Monday, February 29, 2016

Armchair generals

I've never been a Rush Limbaugh listener. Back when he was a contributor to NRO, I'd read some of Mark Levin's stuff. During this campaign cycle, I've been reading or watching some of Ben Shapiro's stuff. 

Over the years, rightwing talk show hosts have done a lot of yeoman work for the conservative cause. In addition, they are notoriously critical of many Republican politicians and candidates. Sometimes this is richly deserved, and serves a useful purpose.

There is, however, a basic limitation to their critique. These men are armchair generals. Armchair strategists.

They haven't run for public office. They haven't demonstrated by example how a candidate can win elections by running on their message.

By the same token, they haven't been big-city mayors, senators, governors, or Congressmen. They haven't demonstrated by example how a candidate with their agenda and their strategies can successfully enact his policy initiatives into law.

I often appreciate what people like Shapiro say. But these are self-appointed generals with no combat experience. They don't lead by example. They are quick to give advice on how to defeat the enemy, but it's like simulated war games. They haven't actually shown how to get it done their way. They don't put themselves in that position. They don't put their "winning" strategies to the test. Just because they think they could do a better job if only candidates would heed their sage advice doesn't mean their alternatives are politically feasible. 

(In fairness to Shapiro, I appreciate how he's going straight into the lair of the baest these days by speaking on college campuses.)


  1. Shapiro is great, but you're right in that I think he often discusses capitalism at the ideological level rather than the practical level. I must say, though, that his interview with Dave Rubin was great:

    I'm curious what you think of William F Buckley? Is he too passé for today's conservative generation?