A Teachable Moment: If You Want Friends, Get A Dog
Jebus, Weigel is on Twitter whining about finding out who his friends are.
Getting an exceptionally good sense of who my friends are today.
Philip Klein defends Weigel and admits he's a friend. I believe this episode is actually somewhat instructive. People think I'm a hermit since moving to DC because I shun the social scene. In some ways, what I see going on in New Media is precisely what happens to many elected conservatives when they get to DC.
I should disclose at the outset of this post that I consider Dave a good friend.
Weigel may be a great guy. I don't know and, frankly, I don't care. I'm not involved in politics to make friends and I didn't move to DC to make friends. When I go to DC, it's mostly for meetings, business meetings, not drinks and hail fellow well mets. I mostly keep politics out of my best friendships. Heck, a lot of my friends are liberals.
Weigel undermined the Right at every turn. And, unlike Jim Geraghty, I don't care what his reasons were. That was the effect of his work. Also, unlike perhaps some bloggers and consultants I've seen defending Weigel, I didn't care if I, or some client, was mentioned in what was Weigel's work at the Post.
I came out of the business world and business was just that – business. Early on, I made the mistake of hiring this, or that friend. But if the time came – and it did – I had to fire them, because it was always just business in the end.
Point being, the inside the Beltway mindset isn't simply a problem with our elected class. It's a problem with our pundit and, increasingly, our blogger class to some degree, as well. I'm involved in politics here for certain reasons, to advance a political agenda and fight back against what I view as a danger to it. Good guy, or not, Dave Weigel was a danger. Note – I never called for his resignation, nor did I see any other conservatives. I wanted to fight against him, not screw with his life.
But to his defenders on the Right – if you want friends, get a dog – or join a book club. If you're more interested in client mentions, or links, sorry, but I don't accept your defending Weigel, because I can't be certain of your motivations.
I'm not an all or nothing guy when it comes to ideology. I realize political solutions involve some compromise. But I don't compromise when it comes to drawing the battle lines. And if you do, then, to some degree, I think it's fair to question whose side you're actually on when push comes to shove.
The battle for America right now is about Washington versus the rest of the country. And the beltway mentality is as powerful and insidious, as it is ultimately counter-productive to freedom. Sadly, to some extent, our conservative institutions and publications have become as corrupted as our politicians over the years.
I'm not saying they don't have good people. I assume most are that. But you can't truly be a part of this thing called DC and stand boldly athwart it yelling stop at the same time, not with the same clarity and conviction once you either become a part of it, or start striving to be – because your thinking can't help but be compromised. It's as seductive to good people, as it is empowering to the bad.
All good people want to be well liked, to have friends. But if your interest is politics and you want friends in DC – as I said, as far as I'm concerned, get a dog. And if your primary business is getting yourself, your blog, or your candidates mentioned in the Washington Post, then you'll have to forgive my doubts about your ability to always fight the good fight when it comes to conservative politics. In the end, I have to believe, you either have other goals in mind, or have allowed your thinking to become compromised simply because you're human, however good you may be.