Conservative Self-Parody Watch

Bob Bartley retires, again; Ann Coulter gets shrill!

1) Will some prominent conservative please step forward to give Robert Bartley, editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page, a heartfelt testimonial on the occasion of his imminent retirement? Otherwise, Chatterbox fears, Bartley will never stop delivering them himself. First came Bartley’s lengthy “valedictory” that swallowed up most of the Journal’s edit page on Nov. 20. Now comes “A Few Final Words As Editor: Thoughts On Running the Only Editorial Page That Sells Newspapers,” in the Dec. 30 Journal. Bartley thanks management at the Journal and its parent company, Dow Jones, whose

support started with my appointment at a young age, and continued to a glittering valedictory address broadcast on C-Span this fall. I also give thanks to those who came to give plaudits, to Jack Kemp, Theodore Olson and especially Henry Kissinger, whom I met crossing swords years ago.

Apparently the plaudits from Kemp, Olson, and Kissinger missed a few nuances, requiring Bartley to set the record straight. Bartley turned over the editorial page to Paul Gigot more than a year ago, but for some reason he kept the title “editor” through 2002. He isn’t actually going anywhere. He’ll keep writing his column, “Thinking Things Over” (“traditionally a former editor’s column” but “I got rolling a bit early because of my record tenure of 30 years as editor and editorial page editor”). In short, Bartley will have endless occasion in the future to notify readers (in paraphrase of the classic Saturday Night Live gag about Generalissimo Francisco Franco) that Bob Bartley is still retired.

2) Ann Coulter, apparently weary of rendering her usual nuanced and scholarly critique of liberalism, has titled her next book, Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism. Check this out from the Crown Books catalog:

In a stunning follow-up to Slander, leading conservative pundit Ann Coulter contends that liberals have been wrong on every major domestic and foreign policy issue, from the fight against communism at home and abroad, the Nixon and Clinton presidencies, and the struggle with the Soviet empire, right up to today’s war on terrorism. “Liberals have a preternatural gift for always striking a position on the side of treason,” says Coulter. “Everyone says liberals love America, too. No, they don’t.”

Chatterbox looks forward to seeing how Coulter squares her critique with conservative nostalgia for the Confederacy.