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Ed Driscoll

T. Coddington Van Voorhees VIII Identifies Himself

December 23rd, 2013 - 4:05 pm

There’s a tradition that dates back a good 30 or 40 years or so, when it shared as its charter members Kevin Phillips, David Gergen, and John Dean. In the mid-2000s, it added first Jumpin’ Jim Jeffords, and then Andrew Sullivan to the list. After the 2008 election, David Brooks, David Frum, Colin Powell, and arguably most prominently, Christopher Buckley joined the club. Establishment liberal magazines such as Time, and liberal TV chat show booking agents love anyone who would hold himself out as a conservative or Republican (not necessarily the same thing), but trashes everything that most conservatives believe, particularly at the apex of a painful internecine scrum. (Long after his freshness rating had expired, Pat Buchanan received plenty of airtime on MSNBC of all place, for his attacks on GWB.) After Christopher Buckley went into full “screw dad” mode during the run-up to the 2008 election by publicly supporting Barack Obama, Iowahawk brilliantly summed up this phenomenon by inventing the character of T. Coddington Van Voorhees VII, the scion of “National Topsider” magazine and publishing his legendary rallying cry, “As a Conservative, I Must Say I Do Quite Like the Cut of this Obama Fellow’s Jib.”

There’s a far older tradition in journalism in general, regardless of ideology: Don’t **** where you eat. (Depending upon whether you like your blog posts G, PG, R or NC-17, you can substitute whatever word you prefer where the asterisks are.) Rare indeed is the New York Times column where say, Maureen Dowd really tears into Paul Krugman’s rantings, or Krugman writes that Thomas Friedman is absolutely bonkers on China. It’s considered rather bad form. Not to mention a quick way of becoming the office pariah.

I hope I’m wrong, but my first thought when otherwise little-known NR editor Jason Lee Steorts attempts to bigfoot Mark Steyn’s defense of Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson, is that the next David Frum or Christopher Buckley has just identified himself. I look forward at some point in the next few weeks — months — years — for Steorts’ column in the Daily Beast telling us everything that is wrong with conservatism.

From a self-identified conservative’s conservative perspective, of course. T. Coddington Van Voorhees VII wouldn’t have it any other way.

Update: Oh, and speaking of Iowahawk:

Related: “Mark Steyn and Me,” from Rand Simberg.

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I first read Mark's post that made mention of Steorts (what kind of name is that, it sounds like something a pig would squeal as it was finding a mate or passing a Honeybaked Ham outlet) although said with just the right inflection...it sounds most like a braying ass.

I then went to read Steorts' column. The impression I came away with is a weasel attacking a lion. For what purpose seems increasingly unclear with each passing bray, hiss, grunt, squeal and spit.

Although the tactic is becoming more prevalent among the weasel pack. Weasel words align themselves into a rather neat battle plan, in which the weasels attempt to attack the lions of choice...from the middle.

Flanking from the middle may seem Quixotic at best and deranged mostly...but it IS the attack of choice of Brooks, Parker, Noonan, Buckley, Moran, Frum et al.

They have co-opted the concern troll and made him a faux conservative. They then take a topic putatively in "concern" for "the good people of OUR side"...and become schoolmarmish scolds...casting pearls before...well, it takes one to know one, I suppose.

Stoerts does the concern troll act with all the weasel words properly injected about Mark's "usual brilliance"...to a tee.

The turncoat concern troll, hides his burning desire to be "above the riff raff and the mediator of magic relativism", desperate to be called "not one of THOSE PEOPLE"...by the fawning opposition.

In reality, the turncoat persuades nobody. He is a tool. Literally and figuratively. Nothing more.

Flanking from the middle may feel like the land of moral superiority. It's just a den of weasels attacking lions. And "Steorts!!!!" will forever be the sound of one of them being eaten alive.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
It was an extremely odd attack by Steorts on Steyn, whose weekend column (to me, at least) contained no alarm bell words or phrases out of the ordinary. A pretty normal column by Mark, but reading Steorts' lament, you'd think Steyn had gone full Derbyshire on NRO's readership.

None of the others chiming in on the website about the kerfuffle seem to understand where the heck their editor's coming from, either, though this may be a case of someone getting their dander up because of the specific oxen being gored in the column (Lowery and Goldberg AFAIK haven't commented yet, but that may be based on a "If you can't say something nice..." tactic with their co-worker. NR did allow David Frum to drag out his spitball attack on the right for several years before finally cutting ties, so I'd guess for now Steorts is on single-secret probation.)
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
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