By Dan Froomkin
12:40 PM ET, 04/28/2009
In his very first opinion column for the New York Times, young, Internet-bred conservative Ross Douthat brings the concept of "link bait" to the Times's online opinion section -- by making the most absurd statement imaginable just to get attention. Think I'm exaggerating? Here's the headline of his inaugural offering: "Cheney for President."
Six hundred words later, it's clear he's not serious. He certainly isn't saying he wishes Cheney were president. He's just musing about what it would have meant for the Republican party for Cheney to have run and lost. He argues that it might have jolted the conservative movement into rejecting the "particular strain of right-wingery" that Cheney represents: "a conservatism of supply-side economics and stress positions, uninterested in social policy and dismissive of libertarian qualms about the national-security state."