Cheap Laughs: A Weekly Review of The New York Times

Mark Nuckols
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Posted: Mar 11, 2015 12:01 AM
Cheap Laughs: A Weekly Review of The New York Times

For this week’s Cheap Laughs review of the NY Times op-ed pages, we will take a closer look at what the Times considers fair and balanced treatment of conservative political views. A regular exercise for NYT columnists is to write the piece explaining that “I respect conservative political philosophy, it’s a shame conservatives are so ignorant, racist and mean-spirited that modern conservatism has departed so far from its once decent Rockefeller Republican sensibilities”

As is so often the case, Charles Blow exemplifies the smugly dismissive approach to ideas that don’t fit the ultra-liberal left world view. In his column "CPAC: Hackneyed and Hollow," his title signals in advance to his readership that those mean ole’ conservatives who attend the CPAC conference are in for the Blow treatment. Let’s deconstruct what Blow really thinks about conservatives.

“I never know how to set my expectations for the Conservative Political Action Conference, also known as CPAC.” Translation: who knows WTF to expect from those Crazy Conservative types.

“I try to approach it with as much of an open mind as I can muster, understanding that I am at odds, fundamentally, with many conservative principles and conservatives’ views about the role, size and scope of government, but also realizing that apart from a debate setting, this may be the best place to take the temperature of, and hear from, the broadest range of conservative leaders.” Translation: I am very open minded and tolerant of opposing viewpoints, and my intellectual curiosity drives me to hear out what conservatives have to say.

“I still think, perhaps naïvely so, that people can be ideologically opposed but intellectually engaged, that a good idea makes the best bridge.” Translation: I naïvely believe that maybe someday conservatives can come up with one good idea worthy of serious consideration. Why can’t we all just build a bridge of good ideas,

“But once again this year, I was disappointed.” Poor Charles, he tries so hard every year to find some little scrap of decency and common sense among those knuckle dragging conservatives, and once again he is sadly disappointed to find nothing there.

“There remains in the Republican Party, as evidenced by the speakers at this event, a breathtaking narrowness of vision and deficit of creative thought.” Translation: not just narrowness of vision, but breathtaking, and these guys just don’t have the kind of creativity us liberals have in such abundance.

“Where were the grand conservative thinkers? Where was the philosophical heft? Where was the vision of a future not built on a transporting to the past?” Translation: Ted Kennedy had “philosophical heft,” Obama’s philosophy of government has “heft,” my column has a lot of “philosophical heft.” But those conservatives are all just retrograde intellectual lightweights.

“Republicans have done exceedingly well in the recent midterms — in part because of anti-Obama Tea Party animus in 2010 and the fact that voter turnout for the 2014 midterms was the lowest of any election cycle since World War II.” Translation: it is an awkward fact I can’t completely ignore that the Guys With No Ideas are winning most of the elections. But that’s just because of “animus” (read” racist hatred”) and because turnout was low, not because more voters actually preferred conservative ideas about government to what liberals had to offer.

“But presidential election years are a different story: They are national elections with a different electoral profile and greater participation. And nationally, the Republican brand remains tarnished.” Translation: There is hope Hillary will prevail and save us all from these cretins, and although the Republican “tarnished brand” is winning more votes, “tarnished brand” is a fancy way to say Republicans Are Bad.

“If the bulk of your message is about what you are against rather than what you are for, if it’s about dragging the country back rather than leading it forward, then we’ll all suffer.” Translation: Once again, these guys are retrograde knuckle draggers, and they want to drag America back to the Bad Old Days of Bull Conner, and everybody is gonna suffer horribly, except for the Koch brothers.

So there you have it. Charles Blow never disappoints. Well, never disappoints if you enjoy reading smug claptrap, that is.