Patterico's Pontifications


Wonkette Seems Pretty Broken Up About the RedState Firings

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:10 pm

A palate cleanser, as Allahpundit likes to say, on a Monday evening as I head to bed. I just ran across this piece at Wonkette that touches on the RedState firings. It’s a surprisingly fair and balanced perspective:

So, I can’t work up any sympathy for those Never Trumpers who got fired from yesterday. You missed your stop and wound up in Trumpland? Too goddamn bad! You hopped on the Hillary Haters Express Bus, and there is no transfer off this line.

Sorry, I am fresh out of fucks to give for people who pushed bullshit about immigrants being dangerous criminals. You think the epidemic of campus sexual assault is PC culture run amok? You don’t need my sympathy — go apply for wingut [sic] welfare.

Same goes for you, Milo!

The “PC culture run amok” link goes to a post by JVW. Thanks a lot, man. If it’s wasn’t for you, I think I could have gotten some respect from these Wonkette people.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

Relationship Issues: The President Is Not Your Father, Nor Should You View Him As Such

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:41 pm

[guest post by Dana]

There is Danger from all Men. The only Maxim of a free Government, ought to be to trust no Man living, with Power to endanger the public Liberty. — John Adams

I typically don’t publish silly reflections from earnest journalists (or anyone else, for that matter) that make me snort derisively, but because Virginia Heffernan’s foolish tweet is so unintentionally instructive as a reminder of how not to view any sitting president, or government itself, I just had to share it:


No, Ms. Heffernan, President Obama wasn’t your father. No president is anyone’s father. That is not who the President of the United States is, or was ever meant to be. Moreover, the person who understands basic human nature and the real role of a “father” would never want to consider any president their “father”.

Of course Heffernan is not alone in her feelings about Obama as her “true father”. This from the Washington Post back in 2012:

In 2008, with the whole “hope and change” narrative – not to mention his youthful good looks and energy – Obama was situated somewhere between Jesus Christ and Rock Star in our collective unconscious. But now look at him. After four sobering years of economic crisis and an Arab Spring that just won’t quit, that increasingly-visible graying of the hair above his ears is symbolic. The President has aged, matured, and – like the rest of us parents – seems both wiser and wearier as a result.

It’s evident in the way that he speaks to us. As I’ve watch the presidential debates with my own kids, I’ve been struck by how parental he sounds. Particularly in the third and final debate, where the president could barely mask his disdain for Mitt Romney’s less-than-up-to-date grasp of our military, many pundits – including my colleague, Melinda Henneberger – saw his tone as patronizing, and wondered whether it wouldn’t alienate undecided women voters in particular.

Patronizing? Perhaps. But isn’t that what parents do? They tell us what’s good for us in an “eat your spinach” sort of way and get exasperated, at times, when we just don’t “get it.” And the most annoying part of that schtick, as we all know, is that they’re often right.

It helps that the president is himself, by all accounts, a devoted father…

None of which is to take anything away from Romney, who also appears to be a devoted family man. But somehow, Romney doesn’t come across as our collective Dad. That may be because since he hasn’t (yet, anyway) inhabited the Oval Office…

After her husband was no longer the president, Michelle Obama likened her husband as the good father, and Trump as the irresponsible father:

“I think what we see is what happens when we take things for granted. For the eight years Barack was president, it was like having the ‘good parent’ at home,” she said at the Simmons Leadership Conference in Boston.

“The responsible parent, the one who told you to eat your carrots and go to bed on time. And now we have the other parent. We thought it’d feel fun, maybe it feels fun for now because we can eat candy all day and stay up late, and not follow the rules.”

Lest you think this misconception of the role of a president happens only on the left, John Kasich reminded us it also happens on the right:

“I was a congressman in a governor’s office. And one day, my wife says, you know, I was still, like, being a smart aleck, thinking I could say jokes. I was moving a little too fast. My wife says: ‘You’re the father of Ohio. Why don’t you act like it?’ Its in the book – and I changed.

When you’re running a big job like that, you have to not only use your head, but your heart, and they have to work together. And what he needs to know is he’s the father of America, and that carries a heavy responsibility.”

And then there is our current president. Jim Geraghty at NRO warned us about the president-as-father problem when he shared a moment from one of Trump’s campaign rallies:

A historically literate conservative stands on a soapbox, addressing a crowd.

“As Americans, we are born free men and women. Our rights are endowed by our Creator, and our forefathers fought and died to protect that principle,” he pleads. “We do not need a nanny state! We are not children! The state is not our family! The president is not our father!”

To which all the Donald Trump supporters in the audience reply: “Daddy’s going to win! Daddy’s going to win! Hooray!”

Michael Cohen – that Michael Cohen once said, “To those of us who are close to Mr. Trump, he is more than our boss. He is our patriarch.”

I don’t know how much Virgina Heffernan is representative of our nation as a whole, but I think on both sides of the aisle, the country is made up of more damaged adults with unresolved daddy issues more than we’re willing to admit. And they’re looking for a surrogate father in the Oval Office. And worse, too many politicians are more than willing to assume that role. The dangers of of a symbiotic neediness and arrogance speaks for itself. This results in a diminishment of real-life fathering, and can be seen when one considers the tremendously difficult, time-consuming and frequently heartbreaking work that good fathering in real life requires. And especially when one considers that good fathering – real fathering – comes from an individual who loves his child so much so that he would not hesitate to lay down his life for him. This is not your president, then or now. Even if that president sees himself as such. Even if you see him that way. He isn’t. And he should never be regarded as such.

Geraghty, in his prescient warning, summed it up:

If you’re hoping Trump will be that strong, protective father figure you always wanted, you’re going to be deeply disappointed. You’re also going to be disappointed by Clinton, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, or Bernie Sanders. This isn’t a matter of their character; it’s a categorizing error. The job of the president is not to be your dad. If you want a mentor — an older, wise voice of experience in your life, go ahead and go find one. The world is full of good people who can perform that role. But the folks busy competing to be the next commander-in-chief aren’t among them.

There’s something a little unnerving about an eagerness to see a famous person you don’t know as a father figure. Maybe it’s not quite as bad as the people who talk to their televisions as if the characters can hear them, or the horror-movie-watcher who yells out, ‘Don’t go in there!’ as if the person on the screen can heed the warning. But it certainly suggests the same blurred line between daily life and the faraway world of famous figures on the screen.

P.S. As for Heffernan’s stated concerns about the media: It looks like she is very much a part of the media.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


A Note About My L.A. Times Op-Ed on the RedState Firings

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:50 am

In my L.A. Times op-ed about Friday’s firings at RedState, I concluded with this statement:

No one media outlet is crucial to the conservative movement, but RedState did represent a rare place where conservatives were still allowed to express negative opinions about Trump in a freewheeling and robust manner. Now it’s a safe space for Trump supporters. The site is still there, but the ideal is gone.

If I had written the op-ed today, I would have used the term “safer space” and not “safe space.” That’s more accurate, and more fair to the people who still work there.

I wrote the op-ed Friday morning, two hours after learning the news that six of the most vocal critics of Trump at the site had been fired. It was a criticism of management, not of the remaining writers. The point was that management has a goal of making the site a safe space for Trump fans, and by firing a crop of loud Trump critics all on the same day, in a rude and unexpected fashion, they sent their message loud and clear. (As for the “rude and unexpected” part: according to The Atlantic, editor Caleb Howe “got the news while driving from his home in North Carolina to Washington to meet with Townhall Media, the arm of Salem Media which owns RedState, about Facebook strategy.” That’s cold.)

There has been some pushback on Twitter from some of the remaining writers, who point out that there are still Trump critics at the site. That is true. Since the firings, a few pieces critical of Trump have been published. For example: No, President Trump Does Not Deserve The Nobel Peace Prize; Don’t Get Angry About Mean Insult Comics If You Helped Put One In The Oval Office; and President Trump Continues To Walk Back Campaign Promises Regarding Wall’s Funding And Planned Parenthood. I’m very pleased to see that and I have shared the pieces on social media.

However, let’s not pretend that the firings weren’t designed to send a message. The people purged on Friday were some of the loudest critics of the president. And some of the defenses of Salem that I have seen — that the firings were based on traffic, or on the cost of the contracts — are just not true. The people let go included a mix of traffic earners; some were consistently the highest traffic earners, some posted more sporadically and were not. I’ve also learned more about the cost of the contracts, and there are definitely people who remain who get paid more per click than people who were let go.

Nor is it true that Trump criticism killed the site. Ben Domenech made that charge in his newsletter yesterday, but his analysis was laughably wrong. For example:

No, this was an ideological purge. They just didn’t get everyone. But they did get most of the loudest voices, and sent a message to the rest.

In short, if the people at RedState are feeling defensive, it’s understandable — but any defensiveness results from the decisions made by management. Management had every right to make those decisions, but the way they did it was (in my view) unwise, and had a lot of collateral consequences that they didn’t think through. One of those consequences was a very public perception that the site has made a sudden lurch in a pro-Trump direction. If the remaining writers are hurt by that perception, they should blame management’s decision to purge the loudest Trump critics in one day, not the people who pointed it out.

With one exception (a poster who goes by the moniker streiff) I respect the remaining writers at RedState. Some of them are among my favorite writers on the Web, after Dana and JVW. Folks like Kimberly Ross and Jim Jamitis have consistently written pieces opposing hyperpartisanship — and it was pieces like that, more than anything else, that made me proud to be associated with RedState.

Two things are true at the same time. The remaining writers are people of integrity who won’t knuckle under to threats. At the same time, management has sent a shot across the bow: vigorous criticism of Trump is not welcome at RedState. How that tension resolves remains to be seen, although signs since Friday are positive.

Some may think that no message has been sent by management. If so, I think that’s naive. But at least some of the remaining writers seem to understand that the message is to get in line — and they are saying they’re not going to do it.

Good for them. I wish them luck.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

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