Better Conservative Columnists, Please

Ken AshfordElection 2008, Right Wing Punditry/IdiocyLeave a Comment

Jonah Goldberg starts his column in today’s L.A. Times this way:

Forced servitude in America?
The U.S. already has high rates of volunteerism, but that’s apparently not good enough for our presidential candidates.
There’s a weird irony at work when Sen. Barack Obama, the black presidential candidate who will allegedly scrub the stain of racism from the nation, vows to run afoul of the constitutional amendment that abolished slavery.
Ah, what wonderful irony Jonah seems to have stumbled upon.  America’s first black president bringing back the institution of slavery.
But what’s Goldberg talking about?  Why, it’s Obama’s plan for increased volunteerism among the young — you know, Peace Corps and Americorps and such — with the assistance of federal funds.
And toward the end of Goldberg’s column, we read this admission:
No, national service isn’t slavery.
Oh, okay.  Never mind then.  So much for the "weird irony".  I guess I was confused by the opening grafs suggesting that Obama’s plan for increased national service was tantamount to slavery.  But Goldberg’s thesis became befuddled when he reallized that McCain was basically calling for the same thing as Obama.
It’s about as honest as we’ll ever get to see Goldberg, who is tacitly admitting that he is full of shit, and unable to offer us anything more than incidiary headline-grabbing drivel and incoherent reasoning.
Rubber Hose quips:
jonah’s right. i remember my days of bondage that summer that i working at a school for austic children as part of my high school’s service requirement. then, a year or two later, i got myself enslaved again, working at a school for the deaf in the last month of my senior year.
UPDATE:  Hilzoy:

Minor point: about that "mandatory youth corps": in the piece Geraghty links to, he describes Obama’s proposal as "very close to echoing John Kerry’s Orwellian call for mandatory volunteerism." In NRO-speak, "very close to echoing" just means: he didn’t actually say it, but if I squinch my face up very hard, wish upon a star, and clap as loud as I can, I can pretend that he did. What Obama actually said:

"We’ll reach this goal in several ways. At the middle and high school level, we’ll make federal assistance conditional on school districts developing service programs, and give schools resources to offer new service opportunities. At the community level, we’ll develop public-private partnerships so students can serve more outside the classroom.

For college students, I have proposed an annual American Opportunity Tax Credit of $4,000. To receive this credit, we’ll require 100 hours of public service. You invest in America, and America invests in you – that’s how we’re going to make sure that college is affordable for every single American, while preparing our nation to compete in the 21st century."

That’s not a "mandatory youth corps" by any stretch of the imagination.