Sunday, August 31, 2008

PLEASING THE AFFILIATES. Stop the presses: "Ross admits he's rooting for Palin to succeed. I should admit it too: I can't think of the last time I've wanted a politician to succeed more. She may turn out to be a disappointment one way or another. And I think I've been evenhanded about the political risks here. But just so folks know, lest they can't figure it out, I really want her to pull this off. " -- Jonah Goldberg, National Review

Who on God's green earth wondered whether Goldberg wanted the Republican ticket to win? His assurance comes right after a post in which he actually argues that "Alaskan governors deal a lot more with international and national security issues than, say the Governor of Arkansas. There are all sorts of treaty issues, missile defense stuff, bases, etc up there." (His source points out that Palin has negotiated placement of a gas pipeline through Canada and is "commander of the Alaskan National Guard," and that her state is located near Russia.)

This is certainly part of National Review's constituent service -- that is, a show of responsiveness to the right-wing nuts who write them letters. The magazine is a lightning rod for folks who have become aware that some high-end vendors of conservative guff -- including a few in the Review's own pages --have decided to defend their own long-term prospects as such by complaining about the decision to nominate Palin.

Populism is a tough gig, whoever's doing it. The mob, sometimes dignified with the name "base," recognizes Palin as a right-wing folk hero in the mold of Dale Evans, and wants no message diversity from the pointy-heads allegedly in their camp. When they see posts in friendly precincts that are not full-throated roars of approval for the new Queen of the West, they sense wetness and man their mail applications.

It is soothing for them, and instructive for the rest of us, to be reminded that these journalists owe their first loyalty to movement troops, and not to anything like independent judgment. The Review writers have insulated themselves from the base's complaints against the insufficiently on-board McCain with regular assurances that they share them. But the Palin nomination opened a window of what-the-fuck that shows just who rules that particular roost.

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