Chait “responds,” sort of

February 1, 2010

Jonathan Chait disgraces himself once more. First he mocked Veronique de Rugy’s French name, then in his defense he makes fun of the “G” in my name, which I have there to remember my father and to distinguish myself from a lot of others out there with the same name. But whatever.

What’s actually interesting is that he thinks that it’s très amusant to write “Hey, you know what else is anti-American? Being named ‘Veronique de Rugy'” as a so, so witty response to Vero’s criticism of Barney Frank’s “mentality,” because it is allegedly wrong to state that a mentality is unAmerican, but he was very quick to tar advocates of tax cuts as “deeply unpatriotic” after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He wrote in The New Republic (not available online, as far as I could find), “There is something deeply unpatriotic about K Street’s rush to turn the tragedy into quick profit.” (Note the additional smear: “K Street,” which is in fact dominated by lawyers and lobbyists trying to get a piece of the taxpayers’ dollar, is used as the stand-in for taxpayers who would like to keep more of their money.) But what is the most interesting is how eager he was to smear people who favor tax cuts as “unpatriotic,” which is far stronger than referring to a “mentality” as unAmerican (or, in Vero’s awkward Frenchy phrase, “anti-American”). What can one say?….other than that his friends really ought to stop him before he embarrasses himself again.

UPDATE: Now We Know What Real Humor Is….Or at Least Real Jokes

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Oliver February 1, 2010 at 9:43 pm

What kind of person is this Chait? He thinks a clever response to your shaming him for making fun of a person’s name is to dig the hole deeper and make fun of your name?

My 7 year old son would be ashamed to stoop so low on the playground.

Townleybomb February 1, 2010 at 9:55 pm

I would suggest that your resorting to run-of-the mill right-wing identity politics and whining in the face of his request that you engage with the substance of his argument is rather more embarrassing than anything he’s done. You are the one who prominently bills himself as a “thinker” after all.

Oliver February 1, 2010 at 10:17 pm

Hold on, Mr. Bomb. I’ve known Tom for some years and he’s no right winger and there’s no identity politics in his blog or in his response to the chest-thumpers who make fun of someone for being French. It’s those fellows who should have dealt with her arguments, rather than make fun of her name and heritage. People should argue about, or maybe even discuss, substance, but avoid making fun of names, national origin, religion, and so forth. As I said, it would be undignified on the playground, much less in national magazines and blogs.

Eric H February 1, 2010 at 10:45 pm

Chait:
“I found it interesting that de Rugy couldn’t directly defend the necessity of massive Wall Street salaries, which seem to have added massive negative value to the American economy.”

Tom–and Veronique too, for that matter–you’ve engaged someone whose opposition to freedom is so deeply ingrained that he believes the signature on a paycheck isn’t enough to defend it being cashed. He also believes that a massive salary actually takes something away from the economy–as if the infamous fat cats donned hair shirts and set out for ascetic starvation in the wilderness after cashing their massive paychecks, burning the cash, and beating their Hispanic au pairs for good measure. How does someone engage in civil debate with Chait? I haven’t a clue; I’m just glad people like you and Veronique are around to give it a shot.

(BTW–come to think of it, Chait may any minute now advocate cash-burning…it’ll increase the purchasing power of the poor, undefended and storm-tossed middle class!)

RK February 1, 2010 at 11:13 pm

Unfortunately, whatever the merits of the dispute, Chait actually does seem to be a lot funnier than you.

Antonio February 1, 2010 at 11:19 pm

I don’t think Palmer is trhying to be funny here. He is trying to be serious. I th ink he is better at than Chait.

beamish February 1, 2010 at 11:34 pm

Well, he’s got a serious tone, but do you really think he’s illuminating an important issue or elevating the level of discourse?

Alan February 1, 2010 at 11:50 pm

Holy Shit! Palmer is no American. That “G” was a giveaway. He writes in foreign, Chinese magazines, like here: http://tomgpalmer.com/2010/02/01/my-case-for-free-trade-in-caijing/ and he gets his books reviews in foreign, German newspapers, like here:
http://tomgpalmer.com/2010/01/28/realizing-freedom-reviewed-in-frankfurter-allgemeine-zeitung/
What the hell is going on? It takes a real American like Jonathan Chait to point out you shouldn’t listen to people with funny names, or even names that are different in any way.

Alan February 1, 2010 at 11:54 pm

Beamish, you really can’t get any lower than Chait and Yglesias, so anything serious raises the level above theirs. Palmer has ten times the class and five times the intellect of Chait and Yglesias put together.

beamish February 2, 2010 at 12:07 am

Alan, ok, now, do you think that you’re illuminating an important issue or elevating the level of discourse?

(And if you ask the same question of me: yes, yes, I am.)

J Ren February 2, 2010 at 2:36 am

“run-of-the mill right-wing identity politics ”

…What? WHAT?

Did you seriously just call identity politics a right-wing trait? SERIOUSLY?

Is this some sort of bizarre super-irony that’s just been developed? Because unless you come back and criticize the Catholic church for its dedicated pro-abortion stance and Michael Moore for his free marked advocacy, I’ll have to assume that you’re simply a blabbering idiot.

Stimpy February 2, 2010 at 3:16 am

Beamish, are you suggesting that Chait and Yglesias were raising the level of debate by telling a French woman to butt out of the discussion because she’s French, but Palmer has lowered it by pointing out the childishness of their remarks? That is really perverse, man.

And that bit about identity politics being right-wing. That’s a little weird, but I can see how it’s a disease of both left and right. It’s just more likely to be practiced on the left these days. Earlier it was a Fascist thing, now it’s a Chait thing.

Douglas B. Rasmussen February 2, 2010 at 8:29 am

Is “Rasmussen” an American name? Is “Rodriguez” an American name? Is “Kennedy” an American name? Is “Jones” an American name? What is an American name? Good God! These critics of Veronique practice the crudest type of collectivism–racism.

beamish February 2, 2010 at 8:50 am

Beamish, are you suggesting that Chait and Yglesias were raising the level of debate by telling a French woman to butt out of the discussion because she’s French, but Palmer has lowered it by pointing out the childishness of their remarks?

No

Norton February 2, 2010 at 9:36 am

I think that’s exactly what chait was doing. As far as I’m concerned he can go straight to here:
http://lawblog.legalmatch.com/2010/01/26/the-wave-of-the-future-same-sex-prostitution/

Joe Strummer February 2, 2010 at 9:42 am

De Rugy made a stupid argument about how taxes are unAmerican. Chait, something of a schmuck, was making a joke about how, you know what’s also not unAmerican: Veronique de Rugy de Paris. Also, taxes are American. Palmer lept to de Rugy’s defense by missing the point. Chait, again something of a schmuck, made another joke about Palmer’s name AND responded substantively to Palmer’s post. Palmer took this as a grave insult and didn’t respond at all to the substance of Chait’s post.

Will this go on for another round? YAY INTERNETS!

Frank B. February 2, 2010 at 10:25 am

At least Townleybomb refrained from calling you a RAAAAAAAAAAcist!

MNR-L February 2, 2010 at 11:57 am

Strummer, I have a question. Can you state what “the substance” of Chait’s post was, other than that de Rugy was wrong and France has a great medical care system, which even Welch thinks is better than here? That and nyah, nyah, nyah? If he had stuck to “she’s wrong,” I would have wanted to see some evidence that taxing executive compensation more highly than other forms of compensation would have no negative consequences on the economy. But he didn’t offer it. Is that what you mean by substance?

Palmer has no obligation to defend de Rugy’s substantive point. He just pointed out that Chait is a schmuck.

I don’t find the “um, we were only joking?” line very good as a response when someone points out that you (not you, but Chait and Yglesias) are being idiots. Those guys should go and buy a sandbox for their discussions.

Anon February 2, 2010 at 5:11 pm

Hey! Someone else called a policy unAmerican! And his name is Puckett, which rhymes with F…it! Ha ha ha ha….. Thank you, Jonathan Chait, for improving the quality of debate in this country! Before you, I would have been too shy to say it, but “Puckett, F—it!” Ha ha ha ha.

What’s that you say? Oh, right. He’s a Democrat. You know, that’s not funny.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/01/AR2010020103674.html?hpid=topnews

HenriR February 3, 2010 at 3:34 pm

I doubt Chait would find too much to laugh about the folks opposing Obama only because of his more exotic name(s).

In all seriousness though the apologists for Chait flocking to comment here do not seem to grasp the fundamental difference that Tom has pointed out several times: de Rugy called a policy (or rather the mentality behind that policy) un-American, which is a completely different accusation than slandering the persons themselves as such (be it for name, race or religion).

Furthermore to reply , ad hominem as Chait prefers it , to the “substantive argument”: is it not a bit careless of Chait to complain about a supposed brain-drain finance exerts on more “productive” sectors?

You know what else isn’t awfully productive Mr Chait? Being a “professional blogger” on politics.

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