How does someone get to be a political pundit? How does someone become a political TV talking head? How does someone end up an opinion page columnist for The Los Angeles Times?
Right wing tool Jonah Goldberg has managed to achieve that mass media trifecta. And, in Jonah’s woeful case, his advancement is a victory of nepotism and narrow thinking over intellectual capacity, wisdom and common sense.
Goldberg has somehow become a nationally syndicated political columnist and frequent TV pundit without ever having entertained a serious thought in his lead-lined head. But before we delve into the shallow and flimsy foolishness of his most recent LA Times column — let’s examine how young Jonah rose to his lofty, loony professional position.
Baby Jonah was born in March of 1969 – a year after the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Bobby Kennedy and the onslaught the Tet Offensive in Vietnam. Whatever young Jonah learned about the civil rights and antiwar movements of the 1960’s he must have read about many years after those epochal events. And his perspective had to have been colored by his mommy, Lucianne Goldberg.
Long before she became infamous for promoting the Monica Lewinsky scandal, publisher Lucianne Goldberg was already up to no good. Her son Jonah was just a one-year old baby when Lucianne co-founded the “Pussycat League” – an organization dedicated to opposing the women’s liberation movement. Jonah turned three during the 1972 presidential campaign while his Machiavellian mom was covering George McGovern’s candidacy as a reporter for the Women’s News Service. Problem was, Lucianne was on leave of absence from the Women’s News Service at the time. (Maternity leave?)
Later, it was revealed that she was being paid to spy on McGovern and those traveling with him.
Right wing toolery and questionable journalism are literally mother’s milk to Jonah Goldberg.
Soon after Jonah graduated from college in 1991, his mom’s creepy right wing bonafides helped him land into a gig at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. He joined National Review as a contributing editor in 1998 and was asked to launch National Review Online. In an intellectually vacant universe dominated by know-nothing blowhards like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity — a college-boy, think-tank nerd like Jonah won a reputation as a deep thinker. Much like Paul Ryan (remember him?) was considered a “serious” thinker with respect to the nation’s budget and debt.
And now, Jonah regularly appears on The Los Angeles Times opinion page. What he writes is usually shallow, ill-considered, conservative dogmatic drivel. His column this week is a case in point.
Here’s Golberg’s latest column in The Los Angeles Times, along with my commentary IN BOLD CAPS:
Goldberg: Soldier Girl Blues
The decision to allow women in combat hasn’t stifled the debate.
By Jonah Goldberg — January 29, 2013
What if, during the presidential campaign, Mitt Romney had accused President Obama of wanting to let servicewomen serve in combat? After all, Obama had hinted as much in 2008. What would Obama’s response have been?
HERE WE GO — JONAH STARTS RIGHT OFF BY SETTING UP A STRAW MAN. MITT ROMNEY DIDN’T ACCUSE PRESIDENT OBAMA OF WANTING TO LET WOMEN SERVE IN COMBAT – IT WASN’T EVEN AN ISSUE IN THE 2012 ELECTION. BUT, OH MY, WHAT IF HE DID? (LET’S JUST IGNORE THE FACT THAT JOURNALISTIC JONAH DOESN’T BOTHER TO CITE OBAMA’S 2008 “HINT” ABOUT WOMEN IN COMBAT. WE’LL JUST TAKE HIS WEASEL WORD FOR IT.)
My hunch is that he would have accused Romney of practicing the “politics of division” or some such and denied it.
BOOM! OUCH! JONAH LOWERS THE BOOM! HE GUESSES THAT IF ROMNEY HAD MADE AN ACCUSATION THAT HE ACTUALLY DIDN’T MAKE IN REAL LIFE – THEN OBAMA WOULD HAVE REPLIED IN A WAY THAT JONAH SIMPLY IMAGINES HE WOULD RESPOND. AND JONAH DOESN’T APPROVE! DID IT OCCUR TO JONAH THAT’S HE’S HAVING A FANTASY DEBATE WITH HIMSELF?
In any case, wouldn’t an open debate have been better than putting women into combat by fiat?
OH PLEASE, JONAH! DO YOU REALLY THINK OBAMA WAS THE GUY WHO “PUT WOMEN INTO COMBAT?” DIDN’T BUSH AND CHENEY ALREADY DO THAT? HAVE YOU READ THE HISTORY OF THE WARS IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN, JONAH? HOW MANY WOMEN HAVE BEEN KILLED IN COMBAT ALREADY? THERE ARE NO FRONT LINES IN THESE WARS AND MANY A FEMALE GI HAS ALREADY COME HOME IN A BODY BAG. WOMEN JUST DON’T GET COMBAT PAY – AND THEY DON’T GET THE SAME OPPORTUNITIES FOR ADVANCEMENT THAT COME WITH COMBAT EXPERIENCE.
You’d think the folks who are always clamoring for a “national conversation” on this, that and the other thing would prefer to make a sweeping change after, you know, a national conversation.
Instead, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced the change on his way out. And Panetta has been lionized even though it wasn’t really his decision to make. If the president didn’t want this to happen, it wouldn’t happen. Perhaps Obama let Panetta run with the idea, just in case it turned out to be a political fiasco.
THIS IS A LOT OF ILL-INFORMED, WHOLE CLOTH CONJECTURE ON JONAH’S PART: TWO PARAGRAPHS OF COMPLETE NON-JOURNALISM. DID CUB REPORTER JONAH EVER TALK TO SECRETARY PANETTA – OR EVEN AN UNDERSECRETARY OF DEFENSE (SPEAKING OFF THE RECORD IN THE SHADOWS OF A WASHINGTON PARKING GARAGE) — ABOUT HOW THIS DECISION WAS MADE? OR DID JONAH SIMPLY YANK ALL OF THIS SUPPOSITION OUT OF HIS RIGHT WING RECTUM?
The good news for Obama is that it hasn’t been. Absent any informed debate, polls support the idea.
OHIGOD! A MAJORITY OF AMERICANS SUPPORT GENDER EQUALITY IN THE U.S MILITARY! HOW SHOCKING! I’M SORRY JONAH DIDN’T GET A CHANCE TO MODERATE “ANY INFORMED DEBATE” ON THE ISSUE. IF JONAH HAD BEEN THE NATIONAL DEBATE MODERATOR, WOULD THE AMERICAN PUBLIC HAVE REJECTED THE IDEA THAT WOMEN SHOULD SERVE IN COMBAT? I DOUBT JONAH’S POWER TO MOVE THE MATION’S CONSCIENCE. (SEE, I CAN RAISE STRAW MEN, TOO! IT’S EASY. I SIMPLY IMAGINE JONAH DOING SOMETHING – AND THEN I CAN CRITICIZE HIS ABILITY TO DO THE THING I IMAGINED HIM DOING!)
Indeed, the Republican Party has been shockingly restrained in even questioning what is a vastly bigger deal than the lifting of the half-ban on gays in the military — “don’t ask, don’t tell.” The mainstream media have celebrated the milestone and largely yawned at the skeptics.
Most lacking from the coverage is any attempt to explain how this will make combat units better at combat. Instead, we’re told that gender integration is necessary because without combat experience, it’s hard for women to get promoted.
HERE, JONAH STARTS TO GET IN OVER HIS HEAD. HE WANTS TO APPEAR FAIR AND REASONABLE – BUT HIS PREDJUDICE IS CLEAR AND INESCAPABLE. IN THE NEXT FEW PASSAGES, HE STARTS TO SOUND A LOT LIKE THE INTOLERANT MORONS WHO ARGUED AGAINST BLACK SOLDIERS SERVING ALONGSIDE WHITE SOLDIERS IN COMBAT.
Lifting that glass ceiling is an understandable, even lofty desire. But what does it have to do with making the military better at fighting?
YAWN. ANOTHER CODDLED, SILVER SPOON CONSERVATIVE CHICKEN HAWK SHARES WITH US HIS INTIMATE KNOWLEDGE OF HOW THE MILITARY WORKS. JONAH EVEN KNOWS MORE THAN A FORMER AIR FORCE INTELLIGENCE OFFICER.
My point isn’t that women should be kept out of all combat roles. Indeed, as many supporters of the move are quick to point out, women are already getting shot at. “In our male-centric viewpoint, we want to keep women from harm’s way,” Ric Epps a former Air Force intelligence officer who teaches political science, told this newspaper. “But … modern warfare has changed. There are no true front lines; the danger is everywhere, and women have already been there in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
True enough. But does anyone believe such changes are permanent? Will we never again have front lines? Or are the generals simply fighting the last war and projecting that experience out into the future?
IS JONAH SERIOULSLY CONJECTURING THAT THE WARS IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN ARE OUTLIERS – AND THAT, IN THE FUTURE, WE’LL RETURN TO WARS WHERE THE FRONT LINES ARE CLEAR AND WELL-DEFINED? SINCE JONAH IS SO GOOD AT IMAGINING — WHAT WARS DOES HE IMAGINE. OUR BIG, SET PIECE WAR WITH CHINA? IS HE DREAMING OF OUR INVASION OF NORTH KOREA? OR IS HE CONTEMPLATING OUR INVASION OF IRAN — WHICH, OF COURSE, UNLIKE IRAQ OR AFGHANISTAN, WOULD HAVE CLEAR FRONT LINES, RIGHT? HAS JONAH EVER HEARD OF ASYMETRICAL WARFARE? GUERILLA WAR? INSURGENCY? OR IS HE STILL WISTFULLY WATCHING “SANDS OF IWO JIMA” AND “THE LONGEST DAY”?
Heck, if we’ll never have wars between standing armies again, we can really afford to cut the defense budget. Something tells me that’s not the conclusion the Pentagon wants us to draw.
OH, GOOD LORD. WILL SOMEONE PLEASE TELL JONAH TO PUT HIS TOY SOLDIERS BACK IN THE BOX AND CRACK A BOOK ON MILITARY HISTORY? EVEN WARS BETWEEN STANDING ARMIES CAN DEGRADE INTO GUERILLA WAR AND INSURGENCY. SADDAM HUSSIEN HAD A STANDING ARMY IN IRAQ, REMEMBER? THEY JUST DIDN’T STAND VERY LONG AGAINST OUR INVASION. INSTEAD, THEY MELTED AWAY TO FIGHT IN CRAFTIER WAYS: TO DO THINGS LIKE BOMB AMERICAN MESS HALLS IN THE GREEN ZONE.
AND BTW, JONAH – YOU AND I BOTH KNOW THAT, GIVEN THE CLOUT OF THE MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX – WE COULD HAVE NO ENEMIES AND FACE THE PROSPECT OF ETERNAL PEACE – AND WE STILL WOULDN’T BE ABLE TO SUBSTANTIALLY REDUCE THE PENTAGON BUDGET.
I CAN’T STAND ANYMORE OF GOLDBERG’S COLUMN, SO I’LL CUT TO THE LAST PARAGRAPH…
Obama’s decision hasn’t stifled the debate, it’s merely postponed it until the day Americans see large numbers of women coming home in body bags too.
WE’VE SEEN FEMALE SOLDIERS IN BODY BAGS ALREADY, JONAH. THAT’S WHY PRESIDENT OBAMA AND SECRETARY PANETTA ARE CHANGING THE POLICY – AND ACKNOWLEDGING THAT WOMEN ARE ALEADY SERVING IN COMBAT.
PLEASE, LOS ANGELES TIMES, CAN’T YOU JUST RUN ANOTHER FUNNY POLITICAL CARTOON IN PLACE OF THE BRAYING, BANAL WORK OF THIS HAREBRAINED HACK?