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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Indiana Ponnuru and The Title of Doom

I give Ramesh Ponnuru credit for playing Daniel to The Daily Show's lion's den, but he really got spanked by Jon Stewart last night. It wasn't entirely his fault: Stewart was fairly adversarial, and politesse requires not interrupting the host to say something like, "Jon, I know you're a liberal, and I know your audience is mostly liberal, but rather than scoring cheap points, why don't you actually let me speak and listen to what I say?"

That said, when you title your book The Party of Death: The Democrats, the Media, the Courts, and the Disregard for Human Life, you can't exactly expect a reasoned response, as Andrew Sullivan's been pointing out ad nauseum.

Here's what I don't get. When Ponnuru picks that title, or when Ann Coulter writes what she writes, they are effectively saying that they're only interested in preaching to the converted. What's the point of that? Rather than screaming "You're the party of death!" or "Liberals are godless traitors!" doesn't it make more sense to chill on the rhetoric and try to persuade people of the rightness of your cause? Is Coulter really that stupid that she doesn't realize what a turn off she is to anyone who doesn't share her bordering-on-the-insane beliefs in the first place? Or, for all her political posturing, is she content to just pocket the money? I suspect it's the latter: the Coulter personality seems very into the cult of personality.

Ponnuru, however, should be better than that, and it wouldn't surprise me if his book is much more than a obnoxious anti-liberal rant. But I think a lot of people aren't ever going to know that because they'll take one look at the title, roll their eyes, and buy the latest Knights Templar conspiracy book instead.

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