Doesn’t look like an olive branch to me. Writing in today’s (Tuesday's) Wall Street Journal, novelist and sometime Republican activist Mark Helprin (not to be confused with Time magazine’s Mark Halperin) takes a series of insulting personal shots at the radio talk show hosts who’ve criticized John McCain for his numerous anti-conservative positions.
Helprin, whose last big political job was working as an advisor to Bob Dole in 1996, calls hosts like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity “hairdressers [who] can talk all day long to one client as they snip...the depth of their thought is truly Oprah-like,” even as Ann Coulter is “relentlessly crocodilian.” For what it's worth, Helprin’s Wikipedia entry calls him a “conservative commentator.”
Helprin blames the “hissy fit” these conservative hosts are having on greedy self-interest, saying if Democrats take the White House, only “a small class of conservatives will benefit. And who might they be? They might be those whose influence and coffers swell on discontent, and who find attacking a President easier and more sensational than the dreary business of defending one. They rose during the Clinton years. Perhaps they are nostalgic. It isn't worth it, however, for the rest of us."
If the goal is to eventually get conservatives and the McCain campaign to join forces for November, such small-minded and petty attacks seem designed only to further deepen the divisions that currently exist.
Here’s a further excerpt of Helprin’s piece from today’s (Tuesday's) Wall Street Journal:
What a kerfuffle! Half a dozen talk-radio hosts whose major talent is that, like hairdressers, they can talk all day long to one client after another as they snip, have decided that the presumptive Republican nominee does not hew sufficiently close to their gospel.
As anyone who has listened to them knows, the depth of their thought is truly Oprah-like. And if a great institution of the left can weigh-in as it does in the choice of a nominee, why not its fraternal twins on the right? It doesn't matter that Mitt Romney, suddenly their Reagan, became a conservative in a flash of light sometime last year, or that their other champion, a populist theocrat, is in many ways as conservative as Vladimir Lenin. The task is to stop the devil McCain.
As a mere print person whose words are not electrified and shot through walls, automobiles, pine trees, and brains, I realize that what I write in the bloody ink of a dying industry may be irrelevant. But from my antiquated perspective, something is very wrong....
If those who are in a hissy fit about Sen. McCain would rather have Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, they will get Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton -- how delightful to go to jail for building your house on land once visited by an exotic moth -- and they will wake up to a great regret, as if in their drunkenness they had taken Shrek to bed.
But, guess what? Even if, as the country veers left, living conservatives gnash their teeth and dead ones spin in their graves, a small class of conservatives will benefit. And who might they be? They might be those whose influence and coffers swell on discontent, and who find attacking a president easier and more sensational than the dreary business of defending one. They rose during the Clinton years. Perhaps they are nostalgic. It isn't worth it, however, for the rest of us.
So, rather than playing recklessly with electoral politics by sabotaging their own party ostensibly for its impurity but equally for the sake of their self-indulgent pique, each of these compulsive talkers might be a tad less self-righteous, look to the long run, discipline himself, suck it up, and be a man. And that would apply equally as well to the gorgeous Laura Ingraham and the relentlessly crocodilian Ann Coulter.