Blogger Mitchell Blatt (left) is the rising young star of America's online conservatives. He has been praised by the senior ex-president George W. Bush speech-writer Michael Johns and is regarded as the "next best right -wing columnist after Ann Coulter". With the mainstream and the alternative media, both overwhelmed by Obamamania, The-Latest's Sumantra Maitra interviewed Blatt about the "other side" of the story.
Maitra: Tell us something about yourself. How does it feel to be praised by someone like Michael Johns?
Blatt: I am just writing and doing what I love, and people seem to like my columns, so I will keep it up. I try not to build too high an opinion of myself because I realise that I am still young, and I try to keep improving.
To be clear, it wasn't Mr. Johns who called me the "next best conservative columnist." Johns said, "Mitchell is a promising young writer who grasps and values the importance of freedom," along with some other praise, which can be viewed in full at http://mitchellblatt.com/column.html
Maitra: Now that the US is in the hands of a new president, and most of the country and the world, is anticipating a change, do you feel, that after almost two months of the inauguration, the new president fulfilled his pre-poll promises?
Blatt: I feel that he hasn't stood up to his promise of changing the political culture. Certainly he has been enacting new policies, but he is continuing in the Washington style of paying off supporters and trading favours. For example, he said that he would go "line by line" through excessive spending earmarks, but he is supporting a budget for this year, which includes 9,000 earmarked projects totaling $8 billion and he brushed this aside by calling it "last year's business."
Maitra: What is the biggest threat facing America and the world: terrorism or the economic crisis?
Blatt: The biggest threat facing both American and the World is the economic crisis. The Dow Jones industrial average has dropped by about 50 per cent in just the past half-year or so. There are billions of dollars being lost in banks and no one seems to know how to stabilise them. Also, with the $1.7 trillion deficit the US is piling up, we are financing it by borrowing and printing money. The dollar is going to be devalued by inflation and that is going to have a global impact because of the use of the dollar worldwide.
Maitra: What is your opinion about the policies of the new president regarding Afghanistan and Pakistan and other general foreign policies including Russia, and Iran?
Blatt: I think Obama has appointed some pragmatic and capable people to important foreign policy posts, Robert Gates as Secretary of Defence and Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. He says he will send a surge of troops to try to stabilise Afghanistan, and, with Iraq being more stable, I believe that (his withdrawal policy) will work. His policies on Iran and Russia have yet to develop fully, so I can't judge them yet.
Maitra: It is said, that when George W. Bush proposed the bailout plan, it was lauded by the "conservative" media as a perfect way to deal with the economic crisis. But when the same thing is done by Barack Obama, it was criticised as a "semi-socialist re-distribution of wealth".What is your take on that?
Blatt: Well, I don't know which conservatives were praising Bush's bailout, because I sure wasn't, and most of the conservatives I listen to weren't. (This is one of my columns attacking Bush for the bailout.)
Bush hasn't been the best advocate for conservatism, because, not only did he bail out the banks and the auto industry, but he also amassed huge federal deficits up to $400 billion a year. Obama has proven to be a lot more irresponsible than Bush on the spending front with a $1.7 trillion deficit and him expanding the bailouts to include people who haven't been paying their mortgages.
Maitra: Do you feel that the Republicans have lost the "media war" to the Democrats? And what do you feel about the snowballing of liberal blogs and what needs to be done by the right-wing to compete with them?
Blatt: Republicans have definitely lost the media war. The mainstream media is mostly liberal, which is a much larger issue than this question addresses. I think, but that's largely due to the fact that journalists in general tend to be liberal.
As to new media and blogs, I think there are some good conservative blogs like Hot Air.com and Instapundit.com, but one of the problems now with the conservative movement is that it doesn't seem to have a coherent and plausible message. Being the minority party, some conservatives have resorted to radicalism, attacking Obama for everything and making a lot of noise but not saying anything, kind of like the liberals for the past eight years under Bush. Conservatives need to stick to their message of small government, less spending, and personal freedom, but they need to act rationally in such a way that they can connect with moderates.