May 11, 2006

What righties read.

John Hawkins surveyed "right-of-center" bloggers on their favorite columnists. He asked me to participate, but I didn't, and not just because I don't identify with political labels including "right-of-center," but also because I don't have favorite columnists.

I need to remind myself to read more columnists. I mostly read the NYT, and ever since TimesSelect started, I've been skipping over the columnists. I see them as not bloggable. I know blogging's not the only reason to read something. Still....

The top columnist among the righties, by a wide margin, is Mark Steyn. Second is Charles Krauthammer, whom I do read, though not often enough. Third is Thomas Sowell (whose current column is "Is thinking obsolete?" -- about the price of gas). Fourth is Jonah Goldberg, whom I like, and not just because he once called me "cool." (One of the sources of my reputation for being right wing?)

43 comments:

Simon said...

No George F. Will? What the hell is wrong with these people?

Ann Althouse said...

I'll tell you who's an attractive man: George Will.

Dave said...

Sowell is great; too bad too many are too economically illiterate to appreciate his work.

Will a good looking man? I suppose. He looks nebbishy to me.

Ann Althouse said...

Well, he's smart.

No, I don't find him all that bright.

Jennifer said...

I'll tell you who's an attractive man: George Will.

Really? He looks like Bill Gates to me.

Perhaps you've seen him in person or at least in motion.

Simon said...

Ann - is it the Lennon-esque glasses that reel you in? ;)

reader_iam said...

Well, he's smart.

No, I don't find him all that bright.


I'm not quite sure what and who this is referring to. Is something missing, or is just that I haven't had any caffeine yet?

Ann Althouse said...

Come on, you guys.

Jennifer said...

Oh, dang. I guess you need that sledgehammer again.

tjl said...

Ann: "I'll tell you who's an attractive man: George Will."

Is this where we activate the sarcasmometer?

Jennifer said...

Is this where we activate the sarcasmometer?

Some of us do. The rest of us just awkwardly stumble about.

Henry said...

I'm glad Glenn Reynolds made the list. He's more or less my BS filter for the rest of them.

MrsWhatsit said...

Speaking of Bill Gates (Jennifer was, anyway,) the Manolo has a very attractive picture indeed of him here:


http://shoeblogs.com/wordpress/2006/05/10/crooner/

The Mr. Gates, perhaps he should consider auditioning for American Idol.

reader_iam said...

Sowell is a brilliant man. I'm a big fan, even when I don't agree with him. I don't regularly seek out his columns, but I have a number of his books and often recommend one in particular.

I used to read Will, but almost never do anymore.

Charles Krauthammer is another person of amazing intellect. Mark Steyn is such fun to read for his sheer writing talent, but I disagree with him almost as often as I agree, at least in part if not in whole. He can be very funny.

Ann, I do indeed think that your fondness for Goldberg is one of the the sources of the "right-wing" perception, though perhaps it's more accurate to say that it's more due to his endorsement of you.

paulfrommpls said...

Seinfeld.

reader_iam said...

I've been a fan of Hitchens' for close to 20 years. Lileks, of course, is amazing. I like a number of VDH's books, and far more than I do his columns.

Well, I'm sure no one's interested in my going through the whole list, so I'll stop.

Balfegor said...

Theodore Dalrymple. Every column is the same (every column is about the deterioration of civilised norms and the imminent collapse of Western civilisation) and they are all thus delightfully reassuring in their way. They confirm one in one's pessimism about human nature. I did object to his repeated use, in a recent column, of the word "slut," but he is not usually so coarse.

I am also fond of Jeremy Clarkson. And even John Derbyshire. Bilious old Englishmen, every one of them.

On an American note, I think George Will is fine, but I am never particularly interested in what he has to say. I like reading Barone's columns. Always informative.

Dave TN said...

He has clean looks, scrubbed and shampooed...

Noumenon said...

Compare this list to Lying in Ponds' current ranking of the most partisan right-wing columnists.

1 Ann Coulter 60
2 Mark Steyn 57
3 Michelle Malkin 55
4 Jonah Goldberg 30
5 Victor Davis Hanson 23
6 Charles Krauthammer 18
7 Thomas Sowell 16
8 Peggy Noonan 7
9 George F. Will 4
10 David Brooks 4

(For reference, the top ten left-partisan blogs are

1 Paul Krugman 77
2 Joe Conason 76
3 Frank Rich 72
4 Molly Ivins 69
5 Bob Herbert 63
6 Maureen Dowd 52
7 E. J. Dionne Jr. 40
8 Michael Kinsley 29
9 David S. Broder 21
10 Richard Cohen

But I read the same top four columnists as the right does, to keep myself intellectually honest, and I don't read any of the top ten left-columnists, even though I am firmly left-wing. I don't know how anyone got to be a liberal before the Internet and people like Kevin Drum, A Tiny Revolution, Jonathan Chait, Slate, The Daily Howler. The mainstream media is just pro-status quo.

paulfrommpls said...

readeriam, the fact that you can read Thomas Sowell without a crucifix held in front of you separates you from almost every left-leaning person I know. They hear "Hoover Insitution" and they think "part of the right-wing anti-government theocracy conspiracy. Ick."

Noumenon said...

Sowell's column argues that oil companies can't be greedy because the government takes more in taxes than the oil companies get in profits. #1, these are absolutely record profits, so if they don't impress Sowell, there's no likely profit level that will change his mind. #2, profits are kind of an accounting fiction, aren't they? No business shows a profit if it pays out all its surplus to its executives instead of giving it to shareholders, or reinvests it in projects that increase its executives' clout.

Balfegor said...

Re: Noumenon:
Compare this list to Lying in Ponds' current ranking of the most partisan right-wing columnists.

Is anyone else surprised by this list? Not the ordering itself, I mean, but when I go back to the Lyinginponds site and look at their methodology, to see what those numbers by the names mean, it turns out that Ann Coulter's democratic partisan equivalent would only be number 6 on the Democratic side of the line. Krugman, Conason, Rich, Ivins, and Bob Herbert aren't just partisan, they're hyper-partisan.

On the liberal side of the ledger, though, the only columnist I read with any regularity is Kinsley. On the conservative side, I only read Goldberg and Steyn with any regularity, and cannot stand Noonan.

paulfrommpls said...

neumenon -

The "record profits" thing only makes sense seen in a long-term sense, since oil goes through these periods. It goes through bad periods too, or periods not as amazing. What I've read is that long-term, oil has slightly higher than average profits.

On the second point, "investing to increase their CEOs' clout" or whatever is interesting. It's definitely a point worth considering and I'm sure is, at college campuses in every county in the land at this moment. I have a sense that any company doing that at the expense of profits would eventually pay for it.

reader_iam said...

Paul: Maybe that's because I came to Sowell via his books, not his columns, which, as I said, Noumenon, I don't regularly seek out.

The fact that one doesn't necessarily agree with someone isn't a good benchmark for defining quality of intellect, right?

If I were to confine myself to reading only those with whom I agree 100% on all issues or areas, I'd be reading only myself. Apart from how boring that would be, I'm not that brilliant nor that great of a writer, two qualities which I value highly indeed.

Re: Hoover

Well, as I think I've mentioned before, I edit articles for a journal published by a think tank (not Hoover) and have done so for years now. Perhaps my view of think tanks is a bit more, well, nuanced as a result of having some personal experience and insight.

Simon said...

"I don't know how anyone got to be a liberal before the Internet and people like Kevin Drum..."

That's a very odd comment. I've never read anything by Kevin Drum that hasn't convinced me that the man is either clueless, disingenuous or both. Cass Sunstein with all the faults and none of the undeniable intellect. Indeed, I'm not entirely convinced that Quxxo isn't, in fact, Drum's alter ego.

Noumenon said...

it turns out that Ann Coulter's democratic partisan equivalent would only be number 6 on the Democratic side of the line. Krugman, Conason, Rich, Ivins, and Bob Herbert aren't just partisan, they're hyper-partisan.

From a January post:

"Dreams really do come true. After analyzing 270 achingly predictable Molly Ivins columns over the past three years here at Lying in Ponds, I was shocked last week when it finally happened. Number 271, entitled "Not. Backing. Hillary.", was her first "crossover column", defined here as a substantive column (at least five positive or negative partisan references) in which the number of references favorable to the other party or unfavorable to one’s own party exceed those going in the usual direction...

Maybe this will be a breakout year for Ms. Ivins if she becomes frustrated enough with her own party to step across the line more often. That’s what happened last year when Ann Coulter wrote an amazing seven crossover columns criticizing Republicans, after two previous years of almost perfect partisanship."

Simon said...

Actually, to avoid being entirely negative, I should point out that Chait is very good. I appreciate his stuff a great deal, although I don't often agree.

Bruce Hayden said...

Don't expect Ivins to seriously cross-over until GWB is out of the White House. Bush moved into the Governor's mansion shortly after I moved to Austin, and Ivins seems to have started her rampage against him in that time period. She has been foaming at the mouth about him ever since, and inevitably will do so until he leaves the White House. She was the main thing that I remember from the editorial page of the Austin-American Stateman, her continuous diatribes against "shrub".

reader_iam said...

left-leaning

Interesting. I get the other reaction, too.

Noumenon said...

"That's a very odd comment. I've never read anything by Kevin Drum that hasn't convinced me that the man is either clueless, disingenuous or both."

Well, maybe his Friday cat blogging. Quxxxo would make a good example of a typical commenter on Kevin's site, but there's a good chance he'd be criticizing him for not being partisan enough.

I have the same problem with Glenn Reynolds, so it's probably just the "all Caucasians look the same to the black man" problem. From where I stand, you have a scale from Daily Kos to Glenn Greenwald to Kevin Drum and Kevin is the most factual-linking and logic-reliant of these.

Simon said...

Noumenon:
"From where I stand, you have a scale from Daily Kos to Glenn Greenwald to Kevin Drum and Kevin is the most factual-linking and logic-reliant of these."

That's like saying that from where I stand, you have a full scale from Montepulciano to Dolcetto to Sagrantino, and Montepulciano is the most satisfying and bold of these.

It may be factually true, but if you're going to limit your selection to Italian Reds available in downtown Indianapolis, you're limiting the class so much that you can scarcely avoid the conclusion that one is better than the other.

The smallest differences become exaggerated when the examined class is small enough and some criterion for differentiation is needed. Montepulciano is great, but it's hardly a good Beaujolais, and it seems almost like damning with faint praise to say that Kevin Drum is more "fact[]-linking and logic-reliant" than Kos. Madonna is a better singer than anyone, as long as "anyone" is a class containing only my father's dog and me!

Michael said...

Gadzooks, people. Don't you watch Seinfeld??

paulfrommpls said...

Inneresting. When I compare thse lists, looking for levels of trustworthines, rational analysis, and actual humor, in various mixes, it's quite clear why I've moved right in recent years.

Someone claiming to be a huge fan of Maureen Dowd rings to me the same as someone in 1973 announcing their undying devotion to the band America, or the Paul Winter Consort slightly later. I mean it's just so goddman lame, above all else.

paulfrommpls said...

"goddamn," I meant, not "goddman." Though no now have another typo-generated new word.

paulfrommpls said...

For Pete's sake can't I ttpz?

Ann Althouse said...

Gadzooks, people. Don't you watch Seinfeld??

But there's a new Thomas Sowell column. And I've got to catch up on my Victor Davis Hanson....

SteveR said...

Bruce Hayden: You are right about Ivins. When GWB beat the sainted Ann Richards for govenor, the era of smart alecky Democrats running Texas like it was the days of LBJ and Sam Rayburn came crashing down. Ivins continued existence in that mentality is proof that life can be fair to people who live in the past.

Reading blogs has ruin my taste for reading columns. Too long, get to the point. But I try especially when the topic is of interest.

reader_iam said...

Paul Winter Consort

You didn't love their forays into multimedia presentation art??!

I once had a good chunk of my grade for a college class depend on going to one of these things and writing both an analystical paper and a "review," the latter of which to be published in the college newspaper.

What made the situation really suck even more was that the performance was being sponsored by my father's department (music), and the colleagues of his that organized were not only people I'd known for years, but one had my younger brother in a class at the time. Not that anything bad was going to happen, but let's just say it was awkward.

Now there's a memory I had managed to bury. Gee, thanks for dredging it up.

SippicanCottage said...

...someone in 1973 announcing their undying devotion to the band America, or the Paul Winter Consort slightly later. I mean it's just so goddman lame, above all else.

There's a sort of borg conciousness the right blog can engender. My tavern analogy stands. This place is like a virtual nightspot. Ann's George Will Seinfeld reference, the deperately seeking susan reference from her son yesterday, and now, paul's nugget, that just keeps me coming back here over and over again to see what we all know together.

Hey Paul: You forgot Spyro Gyra.

paulfrommpls said...

My sister-in-law game me a Spyro Gyra CD for Christmas one time. Thank God for the Tom and Jerry's preceding. (At least now I now for certain where there's some cellophane if I need it.)

Many years ago, early 90's, we were given tickets to Paul Winter at the Guthrie up here. Had no idea what I was getting into. I was exceedingly left at the time, but I squirmed my way through first half, barely able to contain my anger.

We split for halftime early to get a series of drinks. The bartender, a man with a New York accent, surveying the crowd: "Yeah, these are all the liberals."

Unfortunately he was wrong. It was only some of them. We left.

Icepick said...

Paul, I think you need a new keyboard. I swear you must be using the same one I was using last week.

paulfrommpls said...

I fear your innuendo.

aaron said...

I like reading the op-eds in the post and times because they make me feel smart.