Kahane’s Ruling Ways
Publishing the playbook.


‘If we could exhume the Founders and, before we put them all on trial for crimes against humanity, could ask them how many laws they would have considered enough, and then showed them the Federal Register alone, they’d all hop back into their graves and commence spinning.”

That is the unique voice of one David Kahane, who was originally published — discovered — by National Review Online. He’s a Hollywood liberal who has a habit of sharing way too much about the rules by which they live to a conservative audience.

Kahane is actually a pseudonym for Michael Walsh, a longtime screenwriter and novelist, former mainstream-media journalist, and current mainstream-media fact-checker at Walsh, in the person of Kahane, has a new book: Rules for Radical Conservatives: Beating the Left at Its Own Game to Take Back America. Walsh talks to NRO’s Kathryn Lopez (known in the book as Dave’s mom) about how all this came to be and why it’s important for American politics and culture.

KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ: I was around at David Kahane’s conception, and yet I don’t think I could answer this question: What was the moment where you knew you had to bring Kahane to life?

MICHAEL WALSH: Oddly enough, “Dave” started life because I wanted to explain the ways of Hollywood to the Right. There’s a lot of suspicion of the creative community among the wingnuts, including the notion that conservatives are uniformly “blacklisted” in Hollywood, and while that may be true in some cases, it’s not necessarily a Tinseltown-wide conspiracy. Are most people in Hollywood left-liberal? Yes. But given a choice between the lefties in academe and the liberals in Hollywood, give me L.A. every time. They’re some of the smartest and most accomplished people I know, and they’re a lot better looking.

LOPEZ: Why didn’t you just play it straight from the beginning? You’re Michael Walsh. You’ve worked in Hollywood. You know how liberals think. Why not have Michael Walsh tell us?

WALSH: Because nobody would have cared to hear yet another author/screenwriter whining about what a tough racket Hollywood is. Far more fun to invent an alter ego like Dave, a complete idiot who never understands that the joke’s always on him. I also find that you can speak the truth more bluntly when you disguise it with humor.

LOPEZ: How much of David Kahane is Michael Walsh?

: None. I type what he tells me to type. But, although he’s a goofball, he’s a very wise young man. Handsome, too.

LOPEZ: And you’re hoping Tim Robbins will play David Kahane in the movie version of Rules for Radical Conservatives?

WALSH: I think he would make a very good Kahane, although he’s too old for the part. Someone like Michael Cera would be perfect ten years older and 50 pounds heavier.

LOPEZ: Why does David Kahane want to share the Left’s playbook?

WALSH: Because he can.