Thursday, March 3, 2011

a man from somewhere

Who does Ross Douthat think he is? I don't mean that rhetorically. I mean, given this, and a long history of similar-- why does Ross Douthat sometimes adopt the pose of a disinterested outsider? Douthat complains "But the partisan mind sees what it wants to see." Psst! Ross! You wrote a book about the best way forward for the Republican party! Not conservatism, but the Republican party. You are the definition of a partisan. I expect this sort of thing from Will Wilkinson, the showily independent liberaltarian. Douthat is another matter.  Of course, Ross Douthat thinks that the union protesters are the equivalent of the Tea Party; that's precisely what you should expect a partisan Republican to say.

I can only imagine that Douthat is here buying into his own reputation a little too much. You'll have read many, many times how smart and nice Douthat is. He can't hold a candle to the master, of course, but it's a truism that he is smart and nice and reasonable and whatever else fellow. I'm sure he is, too. It's just that this has nothing to do with partisanship, or with being correct on any particular issue, although that fact is always lost in this context, I'm afraid.

I'm never a big fan of when people play politics by pretending not to play.

7 comments:

aboulian said...

'showily independent' is right. i got the bodily shivers reading some of his recent posts -- even though i think ww's prose style is luminous --- the smugness you could put a value to with a geiger counter, the rationalist's abstention from anything humanly material in the name of its invisibility to his logic

Adam Ozimek said...

Similarities between the Tea Party and union protests are seen by "showily independent libertarians" too, not just partisans: http://www.willwilkinson.net/flybottle/2011/02/23/tea-party-local-3624/

Freddie said...

That's what I'm referring to-- I expect false equivalences from Wilkinson, but he at least has some credibility to be seen as coming from outside of partisanship. Douthat is a partisan Republican.

Adam Ozimek said...

I see what you mean. I think it's more likely that Douthat sees himself as strengthening his bipartisan credibility here. If you see the bipartisan take on this as equivalence (although I think exact equivalence is too high a bar to set for useful comparisons, but I'll use you're language here for the sake of argument) then one is showing bipartisanship by taking that stance. If one sees the bipartisan position as non-equivalence, then you need to have established bipartisanship cred to make such a claim.

Adam Ozimek said...

I'd also add that what you'd expect a partisan Republican to say is that the Tea Party was legitimate/peaceful/grass roots, and the union protesters are violent/staged/or something else bad.

I haven't caught Fox News since these protests, but I'd venture that is a very popular position there.

Freddie said...

Hmm true, maybe I am operating under the media bubble mentality here.

Stillwater said...

Isn't Ross playing straight outa the propagandists playbook here? Rhetorical Rule 1: 'Partisans can't help but see things through ideological filters, but not me, I'm above all that. See I just criticized both sides! So you can trust me when I say ...'