Pundits long on rhetoric, short on the facts—Leonard Pitts Jr.—Miami Herald

On the Kevin James smackdown, Leonard Pitts Jr. opines that James’ ignorance of Neville Chamberlain’s sin combined with his willingness to do something so mindless we shouldn’t insult parrots by calling it that is the most apt description of the “regression of conservatism since the age of Reagan.” (How many people think it’s funny that the Gipper’s time could well be the apex of American conservative thought? That he’s the Pericles of the movement?)

Some will say it’s unfair to paint thoughtful conservatives with the
same brush one uses to tar this blowhard. I would suggest the very need
to use that modifier speaks volumes. There was once a day when
conservatism was driven by principles: smaller government,
less-intrusive government, strong national defense, fiscal sobriety.
But in the years since that day, the putative heirs to Reagan have
trampled not just those principles, but also principle itself.

ideology that wanted small government now presides over expanded
government, the one that wanted less intrusion now seeks to regulate
bedroom behavior, the one that demanded strong national defense has run
the military into the ground, the one that championed fiscal sobriety
turned a $236 billion budget surplus into a $400 billion deficit. And
if thoughtful conservatives see the disconnect, if they have the
intellectual integrity to find it shameful, the newsflash is,
thoughtful conservatives no longer predominate their ideology.

No, that honor goes to unthoughtful conservatives, the loud, proudly
ignorant voices of talk radio, books and television of which Kevin
James is now the poster child. Matthews kept asking him to explain the
sins of Neville Chamberlain and he kept crying, ”appeasement!
appeasement!” clinging to the words like a drowning man to a raft.

what people like him do. They are geniuses at rhetoric (”War on
Christmas,” anyone?) that rouses the rabble and lets them feel
aggrieved, while simultaneously having the intellectual heft of cotton
balls. But they can no more step beyond that rhetoric than Gilligan
could step off his island. There is no there there.

As usual for Pitts, simply brilliant.

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