Saturday, April 11, 2015

10 Years After: 2012 -- Redundancies

The 10th blogiversary fundraiser continues with the Presidential Election year of 2012.

Some people forget that the New York Times keeps a tiny, backup Conservative on-hand.

Just in case.

The NYT's Auxiliary, Backup Conservative 

Would like to share his thoughts with you.
The address made plain what has been increasingly obvious for some time. After flirting with the role of the reasonable centrist after his party’s defeat in 2010, President Obama has decided to run for re-election as a full-throated liberal populist.
Like the many of his compatriots within the ivied cloister of our Establishment Punditocracy -- from David Brooks and his ludicrous asymmetriphobic obsession with Centrism to Tom Friedman and his embarrassing public extrusions of rambly, malformed English in defense of Third Party fairy tales (from the Columbia Journalism Review) --
Over the weekend, The New York Times op-ed page published one of Tom Friedman’s periodic columns about the need for a uprising of the “radical center.” It was, unsurprisingly, terrible. Though the details of these columns change with each iteration—this one relied heavily on a new initiative called Americans Elect, which brings together two of Friedman’s favorite things, wealthy people and the Internet—the basic wrongheadedness does not.

Friedman’s idea seems to be that if only we can find some reform that will allow us to “break the oligopoly of the two-party system,” it might, someday, be possible for someone who holds 90 percent of Barack Obama’s stated policy positions—plus support for a carbon tax—to assume a position of power. Then, for reasons that aren’t entirely clear—maybe because some fantasy vice president (Michael Bloomberg?) applies some of his “pragmatic independent” pixie dust?—political dysfunction disappears, and a magical new era of “superconsensus” to solve our “superhard” problems is ushered in. Startlingly, this consensus seems to closely reflect many of Friedman’s personal policy preferences.

Friedman has been engaged in third-party wishcasting for at least five years now; Brendan Nyhan’s excellent, running blog post on third-party media hype records that back in the 2006 election cycle, Friedman longed for a “Geo-Green Party.” His “radical center” phase, though, seems to be inspired by the Tea Party era. Friedman has devoted columns to this mythical middle at least three times since spring 2010. They’re as predictable as the tides, or a hackneyed lede about a conversation with a taxi driver or tech entrepreneur.
--  I long ago lost interest in the meat and taters of what Mr. Douthat had to say about pretty much everything.

Instead, like Brooks and Friedman, it is the mere fact of  Mr. Douthat's existence that I find fascinating. As if the Opportunity rover had suddenly spotted a Fiddler Crab wandering the surface of Mars while singing honky-tonk in Portuguese, or an archivist had unearthing a manuscript proving that Leonardo da Vinci was 77 meters tall and that he invented bar codes and Velcro, it would not be the physical size of such  discoveries -- their weight or height -- that would make them profound, but the implications of those discoveries which would reorder our thinking about the Universe.

Thus it is with Ross Douthat -- a silly little man scuttling across the surface of a world where every notion of common sense and meritocracy says he should not be.  And scuttling right along beside him?  Mr. Brooks and Mr Friedman, each also blithe defying the laws of logic and competence and prospering in an environment where they really, really have no business existing at all.  All protected within an expensive and well-maintained media bunker which prevents any of the consequences of their follies and idiocies from blowing back on them in the slightest degree.

It is a puzzle, and as someone who is both very interested in how all kinds of organizations perform -- in how and why they succeed or fail or bamboozle themselves into committing suicide -- and who also loves fiddling with minimum information puzzles, I find it almost irresistible to try and deduce what possible concatenation of dysfunctions, delusions and very poor management decisions must have taken place at the New York Times to result in them simultaneously ensconcing Messrs. Douthat, Friedman and Brooks together on the editorial page of America's Newspaper of Record.

Such is my curse.

1 comment:

Cirze said...

Somebody's gotta do it, I guess.

I've been ignoring them for several years now, and it doesn't change my reality at all (so, there's that upside).

I now watch Link TV, Free Speech TV (FSTV) and RT (Russia Today) whenever I feel a need for TV-provided (or major newspaper-provided) information.

Non-neolib/neocon information.

Clears the head.

I recommend it.

Love you guys!