Ed Driscoll

Questions Nobody is Answering

A near-daily feature on James Taranto’s daily “Best of the Web Today” column (whoops, that’s another daily feature, “It’s the Tautology, Stupid) is titled “Questions Nobody is Asking.”

But a troika of recent columns in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Atlantic, all predictable left-of-center fonts of conventional wisdom feature questions that liberals (and whatever David Brooks thinks of himself these days) don’t seem prepared to answer. And to ask a question myself, I wonder why?

Let’s start with “David Brooks: Golly, How Did Government Get So Expensive?” Matt Welch’s paraphrase of Brooks’ new column, which Matt transposes with a column Brooks wrote in 2004 longing for (of course) bigger government. But add Brooks’ question to other questions being asked in recent days by other journalists at similarly “elite” publications:

Michael Kinsley at the Atlantic:

Debt is everywhere you look. Here’s a short inside piece in The New York Times Magazine about state and local unfunded pension obligations for retired employees. They add up to between $1 trillion and $3 trillion. Until that article, I had given no thought whatsoever to shortfalls in state employee pension funds. You?

Umm, yeah. Along with everyone on pretty much everybody else on the right hand side of the aisle.

Jill Lepore in the New York Times:

“Hating Woodrow Wilson –Glenn Beck has popularized conservative condemnation of the 28th president. Why Wilson and not, say, one of the Roosevelts?”

Why not at least two of the three?

Anne Applebaum in the Washington Post: Why do those nutty Tea Partiers and the rest of the booboisie hate the Ivy League?

[T]hese modern meritocrats are clearly not admired, or at least not for their upward mobility, by many Americans. On the contrary — and as [sociologist Daniel] Bell might have predicted — they are resented as “elitist.” Which is at some level strange: To study hard, to do well, to improve yourself — isn’t that the American dream? The backlash against graduates of “elite” universities seems particularly odd given that the most elite American universities have in the past two decades made the greatest effort to broaden their student bodies.

Short answer: They don’t — just the ones who head straight for the Beltway and deign to control their lives.

After the journalists at the New York Times in short succession misread Ann Coulter’s views on gays and the GOP, who Friedrich Hayek was, and “the rule of law,” strange polyglot jargon apparently heretofore unknown by the average Timesperson, Glenn Reynolds proffered one explanation as to what’s going on here:

To know what Ann Coulter writes in her books, they’d have to know what’s in her books. That would require reading Ann Coulter’s books — and worse yet, admitting it in print, which no self-respecting Timesian would do. Far better to make a major embarrassing error (one of three Kaus dissects) — and thus actually score points when busted by Mickey, since this makes it clear to the NYT crowd that your mind is unpolluted by contact with Coulter’s writing.

Stupid anti-intellectual Tea Partiers. Next they’ll expect you to know who Friedrich Hayek is. Who has time for that stuff?

It seems safe to say that the pundit class isn’t going to change one iota in response to the thumping less than three weeks away. If anything, they’ll double-down on their ostrich-like ability to continue tune out the world outside of the DC-NYC axis. But where do the old-line news publications that…

  • Bet the ranch on Obama,
  • Covered for him while in office,
  • And fail to even try to understand the concerns of their potential readers

Go from November?

Update: In the Christian Science Monitor, “Herding Donkeys — Are the Democrats a party in desperate need of an ideology?”

Well, as opposed to a century of self-described “progressivism,” I guess.

Update: My answer to this question: Not all of it; Sacramento, most assuredly.