Don’t look now, but there may be a Paul Ryan scandal, or at least a scandalette, and in this context New York magazine blogger Jonathan Chait is both Woodward and Bernstein. In a Monday post, Chait related that Ryan, in the newsmagazine The Week, had named his “six favorite books about economics and democracy,” and that the “huge omission” from the list was Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, which Ryan has so often praised to the skies.
Chait remarked that Ryan appears to be backing away from his politically problematic Randian makers/takers rhetoric and readopting a previous persona: “The new Ryan looks like the Bush-era version, with lots of giving to the rich without all the taking from the poor.”
Breaking news: next year’s CPAC will be sponsored exclusively by Ivory soap, Purell, Lysol, Pine-Sol, and Mr. Clean.
OK, not really, but the joke is based on New York magazine blogger Jonathan Chait’s assertion in a Thursday post that the “hygenic impulse” -- or, as the post’s headline puts it, the “cleanliness fetish” -- of conservatives “helps explain the primal character of the right’s Obamacare hate — its obsession with ‘full repeal,’ a way of conceiving the issue that transcends any specific analysis of policy and instead calls to mind the expunging of a toxin.”
New York magazine political writer Jonathan Chait isn’t a big fan of reform conservatives, but he did comment in a Sunday post that their “worldview,” unlike that of the Republican base, isn’t expressed as “a series of furious scrawlings on mental chalkboards.” (Presumably, Chait figures that the reformicons favor a crisp PowerPoint presentation.)
Chait lauds the reformers for implicitly rejecting the “apocalypticism” of movement conservatives, which holds, in his words, “that Barack Obama’s agenda poses a dire threat to the fabric of American life, that a reversal must be sweeping in its scope and undertaken immediately.”
Hillary Clinton is touring to promote her State Department memoir “Hard Choices,” but most of the news she’s made along the way relates to her personal finances, not her tenure in Foggy Bottom. On Tuesday, New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait examined Hillary’s “dead broke” comment and other recent remarks and revelations about the Clintons’ money with an eye toward whether or not they’ll hamper her presumed presidential campaign.
Chait opined that while some of the Clintons’ “buckraking” constitutes “both a problem of perception and a problem of substance,”Hillary nonetheless has two big economic things going for her heading into 2016: voters’ memories of the strong economy during Bill’s presidency, and the near-certainty that if she becomes the nominee, her opponent will represent “a Republican Party still wedded to the upward redistribution of income as its central policy goal.”
So-called reform conservatives such as David Frum, Michael Gerson, and Ramesh Ponnuru often get relatively favorable attention from liberal journalists -- relative, that is, to Tea Party types, which in turn reinforces the Tea Party's belief that the reformers aren't really conservatives.
Two lefty pundits recently examined the state of reform conservatism. Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne penned an article for the spring issue of the quarterly Democracy in which he analyzed the work of certain reformers and discussed how they might pull the Republican party toward the center. He also denounced the GOP's current message discipline in the service of its supposedly extremist agenda -- or, as Dionne put it, "the right’s version of political correctness."
On June 11, Slate editor Emily Bazelon whipped out the Nazi card against Congressman Trent Franks. The media site, which is an affiliate of the Washington Post, unsurprisingly went after the Republican legislator for his remarks about rape on Wednesday concerning a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks into a pregnancy.
Of course, liberals tried to tie these remarks to Todd Akin, who made scientifically inaccurate statements about sexual assault and pregnancy last year. Yet, even some notables on the left are saying Franks is no Akin.
The April 18 edition of Newsweek trashed Republican Paul Ryan as a "scrooge" who is declaring "war" on poor Americans. The piece by Jonathan Chait ripped the Representative's budget proposal and included this cover headline: "Why GOP Scrooge Paul Ryan Is a Fraud."
The failing publication, which was sold for $1 in 2010, featured an equally vicious headline inside the magazine: "War on the Weak: How the GOP Came to View the Poor as Parasites and the Rich as Our Rightful Rulers."
Coming from a writer for a magazine that pitches itself as liberalism for grownups, Chait’s argument is surprisingly unsophisticated and conspiratorial. Yet it was apparently pleasing enough to lead off this Sunday's edition of the newly revamped Times magazine.
The Republican Party’s presidential-nominating process has always been run by elites. Oh, the voters have their brief moments of triumph, hoisting up an unelectable right-winger (i.e., Pat Buchanan) or an uncontrollable moderate (John McCain, the circa-2000 version). But the establishment always wins. Meeting in their K Street offices and communicating through organs like George Will’s column and National Review, the main financers and organizers settle upon a useful frontman, a reliable vessel for the party’s agenda who -- and this is the crucial part -- is blessed with the requisite political talent. Democrats have been known to mess that last part up and nominate a dweeb, but Republicans have generally understood that an agenda tilted toward the desires of the powerful requires a skilled frontman who can pitch Middle America. Favorite character types include jocks, movie stars, folksy Texans and war heroes.
Although your humble correspondent has crossed swords (nanny note: "crossed swords" is strictly a metaphor) with the senior editor of the The New Republic in the past, he highly recommends Jonathan Chait's latest article in The New Republic, "The Arizona Shooting Is Not A Product Of Right-Wing Rage," as required reading for those members of the mainstream media who have blamed the "right-wing" for the shootings of Congresswoman Gabrille Giffords and others in Arizona on Saturday.
Despite the fact that most of Chait's article displayed some refreshing mental clarity I do have some caveats about it because he does revert to slamming conservatives for supposed extremism on other matters. However, those problems with the article aside for the moment, let us first take a look at Chait correctly chastising those quick to blame "right-wingers" for the Arizona shootings:
Remember all that hype from the liberals until last night about how horrible the Senate ObamaCare was? Yes, they admitted it was a terrible piece of legislation but it was necessary for the House of Representatives to pass it in order for the Senate to somehow improve it via reconciliation. Well, toss that all out the window. Suddenly, sans any change in that formerly detested bill, it has suddenly become a "brilliant" piece of legislation as you can see in this gushing ode to the current unchanged ObamaCare bill by Jonathan Chait of the New Republic:
Historians will see this health care bill as a masterfully crafted piece of legislation. Obama and the Democrats managed to bring together most of the stakeholders and every single Senator in their party. The new law law untangles the dysfunctionalities of the individual insurance market while fulfilling the political imperative of leaving the employer-provided system in place. Through determined advocacy, and against special interest opposition, they put into place numerous reforms to force efficiency into a wasteful system. They found hundreds of billions of dollars in payment offsets, a monumental task in itself. And they will bring economic and physical security to tens of millions of Americans who would otherwise risk seeing their lives torn apart. Health care experts for decades have bemoaned the impossibility of such reforms--the system is wasteful, but the very waste creates a powerful constituency for the status quo. Finally, the Democrats have begun to untangle the Gordian knot. It's a staggering political task and substantive achievement.
It appears that The New Republic senior editor, Jonathan Chait, is a bit irked at your humble correspondent for pointing out that he seems a to have gone off the deep end on the subject of ObamaCare:
Some of us realized all along that there was no rational reason that the Massachusetts election had to kill health care reform. Fundamentally, the main barrier -- getting sixty votes in the Senate -- had already been crossed. The remaining obstacles are puny. All the Democrats needed to do was have the House pass the Senate bill. If they insisted on changes, most of those could easily be made through reconciliation, which only requires a majority vote in the Senate. Most conservatives paid no attention to this basic reality, though they did indulge in some gloating mockery of those of us who pointed it out. (I've "gone off the deep end." "It is all rather pathetic." Etc.)
Few liberals have been more insistent on the inevitability of ObamaCare than The New Republic editor Jonathan Chait (along with his TNR colleague Jonathan Cohn). He is stubbornly clinging to the notion that ObamaCare can be a done deal despite the results of yesterday's election in Massachussets giving Republicans the 41st vote to block it in the Senate. To give you an idea of how far Chait has gone off the deep end, take a look at his money quote on the topic of liberal Democrats who consider the Mass. election a referendum on ObamaCare in his ironically titled column, Mass Hysteria:
Still, it's fairly amazing to me to see the Democrats reacting with such hysteria. It's not just moderates trying to position themselves to the center. Barney Frank and Anthony Weiner are acting like pathetic, emotional cowards. They seem to think that one very attractive candidate beating a hapless foe amounts to a national referendum to which every other member of Congress is bound.
Jonathan! Oh Jonathan! Paging Jonathan Chait! To paraphrase a certain wide stance senator, you've been a bad boy, a naughty boy. In fact, you're probably even a nasty, bad, naughty boy. You see, you've written a long smear of Sarah Palin in the New Republic where you are The senior editor and yet a certain name was missing in your attack. What was that name? Why, Joe Biden. And why is Chait so reluctant to so much as mention Biden nowadays except in passing? Simple. When it looked like Biden had not a chance in the world of ever being nominated for president, Chait felt free to write what he really thought of the verbose senator last year (emphasis mine):
On the east and west coasts today, two liberal columnists unleashed a torrent of vitriol at Hillary and Bill Clinton. At the Los Angeles Times, contributing editor Jonathan Chait [a past master of political hatred] asked Is the right right on the Clintons? Consider these blistering excerpts [emphasis added]:
Something strange happened the other day. All these different people -- friends, co-workers, relatives, people on a liberal e-mail list I read -- kept saying the same thing: They've suddenly developed a disdain for Bill and Hillary Clinton. Maybe this is just a coincidence, but I think we've reached an irrevocable turning point in liberal opinion of the Clintons.
Jonathan Chait is one of the Founding Fathers of Bush Derangement Syndrome. Way back in '03, the New Republic senior editor authored one of BDS's early, seminal works: "The Case for Bush Hatred," whose very sentence was the subtle: "I hate President George W. Bush."
Ah, but Jonathan Chait isn't a mere one-hatred man. As of this morning, we can conclusively state that in addition to his animus toward our nation's chief executive, Jonathan Chait also hates lower taxes.