Hugh Hewitt Doesn’t Get It

I have great respect for the man’s passion and intellect, but how he can read Joe Scarborough’s column jumping on the defamation bandwagon and conclude that the man is “well-meaning” – especially since Hewitt himself says that Scarborough, acting in his capacity as a major, professional publication’s “chief conservative columnist,” made the argument “a week after it had been discredited” – is beyond me.

So, “well-meaning” people can make defamatory arguments they know not to be true? Really?

Like far too many people, Hewitt talks as though politics is just a game or a sport, not a matter of basic right and wrong with the American people’s liberties and well-being in the balance. Rather than condemning Scarborough’s actions as dishonest, unethical, immoral, and dishonorable, Hewitt gently chides him as if he’s merely been caught traveling in basketball.

If we finally want to get serious about defeating the Left and their unconscionable tactics, this simply won’t do. It’s high time our elected officials and commentators alike get the message.

Advertisements

Civility Is Overrated

At Politico, PR guy Mark DeMoss laments the lousy reception to the Civility Pledge he and Clinton hack Lanny Davis have been circulating:

It’s only 32 words. Yet, only two sitting members of Congress or governors have signed the civility pledge.


So what was it about civility that all the other 537 elected officials couldn’t agree to? Read it and decide for yourself.

  • I will be civil in my public discourse and behavior.
  • I will be respectful of others whether or not I agree with them. 
  • I will stand against incivility when I see it.

In May, Lanny Davis, my friend and co-founder of the Civility Project, and I sent a letter to all 535 members of Congress and 50 sitting governors inviting them to sign a civility pledge.


We made it easy, enclosing a response form, return envelope and fax number. I’m sorry to report, six months later, that only two responded: Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.).

This is a shame, DeMoss says, because the American people are sick of how nasty the political discourse has become, and because incivility is just plain wrong:
We share a conviction about the importance of at least trying to change a polarizing, uncivil political culture that now appears to be the norm.

Call it old-fashioned, but we believe debates should be won on the strength of ideas and words — not on the volume of our voices or the outrageousness of our ads. Yet some emails I’ve received on our website are so filled with obscenities that they could not be printed in a newspaper.

Incivility is not just a political problem, according to Yale law professor Stephen Carter. “Rules of civility are thus rules of morality,” Carter said, “it is morally proper to treat our fellow citizens with respect, and morally improper not to. Our crisis of incivility is part of a larger crisis of morality.” 

I hate to fit someone’s definition of “morally improper,” but the fact is, there’s way too much hand-wringing over civility in politics these days. For one thing, sleazy invective, while lamentable, has been around since the beginning, so not only is this not some new development, but if it was going to destroy the country, it would have done so by now.

That’s not to say politicians should be given a pass for trafficking in lies and rumors, far from it. But that brings us to the second, and far more important, reason these guys are barking up the wrong tree: we currently define negativity and incivility so broadly that they’re not only virtually meaningless, but they actually serve to stifle a lot of things that need to be said.

Simply put, there are a lot of bad people active, and bad things done, in politics today, things that deserve not just disagreement, but demand moral condemnation. Advocating the murder of unborn babies, lying about an issue, defaming someone, trying to violate the Constitution, controlling free speech…all these things run deeper than mere disagreements between equally-decent people. These are things that should shock and disgust men and women of goodwill, and compel them to drive them out of the sphere of public respectability – along with their practitioners.

Instead, our “civility” obsession all too often leads to pitiful spectacles like playing dumb about the integrity of backstabbers, and meekly wondering why opponents believe vicious lies about us (here’s a hint: they don’t). Such rhetorical cowardice and incompetence enables the dishonest and the hateful to go about their business without serious challenge, all but ensuring a culture that’s less civil, not more.

Real civility is a fine value, but a healthy political culture needs to understand it’s not the highest value. Every American must hold truth and justice as more important than decorum.

John Guardiano’s Credibility Is On the Line. Does He Care? (UPDATED)

On October 13, I pointed out that John Guardiano’s increasingly-hyperbolic worship of David Frum has always been fatally undermined by Guardiano’s refusal to even discuss the primary reasons conservatives oppose Frum (which are far more severe than merely disagreeing with him on a few issues, as Guardiano dishonestly alleges), and challenged him to finally confront the elephant in the room if he valued his credibility.

No response. Our Frumdamentalist friend did, however, pen another another pro-Frum whine fest that day, which also ignored the challenge. So I decided to drop a note in the comments that there was something he might do well to take a look at.

No response. But being directly and repeatedly confronted with his idol’s sleaziness and his own going AWOL on the issue didn’t stop him yesterday from droning on yet again on Twitter about NRB’s “vendetta” against David Frum, and, of course, David Swindle’s “viciousness and vitriol” – still insistent on maintaining the fantasy narrative of FrumForum as a respectable site on the receiving end, rather than dishing out, lies and hatred.

You know what, John? I agree with you that “readers would benefit from greater detail and quotes” from our coverage of how FrumForum has conclusively disgraced itself. So why don’t you believe in addressing those details or quotes? Granted, maybe you’re still debating how to respond. Maybe you’ve even got a response in the works. But I kind of doubt it, since your misdirection has been going on for months. At what point are we to conclude that you’re willfully ignoring evidence that you can’t answer and know makes you look bad, and that, deep down, you know you’re a shameless apologist for the very sort of character assassin you claim to oppose?

UPDATE: Guardiano has a note in his comments saying that a response is forthcoming, but inasmuch as the notice itself contains blatant dishonesty, I’m not expecting much…

How Much Bull Is John Guardiano Full Of?

LOTS. He’s predictably showering David Frum with adoration for his handling of the NRB-Knepper affair (click here to see why it’s undeserved), droning on and on about Frum’s “characteristically gracious and charitable fashion,” and how “lucky” people are to have Frum (going so far as to say Frum’s “steadfastness and loyalty under fire” would have made him a good Marine. Stop laughing).

The most insufferable thing about Guardiano’s hero-worship is that, in whining about how persecuted this great man is, he’s never even addressed the main reason most conservatives consider Frum a foe. This Daily Caller piece doesn’t contain any actual arguments or defenses of Frum’s conduct; merely assertions that it’s sincere, substantive, and worthy of respect. Neither does this whine-fest at Guardiano’s own site. Back when we were colleagues, I respectfully pointed this out to him a couple times in NewsReal comment threads. Same result.

He veered dangerously close to the fundamental problem with Frum once, but for whatever reason refused to carry his observations to their logical conclusions, or put it in context with Frum’s record. No more. It simply doesn’t suffice in serious debate to hold and argue for a particular position while totally ignoring the evidence against it. With that in mind, I’ve got a challenge for John. Here is a partial summary of the dishonesty and character assassination against fellow conservatives that David Frum engages in and endorses. This is why we don’t want him to be a part of this movement. If you want to be taken seriously, you can no longer avoid discussing it. Are you willing to say these things are the mark of a “gracious,” “loyal,” decent man?