I just finished the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/25/magazine/25REPUBLICANS.html
” target=”_blank”> NY Times piece on the “Hipublicans.” I’m gonna do a G-File on it tomorrow, once I’m done with everything else on my plate (namely: write my syndicated column and clean up the house before my bride comes home. Anyone have an industrial wet-vac they can lend me?).
One thing I will get off my chest now is that NRO was screwed by the piece. I have spoken to and visited and emailed with thousands of young college conservatives. I work with Young Americans Foundation and, less frequently, with ISI and the Leadership Institute (I wish it was more). These groups do phenomenal and important work and deserve every bit of the “credit” the Times back-handedly offers. But I simply know for a fact that NRO has had a huge impact on college conservatives. Student web magazines and dead tree ones alike have been modeled both on the substance and the style of NRO. Much of the discussion about conservatives behaving “normal” and speaking in the contemporary vernacular is a testament to the influence of NRO. I doubt a single one of the kids interviewed would dispute this. But in the piece, there’s one passing reference to “conservative websites” while there’s paragraph after paragraph about Ann Coulter and Dinesh D’Souza. Good for Ann and Dinesh (two very different people with very different roles, by the way, though you wouldn’t really know that from the article).
But come on. This might sound like sour grapes, but the truth is it’s pride. I’m very proud of what NRO has done and become and when some guy, trying to play the Margaret Mead of campus conservatism (and does about as good a job as she did), gives us short-shrift in order to make some lame Youth Auxillary of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy argument, it ticks me off. One theory: To say that these kids actually read, research and think on their own, rather than get “talking points” from Karl Rove would have undermined the author’s thesis and make the piece far less attractive to the Times.
Anyway, you can see some of where I’ll be going with this.