By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
ORIENTATION: End-Times Conservative
TONE: Cheerful when discussing food or "sluts"; otherwise, grimly millenarian
FUN FACT: Claims to suffer from "Sensory Processing Disorder" that makes it difficult for him to shop at Wal-Mart. May also be said to suffer from a religious form of attention-deficit disorder, having in the past 15 years moved from the Methodist faith to Catholicism and thence to Eastern Orthodoxy.
CANDIDATE: McCain in 5, 4, 3, 2 . . .
STUPID/EVIL RATIO: 50/50
HISTORY: Reviewed movies at New York Post ("Runaway Bride is a runaway bore!"); at the National Review Online, began promulgating "Crunchy Conservatism," a mix of Christian conservatism and small-is-beautiful, slow-food doctrines (also the topic of his book). Supported the invasion of Iraq, which he has since denounced; also denounced homosexuals, whom he still denounces. Now an editorial board member and op-ed columnist at The Dallas Morning News. At CrunchyCon blog, Dreher vacillates between anger at Islamofascists and sympathy for Islamic fundamentalism, at least insofar as it resembles Christian fundamentalism. Outraged by an indie documentary about zoophilia, Dreher asked: "What do you say to Muslims abroad who'd genuinely wonder why, if this kind of decadence is the fruit of American liberty, they should welcome what we have to offer?" Though originally angry at Jerry Falwell's post-9/11 statements, Dreher later decided that "God will judge America, and judge it harshly. And perhaps is judging America..." Despite this, he strongly denounces Obama pastor Jeremiah Wright for his "God damn America" comments—which would seem inconsistent, were we not aware of Dreher's feelings on race, seen in his frequent denunciations of black racism and reminiscences of how he was once denied a job in favor of "a woman or a minority." In lighter moments, Dreher regales his readers with moral judgments (e.g., calling a bride who displayed a tattoo on her wedding day a "slut") and his praise of artisanal cheeses and meats.
MODUS OPERANDI: Despite anti-war stand, he is typically Christy-Con on most issues. Criticizes capitalistic excesses ("How Wal-Mart Harms the Free Market"); however, his preferred method for reversing this problem is not social policy but Jesus. Culture war ("This is how the left works: yell 'bigotry' to silence critics") excites him more than economics.
WHAT TO EXPECT: As always, will vote Republican because of the fetuses, and agitate for the McCain administration to support sustainable yogurt farming.
Hindrocket, The Big Trunk, The Deacon
ORIENTATION: Grassroots Establishmentarian
TONE: First-draft-of-right-wing-history important
FUN FACT: Named "Blog of the Year" in 2004 by Time. ("I don't put much faith in anything that comes from Time magazine."—Hindrocket, 2003)
STUPID/EVIL RATIO: 30/70
HISTORY: Founded in 2002 by lawyers John Hinderaker, Scott Johnson and Paul Mirengoff, all fellows of the right-wing Claremont Institute and contributors to conservative publications. Genesis of cognomens unknown, but widely mocked ("Assrocket") and eventually soft-pedaled by the authors. Alternate lengthy dissertations on moral and political topics ("the Clinton-Gore lack of seriousness about issues") and personal essays ("Being a child of the '50s, I don't recall a time when Sammy Davis was not a celebrity...") with attempts at investigative journalism, some of which were howlingly unsuccessful ("Bin Laden is dead. More leaks are starting to come out..."—July 27, 2002), but some of which took, including the "Rathergate" controversy over George W. Bush's alleged military service, which figured in the blog's 2004 Time award. Thereafter, Powerline sometimes attempted to recapture the old magic, most notably by unsuccessfully debunking the damning "Schiavo memo" from Senator Mel Martinez's office, which was laid to rest with "Real Memo, Fake Story" ("While [it]...didn't turn out to be a Democratic dirty trick, the media's treatment of the memo was misleading at best"). Mostly covered other people's reporting from a right-wing Republican perspective, like Fox News with a scroll bar.
MODUS OPERANDI: Having built their reputation and traffic sufficiently, the authors appear to be coasting ("Will Bush Rebound in 2008?"). They do sometimes attempt to hold McCain's feet to the fire ("Those of us who want to preserve the interrogation device that apparently caused Khalid Sheikh Muhammad to break down in minutes...remain free to punish McCain and/or Graham at the polls for their underlying efforts to ban waterboarding categorically"), but their heart isn't in it ("Stop attacking McCain for his 'impurities'").
WHAT TO EXPECT: Pro forma boosterism, with frequent breathless dispatches on whatever scandal the GOP is pushing in October.
The Atlantic Online
ORIENTATION: Lipstick Libertarian
FUN FACT: Very concerned with diet; talks at length about her experience of vegetarianism and veganism while denouncing the veggie-vegan dogma of "freelance preachers in the hemp shoes."
CANDIDATE: Obama, for the moment
STUPID/EVIL RATIO: 60/40
HISTORY: Began posting at Live From the WTC (later Asymmetrical Information) as "Jane Galt" shortly after 9/11, with Randian tropes and denunciations of "Lefty Idiocy." Advocated patriotism, war, the execution of John Walker Lindh and the beating of noisome war protesters with "a two-by-four," the uproar over which made McArdle briefly quit blogging ("-30-"), only to return a week later, accusing her opponents of incivility. Struck libertarian themes—for example, opposing subsidized health care that would treat "the guy who's been overeating for the last 30 years" the same as worthier sick people—but frequently played both ends against the middle, as when she chided Phillip Morris for introducing a Christmas "holiday cigarette" while asking: "What the hell is the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids doing complaining about this...Of course, we all knew that the kids were a smokescreen for the fact that these activists don't like tobacco, period." Also refrained from endorsing gay marriage, advocating "humility" from libertarians on social issues and quoting G.K. Chesterton. Enlivened her output with posts about the problems of being tall ("I've decided to start my own guerrilla movement, designed to force the world to accommodate larger size people") and other puckish subjects. These increased in frequency as Republican policies became less popular, even among her readers. Eventually abandoned her previous affection for the Iraq War while complaining that war opponents were trying to make her look bad ("Do you get credit for being right, or being lucky?"). Worked briefly at The Economist; later picked up by The Atlantic, for whom she blogs now under her own name, but in a similar (though apparently more heavily edited) manner.