Someone with more time…

…than your humble host really needs to take a whack at this New York Times Magazine piece, another of those perennial “conservatism is hip” pieces (the title of this one is, I kid you not, “The Young Hipublicans”). It’s ripe for a merciless deconstruction: the “self-reliant” young conservative who depends on (presumably taxpayer-subsidized) financial aid; the young woman who argues that Republicans are “inclusive” enough to encompass pro- and anti-abortion views, whereas “the National Organization for Women has never supported a pro-life candidate.” And on and on.

Several years ago, while Bill Clinton was still in office (and before anyone had ever heard of Monica Lewinsky), I went to a Young Republicans gathering in Connecticut with my friend Bruce Shapiro, and we watched speakers such as Oliver North and Gary Aldrich contort themselves like human pretzels, trying to portray liberals and Democrats as immoral and decadent without alienating an audience of young college students with the usual enthusiasm for partying. For instance, while literature at the conference suggested that “Bill Clinton’s glib attitude toward the obvious immorality and criminality of recreational drug use is understandable — he is, after all, a dyed-in-the-wool sixties liberal,” Gary Aldrich (the former FBI agent who carved out a second career denouncing the depravity of the Clinton White House) shrugged off the obvious immorality and criminality of recreational drug use with a wink and a nod, noting that he had not smelled any marijuana smoke in the hotel’s hallways the night before, and drawing the obvious conclusion: “You see, conservatives have learned how, in their early years, to be discreet!” The audience, if memory serves, responded with appreciative applause.

Those damned decadent liberals — they’re just not discreet.

The meeting took place around the time the Republicans were trying, ludicrously enough, to co-opt Martin Luther King, and Bruce and I listened politely as one young Republican explained to us that her father had been in law enforcement and had “inside information” about the FBI’s surveillance and harassment of Dr. King. You see, according to her father, “Dr. King was a peace-loving man — but everywhere he went, he was followed by riots and violence! The FBI was just trying to figure out why!”

Uh huh. And subsidized, low-interest, guaranteed student loans aren’t really a social program, and the Republican party is both pro-choice and pro-life. Ignore that screaming you hear in the background, it’s just the sound of logic being tortured without mercy.