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Late Night: National Review Staff, Their Fan Base, and Reality

For you connoisseurs of conservative dysfunction whose jones wasn’t sated by the FreedomWorks meltdown, Joe Hagan of New York magazine went on the recent post-election Caribbean cruise held by the conservative publication, the National Review. And his limning of the event is a revelatory classic on a par with Philip Weiss’ 1989 foray into the Bohemian Grove, in terms of laying bare the functionings of those who consider themselves our betters — though to be sure, I suspect most of the people who attended the cruise as paying guests weren’t so much Bohemian-Club-type Masters of the Universe as griftable grist for the National Review‘s monetary mill.

So target-rich is Hagan’s subject that at least three different authors, to my knowledge, have examined facets of it. Sally Jo Sorensen of Bluestem Prairie zeroed in on the presence of decidedly unfunny funnyman James Lileks on the cruise. Over at Daily Kos, Hunter could barely repress the giggles long enough to type up a few choice selections from Hagan’s piece. And of course our own TBogg couldn’t resist this blogger catnip.

What really struck me was that, yet again, the Southern Strategy really has turned out to be a double-edged sword for the GOP. They used it to grab up America’s whites, especially America’s white males, but nearly half a century of nurturing the racism and paranoia in their base voting bloc has rendered it unable to adapt to a world where the white male is no longer the demographic king:

[Republican pollster Scott] Rasmussen offered some friendly advice about approaching minorities. “You show them that you really care, you talk to them as grown-ups on a range of issues, you get them involved,” he suggested, “and you accept the fact that it’s a long-term investment. And you accept that you can learn as much from them as you can teach them.”

This was harsh medicine to reluctant patients, and afterward some of them made their discomfort known. “That depressed me!” one woman said. To my right, a man snapped, “That’s bullshit!”

The man was Bing West, former assistant secretary of Defense under Ronald Reagan, a former Marine and a National Review contributor.

West, mocking Rasmussen, said: “If you stupid Republicans weren’t so goddamn bigoted you would have won the election!”


…I met a man near the railing who was there as a caregiver for a 70-year-old National Review cruiser from Palm Desert, California. He was gay and seemingly liberal and had come on the cruise only to push his boss around in a wheelchair. As he smoked a cigarette, he recounted a conversation the two had about the ship’s largely Indonesian and Filipino staff.

BOSS: You notice none of the workers are white.

CAREGIVER: Except the managers upstairs.

BOSS: Well, that’s the way it should be.

So what’s on your mind tonight?

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