The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Basta ya!

As far as I'm concerned, the story of Ben Domenech's ill-fated Washington Post blog is over. The ball is in the WaPo's court, and it remains to be seen if they're still committed to hiring a right-wing writer without granting a progressive writer the same honor. And if so, whether or not they'll hire someone who's actually a thoughtful and talented writer. You know, a voice of mainstream conservatism.

But The New Republic's stable of Beltway thinkers couldn't let it pass without posting an article that blames the Domenech debacle on... liberal bloggers. Sigh.

Domenech deserved to be let go; but in the course of celebrating his demise, liberals have missed the real lesson of this entire episode. Instead of hiring a conservative, the Post hired a caricature of one; Domenech's blog would have been less a product of red America and more a product of what blue America understands red America to be. More than anything else, the sad saga of Ben Domenech reveals just how simplistic blue-state elites have become in their understanding of American conservatism. (. . .)

What, exactly, did Brady see in Domenech? Certainly not a principled conservative journalist. Either Brady didn't read Domenech's blog posts, or he did, and they fit the ticket. If the former is true, well, shame on Brady. But the latter seems more likely. In other words, as far as Brady was concerned, Domenech--an angry, bigoted bloviator--was the face of true conservatism.

Brady isn't alone, of course. Ever since the 2004 election, liberals have been eager to confirm their stereotypes of conservatives as narrow-minded, self-righteous folk.

News flash: Domenech isn't a construct of the American left. He's the son of a connected GOP activist, a paid writer for the conservative magazine National Review, the self-proclaimed 'youngest appointee of the Bush administration,' an editor for the conservative publishing house Regnery, and a hero of the online right. They were thrilled to see Domenech and his rantings given the imprimatur of one of America's best-known papers.

Apparently the right-wing establishment views him as a plausible spokesman for American conservatism, and they're as aware of his bigotry, shoddy writing, and venomous rhetoric as anyone on the left. But it took liberal bloggers to address the poverty of his status as fledgling right-wing pundit. If the blogs weren't pointing out Domenech's unsuitability to serve as a representative conservative voice (particularly in the absence of any progressive voice), what were they doing?

Maybe the author of the piece, Rob Anderson, is a concerned conservative who wants to raise the level of today's American discourse. I don't know. But his real beef should be with a Republican party that uses its power and influence to promote hacks like Domenech, whose main contribution to political debate seems to be broad-brushing the American left as crazed elitists out to establish an autocracy. It's a shame that he's too busy propagating that myth to pay attention.