Dream Team: The 10 Best Conservative Columnists
With Charles Krauthammer as team captain of the Right's intellectual Olympians.
August 19, 2012 - 12:07 am
Never before have right-leaning readers been able to enjoy such a surplus of excellence in political commentary. Every day, on sites like this one and countless others, über-talented wordsmiths stir conservative passion and shape the national debate. In honor of our country’s Olympic basketball legacy, selecting our own literary Dream Team is in order, in recognition of ten authors atop our political pyramid.
The elder statesman on the team is George F. Will. A cagey veteran of the sport – who’s been to hell and back fighting the wars of yesteryear – Will is the consummate conservative advocate. Never far from his biting commentary is the perfect historical analogy, ready to flex its logical muscle to buttress his argument. His great foible is that his technique is so polished and vocabulary so vast, at times his shots can go over our heads; a dictionary must be on hand to get through a Will column. No matter. He’s been making his shots for over five decades and continues to frame conservative ideas in their brightest light.
The heart of the team rests with Heather Mac Donald and Mark Steyn. They are the scrappy villains that home fans adore and opponents love to hate. (This is what happens when you tell the truth about the thorniest issues confronting America.) Mac Donald – a fellow at the Manhattan Institute and City Journal contributor — dissects liberalism’s unintended but unavoidable social consequences: the breakdown of the black family and crime in immigrant communities. Her literary pastime is taking classic liberal mantras – like the benefits of affirmative action and the cancer of racial profiling and bias in policing – and pulverizing them to smithereens.
A writer from the progressive Mother Jones once lamented that her brethren avoided confronting Mac Donald:
She’ll mess with your mind and make you either up your politico-cultural game or admit you were wrong. What worries me is that so few on “our” side can, or bother to, go toe to toe with her. Just about every one of her pieces is a statistical and analytical tour-de-force.
As for Steyn, literary Dream Teamers need not only be American. This Canadian citizen (though American resident and British-accented) combines talk-radio pugilism with refined intellectual script. His focus is usually big picture: bemoaning European statism and western decline, and methodically explaining the global threat of Muslim fundamentalism, particularly across the pond. In the process, he has earned the types of enemies that make conservatives proud. A body called the Canadian Human Rights Commission condemned Steyn as hateful for his lurid and analytical warning of Islamic demographic incursions. A critic once noted that “Mark Steyn is an oddity: his thoughts and themes are sane and serious—but he writes like a maniac.” Well, every great team needs a masterful maniac.