It is a peculiarity among American political writers not to ever take their own side to task. I’m not talking about just the politicians or operatives of either party; I am talking about (ostensibly) independent writers who never criticize their own guys, and in fact studiously ignore the fact that their own side has the exact same faults the other side is accused of having.
Here, for instance, conservative writer Kevin Williamson observes that politicians are useless. This is a fairly conventional and non-controversial opinion in America. But what makes his article remarkable is how he says that only Democrats like the Clintons, Obama, and Biden have no marketable skills, while discussing how Rand Paul as well as a few backbencher Republicans you’ve never heard of are physicians, going on about how Paul can give services to Third World children unlike all those stupid and lazy Dems.
This has two problems. One, he overlooks that all of these people are lawyers, and lawyer jokes aside, this means they do actually have a means of vocation if their political careers suddenly came to an end. But the more important error is that, of course, Williamson studiously ignores certain other lawyer/politicians such as Ted Cruz (R-TX), George W. Bush (R-TX), Rick Santorum (R-PA), and Marco Rubio (R-FL). It also ignores certain politicians with no discernible skills outside politics whatsoever, like Rick Perry (R-TX), Paul Ryan (R-WI), Scott Walker (R-WI) and Jeb Bush (R-FL). Note that all of the above have, or have had, presidential ambitions; the last on this list will likely be the 2016 GOP nominee. Backbenchers they ain’t.
Would Williamson prefer any one of these men to be treating Third World kids? He says Obama probably can’t change a tire. Would he like to argue that Ted Cruz could, with a straight face?
This sort of partisan willing blindness is a peculiar characteristic of American pundits and talk-show shouters. By contrast, writers in the UK love taking their “own guys” to task. For instance, conservative British writers are often the hardest on David Cameron; Tory conservative Andrew Stuttaford, Williamson’s colleague at NR, certainly qualifies. It’s also true of Labour-aligned writers, who never stopped heaping scorn on Tony Blair for his various misdeeds.
In any event, because of this fatal weakness in Williamson’s article, his unwillingness to consider how most of his own side are guilty of the same thing he accuses Dems of… his entire article can be summarily dismissed as just another piece of slavering partisan hackery. Which is a shame, because the problem of our landed aristocratic elite who have no careers other than being elites really is a bipartisan (or perhaps even, nonpartisan) issue that does need to be discussed. Because at the end of the day, Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton have practically no differences in lifestyle or outlook, which means the 2016 election will ensure the continuance of the same rotten status quo either way. Why don’t we talk about that more instead of the same-ol, its-only-a-problem-if-the-other-guys-do-it partisan sniping?