Everyone is familiar with the argument trope which has it that the strongest and most plausible voice of criticism is someone on the side of the one criticized. This is why people are now listening to the likes of Kathleen Parker, George Will and David Brooks. Everyone likes a conservative defector (or a liberal defector, as the case may be). No one likes the ones who were right all along–There must be something wrong with them. They were just being critical and mean. Among the heretics of the right is Kathleen Parker, who has graduated from C and B level syndication to the Washington Post on account of her abandoning the blood and soil argument against Barack Obama (does he feel patriotism in his bones, like John McCain?) to the completely justified shock and horror at the possibility that someone as laughably ignorant as Sarah Palin could be seen by her colleagues as a possible President of the United States. This brings us back to a recurrent theme here at The Non Sequitur.
I was pleased to have been wrong about the extent to which some right wing pundits would be capable of saying almost anything to suport their guy. This might have been true of them once, and it's certainly true of the people Parker discusses in today's column, but it's no longer true of Parker, Will, or even Brooks. This doesn't make any of them more deserving of their vaunted posts, but it at least saves them for universal and completely merited ridicule.
While I was wrong about them, I think the point still stands that the left punditariat (I can't remember who coined that term) does not behave like them. Here's Parker:
The most common complaint I've heard lately is that when people on the right criticize each other, the left uses that to its advantage. (The right would never do such a thing.) Also, I'm told, the left doesn't eat its own the way the right does.
The alternative to criticizing, several friends have mentioned with perfectly straight faces, is to say nothing at all. Alas, I've always been partial to Alice Roosevelt Longworth, who said, "If you haven't got anything good to say about anyone, come and sit by me." Not only is the conversation likely to be livelier, it is also likely to be truer.
Whether assertions about the left's sturdier loyalties are accurate, I can't say. But one could argue that eating one's own — that is, being willing to say what's true even when doing so is not in one's immediate self-interest — is not a defect but rather an imperative that conservatives might wish to claim as their own.
They're obviously not accurate–cheers to Parker for not being sure, jeers to Parker not being sure. Doesn't she read the opposition? Seems like a basic requirement. But then again I've been wrong in the past.