David Kahane offers rules for conservatives

DAVID KAHANE, Rules for Radical Conservatives: Beating the left at its own game to take back America. Blogger David Kahane’s name might be a pseudonym, but the man behind his thoughts has written a very real book. Kahane’s description on National Review says his persona was developed to “explain the ways of Hollywood and the hard left to those of you on the center-right.” The Hill spoke with the man behind the name about his tome: “Rules for Radical Conservatives: Beating the left at its own game to take back America.”

Q: Why have you been writing as David Kahane?


Let me tell you how David started, shall I? … I work in Hollywood from time to time, so I’m back and forth from L.A. all the time and I was up there. I got an idea up there that people, especially conservatives, didn’t understand Hollywood or Los Angeles or the entertainment business, and they viewed it with sort of suspicion. So, I called up Kathryn Lopez, who’s the editor of National Review Online and said, “Wouldn’t it be fun to do a sort of pseudonymous column about Hollywood.” … And that’s basically how it started, so it evolved over time to talk not only about Hollywood, but about politics and life and culture and any crazy idea that enters his head. But it became a very popular feature on the site, and that turned into a book — so here we are.

Q:  In his rants, and so forth, he really picks on Sarah Palin.

Oh yeah, he just hates Sarah Palin, of course. But those are the two columns that made him super famous because one of them was read on the Rush Limbaugh show in its entirety. I think it was the second one “I still hate you Sarah Palin.” … It just went completely viral, and I would say 60 percent of the people got it and 40 percent of the people wrote in and said, “Yeah, well...” They didn’t get the joke. … It was meant to be like a reverse Stephen Colbert. 

Q: If conservatives heed your advice, what successes will they have?

We want to appeal to both sides. Not just liberals who watch Colbert, obviously. He’s extremely popular. And it’s not just liberals who watch Jon Stewart, either, because he can be very, very funny, and Bill Maher can be very, very funny. He’s very good on some Libertarian issues. I think we have more in common than we don’t, and Dave is kind of an attempt to bridge that gap as well. 

Q:  And what is your book about?

It’s about freedom. It’s about intellectual freedom. It’s meant to be funny. It’s meant to wound because humor isn’t really funny unless it stings. If the truth hurts, if the shoe fits. Blah, blah, insert cliché there. But it’s meant to make you think. … Too often, I read kind of cartoon characterizations of conservative thinking, which bear zero resemblance to reality but have been accepted as uncritically as this kind of Mosaic Law on the left. … So this book is an attempt to bridge that gap by using humor and have Dave sort of fall into so many of those suppositions and then constantly get the rug pulled out from under him by reality. So I’d say, if you’re on the left, give it a shot. Throw it across the room. Stomp up and down on it if you want to but realize that there’s a kernel of truth there. And if you’re on the right, have a good laugh. We could all use that at this point.