A great many movement conservatives weren’t fans of Richard Nixon’s presidency, to the point that some of them, including William F. Buckley Jr., William Rusher, and M. Stanton Evans, backed a 1972 primary challenge to Nixon by Rep. John Ashbrook of Ohio.
But has Nixon, despite his ideological squishiness, greatly influenced today’s Republican party? New Yorker blogger Jeff Shesol says he has. In a Wednesday post, Shesol, a former speechwriter for President Clinton, essentially asserted that modern conservatism consists of Ronald Reagan’s principles but Nixon’s attitude, specifically his “sour brand of politics: the politics of resentment.” Parading one’s resentments, Shesol remarked, “has become a kind of reflex on the right, to the point of self-parody.” From Shesol’s post (emphasis added):
Jeff Shesol, a presidential speechwriter during Bill Clinton’s second term as well as a book and comic-strip author, posted a piece Friday on The New Yorker’s website about “how Republicans have learned to stop worrying and love the lawsuit” – or, less charitably, about conservatives setting aside their traditional opposition to judicial activism whenever an activist decision would benefit them.
Shesol argued that on matters such as Obamacare and gun control, “the right is having it both ways when it comes to the courts…[C]onservatives are doing exactly what they say the left has long done: rushing to litigate political questions, elevating all manner of disputes to the level of high constitutional principle, and asking judges to settle (or revisit) policy arguments that ought to be resolved by legislators or voters.”
HealthCare.gov is so insecure that IT experts say they wouldn't use it themselves. The supposedly firm November 30 deadline for the web site's repair and recovery really isn't. Back-end problems abound. Earlier this week, Henry Chao told a congressional committee that "the back-office systems, the accounting systems, the payment systems, they still need be built." That is, they apparently haven't been started.
This is the time the New Yorker Magazine has chosen to publish a column (HT James Taranto at the Wall Street Journal's Best of the Web) by former Bill Clinton speechwriter Jeff Shesol officially entitled "The Republican War on Competence." The browser window title is even funnier: "Obamacare and the Republican War on Competence." You can't make this up. Shesol's content is just as hysterical.
NPR's Ari Shapiro emphasized the possible political benefits for President Obama on Thursday's Morning Edition in the aftermath of the death of Osama bin Laden. Shapiro lined up sound bites from three pundits who touted the "big moment" for the "bold" President and how it amounted to a "fundamental shift in the way Americans perceive Mr. Obama."
Midway through his report, the correspondent introduced a clip from former Bill Clinton speechwriter Jeff Shesol: "He [Shesol] believes this week could mark a fundamental shift in the way Americans perceive Mr. Obama." The Clinton alum claimed that it would be "very hard after this moment to suggest that President Obama doesn't have the guts to make tough calls, to make bold and risky calls...and then to go ahead because he knows it to be the right thing to do."