Pitts has long been my favorite editorial writer. He gave a great talk at Xavier several years ago, and I almost always agree with him, and if I don’t, he often persuades me.
If you don’t always read him, read this one now. He begins by urging the reader to view this video, to which a million people have linked. Then he really gets going, with this Pulitzer-worthy passage in particular:
Some will say it’s unfair to paint thoughtful conservatives with the same brush one uses to tar this blowhard. I would suggest the very need to use that modifier speaks volumes. There was once a day when conservatism was driven by principles: smaller government, less-intrusive government, strong national defense, fiscal sobriety. But in the years since that day, the putative heirs to Reagan have trampled not just those principles, but also principle itself.
The ideology that wanted small government now presides over expanded government, the one that wanted less intrusion now seeks to regulate bedroom behavior, the one that demanded strong national defense has run the military into the ground, the one that championed fiscal sobriety turned a $236 billion budget surplus into a $400 billion deficit. And if thoughtful conservatives see the disconnect, if they have the intellectual integrity to find it shameful, the newsflash is, thoughtful conservatives no longer predominate their ideology.
No, that honor goes to unthoughtful conservatives, the loud, proudly ignorant voices of talk radio, books and television of which Kevin James is now the poster child. Matthews kept asking him to explain the sins of Neville Chamberlain and he kept crying, ”appeasement! appeasement!” clinging to the words like a drowning man to a raft.
That’s what people like him do. They are geniuses at rhetoric (”War on Christmas,” anyone?) that rouses the rabble and lets them feel aggrieved, while simultaneously having the intellectual heft of cotton balls. But they can no more step beyond that rhetoric than Gilligan could step off his island. There is no there there.