The obvious choice should be Joe Scarborough, but he abandoned conservatism years ago in his uninspiring quest for relevance in the politico-media establishment. Besides, this doofus at least provides endless comic relief, thus I bestow my dishonor on someone stiflingly unfunny, who can’t even rate as a flicker of light in the conservative universe.
Syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker inexplicably passes for conservative. One of her recent columns, entitled ‘Trump’s Unique Gift to America,’ praises the president (facetiously, of course) for uniting a divided nation. “He has brought Republicans and Democrats together as only just wars can. . . The pink-capped Women’s March is familiar to all but the dead. On Earth Day in April, scientists around the world staged rallies to protest Trump’s apparent lack of interest in research backed facts.” (How many conservatives take Earth Day seriously?) She lauds George Will and Joe Scarborough for leaving the GOP — totally tone- deaf to base conservatives who have for years regarded Scarborough as a joke.
“Other gifts from the president include an increased national interest in politics, civic participation and and electoral office.” Like most professional know-it-alls, Parker has it backwards. Left-wing hysteria and conservative resistance to change is not the consequence of Trump’s presidency; Trump’s candidacy was fueled by an increasingly antagonistic left (and what conservative would praise the Women’s March, with all its vulgarity and calls for violence?) and conservatives more intent on preserving the status quo than governing according to the will of the people. In other words, Trump’s presidency doesn’t require a response, it IS the response.
The point is not that Parker routinely bashes the president – Jonah Goldberg’s predictable rants against Trump are at least rooted in substance, with an appreciation of ideas and ideology. Parker, by contrast, comes off as Miss Manners, spouting off the generic pieties and complaints of the day: Trump is a bully, Trump is uncouth, Trump is a phony and blah, blah, blah.
Not that Parker was overly passionate about Mitt Romney, a model of decency and decorum, or John McCain or anyone or anything conservative, for that matter. In fact, she spent 2008 telling readers (to the delight of Democrats) that Sarah Palin was stupid and should remove herself from the GOP ticket. How original. Palin’s opponent, Joe Biden, notoriously urged a man in a wheelchair to stand up, and thought that the word ‘jobs’ contained three letters (and I could go on), but pointing out Biden’s goofiness would debunk the prevailing narrative, which Parker will not do.
In 2007, ultra-liberal columnist Molly Ivins died after a lengthy battle with cancer. Ivins, of course, was a fierce critic of President George W. Bush and his policies, employing equal parts bile and sarcasm to demean him and his efforts, particularly in the War on Terror. A terrific writer and spirited human being, Ivins certainly deserved tributes from across the aisle. Yet Parker wrote a gushing, almost nauseating tribute, remarking that journalism would never be the same and that even Bush would miss Ivins, lovingly referred to by Parker as an “old broad.” However, when conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly died just before the last election, I could find no tribute from Parker. She was probably somewhere castigating the working-class Americans who were about to elect Donald Trump president.
That is what Parker does most eloquently. Her columns show no reverence for the Constitution, Federalism, the free market, etc. Her words take space that, in a just world, would go to an actual conservative thinker. While I don’t adhere to strict ideological purity tests to determine if someone is a ‘true’ conservative, I think we can agree that anyone who offers more praise to the Women’s March than to a Tea Party rally probably does not lean to the right. Note to my local paper: how about a little less Kathleen Parker and a little more Dennis Prager.
While Parker just spews the predictable pablum of the day, she may, on occasion, herald an actual conservative principle. She may well espouse the virtues of limited government as envisioned by our founders. When not fawning over that man of principle Joe Scarborough (who saw New Year’s Day with the president-elect as a rung on the ladder of relevance), she may actually have honored a deserving conservative leader. Dig hard enough, and if you find that column, let me know.