Jonah Goldberg is promoting his latest "nanny-boo-boo liberals!" coloring book, and Steve Inskeep of NPR basically got him to admit that's exactly what it is. After Inskeep smartly got Goldberg to agree that his book was railing against "politically poll-tested phrases that are designed to shut down debate rather than open it up"—Inskeep fired three fastballs by him.
INSKEEP: Although I'm sure that there are people who can say, well, if you guys can call President Obama a socialist, he's certainly able to call you a social Darwinist. There's probably more evidence for the latter than the former.
GOLDBERG: Well, to a certain extent, sure.
INSKEEP: Well, let's be fair. There are plenty of conservative labels that are applied on the rivals of conservatives. We could go back to the past administration: You're with us or against us. Are you with America, or are you with the other guys? There are plenty of rhetorical devices that are used to shut down debate on the other side, to make it - to not just appeal for unity, but to make it seem unpatriotic if you don't agree.
GOLDBERG: Yeah, no. And some of these things - I absolutely agree.
"Yeah, no"? Strike two.
INSKEEP: So you're opposed to these catchphrases that substitute for arguments. You're opposing making too many assumptions. I want to ask about one that is commonly set on the right, though: Government is the problem - said again and again. In fact, you imagined, I think, in September of last year, a speech that you wished that President Obama would give, and the last sentence was: Government is the problem. Is that an oversimplification? I mean, you're not against having a government.
GOLDBERG: No, I'm not against having a government. Yeah, and it's - I don't know, actually, if that qualifies as the kind of cliche that I'm talking about...
Yer out, Jonah.
Very nice work by Inskeep exposing Jonah for the hack he is—all with a breezy smile.