Catfight in The Corner! Lopez vs. Parker

Welcome, Andrew Sullivan and 3QuarksDaily readers. While you’re here, I hope you’ll take a look around and leave a comment! The “Labels” section in the right column can be used as a menu.

I’m a big fan of National Review Online’s group blog, called The Corner. It has been described as “the Id of Conservatism,” and it’s the first political blog I visit on most mornings. I visit multiple times on most days — there are a dozen or more contributors who participate with varying degrees of regularity, which means there is fresh content throughout the day.

Kathryn Jean Lopez, known as K-Lo, is the Editor of NRO. She’s also the most frequent poster in The Corner, and serves as its “Mother Hen,” keeping her predominately male colleagues in line when they spin off on tangents such as Star Trek discussions. [Sexist metaphor alert: This post contains politically incorrect, gender-specific references, starting with the headline. What can I say — I’m a man, and men are pigs.] I disagree strongly with Lopez on social issues (she’s an anti-abortion absolutist and opposes gay equality), but I admire her work ethic and I admire, evaluated as a whole, the product she produces at NRO.

In short, I’m not a K-Lo basher (cf. Sullivan, Andrew).

But she made a cryptic post this morning that inspired me to drop everything and figure out what the heck it was about. She thereby called my attention to a column on her own site that she finds “embarrassing and outrageous,” and that I likely would not have seen otherwise.

She doesn’t link to the column in question. Whatever could she be talking about? I had a hunch, but didn’t want to leap to a false conclusion. So I did some research.

Tempted though I am to document my sleuthing with step-by-step screen captures, I have actual professional obligations to get to today. So suffice it to say that I laborious opened each and every column listed under the daily “New on NRO” digest, below:

On each column I searched for the word “Monica,” and found it, as I expected, only on Kathleen Parker’s “Tragic Flaw” column. (Hence the “catfight” reference in the headline — they’re both women, get it? Har, har, har.)

A month ago, Kathleen Parker became one of the earliest and most prominent conservatives to go public with a strong condemnation of the Palin selection, saying she should withdraw for the sake of the party and her country. Pundits and bloggers on the Left gleefully plastered links to the column all over the Internets, while a few on the Right did so more in sorrow than in anger.

Gotta wrap this up, my phone keeps ringing — a happy problem for a self-employed writer/consultant. In today’s column, Parker suggests, without actually saying it in a quotable soundbite way, that McCain picked Palin because he thinks she’s a hot babe. The “Monica” in K-Lo’s headline, as you may have guessed, is a reference to Monica Lewinsky. Here’s the closing of the column:

It is entirely possible that no one could have beaten the political force known as Barack Obama — under any circumstances. And though it isn’t over yet, it seems clear that McCain made a tragic, if familiar, error under that sycamore tree [McCain apparently “proposed” to Palin under such a tree — Ed.]. Will he join the pantheon of men who, intoxicated by a woman’s power, made the wrong call?

Had Antony not fallen for Cleopatra, Octavian might not have captured the Roman Empire. Had Bill resisted Monica, Al Gore may have become president and Hillary might be today’s Democratic nominee.

If McCain, rightful heir to the presidency, loses to Obama, history undoubtedly will note that he was defeated at least in part by his own besotted impulse to discount the future. If he wins, then he must be credited with having correctly calculated nature’s power to befuddle.

K-Lo (and apparently some readers who corresponded with her) are outraged at the idea that Parker arguably has compared Sarah Palin with Monica Lewinsky, and by extension arguably has compared John McCain with Bill “Can’t Keep it Zipped” Clinton. One can certainly interpret the column that way, but I urge you to read the whole column and consider whether the Lewinsky/Clinton analogy is central to her thesis.

I think Parker is on to something — it boils down to “men are pigs.” I don’t think McCain is nearly as big a pig, in the sexual sense, as Clinton… but I think an analogous dynamic is at work. It’s the best explanation I’ve seen for throwing caution to the winds and making the disastrous Palin selection.

I’m not a Palin-basher either, btw, at least not in any absolutist sense… I criticized the choice the day after it was made (“The Five Stages of Adjusting to Palin“), then was wowed by her convention speech (pig that I am, no doubt) and tried to make the best of until Palin became too much of a national joke. Here’s a link to all of my Palin-related posts.

Update: From the comments, Pretty Lady (who blogs about relationships, sex, politics, spirituality and other matters) offers a thoughtful personal perspective on how men relate to, well, pretty ladies:

When I adopted my blog moniker, I thought of it as a staggeringly obvious and overtly ironic joke. I was shocked to discover that it was taken absolutely seriously by the vast majority of bloggers and their commenters, and that it entirely colored their initial take on my observations.

Simply, people pay much more attention to words coming out of the mouth of a Pretty Lady. They may reflexively deride those words, or fawn on them, but they are definitely responding to context, rather than content.

Update: This post led to a Sullivalanche.

22 thoughts on “Catfight in The Corner! Lopez vs. Parker

  1. On the other hand, being compared to Cleopatra isn’t such a bad thing. No one could doubt her executive experience or diplomatic savvy.

  2. I’ve never been welcomed before by someone to whom old Sully has linked. Very gracious–and good business besides. Allow me to in turn welcome you to my blogroll.

  3. Thanks for stopping by, doublavoo and anonymous x 2.

    Andrew Sullivan’s link went up about an hour ago as I write this, and I’m getting about 25 visitors a minute, according to the Feedjit widget on my homepage. I’m easily going to have more visitors today than I have since I started the blog.

    Thanks, Andrew…

  4. Men aren’t pigs, they’re just Like That. This is so self-evident as to hardly be worth pointing out, much less ostracizing one’s colleague for.

    When I adopted my blog moniker, I thought of it as a staggeringly obvious and overtly ironic joke. I was shocked to discover that it was taken absolutely seriously by the vast majority of bloggers and their commenters, and that it entirely colored their initial take on my observations.

    Simply, people pay much more attention to words coming out of the mouth of a Pretty Lady. They may reflexively deride those words, or fawn on them, but they are definitely responding to context, rather than content.

    Eventually, of course, most of them come around to attending to the sense of what I am saying–or the lack of it, which is evidently what has occurred in Ms. Palin’s case.

  5. Another Sullivan reader here. As doublavoo said, we usually don’t get welcomed on other sites. Glad he linked, some good postings here.

  6. I’m not here from the Sullivan website but rather from 3-quarks daily.

    I’ve been looking for good conservative opinion (not the “Obama is a Muslim terrorist” variety) and I’ll check out NRO.

    Yeah, I am a liberal but I don’t want to be guilty of “living in a bubble”.

  7. Pretty Lady, thanks for the personal perspective. Sudonum, thanks for the kind words, I’m glad you found some interesting posts here.

    Ollie, I need to go check out 3 Quarks, which is new to me. I highly recommend The Corner for a liberal reader looking to understand conservatives. You obviously will disagree a lot, and sometimes you may cringe or be tempted to ridicule, but I think you’ll find a lot of well-considered, articulate arguments.

  8. The pace has slowed a bit — “only” 35 inbound links in the past six minutes.

    For perspective, and in the interest of transparency, my previous FULL-DAY high-water mark was 23 visitors.

    I use Google Analytics, which only updates once a day, so I won’t know until tomorrow how many total links the site has received from Sully’s site. Google Analytics is still telling me that I had six (6) visitors yesterday, a day when I didn’t post.

    Technorati, which hasn’t discovered me yet, shows Sullivan currently as the 23rd highest-ranking blog — I need to find out more about how rankings work.

    I also need to learn how to hard-code href statements in Blogger’s primitive comment window. I know it’s possible. My HTML skills are largely limited to copying and pasting from someone else’s page source.

  9. I have to take issue with the idea that John McCain isn’t as big a pig as Clinton. Clinton, as reprehensible as his infidelity was, stayed with his wife in its wake. McCain, on the other hand, left his first wife for the rich debutante he had been cheating on her with.

  10. Fair point, anonymous (4:04 pm). But I doubt McCain, if he gets elected, will be nearly as… um… adventuresome in the Oval Office as Clinton was.

  11. Kirk,

    I, too, doubt that McCain would be as adventuresome in the Oval Office as Bill Clinton was, but not because he is more moral. Rather, because he is more aged.

  12. Ollie: You might try culture11, which is a conservative-leaning blog that pretty much explicitly rejects the “Obama is a muslim terrorist” sort of argument–a style of argument that unfortunately IS all too commonplace on The Corner. Many whacky Obama conspiracy theories seem to be recycled there.

    WRT the chances of McCain cheating in the White House should he be elected. The man is 72 years old, and doesn’t appear to be in the greatest of health. Plus, most of his fortune is due to Cindy anyway… (I seem to remember hordes of conservatives making fun of Kerry four years ago for marrying a wealthy heiress…)

    Back to the topic at hand: Who knows what McCain was thinking. But whatever it was, it may end up costing him the election.

  13. Perhaps McCain would be less “adventuresome” in terms of his personal behavior, or perhaps not; we have no way of knowing before hand. My point (I was the anonymous of 4:04pm. Sorry, had to look up my password) was simply that the portrayals of McCain as a man of sterling character are not reflected in much of his personal behavior.

    Also, Clinton, for all his flaws, now seems like a comparatively responsible leader. He balanced the budget and shrank welfare rolls. Flogging his personal misdeeds may be amusing, but it looks petty in light of the very real, and costly, mistakes made over the past 8 years.

  14. Wow… I like reading 3QD – I’ve never been welcomed to a blog before : )

    I’d have to say that I agree with the Pretty Palin syndrome. Men tend to start drooling at her after a set time in her presence – it’s a shame, but she’s right to work it for all she can get. It isn’t like men don’t do the same. Now if only I could admire her political stance as much as her tenacity…

  15. I’m not much for “cat fights” but a fight between Katherine Lopez and another NRO columnist is too delicious to pass up.

    It’s been happening a lot lately, with little battles on NRO involving Frum, Chris Buckley, Ken Adelman vs the Bush Koolaid drinkers. They just can’t countenance any fellow “conservative” going off the reservation. Though I can’t tell if they’re more upset about the fact that one of their pals endorsed a Democrat or because they endorsed a scary black man. I love it when they show their true natures.


  16. Welcome, Scott and Theo.

    poperatzo, for the record, I reject the substance of your comment. I do not believe that Obama’s race is a primary or even secondary concern for Kathryn Lopez or any of the posters in The Corner.

    It’s certainly possible to find anti-Obama racism on the Internets, but I have never seen it on The Corner or on NRO.

    By and large, the mainstream conservatives who oppose Obama do so not because he is black, but because he is “one step away from being a socialist,” as Texas Gov. Rick Perry said —

    And no, “socialist” is not a racial code word.

  17. i am deeply confused by something you wrote in your otherwise very well thought out post: why do you think that “McCain isn’t nearly as big a pig…as Clinton” when it comes to sex? why does McCain get such a pass from pretty much everyone, right and left? the man’s first wife was crippled by a horrible car accident while he was in the hanoi hilton, and yet she bravely soldiered on (as it were), taking care of their children until his return. and when he saw her upon his return, he very soon thereafter started cheating on her with a younger, blonder, hotter woman (aka Cindy), one whose ambitions matched his own. he then used her money to better his career.

    he also is quoted as having told a colleague that he wanted to go to brazil after his war college experience rather than somewhere like the middle east because “i have a better chance of getting laid there”. of course, he was married at the time.

    i think he is every bit the dog that clinton is (just from what we know on the record) so why does he get a pass? i don’t get it.

  18. I’ve said for some time now: of course Sarah Palin was picked because of her looks. Imagine McCain picking a woman with the same thin resume and (lack of) qualifications…who looked like Camilla Parker Bowles (no offense to to Bowles).

  19. Watch the joint Palin/McCain interview with Katie Couric and you will see an old geezer who is clearly smitten and totally blind to the fact that the woman sitting next to him is a total airhead (who happens to be governor of Alaska). Palin’s career path is obvious–she is a future talking head on the Fox(y) News Channel 🙂

  20. Robert, it’s the whole “doing it in the Oval Office” thing that puts Clinton in a different league. That, and the sheer number of incidents and allegations over an extended period of time.

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