Jim Hoft needs more attention


Barrett Brown

I am the founder of the distributed think-tank Project PM and a regular inactive to Vanity Fair and Skeptical Inquirer. My work has also appeared in The Onion, National Lampoon, New York Press, D Magazine, Skeptic, McSweeney's, American Atheist, and a couple of newspapers in the U.S. and Mexico as well as a few policy journals. I'm the author of two books and serve as a consultant to various political entities and private clients.

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48 Responses

  1. Avatar ThatPirateGuy says:

    In other news Ken Buck is talking about the dangers of the secular peopl while going on about the separation church and state not being supported by the constitution.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      @ThatPirateGuy, dude, you would not *BELIEVE* the ads against Ken Buck they’ve been playing on the radio.

      I can only imagine that the television ones are worse.

      (The ones I’ve heard talk about how he wants to institute a 23% National Sales tax!!! HOW OUT OF TOUCH IS THAT??? and one that talked about how he wants to take away our sacred right to vote for Senators.)Report

      • Avatar gregiank says:

        @Jaybird, right on jay. here is Ak the Dem candidate for senator has actually admitted he thinks HCR is positive….what an out of touch wackaloon…amiright.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          @gregiank, if he’s on record as saying that, it’s not exactly dishonest to point that out.

          Though I do think that support for the Fair Tax or repeal of the 17th Amendment can be spun exceptionally dishonestly.

          If the guy actually does think that it was positive, is it unfair to say that he thinks it’s positive?Report

        • Avatar ThatPirateGuy says:

          I am talking about nothing less than a direct quote from the candidate himself.

          It isn’t like I am claiming that he thinks mars is about to attack us; it is a common conservative position despite being dead wrong and scary to me personally.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          @ThatPirateGuy, which one? That “separation of church and state” doesn’t exist in the Constitution?Report

      • Avatar ThatPirateGuy says:

        That the idea and principle are not in the constitution. I know the exact phrase comes from a Jefferson letter.

        I don’t want school children pressured or led to pray or not pray. I also don’t want religion taught in science classes even if the school board really wants to do it. It is an improper and wrong use of government power and has been repeatedly ruled unconstitutional.Report

  2. I simply cannot reconcile the notion that First Things plays host to both Hoft and the Postmodern Conservative. As I said to Erik this morning upon reading Hoft’s post and the ensuing comments, while I find much of the movement Left to be largely despicable, it simply cannot hold a candle to that depressingly large segment of the movement Right that is wholly despicable.

    And the comments really are the most appalling part of that post, demonstrating as they do that Hoft’s sentiments are far from unique.

    Ordinarily, I’d just dismiss an incident like this as something isolated that happens from time to time in any large-scale democratic politics (and happens far more often and on a much wider scale in numerous other countries), whether or not we usually hear about it. And indeed, I was prepared to do exactly that until I saw Hoft’s post and the ensuing comments, seeing as Hoft is not exactly on the fringe of the movement Right.

    Of course, I can’t describe the level of amusement that two of Hoft’s subsequent posts today go after:
    1. Joy Behar, tut-tutting her for stepping over the line by calling Sharron Angle an “evil moron” and saying “this bitch is going to hell.”; and
    2. Obama, tut-tutting him for stepping over the line by telling a group of Latino voters that: ““If Latinos sit out the election instead of saying, ‘We’re gonna punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us,’ if they don’t see that kind of upsurge in voting in this election, then I think it’s gonna be harder and that’s why I think it’s so important that people focus on voting on November 2.”Report

  3. Avatar ThatPirateGuy says:

    “I find much of the movement Left to be largely despicable, it simply cannot hold a candle to that depressingly large segment of the movement Right that is wholly despicable. ”

    So your coming out as a Democrat? 😉Report

    • @ThatPirateGuy, Yeah, right! I remain a committed dividist. Besides, one must always be careful to distinguish politicians from the movements that support them. On that front, all politicians are, as a rule, fully despicable (I can think of a small handful, perhaps six or seven from each party, who range from actively decent to only mostly despicable).Report

  4. Avatar gregiank says:

    @jay- Any position can be attacked in a sleazy or non-sleazy manner. Ads can be mocking or serious or deep ( or as deep as you can get in 30 seconds)Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      @gregiank, one of my favorite responses to an attack was Jon Tester’s.

      His opponent accused him of wanting to weaken the Patriot Act. Tester’s response?

      “I don’t want to weaken the Patriot Act, I want to repeal it!”

      If the Democratic candidate thinks that Obamacare is awesome, he really ought to run on that, no?

      Look at all he’s done for the Alaskans! Affordable care! For all!

      How dare anyone attack him for trying to help children?Report

  5. Avatar gregiank says:

    @jay-how dare people unfairly caricature Buck’s views.

    Hey about that separation of church and state Mr. Buck?Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      @gregiank, I had a “how dare they?” thing going on?

      I thought I had a “god, this is so transparently dishonest that surely it will result in people saying ‘that can’t be accurate’ about Buck.”

      Seriously, painting a repeal of the 17th Amendment as him wanting to take away the rights we fought against the British to win?

      The worst part is that I suspect that these ads will convince some people out there.

      “He wants an additional tax on our lives!”
      “Well, no, he wants to abandon the IRS and income taxes and replace them with taxes that can’t be easily dodged by corporations or illegal immigrants or drug dealers or the rich…”
      “23%!!! I already pay way more than that!”Report

      • Avatar gregiank says:

        @Jaybird, I was really going more for a pot calling the kettle black vibe myself.

        I have no doubt people screaming socialism and death panels will also influence peoples votes. Why do i doubt you are as irked at that as about ads about Buck.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          @gregiank, I have not heard a single ad discussing death panels nor socialism.

          Seriously. I have not heard a single one.

          I have heard ads against Ken Buck, however. (Not *FOR* Ken Buck, against him.)

          Would you like me to comment more about stuff I haven’t heard about?


      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:


        If there’s any logic behind repealing the 17th Amendment beyond “Right now, it’s good for Republicans”, I haven’t heard it. That makes it about as serious as Coulter’s plan to repeal the 19th.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          @Mike Schilling, seriously? You’ve never heard a argument for repeal of the 17th that has nothing to do with partisan advantage?Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

          @Mike Schilling,

          Not one that wasn’t transparently dishonest, no.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          @Mike Schilling, so if I said “well, I think it would move us significantly back towards a healthier Federalism, mark a significant difference between the two legislative houses (perhaps returning the Senate to its original “deliberative” form), and make regulatory capture/corruption much more difficult for corporations to game”, would that be new and novel for you or would that be yet another example of a glibertarian lying to you in order to stack the senate with his Republican cronies?Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

          @Mike Schilling,

          I’m not going to call you dishonest, but, knowing what I do of state legislatures, I’d have a hard time believing that getting them involved would lower corruption. Not to mention that it provides an even stronger incentive to gerrymander state districts.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          @Mike Schilling, my argument was that it would make them more difficult for corporations to engage in the corruption. More people to bribe means money getting thin… but, additionally, State Legislatures are closer to “the people”. I have met my State Guy. Shook his hand. I know where he hangs out in my city and I could have a conversation with him in the next month if I were so inclined. He is responsive to me in a way we can’t even dream about for a Senator. And I’m just a shlub. An engaged population can moderate even a gerrymandered politician on the State level. I don’t think that that is possible on the National.

          The gerrymandering debate is one that deserves posts and posts on its own. I don’t know how to get rid of it without a Constitutional Amendment. (Supreme Court case, maybe?)

          But that problem exists independently of the 17th Amendment.Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

          So you think some elected elite would do a better job of picking a senator than I would? Statist!

          Seriously, what you describe is probably far truer in your state than in California, where each legislator represents either 450K or 900K people, and the primary system ensures that they’re completely partisan. There are ballot propositions to address both the primaries and the gerrymandering: we’ll see what happens.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          @Mike Schilling, well, the main thing that I’m going for is that you can now say that you’ve never seen a persuasive argument for repeal of the 17th than what you did earlier.

          I don’t need you to agree with me, I just need you to say that, sure, it’s possible to have a different opinion on this topic without only doing so for temporary partisan advantage.Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

          Agreed: I have now seen one reasoned argument. But when I hear it from the Tea Party, I still smell pursuit of partisan advantage.Report

  6. Avatar gregiank says:

    @jay- why don’t you detect the irony of your umbrage at hyperbolic caricatures and your use of them?Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      @gregiank, Was I deliberately withholding exculpatory information in them?Report

      • Avatar gregiank says:

        @Jaybird, Why do you assume people need every bit of information spoon fed to them? Aren’t people able to think and judge for themselves? Why is one hyperbolic caricature nifty and one not?Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          @gregiank, you’d think that people would be able to judge for themselves, yes…

          And yet.

          Negative ads seem to work. “My opponent wants your testicles stepped upon.”

          “Oh, I’d better not vote for him, then!”

          I keep hoping that people would vote for real reasons than “hey, this politician is promising me free all kinds of stuff and no tax hikes!!!”

          But, for some reason, they don’t.

          It vexes me.Report

  7. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Actually, one thing I’ve noticed about this year’s election materials they’re delivering to the house:

    No parties are mentioned. Like, *NONE*.

    It’s creepy.

    They all say “vote for so-and-so, he cares for veterans and puppies” or “vote for Such-and-such, she cares about students and class sizes”.

    I can’t remember a single “democrat” or “republican” showing up. For that matter, I don’t think that yard signs make mention of such things either. “So-and-so For Colorado” followed by a “Colorado For Such-and-such” sign.

    Is that a new law or something?Report

  8. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    The headline of this piece is “Rand Paul supporter apologizes for stepping on activist’s head”.

    Tim Profitt, a volunteer with the Republican’s U.S. Senate campaign, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the camera angle made the scuffle Monday night appear worse that it was. He criticized police for not stepping in and says other supporters warned authorities about the activist.

    I don’t know about you, but to me that is one heartfelt apology,Report

  9. Avatar Keljeck says:

    Jim Hoft is the main reason why I no longer subscribe to First Things. The cynicism is really depressing.Report

  10. Avatar Joe Carter says:

    Mr. Brown,

    First, FT is not a “Catholic outlet.” The magazine and website are interreligious. (I myself am an evangelical.)

    Second, Jim Hoft’s blog is leaving FT and will soon (possibly next week) be hosted somewhere else.Report

  11. Avatar former FT subscriber says:

    Very welcome news. Very likely will spur me to reconsider, but I’m still holding out that Spengler gets demoted or booted out. You have no idea how many ROFTERS he’s alienated.Report

  12. Avatar doug says:

    I’ll second that Hoft was a terrible addition.Report