No discussion of good news for conservatives is complete without mention of Jon Chait’s excellent compendium of Weekly Standard good news proclamations from 2005-2008, which probably were — and this is no exaggeration — the most disastrous run of years for Republicans in modern political history. Most of it’s a twofer, because not only is it all good news for conservatives, it’s all contrarian good news for conservatives: “Everyone thinks that Bush’s low approval rating/McCain’s poor fund-raising and poll numbers/the American public’s dislike of Sarah Palin is bad for Republicans, but if you look beyond the conventional wisdom of our liberal media overlords, you may be surprised to learn…”
Chait makes a good point about the Standard relative to the National Review.
This sort of argument is actually the signature style of the Standard. A magazine like National Review specializes in making the case for conservative ideas. The Standard’s contribution is to assert over and over that Republicans are succeeding, or at least doing better than you think they are. The idea is to buck up your side and encourage them to keep fighting, in order to ward off the self-defeating psychology of losing.
I think another part of the idea is to get your smart-ass, nonsensical good news talking points repeated by Halperin et al. Nearly every example of Kristol hackery that Chait cites is just a more extreme version of stuff that pundits were saying at the time (Broder’s mythical Bush comeback, Halperin’s insistence Dems would get creamed in the 2006 midterms for example).
Most of the stuff I read on the Corner is not like this; frankly, a lot of it is just too weird to get picked up by mainstream media. The Cornerites write strange things because they believe strange things. Kristol is an unapologetic propagandist.