Tuesday, July 27, 2004

One minor irritant of my business trips is hotels which leave a morning copy of USA Today at my door. This predigested pablum of many colors is the literary equivalent of Kiddy Meals. Just like those hockey pucks on a bun, this bland headline feed is so calculatingly inoffensive that it seems to be missing any real meat. No surprise that their first try to add some jalapeños to their gruel proved too scary for their taste buds.

In a fit of temporary insanity they were inspired, by the artificially pumped-up box office receipts of Michael Moore's latest propaganda piece (profiting from many good conservatives who go only to laugh at his tin foil hat excesses), to hire the Zeppelin With A Camera to comment on the Republican National Convention. The mind flounders for a suitable comparison -- perhaps Dr. Laura as an analyst (no pun intended) at the Stonewall Democrats Convention?

Their toe in the deep water has already been scalded. As a parallel to the Viewfinding Blimp, they chose to hire, to comment on the Democratic Convention, a more moderate colleague of mine who happens to share my own initials. Even that mild mannered wordsmith was way too spicy for their oatmeal. They have dropped her, unpublished, after she submitted her very first column. To add insult to injury, they are replacing her with Jonah Goldberg, the same editor who in 2001 wrote the National Review's defense of dropping her old column.

Naturally, the liberal snark artists are gushing over their keyboards about this, more than anything since that poor talk show host's treatment for his helpless addiction. It didn't even bother World O'Crap to admit that the USAToday editor was "a little obtuse". TBogg, who usually specializes in aesthetic criticism of her neck, piled on with a snipe at her personal hygiene. Jesse Taylor of Pandagon, glowing from recent free publicity in the Wall Street Journal, blames My Daily Reader For Grown-ups for its own stupidity, saying if you hire her "you get something that's the written equivalent of a battery acid enema. It's the way these things work." Media Matters drags up her old material in asking rhetorically "Why was she hired in the first place?" Functional Ambivalent refers to her as "P.J. O'Rourke with Tits" (an image to scare small children with).

I love to say I told you so, and this is karma at work. She made her bed with the moderates, and should have expected them to turn tail and rend her when they caught heat from the "politically correct". NR canned her after 9-11, when she advocated invading Muslim countries and forcibly converting them. I, of course, just wanted to "kill them all and let God find his own", but she wimped out, and still got tossed. Now what some call "McPaper" has dropped her for "difference of opinion over editing", when she actually seemed to be trying to pull her punches. It did her no good with those cowards, after she began by calling it "the Spawn of Satan convention", a reasonable critique which they have chosen to ignore.

They might have made a good case for objecting to her inaccuracy. Here's part of that rejected column:
...they love the troops so much, they don't want them to get hurt defending America from terrorist attack. "Support the troops," the signs say, "bring them home."

That's my new position on all government workers, except the 5% who aren't useless, which is to say cops, prosecutors, firemen and U.S. servicemen. I love bureaucrats at the National Endowment of the Arts funding crucifixes submerged in urine so much -- I think they should go home. I love public school teachers punishing any mention of God and banning Christmas songs so much -- I think they should go home.
The truth is that a majority of all government employees work for local government, and one-fifth or more of those are in the jobs she considers okay. At the federal level, the percentage is even higher, so that "5%" is just naive wishful thinking. If only it were that small....

However, the real reason for removing her was not sloppy research, or her pepper mace style, but the radical shift obvious in her ideology. They wanted a crusty conservative, but instead got a budding libertarian -- one who now apparently wants to privatize almost the entire government. Some conservatives may object that she is "selling out" to the ultra-free market advocates, reducing the state's ability to encourage Righteous Values, just to make sure they stay in Our Noble Leader's coalition. I, on the other hand, always praise "selling out" anything, as the very essence of capitalism. My problem is that she doesn't go far enough.

Look at Iraq, where private contractors helping in interrogations will go free, whereas the members of our military are being persecuted to appease worldwide pressure from wimpy liberals. If our entire force there was private, they could apply all the pressure they needed. Police accused of "abuses" get raked over the coals by Internal Affairs, but when are private prison companies held to account? This is not anarchy, but corporatism. Leave the Law in place, but let the private sector provide the Order. That way it will be cheaper, and there will be more of it -- and more order is just what I want to see. Mealy-mouthed compromisers who only want to slash 95% of the government will continue to suffer the consequences of their moderation, until they join us in the brave new total corporate world of tomorrow.

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