Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Partisan Bickering at its Best

Thanks, Margaret, for the tip-off.

Today, Rolling Stone contributor and often controversial writer Matt Taibbi published an online conversation in which he totally schools Byron York, a National Review columnist and general blowhard. After a few pleasant banalities about the horrific straits of the McCain campaign, the conversation turned to the economy. Tiabbi blames it on Credit Default Swaps. York blames it on the poor, "particularly minorities."

It gets awesome pretty fast after that:
[Matt Taibbi]: ...Do you even know how a CDS works? Can you explain your conception of how these derivatives work? Because I get the feeling you don't understand. Or do you actually think that it was a few tiny homeowner defaults that sank gigantic companies like AIG and Lehman and Bear Stearns? Explain to me how these default swaps work, I'm interested to hear.

I wish they'd put the time stamps on it:
[Byron York]: When you refer to "Phil Gramm's Commodities Future Modernization Act," are you referring to S.3283, co-sponsored by Gramm, along with Senators Tom Harkin and Tim Johnson?

M.T.: In point of fact I'm talking about the 262-page amendment Gramm tacked on to that bill that deregulated the trade of credit default swaps.

Tick tick tick. Hilarious sitting here while you frantically search the Internet to learn about the cause of the financial crisis — in the middle of a live chat interview.

B.Y.: Look, you can keep trying to make this a specifically partisan and specifically Gramm-McCain thing, but it simply isn't. We've gone on for fifteen minutes longer than scheduled, and that's enough. Thanks.

And then the conclusion,
M.T.: Thanks. Note, folks, that the esteemed representative of the New Republic has no idea what the hell a credit default swap is. But he sure knows what a minority homeowner looks like.

B.Y.: It's National Review.

Translation: "Fuck you." "No, fuck you."

Maybe not so productive, but it's gratifying in a 1970s sorta way to see a writer for what used to be the country's most esteemed and intellectual conservative outlet get his ass handed to him by a Rolling Stone reporter.

This is the same National Review, not incidentally, that has just lost two of its major contributors: Kathleen Parker, who received 12,000 angry emails from right wingers in response to her call for Palin to resign; and Christopher Buckley, son of the Review's founder William F. Buckley and author in his own right, who has endorsed Obama from a conservative framework.

Given the implosion of the McCain campaign and the outright rebellion of so many intelligent, true conservatives, I'm not sure that this incarnation of the Republican party would capable of self-sustenance even if McCain did somehow pull off a win.

In the words of Kos, this election isn't just about winning anymore. It's about crushing the spirits of the American radical right.


  1. Awesome. Matt Taibbi is one of the best writers there is out there right now, and watching him torch someone is always entertaining.

    You said it may not be productive, but I'd say that while also entertaining, crushing the spirits of this incarnation of the American right is goes a long way towards discrediting their ideology(and its future incarnations) for years to come.

    Can we just get a Sirota, Taibbi, or Rachel Maddow to follow guys like York around to all their TV appearances until the fact-checking drives them mad?

    The more of these non-thinking conservatives that we can marginalize permanently, the better.