Podhoretz, I want to avoid putting words in Conor’s mouth. But I gather we share similar frustrations; namely, the disintegration of conservatism (if he’d consider himself “conservative,” I couldn’t say) into an anti-intellectual, anti-pluralist political barnstorm. I’m not big on pabulum and conspiracy theory. I’d rather beat Obama on his economic terms—his policies are absolutely disastrous—than resort to the “Kenyan! Muslim! Communist!” routine.
With that said, Conor writes for The Atlantic. He knows his audience isn’t tuning into conservative talk on their drive to the grocery. He can swipe at Rush and Hannity from the margins. Maybe he can soften some of his readers to his particular brand of limited government. He certainly won’t lose many. Perhaps he feels the net gain is his authenticity. Rush Limbaugh is famous for his refusal to pull punches, and he can give as good as he gets. Conor should do the same and write his conscience, even when you or I disagree.
Now, I want to concur with Jeff, with a caveat:
We’ll end here simply by saying that if there is “irreparable harm” done to the conservative cause, it is by those who don’t really share its beliefs but pretend to do so.
Ultimately, Jeff isn’t the arbiter of conservatism, but I’m inclined to agree. But my frustration isn’t leveled at the ink on the page, or a radio personality. I’m fed up with the real “hucksters”: the so-called “conservatives” in Congress who have sullied their brand by sticking to statism, of all shapes and sizes. Defend them at your peril.
They’re the true embarrassment, and I look forward to reminding them each and every election cycle.