The Other McCain

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WEIGEL RESIGNS

Posted on | June 25, 2010 | 123 Comments

This is not good news for conservatives, no matter how much you hate Dave Weigel.

UPDATE: In an e-mail to several bloggers last night, I observed:

[O]nce the WaPo axed Ben Domenech, it was more than four years before they again tried a “conservative” blog. As someone who is BCC’d said to me on the phone Thursday, Dave is “about the best we can expect” from the Post. So there’s nothing to be gained by conservatives doing a takedown on Weigel, and perhaps a good deal to be lost.

Ah, vain hope. The “No Conservatives Need Apply” policy at WaPo may now be regarded as a permanent fixture.

UPDATE II: Dan Riehl disagrees with me. But I never argue with Dan.

UPDATE IIIPhilip Klein at The American Spectator:

It should also be noted that he went on Keith Olbermann’s show and shot down a story about Sarah Palin committing perjury that had been lighting up the liberal blogs and defended Cato’s Michael Cannon against a “dishonest and unfair hit” by the Center for American Progress.

Pamela Geller, on the other hand:

This is the asshat who sided with chuckie the traitor, and slammed Spencer and me, among . . .

I’m not aware that Weigel “sided with” Charles Johnson, but perhaps I missed something. At any rate, in a phone conversation just now with a conservative activist/blogger, I located what may be the deepest root of my pain over this episode: Weigel’s short tenure at the WaPo will be woven into the “conservatives don’t do journalism” narrative that Matthew Yglesias and his liberal buddies have been weaving for the past couple of years.

UPDATE IV: Conservative operative Liz Mair:

[P]erhaps the Post could pursue someone like Phil Klein or Eli Lake or Jim Antle.  It would demonstrate good faith towards conservatives, and help the Post continue to drive in a direction that seems to be benefiting it, in terms of audience.

Not. Gonna. Happen. However, Liz also theorizes:

A lot of leaking has been done with the clear objective (I believe) of ruining Dave’s career, and forcing his ouster by the Washington Post.  I suspect it is happening because Dave committed the cardinal sin of defending Rand Paul, a figure who has become so reviled by many on the Left that it’s hard to draw a bright-line distinction between him and Saddam Hussein, by their standards (in fact, for some of them, I believe Saddam Hussein is held in less contempt).  That’s a bad place for Dave to be, but he got there because he had the courage of his convictions and defending a man who many on the Right consider almost indefensible — and he did it at the Washington Post, not Reason Magazine.

Ah, well. Water under the bridge. Weigel under the bus. Ace isn’t wasting any tears on Dave. Sad to see that among the few bloggers saying anything in Weigel’s defense is . . . wait for it . . . Andrew Sullivan.

Yeah. Kiss of death. Dave who? Never heard of the guy.

(Rooster crows three times.)

UPDATE V: In the comments, Moe Lane makes a good point:

“The thing that strikes me about this is how little input in the affair actual conservatives have had.”

Exactly. News organizations don’t hire conservatives. Therefore, conservatives don’t seek careers in journalism and instead become lawyers or accountants or stock brokers or whatever.

Ergo, none of the people making decisions in MSM newsrooms are conservatives. Where set A = “employees of news organizations” and set B = “conservatives,” we see that as the closer set AB approaches to zero, the more likely journalists are to view conservatives as The Other, and vice-versa.

If you think such a situation is a good thing, then you’re obviously congratulating yourself about Dave Weigel’s downfall, and you don’t want to hear the explanation of my disagreement.

UPDATE VI: Not to say there isn’t an upside: Ezra Klein has deep-sixed Journolist as a result of the Weigel affair. Little Miss Attila says the list had become “blackmail fodder.”

I spoke to Weigel by phone this afternoon. He’s fine, and is currently deciding which of three or four job offers to accept. He admits that he succumbed to hubris, but wasn’t interested in rehashing the back-story of this whole mess. He said he was going somewhere this evening to chill out.

Ed Morrissey says “Dave and I are on friendly terms,” so there’s that, and Ed engages in the “who leaked from Journolist and why?” theorizing that is the really intriguing angle here. The more I think about it, the more I suspect that Liz Mair was on the money in suspecting that Dave’s defense of Rand Paul motivated the leak.

Matt Welch at Reason recounts the saga for the benefit of Weigel’s former readers at Reason, and Ed Driscoll has a long and excellent round-up of reaction.

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Comments

  • http://powerandcontrol.blogspot.com/ M. Simon

    I’m a member of the government can’t fix the drug problem, government can’t fix the abortion problem, and government can’t fix the perversity problem libertarian right (government can kill people and break things – which is useful in some very limited situations).

    I have a lot of trouble with conservatives who believe government can fix much of anything. So to my conservative friends all I can say is:

    Your faith in government is misplaced

    Liberals believe government can fix things by money taken at the point of a gun. Conservatives skip the money part and go straight for the guns. (gross generalizations of course but this is a comment – not even a blog post)

    I dunno – haven’t conservatives ever heard of limited government?

    Conservatives lost control of Congress when they painted themselves as the social control party. Liberals will be losing over being the economic control party. Do we wish to keep repeating that cycle?

  • http://powerandcontrol.blogspot.com/ M. Simon

    I’m a member of the government can’t fix the drug problem, government can’t fix the abortion problem, and government can’t fix the perversity problem libertarian right (government can kill people and break things – which is useful in some very limited situations).

    I have a lot of trouble with conservatives who believe government can fix much of anything. So to my conservative friends all I can say is:

    Your faith in government is misplaced

    Liberals believe government can fix things by money taken at the point of a gun. Conservatives skip the money part and go straight for the guns. (gross generalizations of course but this is a comment – not even a blog post)

    I dunno – haven’t conservatives ever heard of limited government?

    Conservatives lost control of Congress when they painted themselves as the social control party. Liberals will be losing over being the economic control party. Do we wish to keep repeating that cycle?

  • Mike G

    Better to reign in Congress than serve in the small government the Founders envisioned, I guess, M. Simon.

  • Mike G

    Better to reign in Congress than serve in the small government the Founders envisioned, I guess, M. Simon.

  • http://powerandcontrol.blogspot.com/ M. Simon

    I served in the breaking things and killing people wing of government.

  • http://powerandcontrol.blogspot.com/ M. Simon

    I served in the breaking things and killing people wing of government.

  • Mwalimu Daudi

    Conservatives lost control of Congress when they painted themselves as the social control party.

    You are confusing conservatives with the Republican Party. They are not synonymous. The GOP did not lose control of Congress because of abortion or gay marriage or any other social issue. The GOP lost control of Congress because it became indistinguishable from the Democrat Party in terms of incompetence, corruption and reckless spending.

    Conservatives never had control of Congress. At best they could block things sometimes, but TARP, amnesty for illegals, and Bush’s wild domestic spending spree were detested by conservatives. Trouble is not many Republican officeholders stood against this crapola, which is why they got clobbered in 2006 and 2008.

    BTW: Schwarzenegger, Dede Scozzofava, Arlen Specter, Michael Bloomberg, Charlie Crist, and a host of other “socially moderate fiscally conservative Republicans” have pretty much run the GOP into the ground since Bush’s departure. It’s no accident that almost all of the loudest voices advocating gay marriage and abortion rights are also full-blown socialists who want the government to regulate every other aspect of our lives. It is an axiom of politics that “social moderates” are anything but moderate.

  • Mwalimu Daudi

    Conservatives lost control of Congress when they painted themselves as the social control party.

    You are confusing conservatives with the Republican Party. They are not synonymous. The GOP did not lose control of Congress because of abortion or gay marriage or any other social issue. The GOP lost control of Congress because it became indistinguishable from the Democrat Party in terms of incompetence, corruption and reckless spending.

    Conservatives never had control of Congress. At best they could block things sometimes, but TARP, amnesty for illegals, and Bush’s wild domestic spending spree were detested by conservatives. Trouble is not many Republican officeholders stood against this crapola, which is why they got clobbered in 2006 and 2008.

    BTW: Schwarzenegger, Dede Scozzofava, Arlen Specter, Michael Bloomberg, Charlie Crist, and a host of other “socially moderate fiscally conservative Republicans” have pretty much run the GOP into the ground since Bush’s departure. It’s no accident that almost all of the loudest voices advocating gay marriage and abortion rights are also full-blown socialists who want the government to regulate every other aspect of our lives. It is an axiom of politics that “social moderates” are anything but moderate.

  • ATL

    “The “No Conservatives Need Apply” policy at WaPo may now be regarded as a permanent fixture.”

    Since when has this not been their rule? In my opinion, the fact that we do not have a deck chair on their sinking ship is a positive, not a negative. These douche-bags have been imploding for years…..let’em burn.

  • ATL

    “The “No Conservatives Need Apply” policy at WaPo may now be regarded as a permanent fixture.”

    Since when has this not been their rule? In my opinion, the fact that we do not have a deck chair on their sinking ship is a positive, not a negative. These douche-bags have been imploding for years…..let’em burn.

  • JMH

    It was an illusion for the left to act as if they could tolerate a conservative journalist. Weigel was the political equivalent of the one black friend that the racist points to prove he’s not really racist…

    Only true if the “one black friend” was actually a Prussian in blackface. But I like the metaphor. Weigel wasn’t a conservative in any sense, and was the kind of libertarian that gives libertarians a bad name. The journolist posts show him without the makeup on.

    On top of that, he was quite a crude little snot. The posts show that too.

    RSM is right that the MSM doesn’t really hire conservatives, and we should remember that the next time a “conservative” lands a job at one of the dinosaur media outlets.

  • JMH

    It was an illusion for the left to act as if they could tolerate a conservative journalist. Weigel was the political equivalent of the one black friend that the racist points to prove he’s not really racist…

    Only true if the “one black friend” was actually a Prussian in blackface. But I like the metaphor. Weigel wasn’t a conservative in any sense, and was the kind of libertarian that gives libertarians a bad name. The journolist posts show him without the makeup on.

    On top of that, he was quite a crude little snot. The posts show that too.

    RSM is right that the MSM doesn’t really hire conservatives, and we should remember that the next time a “conservative” lands a job at one of the dinosaur media outlets.

  • Steve

    “[P]erhaps the Post could pursue someone like Phil Klein ..”

    Of course, good old Phil Klein – Rudy Giuliani booster and open borders fan. That should make conservatives happy!

  • Steve

    “[P]erhaps the Post could pursue someone like Phil Klein ..”

    Of course, good old Phil Klein – Rudy Giuliani booster and open borders fan. That should make conservatives happy!

  • Steve

    News organizations don’t hire conservatives. Therefore, conservatives don’t seek careers in journalism and instead become lawyers or accountants or stock brokers or whatever.

    Ergo, none of the people making decisions in MSM newsrooms are conservatives. Where set A = “employees of news organizations” and set B = “conservatives,” we see that as the closer set AB approaches to zero, the more likely journalists are to view conservatives as The Other, and vice-versa.

    If you think such a situation is a good thing, then you’re obviously congratulating yourself about Dave Weigel’s downfall ..

    ———————————

    I don’t see the connection there, at all. Assuming that everything you say in the first two paragraphs is correct, how does the ouster of one of the many lefties in newsprint have ANY impact on conservatives in media?

    What you say would only make sense if Weigel was on the right in some sense. But he sure as hell is not. He’s a pretty typical left-libertarian.

  • Steve

    News organizations don’t hire conservatives. Therefore, conservatives don’t seek careers in journalism and instead become lawyers or accountants or stock brokers or whatever.

    Ergo, none of the people making decisions in MSM newsrooms are conservatives. Where set A = “employees of news organizations” and set B = “conservatives,” we see that as the closer set AB approaches to zero, the more likely journalists are to view conservatives as The Other, and vice-versa.

    If you think such a situation is a good thing, then you’re obviously congratulating yourself about Dave Weigel’s downfall ..

    ———————————

    I don’t see the connection there, at all. Assuming that everything you say in the first two paragraphs is correct, how does the ouster of one of the many lefties in newsprint have ANY impact on conservatives in media?

    What you say would only make sense if Weigel was on the right in some sense. But he sure as hell is not. He’s a pretty typical left-libertarian.

  • Steve

    He’s a member of set F, the so-called cosmopolitan Libertarians. In other words he’s pro-drug, pro-abortion, pro-perversity, the kind of guy who writes for Reason. He is for a smaller government, but only because government interferes with absolute personal autonomy.

    ——————————-

    Based on my fairly extensive readings at Reason, I don’t think you can even say that they favor smaller government. At least if you define smaller government as one that spends less money: a lot of these left-libertarians define smaller government as one that legalizes drugs and abortion, regardless of what else it does. You don’t see a lot of articles calling for the scrapping of the Dept of Education in Reason.

  • Steve

    He’s a member of set F, the so-called cosmopolitan Libertarians. In other words he’s pro-drug, pro-abortion, pro-perversity, the kind of guy who writes for Reason. He is for a smaller government, but only because government interferes with absolute personal autonomy.

    ——————————-

    Based on my fairly extensive readings at Reason, I don’t think you can even say that they favor smaller government. At least if you define smaller government as one that spends less money: a lot of these left-libertarians define smaller government as one that legalizes drugs and abortion, regardless of what else it does. You don’t see a lot of articles calling for the scrapping of the Dept of Education in Reason.

  • Steve

    “That’s just it. No one will “take his place.” That “place” just ceased to exist.”

    Since the place in question was a place where an extremely faux righty made sneering comments about the right, I don’t see why its loss is supposed to be a loss for the right.

    You’re acting like the WaPo just canned Bill Buckley. Get a grip.

  • Steve

    “That’s just it. No one will “take his place.” That “place” just ceased to exist.”

    Since the place in question was a place where an extremely faux righty made sneering comments about the right, I don’t see why its loss is supposed to be a loss for the right.

    You’re acting like the WaPo just canned Bill Buckley. Get a grip.

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  • Aidan

    With regards to your statement that “news organizations don’t hire conservatives” and that WaPo has a “Conservative need not apply” policy…are you sure we’re reading the same Washington Post? This is the paper that features the likes of Charles Krauthammer, Robert Kagan, Marc Thiessen, George Will, etc, correct? I don’t think you would disagree that these writers are all undeniably conservative and were all, presumably, hired (I would imagine that is the step before their columns begin appearing in the newspaper). I have my problems with the reporting and decision making at the Washington Post, but a lack of conservative voices is not one of its major shortcomings. I think you’re smarter than to fall into the old conservative media self-pity trap.

  • Aidan

    With regards to your statement that “news organizations don’t hire conservatives” and that WaPo has a “Conservative need not apply” policy…are you sure we’re reading the same Washington Post? This is the paper that features the likes of Charles Krauthammer, Robert Kagan, Marc Thiessen, George Will, etc, correct? I don’t think you would disagree that these writers are all undeniably conservative and were all, presumably, hired (I would imagine that is the step before their columns begin appearing in the newspaper). I have my problems with the reporting and decision making at the Washington Post, but a lack of conservative voices is not one of its major shortcomings. I think you’re smarter than to fall into the old conservative media self-pity trap.