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Why Ann Althouse is a Diva to this Conservative

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 7:27 pm - December 20, 2007.
Filed under: Blogging,Blogress Divas

Just over two years ago when I asked, Who are Our Conservative “Divas”?, I defined a diva a strong, successful woman who commands the respect of men. At the time, we were looking for those divas whose politics didn’t turn the stomachs of gay conservative men, given how much we gay guys look up to strong women.

When we decided to limit our poll to consider only blogresses, we included (over the past three years) a number who were not conservative per se, notably Virginia Postrel and Ann Althouse. While these gals may not be as ideological as some of their competitors, we do admire their independence and the confidence with which they express their opinions.

In some ways, particularly in the case of Althouse, it’s their very absence of ideology which makes them divas. For, isn’t it a mark of a true diva that she’s not beholden to any individual or any ideology?

It’s one reason Arianna Huffington who once carried herself like a diva can no longer be considered for the honor. In her eagerness to curry favor with the Bush-hating left, she’s sacrificed the independent voice she provided in the second half of the 1990s. Maybe that’s because Huffington knows that to be accepted by the leftist blogosphere she has to toe their line.

That ideological conformity which the left seems to demand seems absent on the right, at least among the conservative (and libertarian) pundits and bloggers I read on a regular basis. Or maybe it’s because the liberal ideology has become so dominant in the MSM, that we conservatives delight in reading pieces by those willing to challenge it.

While Ann Althouse is certainly not a conservative, she is definitely a blogress who challenges liberal orthodoxy. She speaks her mind. When commenting on the competition last year, she said it best when she wrote:

If the emphasis is on the word “diva” — as it should be — rather than on “conservative” — I think I definitely deserve it. It’s not about who is the most conservative — which would be incredibly stupid — it is who embodies “diva” and can also be accepted by the conservatives. Clearly, I fit that.

It’s not just that. Despite her decidedly non-ideological bent, Althouse somehow manages, in her words, to drive liberals “nuts.” Which seems to me more a reflection of their narrow-mindedness than of her ideology.

Indeed, it was amusing to see some of the comments on her blog wondering why she was nominated to be Grande Conservative blogress diva while reading posts on left-wing blogs attacking her with the venom they tend to reserve for such conservative women as Michelle Malkin and Ann Coulter.

Today, as I “researched” this piece, reading her latest entries and some of her past references to our contest, I realized how much I liked her blog. Even when I disagreed with some of her points, I delighted in the way she expressed herself. While my posts, like this one, tend to be essayistic, hers are sassy and succinct with a sizable sampling of snark.

We gay conservatives like Ann Althouse because she speaks her mind and retains her independence, calling them as she see them.

While Sondra K has once again earned the honor to be Grande Conservative Blogress Diva, Ann Althouse remains a diva to this blogger. As are some of her more ideological competitors in our recent competition.

Conservative Ideas & the 2008 election

It seems there are a lot of people on the right, scholars, pundits, bloggers who have thoughts about the 2008 contest for the GOP nomination which parallel those I expressed in the piece, 2008 Presidential Election: the GOP in Search of Itself, I posted on Monday. Either there’s something in the air or we’re all onto something. I think it’s the latter, given the number of political observers who have come to similar conclusions.

Scott at Powerline links this insightful piece by the Claremont Institute‘s Charles Kesler. (While we’re on the subject of books, his Keeping the Tablets: Modern American Conservative Thought, is a superb anthology of essays articulating the basic ideas of modern conservatism. Perfect for conservatives who want to better understand the background of our ideas and for liberals who would like to better understand this political philosophy.)

In his piece, Kesler notes the incredible flux of the Republican race, finding that many Republicans still haven’t made up their minds, even discovering uncertainty among those “who’ve endorsed a candidate.” He observes, “There are a lot of Republican contenders to choose from, too, and most are plausible as president.

He does a better job of discerning what he calls “the perplexity” Republicans experience than has any recent political commentator, at least those I’ve read. Perhaps, that’s because he’s spent so much time studying American conservatism. He does see the various political philosophies at play in the party and understands the difficulty of forging a consensus:

Unlike the defeat of Communism and socialism, goals shared by all conservatives and functioning as the movement’s great amalgam and inspiration, shrinking the state and rehabilitating American morals are the favorite causes of different, and to some degree differing, parts of the Right.

Conservatism’s slow loss of focus after the Cold War’s end was predictable (and often predicted). That the “crack-up” never occurred quite as predicted, however, shows that a broad agreement persists among conservatives. Nonetheless, the bonds between libertarian and social conservatives have weakened. Although 9/11 revealed a new common enemy, the effect was more to change the subject than to forge a new consensus on the Right. After all, the issues that remain–how to limit government again, whether and how government should promote virtue, and more generally, how to restore the republic along the lines of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution–are difficult.

He goes on to look at how each of the leading candidates embodies some aspect of modern conservatism, but notes that “that Republican voters don’t recognize any of these trial versions of conservatism as the real deal, a distillation of American principles for our time.” I think he’s onto something.

This may well be the most important short piece (at least from the standpoint of ideas) on the contest for the GOP presidential nomination. So, without further ado, I suggest you read the whole thing!

2007 GayPatriot’s Man Of The Year:General David Petraeus

The hands-down winner from Dan (GayPatriotWest) and I as our first GayPatriot Man of the Year: General David Petraeus.

david_petraeus.jpg

From a TIME Magazine profile written by John McCain written a couple months ago: Fouad Ajami, director of the Middle East studies program at Johns Hopkins University, says the sense of optimism he finds among Iraqis is “invested in the arrival in Iraq of General David Petraeus.” Bright, studious, morally committed, physically brave, willing to carry a “heavy rucksack” without complaint and with clear-eyed resolve, Petraeus—along with the courageous men and women he has the honor to command—is our best reason to hope that we might yet avoid the catastrophe of an American defeat in Iraq.

We choose a man who looked at chaos and brought security. A man who looked at despair and brought hope. A man who saw freedom’s defeatists at home and defeated them. A man who upholds and defends the principles of the United States Constitution.

In short, we chose the “anti-Putin.”

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

UPDATE (from GPW): Looks like London’s Telegraph agrees with us (via Instapundit).

Bush, US Troops Win Budget Battle Over Anti-War Democrats

Associated Press:  The vote reflected the reluctance by each party to deny money to troops in the field. At the same time, anti-war Democrats had found their position weakened by the decline in violence in Iraq.

Yes, Congress… you have shown the truth to the lie that “you can support the troops without supporting the mission.”  When it came down to it, you HAVE to support the mission in order to support the troops.

Thank you, US Congress, for recognizing that our men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan are doing important work that demands to be supported.

House OKs War Spending, Bill Heads to President for Welcome Signature – AP/FOX News.com

Congress approved $70 billion Wednesday for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, a bitter finish for majority Democrats who tried to force a change in President Bush’s war policy.

The House’s 272-142 vote also sent the president a $555 billion catchall spending bill that combines the war money with money for 14 Cabinet departments.

Bush and his Senate GOP allies forced the Iraq money upon anti-war Democrats as the price for permitting the year-end budget deal to pass and be signed. But other Democrats were eager to avoid being seen as not supporting troops who are in harm’s way — and avoid weeks of bashing by Bush for failing to provide that money.

God Bless the United States Armed Forces for liberating 60 million oppressed men, women and children since 2001.

[RELATED STORY Another Democrat Visits Iraq, Sees Success – MichelleMalkin.com]

[RELATED LINK:  Please donate to Soldiers’ Angels this Christmas season.]

-Bruce (GayPatriot) 

Gay Books For Grownups

It seems that every winter, a number of publications release their lists of recommending holiday reading, assuming their readers will be in a book-buying mood when they shop for holiday presents. Indeed, it the National Review’s Symposium on Christmas shopping, that journal’s editors noted that its list (collated from “regular contributors and friends) “as often is the case . . . is book heavy.” The folks at Powerline linked the Claremont Review of Books Christmas reading list. But, it doesn’t seem the Weekly Standard has offered such a list since 2004.

Doubting that there exists a gay conservative reading list, I thought I’d offer my own list of gay books that I recommend. Some of these writers’ might be surprised to find their books on the reading list of a gay conservative. Indeed, one of the authors raises money for the Democratic National Committee.

Back when I was trying to publish my novel, I used to read gay novels with great regularity, feeling it my duty to familiarize myself with what was out there. But, I found that most of them were self-indulgent, without focus, theme or moral, except to blame society in general and conservatives in particular for the plight of gay men. One novel even took infidelity as a matter of course in gay (male) relationship.

And that said, I did discover some gems. I’ll get to those in due course.

i wanted to start with the book (that I believe) is the most important book on gay culture or as its author subtitled it, “The Gay Individual in American Society.” That book is of course Bruce Bawer‘s, A Place at the Table. It was the first gay book I read which addressed concerns I had as I was coming to terms with my feelings. I underlined numerous passages, scribbled notes in the margin, noted important passages in the flyleaves.

Among the many insights Bruce offers is this observation on “professional gays,” among whom “there has been too much invective and too little effort to explain and clarify.” Seems like some of these people have turned up in our comments section.

He suggested that the “vociferous emphasis on ‘gay pride'” was a sign “that, deep down, many subculture-oriented gays don’t really have very much pride in themselves as individuals; for it would never occur to an individual with pride in himself to feel a need for group-oriented pride.” And this wonderful line: “I hate to see people cocooning themselves in victimhood and straightacketing themselves in stereotype.” For that and other insights, I highly recommend Bruce Bawer’s, A Place at the Table.

I have only read a few of the essays in Bruce’s BEYOND QUEER: Challenging Gay Left Orthodoxy. For those essays alone, the book is well worth the cost.

While most readers who have read both of Andrew Sullivan’s first two books prefer the first published, Virtually Normal, I found that tiresome and repetitive. I think his second book, Love Undetectable: Notes on Friendship, Sex, and Survival, is the superior, largely due to his essay on friendship. There he observes:

For a gay child or adolescent doesn’t really have a friend in the true sense of the term until he has a gay friend who knows and accepts the fact that he is gay. When he finds this friend, who is almost always gay himself, the relationship has a significance often far deeper than the first friend a heterosexual child discovers. Because, in a way, it is only when the gay child finds his first true friend that he can really exist at all. Until then, only a part of him exists, the public part, the part that has learned to act and portray a real person, while the essential person, his deepest self, remains hidden from view, even, in many cases, from himself and almost always from the people he cares about the most, his family.

Indeed. Now, just get the book to see that while Andrew’s latest writings may be angry and unhinged, he once had something to say and said it quite well.

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