Old Snake Oil in a New Bottle

Look out Onion, you have competition from the most venerable newspaper in the country,

Can the G.O.P. Be a Party of Ideas?

screams the headline of a magazine article by Sam Tannenhaus on July 2.  The article is accompanied by a Vogue-like photo spread with the brave conservative intellectuals  posing  like the Founding Fathers hard at work drafting the Constitution in an ornate room complete with crumpled papers strewn all over the wooden floor.

Short answer: No.

These ideas men ( because they are mostly men) are calling themselves reform conservatives now. I guess the tag compassionate conservative and/or tea-partier no longer sells. The article itself goes on to give the so called reform conservatives a tongue bath, especially Ramesh Ponnuru and Yuval Levin, going so far as to call them intellectual prodigies.  Really? Squeaky voiced Ponnuru whose only book is titled, Party of Death is an intellectual prodigy now? Talk about soft bigotry of low expectations.

Writing the Declaration of Independence

This is not the first time I have found lavish praise for the tired ideas produced by these intellectual pillars of the right in the estimable Times. A month ago, David Brooks wrote a column praising the economic ideas of the YG network short for Young Guns* Network.  Reading Brooks’ article, most of the proposals in the collection of essays “ Room to Grow” come down to one of three ideas, decentralization, deregulation and tax credits. In other words, same old, same old, but  with a spanking new marketing campaign that Don Draper would be envious of.


Young Guns :  Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan and Kevin McCarthy

Posted on July 15, 2014, in Current News, Economy, Media, Politics and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Tanenhaus is a longtime, well-paid conservative apologist for the NYT; he’s the guy they keep around so Brooks can position himself as a “centrist.” He wrote a admiring biography of Whittaker Chambers — with grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities (headed at the time by Lynne Cheney) and the Olin foundation (funders of wingnut welfare).

  2. Sounds like a great example of Betteridge’s Law of Headlines: Any headline which ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.

  3. It’ll be interesting to see how long the rebranding lasts.

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