The Long View 2008-02-23: The Transnational Right; Hillary Needs Her Own Scandal; McCain Could Have Avoided One


This 2008 preview of the policies of Viktor Orbán in The Nation seems on point. The tone of the coverage certainly hasn’t changed.

Also, looking back at John J. Reilly’s review of Mark Steyn’s America Alone, which he links here, I find I wrote this in the intro:

I think it demonstrates that the neoliberal consensus is a lot stronger that it might otherwise seem. A relatively tolerant, multicultural, welfare capitalist global system [with a military/secret police enforcement system] seems to be the twenty-first century answer to the same problem the Habsburgs faced in Central Europe: how do you hold together a truly diverse polity?

Still seems about right.

The Transnational Right; Hillary Needs Her Own Scandal; McCain Could Have Avoided One

The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy has gone international. Regular readers of this space will be shocked at the revelations made by Kathryn Joyce in her recent piece in The Nation, Missing: The 'Right' Babies. There we learn that there is a cryptoracist international alliance that is using forecasts of "Demographic Winter" to impose a woman-oppressive social agenda on Europe. These people and their front groups (the author names names) have the effrontery to seek, with some success, to impose their views through international institutions designed by progressives.

The author notes the linkage of anti-Muslim rhetoric with the forecasts of demographic decline, which is a fair enough representation of the literature, though we might observe the issues are separate. Indeed, the Demographic Winter forecasts usually also suggest that increased immigration and high immigrant birthrates would not compensate for the birthdearth even if there were no ethnic or religious issues. The piece also neglects to mentions the comparable, and sometimes even more acute, demographic problems of Japan and China, and even of the Maghreb and Iran. As several commentators have noted, the article is most remarkable for failing to assess at all the validity of the projections of demographic collapse. It is, I think, mere editorial negligence that the piece fails to remark that the chief the American manifestation of the demographic phenomenon is the (relatively mild) stress put on the Social Security system by the small size of Generation X. We may suspect guile, however, in the fact the piece takes care to mention Patrick Buchanan while not even alluding to Mark Steyn. Could it be that The Nation fears that readers who would dismiss The Death of the West out of hand might find America Alone plausible?

As for the rise of the transnational cultural Right, what did you think would happen? If we create public institutions, transnational or otherwise, we must contemplate the possibility that they might be commandeered by members of the public we find uncongenial.

* * *

Speaking of Mark Steyn, he has been amusing himself of late writing drafts of the eulogy for Hillary Clinton's presidential ambitions:

With hindsight, the oral sex was a master stroke. Bill Clinton likes to tell anyone who'll listen that he governed as an "Eisenhower Republican," which is kind of true – NAFTA, welfare reform, etc. If you have to have a Democrat in the Oval Office, he was as good as it gets for Republicans – if you don't mind the fact that he's a draft-dodging noninhaling sex-fiend. Republicans did mind, of course, which is why Dems rallied round out of boomer culture-war solidarity. But, if he hadn't been dropping his pants and appealing to so many of their social pathologies, his party wouldn't have been half so enthusiastic for another chorus of "I Like Ike."

Hillary is what the Clintons look like with their pants up.

To which we may say, "Thank God for small favors." For myself, though, I never thought Hillary would make a particularly good presidential candidate. I am still amazed that she was elected a senator from New York. Some presidential candidates can overcome the jinx of being "inevitable," but at this writing she does not appear to be one of them.

She could still get the nomination, if her campaign stops accusing Obama of "plagiarism" for using unremarkable turns of phrase to which no one claims any particular right. As for Michelle Obama's college thesis, I will promise not to read hers if she promises not to read mine.

* * *

Speaking of praising with faint smears, the New York Times is now not only misstating the thrust of its own article on McCain (now it's not an adultery story; it's a conflict-of-interest story), but it is misstating the nature of its own embarrassment. Poor Bill Keller, the Times executive editor, is still trying to argue that this is the problem:

I think we all expected the reaction to be intense. We knew from our experience last year, when word leaked out we were pursuing this story, that Senator McCain's operatives would set out to change the subject by making the story about The New York Times rather than about their candidate. That's a time-honored tactic for dealing with potentially damaging news stories. We knew some readers would disagree with our decision to publish this information.

Captain's Quarters is much closer to the truth, however:

People read the article and began showering the New York Times in a hailstorm of criticism before anyone heard from the McCain campaign. No one needed his staff to read this article and realize it was an unsubstantiated attack piece. Even the Times' subsidiary, the Boston Globe, refused to run it, as did their client newspaper, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, neither of which are likely McCain allies.

The revolt of the affiliates is evidence enough, I think, that whatever is going on here, it isn't journalism. Even the early Watergate stories, which also were not picked up at first by papers other than the Washington Post, at least alleged a crime.

However, as Mickey Kaus insistently reminds us, the only thing that could save the story is the McCain campaign's own reaction. The senator and his spokesmen are denying more than needs to be denied about who met whom nine years ago in connection with an FCC matter. The details are not serious, but they need not have become issues at all.

Copyright © 2008 by John J. Reilly

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