Jon Lovett, the ex-Obama speechwriter, has a bad case of the liberal mania.
And oh, yes. He knows what conservatism is. Just ask him.
In a conversation on CNN’s Reliable Sources, Lovett told host Brian Stelter just that, as reported here in this partial transcript provided at, ahem, Breitbart. Bold print boldly supplied by me:
LOVETT: Look, here’s an example. You go after Hannity on this show, right? You say he’s intellectually dishonest, he doesn’t care about the truth, he doesn’t care about what his audience cares about, right?
Then you turn on CNN, and Hannity has got a little beachhead on half the shows on this network. You turn it on, and there’s a big, giant panel. And you have…
STELTER: You mean Jeffrey Lord and Kayleigh McEnany and other Trump supporters.
LOVETT: Absolutely. And you look at that giant panel, and it’s smart person, smart person, smart person, stupid person, smart person, smart person, smart person, bulls**t factory.”
STELTER: Why does it help to insult Trump supporters like that?
LOVETT: I’m not insulting the Trump supporters.
STELTER: You just called them stupid people.
LOVETT: I’m not calling the Trump supporters stupid people. I’m calling the people that CNN puts on television are terrible representatives of the views of conservatives. They’re terrible representatives of the kind of politics we should have.
I mean, these are not intellectually honest people. These are people building a brand. These are people willing to say anything.
And the same criticism you direct at Hannity, you could direct at the people that CNN puts on the air. I mean, I have said this before, but I think it’s true. So often on CNN, there’s a world-class journalist interviewing campaign rejects and ideologues and silly, craven people who do not care about informing people, that aren’t there to kind of help people understand what is going on in the news.
And the thing is, there are millions of people who say every day, we don’t like this, right? You look at every single poll, every single poll.
STELTER: But millions are also watching it.
LOVETT: Oh, we’re all getting a ratings bump. We’re all getting a ratings bump.
STELTER: I wish I had Jason Miller here to react to you right now.
You’re saying these people aren’t intellectually honest.
LOVETT: I’m — what I’m saying is, over and over again, you have polls that say people hate the news. And it’s not sustainable to have an entire — look, and some of that is partisanship, right? That is liberals saying that our side is not represented well, and conservatives saying, our side is not represented now.
But how is it sustainable that we all cannot stand the way the news comes at us, right, and not just the substance of it, but the way it’s delivered?
And I think what we have found with this company is that there’s an appetite for something different, for something that is at times serious, but doesn’t take itself seriously.
Phew! I’ve been found out at last! When I decided to write a column all the way back there in June of 2013 titled “Never Ignore Donald Trump,” I was really all about branding! I just knew this was a sure-fire career boost, and, but of course, what else is there in life? Visions of CNN danced in my head!
I take no offense at Lovett. I’m sure he’s a perfectly nice guy. But, alas, he is clearly possessed of a seriously bad case of what the late William F. Buckley Jr. once described as the liberal mania. Here is Buckley on the subject in his book Up From Liberalism, written all the way back there in the primordial mists of 1959:
I think it is fair to generalize that American liberals are reluctant to co-exist with anyone on their Right. Ours, the liberal credo tells us, is an “open society,” the rules of which call for a continuing (never terminal) hearing for all ideas. But close observation of the liberal-in-debate gives the impression that he has given conservatism a terminal audience. When a conservative speaks up demandingly, he runs the gravest risk of triggering the liberal mania; and then before you know it, the ideologist of openmindedness and toleration is hurtling toward you, lance cocked.
The tools of controversy are tough, as necessarily they must be. But I wonder when else, in the history of controversy, there has been such consistent intemperance, insularity and irascibility as the custodians of the liberal orthodoxy’s premises? The liberals’ implicit premise is that intercredal dialogues are what one has with Communists, not conservatives, in relationship with whom normal laws of civilized discourse are suspended.
Here we are in 2017, a full 58 years after Buckley described the liberal mania — and there, instinctively and right on cue — is Jon Lovett exemplifying the liberal mania at work. It is particularly telling that Lovett — who arrived on this earth, according to Mr. Google, smack in the Reagan-era, long after Buckley’s book debuted — so naturally exhibits the characteristics of which Buckley wrote. (And not to put too fine a point on it, one suspects the liberal Lovett — who deems himself a judge of just who are and are not “representatives of the views of conservatives” — has never heard of Buckley’s book, much less read it.)
For Lovett to say that Kayleigh McEnany is “stupid” and that I am a “bulls**t factory” is the personification of Buckley’s point that liberals are really all about declaring that the “normal laws of civilized discourse are suspended” in debate with conservatives. Which is to say, liberals and liberalism are the very picture of intolerance. Lovett, charmingly ignorant, has no idea how he has just embodied Buckley’s point that liberals are the very image of “intemperance, insularity and irascibility.” Even more humorously, Lovett does so hilariously unaware of the setting in which he says this — perched for his interview on a set overlooking Los Angeles — aka Hollywood. Hollywood — of which the conservative actor Tim Allen recently said: “You gotta be real careful around here. You get beat up if you don’t believe what everybody else believes. This is like ’30s Germany.” Clearly, Lovett is in no danger.
From Goldwater to Reagan in politics, from Buckley to Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin and others in the world of the conservative commentariat — the standard reaction from liberals is that fill-in-the-blank conservative is precisely some version of how Lovett has described myself and my fellow CNN Trump-supporting colleague Kayleigh McEnany. If I had a nickel for every time I used to hear liberals describe Reagan as “dumb,” “ignorant,” “stupid,” “extreme” (or, in the words of one leading Democrat of the day, an “amiable dunce”), I would own both CNN and Fox.
But hey, being called “stupid” and a “bullsh**t factory” is the least of being targeted by the liberal mania. Listen to this description of William F. Buckley’s first book, 1951’s God and Man at Yale by a liberal reviewer of the day:
The book is one which has the glow and appeal of a fiery cross on a hillside at night. There will undoubtedly be robed figures who gather to it, but the hoods will not be academic. They will cover the face.
Buckley as Klansman? But of course! (The fact that the Klan was founded, according to Columbia University historian Eric Foner, as “a military force serving the interests of the Democratic Party” and the “terrorist arm of the Democratic Party” per University of North Carolina historian Allen Trelease was simply ignored. Yes, they were progressives under those hoods — but never mind. Nothing to see there — move along.)
Buckley also noted in Up From Liberalism another trait that Lovett unwittingly if delightfully illustrates. Bold print again supplied:
A second marked characteristic of the liberal-in-debate-with-the-conservative is the tacit premise that debate is ridiculous because there is nothing whatever to debate about. Arguments based on fact are especially to be avoided. Many people shrink from arguments over facts because facts are tedious, because they require a formal familiarity with the subject under discussion, and because they can be ideologically dislocative. Many liberals accept their opinions, ideas, and evaluations as others accept revealed truths, and the facts are presumed to conform to the doctrines, as any dutiful fact will; so why discuss the fact?
In discussing a conservative’s contentions, it is not enough merely to say that the matter under “discussion” is closed; it is usually necessary, for the sake of discipline, to berate the person who brought the matter up.
And right there is William F. Buckley Jr. in 1959 predicting Jon Lovett in 2017. As follows:
Buckley in 1959: Liberals in debate showcase “… consistent intemperance, insularity and irascibility … A second marked characteristic of the liberal-in-debate-with-the-conservative is the tacit premise that debate is ridiculous because there is nothing whatever to debate about…. In discussing a conservative’s contentions, it is not enough merely to say that the matter under ‘discussion’ is closed; it is usually necessary, for the sake of discipline, to berate the person who brought the matter up.”
And right on cue, there is Lovett in 2017: “And you look at that giant panel, and it’s smart person, smart person, smart person, stupid person, smart person, smart person, smart person, bulls**t factory…. I’m not calling the Trump supporters stupid people. I’m calling the people that CNN puts on television are terrible representatives of the views of conservatives. They’re terrible representatives of the kind of politics we should have.
“I mean, these are not intellectually honest people. These are people building a brand. These are people willing to say anything.”
In other words?
Jon Lovett has a bad case of the liberal mania. And he is charmingly clueless to just how vividly he personifies the fact.