Remember Rod Dreher, the Cultural Revolutionary?

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Spent the first part of morning searching around on-line for anything to remind me why Rod Dreher and I used to fight.

No luck, really. When he was here working on The Dallas Morning News editorial board, he lived on my old street in East Dallas, and I think we used to argue in print about East Dallas stuff. But, you know, East Dallas is the big Jewish family dinner of Dallas: We argue at the table as an expression of love.

Dunno. Can't remember exactly what it was he and I fought about. Stumbled on his name this morning reading the papers. Dreher, an erstwhile pen-wielder on the Morning News' op-ed page, receives mention in this morning's New York Times column by David Brooks about new conservative voices in America. When I read Brooks' piece, I thought, "Yeah, Dreher is a good example of all the things that were not sorted out properly in this election."

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FrumForum
Rod Dreher
He left town a couple years ago for a job with the John Templeton Foundation, a very conservative outfit that believes, I think, in religion, self-reliance, smallness and then some other things I can't quite make out (my fault, not theirs). When he was here he self-promoted himself as the "crunchy con," a reference to granola.

He and my wife were occasional email pals talking about backyard chickens. For some reason whenever I do get into a good knockdown with somebody, I always seem to find out later that the person and my wife have become best buddies, and it's usually about chickens.

What about the Obama re-election? Well, all of my fellow libtards want to read it as a red carpet for traditional liberalism in the next half century, which I very seriously doubt. After black people and Hispanics got done being angry over the racism of the Republican/Tea Party, after women got done being furious over the crude misogyny, after the rest of us got done being scared shitless by the march of the war-mongering, anti-civilization, Ayn Rand-quoting, batshit-crazy billionaires, who even had time to think about philosophy? I think for most of us Obama voters, it was a case of dashing out of our psychological bomb shelters, inking the ballot and then hauling ass back to the shelter hoping Romney wouldn't win and ship us all off on trains to Connecticut to do stoop labor on the estates of the gods.

But this morning, more or less secure in the sense that I can venture out of the house again and be semi-safe from capture and enslavement, I looked at Brooks' piece, saw Dreher's name, and thought, "You know, Dreher is a hell of a lot closer to the cultural revolution I see going on in this city than I am."

All of the people in Dallas today that I associate with the city's better future -- the preservationists in the Angela Hunt constituency in East Dallas, the new-urban Scott Griggs people in Oak Cliff, the civic responsibility folks who vote for Sandy Greyson in North Dallas and the pull-up-your-damn-pants-and-get-a-job people who vote for Dwaine Caraway in southern Dallas -- they all operate out of what could and maybe should be viewed as a very conservative moral base.

They all have this in common: They don't trust big government to give them good lives, nor do they trust Sheldon Adelson or the Koch brothers. What they share is a kind of retro faith in personal and mutual civic responsibility. I assume the Ayn Rand crazies scare them as much as they scare me.

All of that is still on the table to be sorted out. It's a philosophical nexus no better resolved in the Democratic Party than in the Republican Party. So Mitt Romney Republicans used big money and big debt to Bain the guts out of companies like Sensata. As Andrew Ross Sorkin reports in the Times today, it was Dick Gephardt liberals who used big money and big debt to Bain the guts out of Hostess Brands, the company America has depended on for its Twinkies since I think like colonial days or something.

Here's a thing that occurred to me after the election. Most of the upwardly mobile black people, Hispanics and women entrepreneurs I know all remind me of my immigrant grandfather. They are all bootstraps people: They know that nobody was ever going to hand them their success. They had to fight for it and work for it themselves. There is something inherent in the process of making it in America that turns people into bootstrap conservatives.

All of those votes could have been Republican if it hadn't been for the racism and the misogyny. Or as I might alternatively put it, none of those votes would have been Democratic had it not been for the Tea Party animus in the Republican camp.

It's really almost as if those voters were outside the Republican tent trying to get in when the old white dudes in the tricorn hats came out and started firing buckshot at them. So they ran over to the Democratic tent for cover. But that's hardly an endorsement of Democrats, is it?

It's all still a big jumble waiting to be arranged properly. Much of it is good, like Dreher. There was something about Dreher that wasn't good, but I can't remember what it was. Now I'm wondering if it was a chicken issue. Nah. It'll come to me. Did he just smile too much?

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35 comments
Will
Will

"All of those votes could have been Republican if it hadn't been for the racism and the misogyny."

 

Or, possibly, just maybe, they're not idiots and could see that the Republicans preaching about bootstraps and entrepreneurial spirit were the sons of governors or hereditary bajillionaires, while the evil librul socialist they were taking cheap shots at was a poor kid who worked hard and made it big.

pak152
pak152

"All of those votes could have been Republican if it hadn't been for the racism and the misogyny." too bad the liberal/progressives blew it all out of proportion while ignoring the racism and misogyny that takes place within their own ranks.

G_David
G_David

Say what you want about Rod and his tremendous appendage, the man absolutely had one thing right.  Matt's in Lakewood blows. 

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

I'm confused, is the point of the article Mr Dreher is a conservative and a Republican but he is not by definition evil?

RobertStinson
RobertStinson

BTW, Jim. This is at least the second or third time that Brooks has mentioned Dreher this year in his column.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

I just thank God that the neo-cons have been precluded from having America jump headlong into the imminent war between Israel and Iran.  Romney would have been delighted to send thousands of our military people to their deaths.

RobertStinson
RobertStinson

Dreher now works for Wick Allison's American Conservative. http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher. You may recall that Uncle Wick frequently feted Rod when he was at the DMN. This also explains why Wick's mascot, Tim, no longer rags on his sortof colleague, Dreher.

roo_ster
roo_ster

There is nothing the GOP can do that will make blacks or mexicans love them up and vote for them in great numbers.  The Dems are the party of big-gov't money-for-nothing and the racial spoils system.  No appeal to economic interests will shake that.

 

"In multiracial societies, you don't vote in accordance with your economic interests and social interests, you vote in accordance with race and religion." ----Lee Kuan Yew, first PM of Singapore

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

I'm not sure who is more condescending, Dreher or Douthat.

LakeWWWooder
LakeWWWooder

The reason he had to leave town is because he picked a fight with the Woodrow PTA. You just don't mess with Lakewood Momfia.

bmarvel
bmarvel

Jim,

I've said for years you and Dreher would find you have so much in common if you just sat down ad had a beer together. (Maybe not the homophobia, but everything else.) Why the nitwit commenters hereabouts take you for some kind off liberal -- or "libtard" in their impoverished vocabulary -- just baffles me.

You really do need to read Jonathan Haidt's "The Righteous Mind." Really. Both of you. You do.

Grumpy_Demo
Grumpy_Demo

"Why did you and Dreher fight?"

 

Well there was the fact that he was a pretension third rate intellectual homophobic racist yahoo prig who fancied himself as a Right Wing Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

 

Oh, and his was a tremendous dick:

http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/unfairpark/2008/11/someone_anyone_take_the_candy.php

 

As for what happened to him? He was canned by by Tempelton after one too many ant-gay rants online. He was dropped by NPR after I provided them with nice selection of his wit and wisdom on race (actual quotes denigrating Michele Obama, Hispanics, etc.).

 

Then he slinked by back to his hicks-ville hometown in Louisiana, where he occasionally blogs to an audience of none and lives in deserved obscurity.

 

I like to think that he lives posting a the "ALL CAPS GUY".

 

schermbeck
schermbeck

Say what you will, but the guy broke with his peers over W's Iraq war early, and he understood the importance of the politically unaligned energy that fuels much of what happens below the official radar screen, especially in places like Texas, where creative change at the state level is dead for the foreseeable future.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

I think the word you're searching for is: condescending.

pak152
pak152

 @Myrna.Minkoff-Katz really? how about how Obama is doing in Afghanistan? do you think he'll sit back and do nothing?

nammer
nammer

 @RobertStinson does anyone else think these names, Rod, Wick, are just too homoerotic...and not in a good way

observist
observist topcommenter

 @roo_ster For starters, the Republicans could probably win over a lot of culturally conservative Hispanics if they could back off the policies encouraging "self deportation".  They could win over prosperous gays if they could get over the "defense of marriage" crap.  They could win over socially conservative churchgoing blacks if they could get over the endless variety of "welfare queen" insinuations and blatant attempts to hinder black voting.  They could win over more women if they didn't treat them as involuntary breeding vessels for rapists.  Basically, if they could just stop being xenophobic dickheads, a lot more people could get on board with a Republican platform of lower taxes, less government.  Oh, and the Republicans might also try actually governing to a platform of lower taxes, less government, instead of lower taxes, more government, more debt.

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

 @roo_ster Keep it up, Roo. We Dems are counting on you.

bmarvel
bmarvel

 @Grumpy_Demo 

And YOU, Grumpy: Would you explain how the phrase "hicks-ville hometown in Louisiana" confirms your liberal credentials. Or, for that matter, why in any way we should think you as less of a mindless bigot than any homophobic race-baiting right-wing nutcase?

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

 @Grumpy_Demo his was a tremendous dick ... or HE was a tremendous dick. Please clarify.

Grumpy_Demo
Grumpy_Demo

Crap, the comments doesn't let you edit anymore. damn

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

 @observist  If they get rid of all of that, they'll have nothing left. Cultural lines in the sand are the entirety of the GOP ethos.

 

Take the gay marriage saga of the last 40ish years. "OK." they eventually said, "Y'all gays can live together, there's nothing we can do about that." Then a few decades pass and states pass legislation making civil unions legal and a few major conservatives get bent out of shape, but the furor settles down after a bit.

 

Next come the demands for marriage equality, and that is the point where the line is drawn. "Not yours! No can have!" they'll say "You've already subverted right-thinking morality, how dare you appropriate and desecrate the very term we use to define OUR sacred union!" nevermind the fact that their "sacred union" has been defiled by their own for centuries.

 

They used to be able to discriminate freely, to put others into little boxes. Now they are defining their own little boxes and desperately trying to keep others out of them.

 

I guess that's progress. 

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

 @JimSX  @Grumpy_Demo Uh, no. Please don't.

I've been gouging out my mind's eye so often lately that I'm afraid I won't be able to see ever again.

JimSX
JimSX topcommenter

 @Grumpy_Demo I think  this is where we start talking about the weather.

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