Sunday, June 1, 2014

Jennifer's Convertibles: Meat the New Right

The other Jennifer Rubin in Bad Dreams, 1988.
Rubin's "distinguished pol" award goes out in the plural this week, to conservative reformers who have decided to advocate—surprise!—reform conservatism, which gets the poor thing in some noun phrase trouble at first, and then in an increasingly violent conflict with a mob of ruthless metaphors.
The distinguished people this week were the group of conservative reformers, including elected officials like House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and GOP Senators Mike Lee (Utah) and Tim Scott (S.C.) who rolled out a unifying  theme and agenda for the right – reform conservatism.
She doesn't mean to suggest that Lee and Scott are not elected officials or that Cantor didn't join in the theme-rolling, she's just warning us that some unelected non-officials in the conservative reform–advocating reform conservative camp are in the [jump]
pipeline; she'll try to work them in in the next sentence. It would have worked a little better if she'd rolled out the usual comma at the end of the appositive phrase from "including" to "(S.C.)".
With think-tank scholars Arthur Brooks, Yuval Levin, Ramesh Ponnuru and Peter Wehner (as well as conservative journalists) they sketched out a portrait of what Brooks sometimes call the New Right.
Another spot that could really benefit from a comma, just after the close parenthesis. I had no idea Arthur Brooks was plural—were plural, I should say. Maybe an outlet mall on Highway 17 ("You like the ottoman? Arthur Brooks were having this amazing sale"). But which did they do, roll out a theme or sketch out a portrait? Get the continuity supervisor over here!
Breaching the divide (which is already being erased) between tea party and establishment Republicans, and refocusing the right on helping the lower- and middle class, they offer a much needed renovation of the conservative movement that took hold with Ronald Reagan.
Never mind the continuity crew, it's too late. They're breaching a divide, although it might be a portrait sketch of a divide, like a charcoal drawing perhaps, since it's erasable, and also offering a renovation, which seems to shift the rhetoric suddenly indoors, for some room-to-room combat.
In essence, the GOP has been living with 1980s furniture, which isn’t helping to sell the party to 21st-century buyers.
Sofa bed.

Or not exactly a renovation, more like a new dining room set, sofa, and entertainment center. In essence. And a sofa bed in case the kids decide to show up for Thanksgiving. If you want my advice, Jennifer, forget the furniture and redo the floor, and if you want to be taken seriously put in a new bathroom. The market has gotten really fussy since the bubble burst back when what's-his-name was president. George Something. And if you can't learn how to stop Word from making superscripts out of the ordinal markers, at least try to do something about that hyphen, it looks like a wall-eyed macron.
The meat of conservatism is not the specific issues and positions Reagan took at a particular point in time, but an outlook that favors limited but effective government.
Meat? Really? Yes!
The reformers argue in favor of a government that is lean enough to allow private markets and institutions to flourish...
Lean, but finely marbled with fat in the form of tax incentives and projects that can be hived off to contractors to give it that luscious umami taste? No, it's turning into coffee, or possibly a fabric print, instead:
but bold enough to redesign entitlement programs, revolutionize schools, re-create higher education and jump start the economy with pro-growth measures...
And so on, although the Battle of the Metaphors quiets down at this point. It's not really interesting enough to continue, though she does get back to meat at the end, unless it's only her unfamiliarity with the principles of comma usage:
For all this we can say, well done gentlemen.
They're certainly not rare, anyhow.
IHOP heart attack classic for the Republican rank and file—not what reform conservatives or Koch brothers eat. (The most well-done looking piece I could find.)
Update: Edroso says Rubin is so excited by this development she has devoted THREE columns to it, which may help to explain how the prose got so out of control.

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