Consider this the Fouad Ajami edition. Some of you may have read that Ajami compared Scooter Libby to fallen U.S. soldiers in a Wall Street Journal op-ed. Recently, Ajami tried to defend his statements on MSNBC’s Hardball. Before you click away for the video, several meta-observations (since Ajami’s claim is offensive, ludicrous, and not worth refuting):
1) This is the first time I can remember that a conservative columnist got dogpiled enough to actually shift the ‘debate.’ They didn’t bring Ajami on the show to defend Libby, but to defend himself (not that the dumb summabitch doesn’t deserve it).
2) Until very recently, Very Serious Conservatives were taken very seriously–even when they were batshit lunatic. It was almost as if all they had to do is look serious (nevermind what rubbish spewed forth from their mouths), and their arguments were granted credence. Shuster wasn’t buying any of that.
3) Related to the above observation, once the Very Serious Person bubble is burst, they just come across as mean crazy people. Ajami’s assertion (near the beginning) that he has been to Iraq, and consequently, is entitled to compare a convicted criminal to fallen servicemen, doesn’t come across very well, in part, because Shuster doesn’t back down. Two or three years ago, Ajami probably would have gotten away with that statement.
Watch the disappearing mojo here. Discuss.
“It was almost as if all they had to do is look serious (nevermind what rubbish spewed forth from their mouths), and their arguments were granted credence.”
You can drop “almost” from that sentence. It was assumed that they represented a substantial segment of the population, even when that assumption was eventually contradicted by poll data.
The Beltway develops norms which the pundits accept because they are part of the Beltway culture, and they can get very out of touch with the rest of the country while they imagine they are the center of America, if not the center of the universe. I think the pundits also pander to whatever group holds power, until it becomes glaringly obvious that the group is losing power and support, as we see now regarding the Bush administration.