Monday, November 28, 2011

The Kennedy Obsession

I usually put New York Times columnist Ross Douthat in the same pigeon hole I keep his Times colleague David Brooks.  That is, as conservative commentators, they're unreliable.

But, to be fair, I should be more specific and say that as nominally conservative observers of contemporary politics, they're unreliable.   But, as reviewers of books and film, and as observers of broad cultural trends, they're much, much better.

For a particularly good example, consider Douthat's latest piece on "The Enduring Cult of Kennedy."

So why does this enduring JFK cult matter?:
...because its myths still shape how we interpret politics today. We confuse charisma with competence, rhetoric with results, celebrity with genuine achievement. We find convenient scapegoats for national tragedies, and let our personal icons escape the blame. And we imagine that the worst evils can be blamed exclusively on subterranean demons, rather than on the follies that often flow from fine words and high ideals.       


  1. Ross has made his pro-life and Catholic convictions pretty clear. I'll see him and Grover go at it tonight--probably be more on Grover's side--but I'll listen to Ross.

  2. the debate was pretty much a fizzle, can watch on AEI website. A kind of hedgehog and fox stand-off. Ross's most ringing criticism is that the no-raise pledge hasn't slowed the growth of govt.--it has encouraged borrowing. The focus on tax rates (to include subsidies)has diverted DC from its duty. Grover responds that any time the taxes go up spending goes up.

  3. Thanks for the report Ken. I'm afraid Grover has the better argument, an argument from undeniable experience.

    As I've said before, so many times I fear I'm becoming a bore, you CANNOT give a politician, ANY politician, Democrat or Republican, an extra dollar. They WILL spend it.

    The ONLY way to force spending cuts is to deny politicians that extra dollar. Sure, they'll borrow the same dollar for as long as they can, but, it appears, that FINALLY the creditors are demanding to be paid.

    That fact, in my judgement, is the GOOD thing about the Great Reckoning. It is a restoration of Truth and Honesty over Falsehoods and Mendacity.

    BTW, I'm sure Douthat's a good fellow, a reliable pro-life Christian. He's just not a reliable conservative.