Look: I am eager to learn stuff I don't know--which requires actively courting and posting smart disagreement.

But as you will understand, I don't like to post things that mischaracterize and are aimed to mislead.

-- Brad Delong

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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

This is Really Sad

Johnathon Krohn, who has since turned 14, was a big hit at the C.P.A.C. a few days ago.

That's not the sad part. People can get geeked over a wunderkind now and then. I suppose that's OK. But the Republican Party just had to have a pup tell them his version of what conservatism means. The kid has great stage presence - he's smart, articulate, home-schooled, and clearly well trained by his mother, an experienced actress.

His message, though, is basically a trumped-up, silly version of Conservatism.* He cites four core principles: respect for the Constitution, respect for life, responsibility, and small government. The first three are wonderful concepts, but they are not principles to which conservatism has any particular or exclusive claim. In fact, Republican conservatism, in recent years, has been especially virulent in violating these principles. But this is what you can expect from people who have a NASCAR and country music definition of what it means to be a real American. The last item, small government, if it is a principle at all, is one born out of ignorance and contempt for governance. President Obama got it right when he said government should be the correct size to do the job.

That's not the sad part either. If you take the time to read the comments in the linked HOT AIR page above, you'll find gushing adulation for this kid, only slightly muffled Obama/Democrat contempt, and a rather grotesque mischaracterization of the comments connected to the YouTube display of Johnathon's speech. There is an uncomfortable level of snark there, to be sure but it is not the over-the-top vicious hate-fest that the commentors at HOT AIR make it out to be.

Even worse is what one or two of them say in anticipation of the kid getting trashed by Olberman and his "little Brother Maddow."** I've watched both of these shows the two nights since the convention ended. There's been a lot on about Rush, the other most publicized C.P.A.C. speaker, the fear he inspires in Republican elected officials, and ridicule of their capitulation. About Johnathon Krohn - not one word.

Even this is not the saddest part. The saddest part is that this country is now so divided that people of different political preferences cannot have a conversation on meaningful issues - let alone a debate.

* Before he writes another book (sorry couldn't come up with an Amazon link), he really should read this one.
** Typical right-wing gratuitous homophobic hate-mongering

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