Tuesday, August 07, 2012

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Since leaving The Atlantic, first in March to work on a book called, I'm not even kidding, Permission to Suck, then to soak up some gravy from Tina's Brown's Money Pit, Megan McArdle has not been much heard from. Here's her last transmission from the mother ship:

This was her glorious follow-up to a pre-game post in which, pumped with impending Obamacare victory, McArdle harshed on Roe v. Wade ("Those progressives did not seem to think that American Democracy had been destroyed because some unelected justices had overturned duly enacted laws in 1973... Though I am pro-choice, I am not a fan of Roe, which I think was legally dubious and tactically unwise. But democracies are complicated things"), then on the New Deal ("I have been much amused watching people try to simultaneously defend the fruits of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s outrageous court-bullying"), and other objects of passive-aggressive glee-wrath.

We can imagine, after such a display, why she might turn her face from the world. But we would be wrong to ascribe a capability of shame to her -- though she may be convinced, by her agent or loved ones, to keep a low profile until better days emerge, McArdle still gets out once in a while to give the brethren a little touch of Megan in the night.

For instance, she's quoted in a July Michael Dougherty story at The American Conservative about conservatives who supported Obama. While McArdle didn't actually vote for the Kenyan Pretender because, she famously claimed at the time, she forgot to register, she still pleads, or rather whines, for forgiveness:
“Four years ago, I disliked McCain intensely; it seemed like the choice between Obama and someone with policies very like Obama’s except that he would also invade Iran,” says Megan McArdle of the Daily Beast. 
Considering how, as a libertarian, McArdle strongly stands against unjustifiable foreign intervention, that seems reasonable.
“Obviously, Obama has been way worse on civil liberties than I expected,” says McArdle. “I kind of can’t believe I was naïve enough to think that he would actually change anything—or even try to change anything, except for the incredibly stupid symbolic move of Guantanamo prisoners to U.S. soil, which he chickened out on anyway. But I was. Ooops.”
Ditto libertarian ditto torture etc.
“Overall, I wildly underestimated Obama’s arrogance and inexperience"....
At last we're on a topic she knows something about!  McArdle's quotes were later replicated in a Newsweek story by David Frum, so maybe that counted as her quota for the month.

Just last Friday McArdle surfaced again in the comments to, of all places, The Reality-Based Community -- or seems to have done so; we cannot neglect the possibility that some pitch-perfect parodist represented him or herself as McArdle. Without prejudice, then, we note MaybeMegan's remarks to Jonathan Zasloff's defense of Harry Reid's assertion of Mitt Romney's negative tax burden.

First, MaybeMegan does the Sherlock Holmes thing where she rounds up the "legitimate sources who could reasonably be assumed to actually have this information: 1) Mitt Romney 2) Ann Romney 3) Mitt and Ann Romney’s accountant," etc. Her point: A Bain investor could not, as Reid charged, have given Reid the info, because that "would be certainly criminal," and "possibly be in violation of privacy laws," for which crime the putative investor would, MaybeMegan says,  "certainly lose their jobs, licenses, and personal assets in the massive, successful civil suit that Romney would launch against them" as voters, ineluctably drawn to a Presidential candidate who sues the man who exposed his years-long tax evasion, cheered Romney to a dazzling victory.

MaybeMegan adds that Reid "himself not exactly personally impoverished." His cabinets are probably loaded with pink Himalayan salt.

As it happens, there are other commenters at the site, and some of them give MaybeMegan a hard time. MaybeMegan responds with McArdlean grace that Reid's charges "may be 'far from inconceivable,' but it’s also the sort of thing that a lying sack who dislikes Mitt Romney could easily make up..." She then explains that personal tax evasion is impossible and, when that fails to satisfy the crowd, attacks the idea that a Romney lawyer might have leaked the info, because "every one of those lawyers, etc, has very good reason not to leak: it’s at the very least a civil suit and being thrown out of the profession," and then attacks the idea that an IRS agent leaked it, because "an IRS agent that did this would be surprisingly easy to track down, and (IIRC) liable for all sorts of marvelous criminal actions once they had been found..." Whoever this person is, she sure likes talking about punishing people who may have said something about Mitt Romney not paying taxes.

Hereafter I may track McArdle and her possible doppelganger as the Fat Man tracked the Maltese Falcon ("after its long disappearance, the bird turned up again in Sicily. In 1840, it re-appeared in Paris, where by that time, it had acquired a painted coat of black enamel..."). I'd forgotten how much fun she can be!

UPDATE. The first comment, by Alexander von Humbug: "Maybe Megan (not MaybeMegan) tried to become the Doctor's companion, but the TARDIS rejected her for overall dumbshittery and created MaybeMegan in her place. The two McM's are now locked in an eternal, deadly, and incomprehensible battle for an autographed copy of the first edition of Anthem."

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