I read Jonathon Chait. He’s an interesting writer, which is more than half the battle. He consistently makes elaborate observations that are true (…and uses them for conclusions I disagree with).
So having learned from his writing in the past, it’s losing that utility for me lately. Generally now, his aim seems to be to call Republicans and conservatives out for hypocrisy. Often this is in service to an assertion that Republicans would support liberal policies if they weren’t merely being obstructive (…because they’re racists, yada yada).
This is, I think, obtusely simplistic or worse. Chait is no doubt smart and not obtuse, so I lean toward ‘or worse’. But in any event, it’s getting repetitive here in year 5 of the Obama administration.
Here today, Chait critiques a recent Matthew Continetti long form article on Washington clubbiness and nepotism. At issue is Continetti’s antipathy to a Jacob Weisberg piece in Vogue describing the marriage of Sam Kass and Alex Wagner.
Chait acknowledges Continetti’s evaluation of the Weisberg piece as basically correct, but then quibbles with Continetti’s correctness given that Wagner’s success is not an obvious example of nepotism.
The Wagner point is small ball. Inasmuch as Chait is correct, he’s pro forma, nit-picking by rote.
To conclude his piece, Chait delivers the goods, detailing that Continetti attained his position as editor of the webzine Washington Free Beacon by nepotism. In this case, Continetti married Bill Kristol’s daughter, with Kristol having then guided Continetti’s career at various points.
If true, what this means is Continetti is a hypocrite. What’s to be gained by calling Continetti a hypocrite when there’s not an obvious practical tie to GOP legislative obstruction (…and then racism?). I’m not sure. Figure, it’s just Chait’s knee jerk reaction these days.
Chait happened to be wrong though, and had to update his column with an appending paragraph that accurately transcribes Continetti’s career. Seems Continetti started his work in the Kristol publishing business some years ago, ascended through it, only to marry Kristol’s daughter last year.
The premise of a Chait column being entirely invalidated by Chait is kinda priceless. He’s one of these extreme certitude guys.