the ballad of RSM



Freddie deBoer used to blog at, and may again someday. Now he blogs here.

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19 Responses

  1. Avatar James Williams says:

    Oh, amen, Brother Freddie, amen.Report

  2. Avatar James says:

    Breaking news: blogger Freddie de Boer doesn’t like Rob McCain. Other stories: Steve Sailer isn’t big on Malcolm Gladwell, Andrew Sullivan dislikes Hillary Clinton & Pope “Not Satan’s biggest fan”.Report

  3. Avatar Bob Cheeks says:


    Wonderful, loved it, it’s why I come here!

    This is not the first perfervid piece on Mr. McCain I’ve read recently. Not that I shoot about the internet all that much (just a few favorite sites you know) but over at Taki Mr. Spencer the editor (I believe), a short while ago was bitching similarly about McCain and within a week or so McCain’s contributing to Taki! Whas at?
    I mean the dude’s magic and while I agree with you that he does come across a bit much at times-all you liberal fellas are a bunch of commies-he can cobble together a sentence or two, and, hey, I’m sure there’s a few liberal commentators who similarly prance about uttering grandiose statements of self-aggrandizement.

    BTW any of you commie-libs goin’ to write a tribute to the VETS today?Report

  4. Avatar Chris Dierkes says:

    Right on bro.

    What’s with this “he’s really actually very smart” defense? Or the “he’s got a really big audience and you couldn’t run a talk radio show” defense. Yes, I would be a failure at talk radio, it’s true.

    But I thought the issue was the unethical nature of his statement. Last time I checked lots of smart people (let’s say I’ll give the benefit of the doubt to Levin on that one) were really unethical.Report

  5. Avatar Restless says:

    Oh man, that was dead on.

    Remember last fall? I don’t like to, either, but I was cleaning out old e-mail, including some forwarded stuff from my friends who clamor for the raw meat. Some of these e-mails were so popular I got them a half-dozen times, and it was exactly the sort of clueless stuff that brings on the RSM/Levin-style chest-pounding rants against the “liberal elite.”

    Utterly typical was the one with two attached images: 1. Obama looking dweeby, wearing a bike helmet, pedaling away at a mountain bike on some city street, and 2. Sarah Palin straddling a hog, looking like the cover of a biker mag.

    Tagline: “ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW.”

    Well, no, sorry, that wasn’t “all I needed to know,” and it wasn’t all that a good bit of the electorate needed to know, either. But that e-mail was ridiculously popular among conservatives of the sneering variety.

    And that’s the problem. Yeah, a good number of liberal ideologues are walking, talking cliches, and are insufferable drones. But to make the election “bicycles vs Harleys” was a poor way to frame the debate, even if it played with my friends who ride. And Levin (and McCain) are all about trying to zero in on that kind of pissed-off voter, those men and women who see wimps in the woodwork threatening our toughness. So to hit that “this is all you need to know” target, they bombard listeners (and readers) with these weird anecdotes and stereotypes, some of which completely miss the mark, and others which sound flat-out ridiculous to anyone who doesn’t match up with a patronizing stereotype of “real America.”

    (Postscript: a funny thing about the populist conservatives is that many have interests which I consider kind of un-manly. I have several friends who are about as hardcore as it gets about loving that kind of rhetoric, and also play World of Warcraft for 20+ hours a week.)Report

  6. Avatar Mark says:

    My old roommate in grad school was the first person I met who “naturally admire[d] ranch dipping sauce for pizza…” He landed himself a tenure-track position at Harvard. Ordinary American? Or effete cocktail party attendee?Report

  7. Avatar E.D. Kain says:

    Mark – ranch is Everyman’s pizza dipping sauce. By “Every” I mean elitist, joe sixpack, whoever. Doesn’t matter. Ranch is damn good with pizza.Report

  8. Avatar Christian says:

    Spot on. Of course, William Buckley used to wrestle bears at Yale.Report

  9. Avatar matoko_chan says:

    RSM an’ Mark Levin are tryin’ to be ganstah whiggahs but they aint got no thug.
    None a’tall.Report

  10. Avatar Mark says:

    E.D. – 7: Even Buffalo and Syracuse sometimes turn their noses up at ranch: a friend of mine used to say that you could tell a “classy” chicken wings joint by whether they gave you blue cheese dressing (classy) or ranch (not.)Report

  11. Avatar Joel says:

    It was all a dream, I used to read Commentary Magazine
    Ronald Reagan, Ollie North up in the limousine…Report

  12. “Even Buffalo and Syracuse sometimes turn their noses up at ranch: a friend of mine used to say that you could tell a “classy” chicken wings joint by whether they gave you blue cheese dressing (classy) or ranch (not.)”

    This is not a “sometimes” thing. As folks from WNY and CNY known quite well, if you have any respect for the chicken wing, you will use Blue Cheese and only Blue Cheese. It’s not an issue of class, though – putting ranch on a “Buffalo-style” (Buffaloes don’t have wings!) chicken wing is equivalent to putting Swiss Cheese on a Philly Cheesesteak. It’s just downright unacceptable.Report

  13. Avatar Houghton says:

    This was hilarious. Bravo and well done.

    However, do not diss ranch dipping sauce and pizza!

    This is one of those guilty pleasures one must indulge in once in awhile, common man or not.Report

  14. Avatar ignatov says:

    “To be a journalist in Washington is to live one’s life surrounded by men who have never driven 110 mph, never spent a night in jail, and never won a fightfight in their lives.”

    And who wants to hang out with non-violent non-criminals?Report

  15. Avatar Gus says:

    I did a lot of that crazy shit, but I was smart enough to not get busted. I sold weed, but it was a way to make money and have free weed, not a way to prove my manliness. I woke up in any number of places not knowing where I was. Getting drunk is surprisingly easy, it certainly doesn’t make one manly. In my experience guys who feel the need to brag about how tough and manly they are feel inadequate.Report

  16. Avatar Katherine says:

    I’d say that for McCain to disdain Dreher is for him to sneer at someone who has succeeded at something he’s never tried, namely writing with integrity, moral seriousness and clarity of vision

    . To use a Colbertism, you just nailed him.

    McCain: The upper echelons of American journalism have become the exclusive monopoly of former teacher’s pets, who as children were never sent to the principal’s office, who as teenagers were never suspended for showing up drunk for chemistry class, who as college students never woke up at 6:30 a.m. on the porch of the ATO house, who never played in a rock band or sold a pound of weed or dove from a 50-foot cliff into an abandoned rock quarry.

    Setting aside your point that McCain probably fits that description – isn’t that something any moral/cultural conservative should value? Responsibility, good behaviour, hard work, as opposed to rebellion for rebellion’s own sake? He described me there, and I’m more proud of it than not. What’s so laudable or valuable about hangovers? But he’s just looking for an attack – if our current news and commentator corps HAD sold pot, he’d be after them for that.Report

  17. Avatar George Archibald says:

    I was a senior investigative reporter on the national desk of The Washington Times for 23 years — the first reporter hired by the newspaper pre-publication in February 1982 — and knew Robert Stacy McCain as an editor on our desk. He was a repulsive racist, sputtered vile racist, anti-semitic, and other bigoted diatribes constantly during my tenure, which ended in September 2005. It was a source of continual embarrassment to me that the senior editors did not fire him for his workplace bigotry and incompetence. I have a chapter about this experience in my forthcoming book, “Journalism Is War,” to be published shortly by Anomalos.

    George Archibald
    Post Office Box 212
    Middleburg, Viurginia 20118-0212Report