Right-leaning New York Times columnist Ross Douthat was thrown into the David Brooks chair on the weekly political roundatable on NPR's All Things Considered Friday. NPR anchor Robert Siegel insisted Rick Perry had a whole set of strange and anti-scientific statements that suggest he's "too far right" to be electable. Notice how NPR just rolls up everything they disagree with and loads it into one question for the "conservative" panelist:
SIEGEL: Let's start with Rick Perry and the Republicans. Perry used the word treasonous in connection with Chairman Bernanke. He claimed, against all evidence, that scientists are abandoning the idea that global warming is, in part, caused by human activity. He described evolution as a theory that's out there and got some gaps in it. Is there room, first of all, for those ideas on a winning Republican national ticket or is Rick Perry simply too far right? What do you think, Ross?
Liberals like Robert Siegel can't stand anyone questioning the scientific theory of global warming, and left out large chunks of what Perry said. The governor of Texas mentioned politicized data manipulation (as seen in the Climategate e-mails) and questioned whether we should spend trillions of dollars to combat a future threat that may not be so threatening.
Then there's this: even if a voter accepts that global warming is real and dangerous, can the proponents of "Science" achieve actual temperature reduction after trillions of dollars are spent? If America spends trillons and China continues to blast out carbon emissions, is that worth our sacrifice? NPR likes to parade around as the intellectually serious network. But they don't really want to engage those issues. They want to simmer about Perry in their own pot of smugness.
Here's some of what Perry said, as CBS relayed:
The Texas governor was appearing at a New Hampshire breakfast event with business leaders Wednesday morning when he said "there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects."
Perry said scientists are coming forward almost daily to question "the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing the climate to change." He said the climate is changing but that it has been changing "ever since the earth was formed."
Douthat took Siegel's hardball and, just like a David Brooks, insisted Perry was the "Republican id," not a voice of reason:
DOUTHAT: Well, I think what we're seeing with Perry this week is an example of both his enormous strength and his potential weakness. I think that the secret of Perry's success has always been his ability to sort of, what you might say, channel the right wing id, in a sense. He's a politician in a deep red, very Republican state, who has played politics in that state very effectively by always getting a little bit out in front of whatever the current conservative mood is.
And you saw this in his primary campaign against Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson where he effectively rode the Tea Party wave almost before people realized there was a Tea Party wave.
SIEGEL: But do you hear a candidate being tactical or a man who's just impulsive and can't control what he's saying?
DOUTHAT: Well, I think with many successful politicians, it's hard to separate sort of impulse from successful tactics. I don't think anything that Perry has said this week is necessarily going to hurt him in the early Republican primary states and that's obviously what he's focused on right now. But it is - clearly, he's a more problematic candidate for the general election than, say, a Mitt Romney would be.
Siegel wasn't done on his Exposing the Wacko segment:
SIEGEL: He led Jon Huntsman, E.J., to tweet this, "To be clear, I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy."
DIONNE: I wonder if that helps or hurts Huntsman among Republican primary voters. I mean, I just want to say that I will never accuse my friend Ross of treason, no matter how much I disagree with him. And I think his reaching for that told us something about Rick Perry. That's not a word you reach to first when you disagree with someone. I think this is someone who is quite capable of verbal self-immolation. I agree with Ross. Right now, he does channel the Republican id.
But I think if unemployment is above 11 percent, then this strong and somewhat demagogic guy has a chance. But I think if it goes much below 9 percent, which I pray and hope it does for all of our sakes, I think a lot of middle-of-the-road voters are gonna look at him, particularly outside the South, and say, this is too much.
Of course, then NPR turned to Obama, and Siegel stuck to how liberals perceived the world: "A lot of his supporters don't hear the president making an energetic and persuasive case." Translation: Not liberal enough. Dionne agreed that Obama wasn't energetic enough against Republicans, and" I think they should put aside their qualms and put out a full program that includes a lot of stimulus."
Sadly, Douthat then actually enunciated the Brooks line, word for word: "I basically agree with E.J." Why can't Douthat suggest the "stimulus" was an enormous flop? Conservatives are not supposed to agree with E.J., they're supposed to engage E.J. in debate. But that's apparently not allowed on National Liberal Radio.