Home / General / The [Impossible] Conservatism of [the Flirtatious] Pauline Kael…

The [Impossible] Conservatism of [the Flirtatious] Pauline Kael…

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…can only exist in Ron Capshaw’s head, and only then because he really wants it to. Case in point:

Kael herself had briefly flirted with Stalinism while in college, but soon rejected it because of her lifelong aversion to dogma. She tried its leftist alternative of Trotskyism but this, too, failed her.

Just substitute “Kael” with “Obama”:

[Obama himself] had briefly flirted with Stalinism while in college, but soon rejected it because of [his] lifelong aversion to dogma. [He] tried its leftist alternative of Trotskyism but this, too, failed [him].

By the logic of contemporary conservative thought, the next sentence now becomes an impossibility:

In the new biography, close friends are quoted as seeing her as an “Adlai Stevenson liberal,” in love with the establishment.

Sorry, Ron, but that’s not how it works now. She once “flirted with Stalinism,” which means her ideology forever bears the stain of this early “flirtation.” Consider the language there: say you “flirt” with someone at a party in 1996 and, years later, this person develops a mental illness that convinces him or her to commit an act of domestic terrorism. Should your current political ideology be determined on the basis of that two-decade-old “flirtation”? Unless I’m so old that “flirtation” doesn’t just signify a home run, but a thirteen-year-long career as a slugger for the same team, I don’t think so.

Then again, I’m not a conservative, so I don’t think Obama’s “flirtation” with Bill Ayers is all that significant to his career as a slightly-if-even-and-not-even-anymore-left-of-center politician. For conservatives, you are who you once — no matter how many years ago — flirted with. In other words, Ron, leave Kael alone. She’s ours, and unless you’re willing to ditch the foundational logic of contemporary conservatism, you can’t have her.*

*If you are, though, by all means please do so. Start a movement and you can have her and, let me think, I’ll throw in Rosenbaum too.

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