Monday, January 31, 2011

Indecision Time

Adam Serwer notes that Republican politicians are hesitating to criticize Barack Obama on Egypt, and generally being very cautious about picking a side there -- Steve Benen points out  that all John McCain could come up with is that the US should be on the "right side of history," but could offer nothing about which side that might be. Meanwhile, as Serwer notes, many conservative pundits have no such hesitations -- in particular, he cites an Eliot Abrams column arguing that George W. Bush is responsible for everything good happening in the world.

This is not surprising. Politicians believe that they could suffer real, damaging consequences if they're caught saying something stupid -- in the next election, whatever they said could easily be thrown up on TV by an opponent. For pundits, on the other hand, it's a lot closer to show biz, where all publicity is good publicity.

But wait a minute, Plain Blogger, you say: Eliot Abrams isn't just a pundit; he was a government official in the Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush administrations, right?

Ah, but this gets to another point: why wouldn't Abrams think he's bulletproof right now? Abrams doesn't have to go before voters; he only has to gain the approval of GOP elites. And, well, if they haven't turned against him by now, what's going to change that?

More broadly, I agree with just about everything Conor Friedersdorf has been saying in a series of terrific posts about the downside for conservatives of the conservative partisan press -- here's the latest.

1 comment:

  1. Friedersdorf's argument reminds me of James Fallow's book, "More Like Us", which was a counter to the alarmists---frightened by Japan's economic growth in the 1970s and 80s---who argued the US needed to become more like Japan (a fine country from all I've heard, but one of the more xenophobic on Earth with very different cultural strengths and weaknesses.


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