A Teachable Moment: If You Want Friends, Get A Dog

June 25, 2010

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.

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  1. Dan Collins says:

    Wish I could have met you while I was here, though.

  2. Paul Zummo says:

    As a fellow DC-ite (or DC area-ite), I totally agree with you here. So if you have a few beers with the guy he’s okay and shouldn’t be fired? Yeah, let’s just ignore the fact that he repeatedly undermined the right at every turn – because, you know, he was a nice guy and all.

  3. John P. Squibob says:

    And the alternative to Riehl’s advise:
    So blogger, you shall go to Washington and post. And the great whore will suckle you until you are fat and happy and can suckle no more.
    [With apologies to Gladiator]

  4. Neo says:

    The “cocktail” scene from Boston to DC is filled with compromised conservatives

  5. Barry Soetoro (D-King Of The World!) says:

    I have a dog, BO. He’s not so friendly though.
    OsamaHusseinIslamObama 2012′
    (the terrorist-Uighur-ACORN-media choice)
    -It’s never too early to campaign-

  6. Rev. Dr. E. Buzz Miller says:

    He’s an asshole.

  7. Steve Altman says:

    Dan,this is as good and important as any of your writing I have ever read. I have sometimes vigorously disagreed with you and you have made me angry, but when the chips are down I know which side you are on and I want to be on your side. Very good work!

  8. I’m less interested in who Weigel’s friends are than in whose friend he was…

  9. Cubs_Fan says:

    In a nutshell, Weigel, like most pundits/journalists, wants it both ways. It’s like game analysts who call football game, and are free to leave the comfort and luxury of the sky-box to throw dirty chop-blocks on players they despise on the field. When the game is altered, they want to plead “I just call ‘em like I see ‘em”.
    They want to play the contact sport, but still be protected by press-box rules. Becuase his friends also have this mindset, they empathize with his predicament. My thoughts on the subject: BS. If a person ever ventured onto the field, protective equipment or not, and was not wearing the same jersey as me, they were fair game to recieve the business end of my forearm shiver.
    You’re either an objective journalist, or a political operative/hack. The line between the two is not as blurry as some would have you believe.

  10. Sissy Willis says:

    “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.”
    It’s been a consistent theme of yours, now a revelation in light of recent events.
    See also Dr Zero’s latest tweet:
    “The WaPo should have run the Journolist posts instead of Weigel’s column. Honesty is always more interesting than manufactured product.”

  11. itsMike2Cents says:

    His personal emails are flippant and crass (I think I’ll start using the word ‘ratf**cker’).
    But they don’t come near the nastiness – oh sorry, humour – that Dan & co. likes to throw around.
    But aside from being crass, he’s also pretty spot on (e.g. calling Drudge an ‘ammoral shut-in’).
    And yes, he undermined ‘the right’ – by reporting on the right.
    As Colbert says, facts have a liberal bias.

  12. Sean says:

    I just don’t understand the big deal. There’s leftist, conservative-hating journalists at the Washington Post, like pretty much every other newspaper in the country?
    If you’re stupid enough to get your news from newspapers, then, well, you’re just stupid.
    Wake me up somebody finds a conservative someplace. That’d be news, by gum.

  13. WAL says:

    After reading his postings, I question the judgment of anyone who’s even calling him “friendly,” though. To their side…to the left? Okay, maybe he was friendly and an affable guy. To mine? No way. Read his postings on Journolist. That isn’t a happy-go-lucky guy. Those are the writing of a bitter, mean-spirited dick. If he’s nice to you okay, but as someone on the right, this guy wouldn’t have cut me an ounce of slack and I don’t feel like cutting him any.

  14. Phil Smith says:

    It’s frankly bizarre to me to see conservative bloggers and pundits saying “he is my friend”. No, he isn’t – he pretended to be your friend. He despises you, your readers, and what you believe. I thought his writings made that fairly obvious.

  15. anon says:

    He didn’t “report” on the right, he caracatured the right in his blog.
    Someone using the term Paultards and then going one better and attempting to defend it is not somone who has any type of objectivity.
    It would be kind of like sending the local Aryan Nation to report on the NAACP meeting and expecting something neutral and truthful.

  16. itsMike2Cents says:

    ‘Paultards’ in the Journolist postings?
    Maybe not a nice thing to say, and one could submit that his mere use of such a term in any setting negates his reporting – then disqualify everyone.
    People talk sh*t – reckless of him to have written it down.
    But that people are shocked, offended, upset…too sensitive.
    If he had/has a need to be crass and profane, he’d be comfortable here.
    But how could he possibly beat Dan’s ‘David The Dancing Douchebag Weigel’?
    Wait, I know…’Ratf**cker!’.

  17. WAL says:

    “But how could he possibly beat Dan’s ‘David The Dancing Douchebag Weigel’? Wait, I know…’Ratf**cker!’.” Um, yeah, that would beat it, along with rooting for the death of someone you’re claiming to report impartial on-which is why your argument that it’s the same or even worse on this site isn’t something anyone is taking seriously.

  18. rvastar says:

    [...which is why your argument that it's the same or even worse on this site isn't something anyone is taking seriously.]
    Not to mention that he seems to have a problem comprehending that Weigel RESIGNED. He’s reminiscent of the Lefties sputtering attempts at defending Herr-len Thomas – who also RESIGNED – by weeping that her 1st amendment rights were being violated…or something.
    Wait a minute…Weigel and Thomas both resigned…those are “facts”. Considering that “facts have a liberal bias” (Thus Spake Colbert..the actor/comedian), why so bent out of shape, 2 cents?

  19. itsMike2Cents says:

    Man, you guys are as humorless as always.
    I think it’s safe to assume that he was told to ‘reign’. And who cares?
    I have no issue with that. And I wouldn’t have cared if they kept him on either.
    He’s fine either way. And all your/this chatter is helping him get his next higher-profile gig.
    What I am critiquing/mocking here..is all the indignation on this blog, of all places, over what his personal musings along with the fact that reporters have opinions.
    He didn’t wish death on Limbaugh, WAL. He made a joke, riffing on a very famous and much ridiculed remark by Commander Rush. Crass? Indeed. But please, save me your feigned and strategic outrage.
    Don’t you remember when Dan rooted for the death of Harry Reid’s wife? What’s that…he wasn’t really?
    And in what fantasy world was Helen Thomas was soundly defended by lefties/liberals?

  20. WAL says:

    “He didn’t wish death on Limbaugh, WAL. He made a joke,” Oh please, yes he did. So he meant “I hope your heart fails” in a humorous way? Spare me, you know that’s bull and so do I.

  21. weigel gone says:

    weigel was just too good for the “moronic” everyday person.
    then to hear him say this.
    “To reiterate: There are people older than me with families to support and no job prospects. Give them a hand, not me.” – weigel twitter
    can you even take his pathetic cheap attempt at pitying seriously. guy is a wanker.

  22. Douglas says:

    there is a difference between “friend” and “friendly.”
    I know EXACTLY who my friends are, and I know who I am “friendly” with, but perhaps the inability of people to recognize that distinction is the nature of their narcissism.
    “Everyone is so friendly to me, EVERYONE IS MY FRIEND, I’M AWESOME!”

  23. Feanor Maker of the Silmarils says:

    Good post Dan. When you speak your mind, base men will avoid you,well thats what William Blake said anyway. I guess thats why you piss so many off and they don’t EVER come back.

  24. Mondo says:

    Excellent post, excellent points.
    Too much “oh shucks, can’t we all just be friends” while the Dave Weigels of the world are busy trying to set a conservative narrative from a Progressive point of view.

  25. Lisa Graas says:

    That’s a great headline with which I completely agree.

  26. Lisa Graas says:

    The post is great, too. It just seems clear to me that one either gives up his individual conscience and values or not (at times) when one develops any kind of a following…….whether it’s from a DC-based pedestal or not. Dan, you clearly are not in danger of that.
    I’ve really struggled with this myself, I have to admit. Compromise can be a good thing at times, but sometimes it is an act of cowardice.
    “Cowards die many times before their deaths,
    The valiant never taste of death but once.”
    ~~ Julius Caesar, from the play by William Shakespeare

  27. To' Azeredo says:

    The “cocktail” scene from Boston to DC is filled with compromised conservatives
    But also laced with uncompromised ones who perforce grit their teeth, hold their tongues, and drink full flagons of whisky in “honor” of the idiocy of the race.

  28. ThomasD says:

    “The battle for America right now is about Washington versus the rest of the country.”
    On that ground we stand together. Weigel, not so much. So I will shed no tears for his job loss.
    Accepting that WaPo position, even if his boss says he never ‘expressly asked’ Weigel about his political beliefs, was fundamentally a dishonest act, as nothing truly honest could follow from it.
    Hell, the mere fact that editor asked Ezra Klein for a recommendation says all we need to know about the true agenda of all involved. Weigel knew the game, but he slipped up and let his cards show, so he lost the hand.
    If anything Weigel is getting off easy.

  29. JeremyR says:

    This is really the problem with conservatives in Washington, be it the media or government. They want so much to be liked, that they bend over backwards to guys like this.

  30. My basic line for this is:
    I could have a very good friend, someone who I would trust with the lives of my children in the event of a catostrophe, but if he is a member of the Flat Earth Society, I don’t want him teaching their geography class.
    Same here, I don’t care how good a friend you are, if you can’t do a job right, don’t do it.

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