GOP must work on persuasion, says man who constantly calls all liberals “fascists”

Jonah Goldberg says the GOP must learn to communicate to non-conservatives -- and trots out the same old discourse

Topics: Politics, Jonah Goldberg, Healthcare Reform, National Review, Editor's Picks,

GOP must work on persuasion, says man who constantly calls all liberals "fascists" (Credit: Gage Skidmore)

Jonah Goldberg, conservative intellectual, revealed in his syndicated column yesterday that the conservative movement is apparently full of “hucksters eager to make money from stirring rage, paranoia, and an ill-defined sense of betrayal with little concern for the real political success that can come only with persuading the unconverted.” As Conor Friedersdorf writes, it is sort of a cop-out for Jonah to make that claim and then not actually name these hucksters. (For the record, the hucksters are basically “most of the conservative media and many of its nonprofits.”)

Still, how fun it would have been to see Goldberg, a columnist who loves to use the wishy-washy “I’m not sayin’, I’m just sayin’” style of debate whenever he gestures toward making a provocative argument, call out his ideological and professional colleagues for constantly lying to and bilking the faithful? Maybe next week.

The main point of Goldberg’s column, as he explains at the Corner, is that contrary to common conservative belief, the Republican Party is not insufficiently conservative. In fact, the GOP is just not very good at persuading non-conservative Americans of the superiority of conservative beliefs and policies. This is a somewhat heretical argument on the right, where conservatism is always thought to be the natural inclination of all Real Americans, and every political defeat is due to a failure to be conservative enough, but I don’t expect many on the right to listen to Goldberg, mostly because he is not very good at “persuading” anyone of the superiority of conservative ideas.



Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, a longtime opponent of universal healthcare measures, recently, and unsurprisingly, referred to Obamacare as “fascism” in an NPR interview. That is just a bit of a historically ignorant hysterical overstatement (most modern universal healthcare measures were established in the period after the Second World War, primarily by the countries that beat the fascists). It is also a humorous callback to Goldberg’s all-time comedy classic, his “serious” “historical” book “Liberal Fascism.”

So, naturally, when Mackey retracted his comparison of the expansion of health insurance coverage to brutal totalitarianism, Goldberg was disappointed. “That Didn’t Take Long,” his headline reads.

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey backs off the F-word in part because, while fairly accurate and defensible, it hurts the feelings of people who have no problem using it inaccurately and indefensibly all of the time:

Goldberg’s thesis is that it’s OK to call anything you don’t like “fascism” because the comical pantomime hippies that he imagines make up the vast majority of American liberalism constantly use that term as a weapon against conservatives. (In his writings, liberals always wear Birkenstocks and they all talk exactly like Rob Reiner in “All in the Family.”) And so this is the person — the one who thinks it is “fairly accurate” and, more important, “defensible,” based on playground rules of political discourse, to call moderate liberal social policy “fascism” — who is calling for the conservative movement to work on its “persuasion” techniques. The GOP has already tried the “repeatedly call your opponents Nazi Fascists” strategy, and it did not do much for them, last November.

Alex Pareene

Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon and is the author of "The Rude Guide to Mitt." Email him at apareene@salon.com and follow him on Twitter @pareene

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Burger King Japan

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.

    Elite Daily/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    McDonald's Black Burger: Because the laws of competition say that once Burger King introduces a black cheeseburger, it's only a matter of time before McDonald's follows suit. You still don't have to eat it.

    Domino's

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.

    Arby's/Facebook

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Arby's Meat Mountain: The viral off-menu product containing eight different types of meat that, on second read, was probably engineered by Arby's all along. Horrific, regardless.

    KFC

    2014's fast food atrocities

    KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.

    Michele Parente/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.

    Pizzagamechangers.com

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Boston Pizza's Pizza Cake: The people's choice winner of a Canadian pizza chain's contest whose real aim, we'd imagine, is to prove that there's no such thing as "too far." Currently in development.

    7-Eleven

    2014's fast food atrocities

    7-Eleven's Doritos Loaded: "For something decadent and artificial by design," wrote one impassioned reviewer, "it only tasted of the latter."

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>