September 25, 2005


Next Court Nominee May Face Challenges From G.O.P. (DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK, 9/25/05, NY Times)

[B]oth socially conservative and more liberal Republican senators say they may vote against confirmation of the next nominee if the pick leans too far to the left or the right on prominent issues like abortion rights.

Bill Keller wouldn't be running the NY Times if he weren't a reliably left-wing ideoilogue, but there was reason to harbor hope for his tenure because he'd written so insightfully about not just George W. Bush but about the central place of religion in George Bush's presidency. After all, journalists needn't approve of conservatism in order to understand it and write intelligently about it. So when the Times announced that they were detailing someone specifically to cover the Right and try to explain what was going on within conservatism there wasn't necessarily a need to greet the idea with skepticism--it could have been a serious effort. Instead, Mr. Kirkpatrick, their designated Marlowe, is a laughingstock, whose every story finds fissures that are about to tear the Right apart, although it mysteriously keeps managing to hold together.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 25, 2005 10:06 AM

Former conservative writer David Brooks, who was hired by the NYT to write op-ed pieces, has been co-opted. There must be something very seductive about being in midst of the beautiful and powerful that causes their heads to turn to mush.

Posted by: erp at September 25, 2005 11:17 AM

Most problematic, Kirkpatrick doesn't even know about "uberconservatism" yet. The fool.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at September 25, 2005 11:27 AM


David Brooks was never particularly conservative, which is why they hired him:

Posted by: oj at September 25, 2005 11:49 AM

Sitting next to Maureen Dowd on Meet the Press this morning, Brooks delivered several shots to Bush, but also stuck a shiv into MoDo's nearby ribs when he chastized the Democratic Party's left wing for having no coherent ideas other than a hatred of George W. Bush, something even fellow roundtable panelist Tom Friedman got around to agreeing with (apparently, with their columnists behind the Times Select wall now, the paper is eager to trot their op-ed writers out in public three or more at a time, just so everyone doesn't forget they're still alive. Expect Paul Krugman to be doing supermarket grand-opeing appearances by November).

As for Keller, some of this may be a "go along to get along" situation. Assuming he hasn't completely forgotten what he previously wrote about Bush, he still has to keep Pinch Sulzberger happy and deal with any snipings from Gail Collins' department about straying off message.

If being Times ME is your dream job -- and the only reason you got the job in the first place was because the paper had to save face when their golden-haird boy Mr. Raines screwed up too egregiously to whitewash the problem away -- you may be quite willing to submerge some of your own beliefs and simply give the folks who write your paycheck what they want.

Posted by: John at September 25, 2005 12:00 PM

Brooks wouldn't have been my choice, but nevertheless he did take the job under false pretenses. He's obviously not writing commentary from a conservative point of view.

Be nice if they offered Mark Steyn a couple op-eds. Show their few remaining readers what excellence really looks like.

Posted by: erp at September 25, 2005 1:54 PM


As you point out, Kirkpatrick was running article after article about how the Right was splitting apart prior to the election. After Bush won a greater share of the GOP electorate than Reagan, his immediate postelection column dealt with how conservatives banded together to elect Bush but were now going to let him have it. I think his real beat isn't "conservatism" but "unintentional self-parody as a projection of failed wish fulfillment."

Posted by: Matt Murphy at September 25, 2005 2:52 PM

No true conservative would take money from the NYT to be Lord Haw Haw.

Posted by: Bob at September 26, 2005 9:39 AM
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