Kristol predicts cheerfulness

KRISTOL PREDICTS CHEERFULNESS…. The last eight years have been abysmal for most of the country, but they’ve been a boon for far-right journalists. George W. Bush never got around to doing an interview with the New York Times, but Bill Kristol and Rush Limbaugh have had the West Wing on speed-dial. Indeed, Dick Cheney’s office is reluctant to answer even mundane questions from reporters, but the V.P. extended exclusive access to the Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes.

And now, all of that access is poised to disappear.

Since the Weekly Standard launched in 1995, there’s one scenario the conservative magazine hasn’t yet faced: Democrats in control of both the White House and Congress.

But that’s what lies ahead in just two months, leaving staffers there and at other media outlets on the right bracing for a period on the outside looking in.

The Weekly Standard has long supported the national ambitions of John McCain, going back to the 2000 primary race, and boosted Sarah Palin a year before she was well known to the Lower 48. Nevertheless, editor William Kristol, speaking from the Republican Governors Association meeting, seemed to be taking the loss in stride.

“We’re not going to sit around sniping and wailing and wish, ‘if only things had gone differently,'” Kristol said. “We’ll try to be cheerful.”

Actually, I really doubt that. Kristol and the far-right media will be many things next year, but “cheerful” isn’t one of them.

I’m guessing outlets like the Weekly Standard, National Review, Fox News, and the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal will pick up where conservatives left off eight years ago, and begin every day with a straightforward maxim: What can we do to undermine Democrats today?

Indeed, the audience for this will probably be enormous. Rich Lowry told the Politico, “People get ginned up when the other side is in power,” noting that the National Review’s circulation increased to 280,000 during the first two years of the Clinton administration, up from 150,000.

I suspect all of the major conservative media outlets will see a similar trend. There’s a sizable group of people out there who are saying, “Tell us why Obama’s wrong.” These folks need a cable network and print publications to answer the question, and there’s a far-right establishment ready to meet the demand. What conservatives will lack in access they’ll compensate for in partisan attacks.

Maybe that’s why Kristol expects to be “cheerful.”