Call Me Swamp Thing

Way back in the Clinton Administration, I had the opportunity to socialize with Chris Mathews at a small dinner function. It was one of those charity deals where they have some important person give a little speech and chit-chat with the attendees. This was before Mathews had his mental breakdown so he was good fun, despite being a Lefty. People forget that he was not great fan of the Clintons, even though he was always a loyal party man.

This was the mid-90’s and the Drudge Report had just gone up as a website. Americans were flocking to computer stores to buy modems so they could use that AOL disk they got in the mail. I forget what we were discussing, but at some point I got the impression that Mathews simply had no idea the internet existed. I made mention of something about on-line news and Mathews had this puzzled look, then said, “Oh, you mean that internet thing.” He was unaware of the biggest technological event since the steam engine.

It is a story I like to tell as way to illustrate that people in the national media don’t live in America like the rest of us. The old joke in DC was that the big media outfits sent their foreign correspondents to cover stories in Ohio. That’s an exaggeration, but our national media does live in bubble. They can, when they feel like it, do a good job telling the rest of us about the doings in politics, but otherwise they are baffled about what happens out among the Dirt People. You see that in this Megan McArdle column.

How can the Republican Party keep another Trump candidacy from derailing its future electoral chances? Forget messing around with the primary system. If Republicans want a party that can win, says Catherine Rampell of the Washington Post, the first thing they need to do is to “drain the right-wing media swamp.”

“It is, after all, the right-wing radio, TV and Internet fever swamps that have gotten them into this mess,” she writes, “that have led to massive misinformation, disinformation and cynicism among Republican voters. And draining those fever swamps is the only way to get them out of it.”

I could point out that Rampell is remarkably ungenerous in ignoring the many serious conservative journalists who spoke out early and often against Donald Trump, including an entire “Against Trump” issue of the National Review, the elder statesman of right-wing journalism. (The National Review also printed an editorial unequivocally stating that then-President-Elect Barack Obama was a natural-born U.S. citizen.) None of this had much effect on folks like Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity, nor does it seem to have appreciably damaged Trump. It’s unclear how the Republican establishment critiquing Fox News and talk radio would be any more effective.

Note the pleading in there about how “serious conservative journalists” are anti-Trump. McArdle plays a libertarian on approved media sites. Libertarian in this context is the house broken type that Progressives will tolerate. These are the low-tax liberals, who are the first to answer the call when it comes time to make war on the crime-thinkers. In the current crisis, this manifests as obsequious rumpswabbery where the “libertarian” comes close to begging the loopy liberal woman for mercy.

Let me suggest a better strategy. Liberal journalists who want to drain the “fever swamps” should not be pointing the finger at Republican politicians. If they want to get people out of the swamp, they’ll have to make room in the castle.

The media is overwhelmingly liberal. It tends to mirror the left-to-center-left spectrum of the social class from which most journalists are drawn. That affects coverage, which right-wing readers pick up on.

Yes, liberal journalists, I’m saying that the media is biased, and I know you don’t see any evidence of that, because that’s how bias works: You don’t notice it when you share the bias. No, my loonier Republican readers, I am not confirming your belief that journalists deliberately slant their coverage to achieve political ends or even just to provoke you.

The not-so-subtle condescension here is what always gets me about these people. Instead of “right-wing readers” I suspect she wanted to write “slack-jawed yokels.” In case that’s not clear, she makes sure her Progressive friends all know that she thinks people like you are loony. Most of what passes for conservative or libertarian opinion in the media is really just moral signalling. In this case, McArdle wants her Progressive friends to remember she is not one of those disgusting Trump people.

Conservative media, in other words, became an ideological ghetto. And ghettos often develop pathologies. What’s remarkable is not that so much of the right-wing media is so vitriolic and prone to conspiracy-mongering; what’s remarkable is that so many of those outlets remain committed to careful reporting and debunking things like the Obama birth certificate nonsense, rather than simply pandering to their readers.

The defining feature of Official Conservatism™ and its retarded little brother, Reason Libertarianism, is a fear of being “ghettoized” which is the scare word for being left out of the Progressive party circuit. They fear that more than death. If the price of admission means mocking and ridiculing the people whose interests they claim to champion, that’s a price they are more than happy to pay.

I’m not blaming liberals for the rise of the conservative-media ghetto. “Blame” implies that someone made a decision to make this happen. The thing is, no one made any such decision. There was no secret plan.

There was certainly no liberal media conspiracy, just an iterative process controlled by no one: Being human, liberals naturally prefer the work of folks who agree with them, so those are the folks they tend to hire and promote.  As they became increasingly dominant in the media, the trend became self-reinforcing. Fewer conservatives wanted to enter the castle in the first place, and few were allowed to. Now the castle residents are peering into the swamp and wondering what the heck is going on out there.

I suspect she had to fight back tears writing those two graphs.

But whoever is to blame for the problem, yelling at the residents of the swamp to behave themselves is probably not going to fix it. What would fix the problem is if the folks in the castle made a concerted effort to open the doors and persuade some of the swamp-dwellers to move inside. Not just to move inside, but to help run the place, pushing back on liberal pieties and dubious claims with the same fervor that liberals push back on conservative ones.

Call me Swamp Thing.

One of the amusing aspects of these columns is that people like McArdle are just as clueless about life outside the bubble as her moonbat friends. She positions herself as soul sister number one, down with those loony Dirty People in the swamp, but she would break out in hives reading the sorts of things that are coming from the Dissident Right. The fundamentals of what is driving the rebellion against the elites is well outside the field of vision for people like McArdle. She does not know what she does not know.

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69 Comments on "Call Me Swamp Thing"

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Donald Hertzmark
Guest
So much good stuff in this one. Let me start with a personal note. My son, unhappy with the two main choices, asked me about voting for Gary Johnson. I told him the Libertarians were just Democrats for low taxes and free pot (I think he like at least those parts of the platform). I also knew Chris a bit; he was always crazy, but not always a loon. The funny thing is that all these people came from somewhere, not DC or NY or SF. And yet, their program indoctrination seems to have erased whatever understanding of normal life… Read more »
jay dee
Guest

If only that were true. McArdle is from NYC and went to Riverdale Country Day School. (prepping at a “Day” School is a very reliable indicator for Cloud person-hood). Our current “thought-leaders” such as McArdle come from a very small and well-protected orbit.

Member

I have all the Cloud-person credentials, but I’m 70 and it was different back in my time. I guess I’m a “class traitor” now, but happy to be one. My compromise with Cloud and Dirt has been to become something if a cordial hermit.

Drake
Guest

Matthews was your typical Holy Cross Mick for his generation. Liberal but also down to earth – like a typical machine politician in Boston. Years in DC destroyed all logic and judgement.

Yankee Girl
Guest
Also, the thrill going up his leg was first caused by proximity to the Kennedys, long before BHO reared his mocha-hued head. Matthews was at a CPAC meeting I attended in Memphis about 10 yrs ago, reporting from the lobby of the Peabody Hotel — the one with the ducks in the fountain. The “emcee” of that event was US Senator Bill Frist, from Nashville, who was then the Majority Leader. Remember him? Questions about his “predilections” were rising. After he left the Senate he dumped his wife Karen — she got big bucks!! OT, but can’t resist comparing this… Read more »
Lulu
Guest

Mathews has always seemed like the big dumb kid, nose pressed to the glass, watching with awe the Really Important People.

Member

That’s Hannity.

Drake
Guest

If you are liberal and Irish in Massachusetts, the Kennedys are infallible angels come down to earth to help us poor mortals.

Member

Which is exactly who he is. I”m pretty sure he got his start as a staff go-fer for Tip O’Neill.

Donald Hertzmark
Guest

Donzie

Donzie
Guest

Donzie

A.T. Tapman
Member

Hi Z, you really did not leave us much to comment on as usual but let me give it a go. Megan will remain clueless even as the blade falls upon her scruffy neck. She is one who has no friends, a friend being one who would endanger themselves for you. You can take that to the bank.

Member

“She does not know what she does not know.”

You mean like there are unknown unknowns?

Ofay Cat
Guest

Yes there are unknown unknowns. Occasionally some smart person discovers one of them and then we have an unknown that is becomes known. We didn’t know about electricity at one time long ago … Then Ben Franklin discovered it with a kite. Who knew? We used to think the earth was flat, they someone sailed around the big orb and now we know it’s a ball in space. Wise up.

Solomon Honeypickle IV
Guest
Solomon Honeypickle IV

Ever try reading one of Mcardle’s “articles”? I did a couple of times and they are always bereft of even a crumb of interest. She is a talentless hack, like all of her ilk. And she has a horse face!

Dutch
Guest

Does the term “concern trolling” fit this case?

newrouter
Guest

Zman my song for the final days of this election just change father figure to Tea party and girl to Trump:

But every time it rains,
You’re here in my head,
Like the sun coming out–
Ooh, I just know that something good is going to happen.
And I don’t know when,
But just saying it could even make it happen.

On top of the world,
Looking over the edge,
You could see them coming.
You looked too small
In their big, black car,
To be a threat to the men in power.

Kate Bush – Cloudbusting

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pllRW9wETzw

Deplorable Black Man
Guest
Funny how things change. Four years ago I read McCardle regularly. But I ditched her soon after the 2012 election and Z’s piece is a good reminder why. She, like so many beltway conservatives (and outisde the Beltway cons like Rod Dreher), are so concerned with virtual signalling that their stuff is unreadable. She despises normies and she has to make that clear to her friends like Matt Yglesias, Ezra Klein, and her husband’s bosses at Reason magazine. And Conservative, Inc. wonders why the dirt people don’t believe a goddamn word they say. Unreal.
Guest
Guest
Upvote for you. I too stopped reading McCardle about the same time after realizing that she had nothing of interest to say, rather like the twin Davids (Frum and Brooks). She’s another token “conservative” to provide controlled opposition within the framework of the liberal media complex. The pattern is always the same: McCardle (or Frum or Brooks) write an article presenting a “conservative” view on a topic. In response, a small army of liberal journolists swamp the media battlespace with a coordinated counterattack detailing all the alleged fallacies in the original article and sucking all the oxygen out of the… Read more »
King George III
Guest

I would pay good money to see her face reading A Gentle Introduction to Unqualified Reservations.

LetsPlay
Member
“rumpswabbery!” Wow, now that is classic! But hey, Call me Swamp Thing, Deplorable, or any other denigration … I am still a Rose in comparison to these piles of excrement. What is sad is for all their years on this planet, they have lost more than they have gained in knowledge of what is truly important about life, about honor, respect, and love for your self, family, and others. Instead of being real “leaders” these people have bought into a concept that their ilk can make themselves better than everyone else by pretending to be something they are not. They… Read more »
davidx
Guest

“Rumpswab” was originally coined, IIRC, by the great Howie Carr, of the Boston Herald, some decades ago.

Doug
Guest

On Zman’s worthy observations about the hubris and arrogance of the oligarchy, it reminded me of Boston College Proffessor Angello Codevilla’s salient essay:

America’s Ruling Class — And the Perils of Revolution
http://spectator.org/39326_americas-ruling-class-and-perils-revolution/

Saml Adams
Guest

Good piece. People forget, the revolution comes as Hemingway characterized bankruptcy, “two ways, gradually then suddenly”.

Doug
Guest

The movement of people towards revolution is evolutionary though. Revolutions just appear to be sudden as in the first place those who revolt are disenfranchised and marginalized as small in number and inconsequential, even by those who end up doing the revolting. And those who would be revolted against, it is in their best interests to downplay, at least publicly resistance to them.
Takes a lot for a civil society to get over that “hump”, but once they it does it can be an inexorable force.

Doug
Guest

Talk about swamp things and revolutions. This is not a good piece.

Erik Prince: NYPD Ready to Make Arrests in Anthony Weiner Case
http://www.breitbart.com/radio/2016/11/04/erik-prince-nypd-ready-make-arrests-weiner-case/

It foretells of DOJ Stalinist tactics against the NYC Police Department in their efforts to build and prosecute a case against Wiener, Huma and the Clintons.
I get the impression the rot runs so deep and involves so many people they will most likely do anything from being exposed. The NYC Cops are calling what they have uncovered, disgusting, beyond what anyone imagined. Veteran Cops are saying it is things so nasty it is hard for them to stomach.

Spare Dog: Up for adoption
Guest

Zman, I have to agree: the socialist/communists/progressives/liberals/progressives/social justice warriors or whatever they are calling themselves this week, are utterly clueless as to the sea-change taking place today. Their share-the-wealth program is coming to a rapid end and they do not see it. We are bankrupt and soon that fact will override all ideological views. It is going to be interesting how this plays out. Brace for impact.

UKer
Guest
My view is that the elite (aka cloud people) know that something’s happening ‘out there’ but they suspect it will fall on the heads of the yokels and peasants and not involve them. After all, they have the guns and authorities on their side (they argue) so the troubles can safely be kept outside the cocktail-party circuit. More than that, they believe that the revolting masses, should it come to that, will instinctively allow their obvious superiors to carry on attending parties and dressing up in expensive gowns. I mean, the elite have often in the splendid surroundings of their… Read more »
Saml Adams
Guest
I remember getting into one of those “the authorities will take care of everything” at a cocktail fundraiser in NY several years ago. Right after the rise of the Tea Party and before the chaos of Sandy. The other party’s thesis was that law enforcement could take care of the right wing wackos. So asked “what do you call a guy that silently walks into his carefully scouted and selected deer stand and fills his tag with a 200 yard shot 10 minutes after the season open?” “A hunter?” “No, a sniper. You have several million of them in flyover… Read more »
Saml Adams
Guest
Boy you got Matthews dead on. His large summer home is about a half mile down the beach from my small (and perpetually leased) one. So you run into him occasionally at the fish store, around town and at the Boys & Girls Club fundraiser. For a guy who comments so much on race, his only contact with other races seems to be the nice Jamaican ladies at Gliddens Seafood. Otherwise he just seems to bounce between the Chevy Chase and Nantucket bubbles and walks around with a oddly startled look on his face. Spent that last three days in… Read more »
Member

I must be doing something right. I never heard of this woman.

Drake
Guest

I read Reason and cause trouble in the comments occasionally. The commentators are fun because they regularly skewer the contributors for their obvious signaling. Or, as it is often said, their desire to keep getting invited to all the good cocktail parties.

Severian
Guest
This is why, when I’m dictator, I’m bringing back aristocracy. In ye olde days, dimwitted dilettantes like Matthews, McArdle, et al would be Duke and Duchess of Squinchley-upon-Bumfuck and they’d spend their days submitting memorials to the throne about how best to manage the peasantry, which the King would blithely ignore (think of how much trouble America would have been saved, had we simply anointed Bill and Hillary Lord and Lady Cornpone and let them practice droit de seigneur in Little Rock!). In a democracy, though, real power ends up in the hands of people who think Marx’s description of… Read more »
thor47
Guest

Well, I am glad I am not one of those people. I have spent years perfecting the ability to criticize and can now speak with authority on the subject.

Notsothoreau
Guest
On a personal note, I am dealing with the sort of thing the Cloud People avoid. State DNR requested removal of a dock at my riverfront property. We’ve been working on removal of our property there for several years. We’ve been in contact with the State Assistant AG, the city, Fish and Wildlife and our lawyer. DNR is slated to come out today to start removing anything left. We had people dismantling the pile driver, a hand built relic from the 70s. I was taking pictures for the attorney, when we had three police cars and the guy from code… Read more »
Paul Bonneau
Guest

Rights don’t exist. They are an 18th century meme with little connection to reality. It is self-interest and will that drives everything. What you should be asking yourself, is why anyone who has already lived a life, such as yourself, would be willing to submit to rotten treatment by lowlifes. You are clearly NOT tired of being treated as a criminal by them, otherwise you would put an end to it.

notsothoreau
Guest
I have some limitations in this. The property is actually my husband’s. He wanted to take the fight to DNR when they first started jacking him around. He believes in law and the courts. He has learned that property owners in this state truly have no rights. We’ve seen his files, through FOIA,, and we’ve first hand seen the county commissioners lie to our faces. I am not exactly sure how one “puts an end to it”. Do you think the average citizen will win a pissing match with a bureaucrat? We initially thought that we could hand this down… Read more »
Member

McArdle’s article has a “let them eat cake” feel about it. BTW Z-man I must congratulate you on your word-smithing because “obsequious rumpswabbery” is a classic.

Chiron
Guest

Her analogy about the swamp and the castle is similar tô Mussolini’s Fascism, he wanted the Corporations working for the State (the castle), anything outside the State need to try to enter the State to be legitimate.

Dr. Mabuse
Guest

Once again, it’s all the fault of Rush Limbaugh and Fox News. The “fever swamp”. If only they could obliterate the right-wing media, all the bad words would be silenced and nobody could give the violent morons on the right their marching orders.

My mental image is of goodthinking conservatives like McArdle joining hands with the Left to “drain the swamp”. As they stand their among their pumps and blowtorches, gloating over their victory, behind them, unobserved, is a seething, increasingly stormy ocean with black clouds forming overhead. Just turn around, guys…

Dutch
Guest
This is the classic feminized attitude. Matthews et al adopt it so they will be accepted in polite company. Beta male college students adopt it so they can get laid. Women themselves live and breathe this stuff because it is their path to a “better world”. The thought of actually physically fighting for what you believe in is so unthinkable to the female mind, that they will rhetorically argue with the most passionate words (and maybe throw a lamp or a glass of water at an unarmed and unsuspecting person in the room, if you are one particular odious specimen… Read more »
Wilbur Hassenfus
Guest

Meg’s funny sometimes, but her instincts are better than 99% of those retards, and within certain parameters she actually cares whether what she says is true or not. I knew her back in the day.

Might drop her a line about this one. I’d have to log into Faceberg though. Last time we emailed she was still at the Atlantic.

Ofay Cat
Guest

She does not know what she does not know.
I love that line … it says much about the entire left as I see things.

Donzie
Guest
Months ago many of us were already surmising how ugly the Clinton business would get (even without Weiner and the Lolita Express). The MSM were fitting us out for tin foil beanies (with propellers, I hope). Turns out we understated the depth of the Clinton criminality. Nevertheless, the MSM cannot wrap their minds around how venal, self-serving, criminal, and petty their “peers” behave. Reminds me of one of my parents’ neighbors growing up, a lifelong commie. I told him in the late 1990s about how the Venona transcripts had confirmed that Alger Hiss was a spy. He responded: “He could… Read more »
ErisGuy
Guest

You’re far too kind.

Karl Hungus
Guest
Al from da Nort
Guest
I always thought that Megan’s actual gig was explaining Econ 101 to Cloud People who majored in subjects containing the word ‘studies’. I often enjoyed her dry wit in so doing, most of which would have gone over the heads of her target audience. I don’t know why she strayed into going ‘Gorillas in the Mist’ on those of us in flyover land but the structure of both types of opinion pieces is similar, only the subject matter changes. No doubt she thinks she’s doing a similar service about us for her target audience. I can’t image why either she… Read more »
FaCubeItches
Guest
“She does not know what she does not know.” That’s one of the big points of being an elite: what you don’t know does not matter. It doesn’t even rise to the level of irrelevance – it’s barely above non-existence. Even if what the elite don’t know is lethal, it’s not lethal for them – it just kills the peasantry. How many of our elites have actually been touched by anything this century so far? Barbara Olsen, Adm. Wilson Flagg, and Gen. Timothy Maude (9/11); Christopher Stevens (Libya); Judge John Roll and Rep. Gabby Giffords (Tucson shooting, with only Roll… Read more »
Christopher S. Johns
Guest

“And ghettos often develop pathologies.”

You mean like Acela, Megan?

Maybe after the pot calls the kettle black, you could whip up some nice “spirit cooking” in it.

https://twitter.com/hashtag/SpiritCooking?src=hash&lang=en

michael martin
Guest

Everyday this election cycle gets weirder and weirder. Now it is so weird I and speculating on whether this is a real event or not. http://www.michaelfmartin.com/is-there-a-deep-state-soft-coup-occurring/

notsothoreau
Guest

And congrats on the story linked over at Lew Rockwell! Is that a first?

Member

McArdle isn’t even libertarian with a small “L”. She doesn’t know the first thing about Austrian economics, and thinks in Macroeconomical Keynesian terms. The only reasonable description I could think of for her would be “professional hypocrite”.

Sam
Guest

She sounds just like the glam boys down at Reason magazine. I’m surprised she doesn’t write for them. More than likely she has aspirations.

kokor hekkus
Guest

Excellent post…Indeed, many of my friends on the two coasts, at least the ones who are reasonably successful, seem totally unable to process the obvious and ongoing Globalist evisceration of the United States. It seems to just bounce off them, as does the obvious and vast corruption of the Clintons. Steven King may have written about this phenomenon.

The Elephant\'s Child
Guest
Human beings are tribal. It’s part of being human, not something to be opposed. We choose our friends and associates to the extent we can with people who share the same values and ideas. We join little tribes like bridge clubs, quilting groups, fans of a particular sports team, civic groups, churches or hunting and hiking, to form little tribes of people who agree with us, because we look for confirmation that we’re normal. I grew up rural, very rural, in the foothills of the Rockies. A close neighbor had a 3rd grade education, Most were ranchers or lumbering, or… Read more »
thor47
Guest

Interesting, and certainly true. Yet out of my little tribes there are always two or three people who tell me, ” thor, you ain’t right. “

Twodees Partain
Member

Reading McArdle is like watching Janet Reno “dance”, as she did in her short exploratory debut as a possible candidate.

John the River
Member

For me it was Peggy Noonan at the WSJ, I used to read her column every weekend. Then Trump came around (and this was before I began to seriously think about him as a candidate) and she became shrill, more and more so as Trump refused to go away.
By now, my disaffection with her and the WSJ is complete.

SgtBob
Guest

Castle-dwellers need to open the gates and ask some swamp people to move inside? Is she serious? (Of course not.) As to the castle “folks” who look over the ramparts and wonder what is in the swamps, what they should see, but are incapable with their blinders and screens, is Great Birnam wood, to high Dunsinane Hill, a-coming against them.

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