Of Course: FrumForum’s Guardiano Sticks Up for Anthony Weiner; UPDATED

Remember John Guardiano, the David Frum cultist (how sad do you have to be to choose David Frum of all people to sell your soul to, anyway?) who lied about Andy McCarthy and refused to come clean when caught dead to rights? Well, the Soulless Sycophant is back, this time raking conservatives over the coals for making a big deal out of Weinergate (hat tip to Robert Stacy McCain).

First, here’s his asinine characterization of the scandal:

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-New York), of course, is accused of… Well, it’s not clear what, exactly, Weiner’s being accused of. His Twitter account apparently was hacked, or used by a trusted friend or employee for illicit purposes. And so, a close-up shot of a man’s crotch in underwear was sent from his account to a woman in Seattle.

By contemporary standards, the shot is pretty lame and tame. And, as soon as the Congressman realized the pic had been sent from his account, he disavowed and deleted it. The woman from Seattle, likewise, immediately repudiated the notion that she was some sort of love interest of Weiner’s […]

It’s clear, I think, that Weiner himself never sent this lewd pic to the 21-year-old college student in Seattle. However, others with access to his account or the pic perhaps did. We just don’t know — and we really shouldn’t care.

It’s not clear what Weiner’s accused of? I know FrumForum doesn’t put a premium on reading comprehension or basic logic, but come on. He’s accused of sending a photo of his crotch to a young female supporter. And while some have wondered about an odd reference to Seattle on one of his tweets and the student’s own description of Weiner as “my boyfriend,” nobody I’ve heard is claiming that they were having an affair. The gist of what is suspected to have happened – Weiner sending a lewd pic to a young female groupie for kicks – is pretty obvious.
And no, it’s not “clear” that “Weiner himself never sent” the photo. Guardiano talks at length about how easy it is to get hacked by mischievous pranksters on the Internet, but he doesn’t spend a single word on Weiner’s behavior after this came to light – not his refusal to ask law enforcement to investigate, not the glaring inconsistency between what he says happened to him and what he wants done about it, and not his preposterous inability to say “with certitude” that he’s not the guy in the picture. None of this strikes you as just the tiniest bit suspicious, John? Really?
Second, here’s the way he characterizes the “manufactured and phony hype”:
Case closed, right? I mean, things happen; accounts get hacked (or sometimes misused by trusted friends and employees); we all realize that; and so we move on.
Well, no, because to impassioned partisan bloggers, both Left and Right, any such incident is a chance to score political points. It’s a chance to beat up the other side, bloody them politically, and pile on the points for your team. And so this non-story quickly — nay, immediately – became the latest “SCANDAL!”
Now, I understand how Guardiano might not see the significance of a story pertaining to a politician’s ethics and morals, since rejecting both is a prerequisite for working at FrumForum. But maybe I can explain this in terms even they can understand. There are three possible scenarios here:
  1. Weiner sent the photo and had some sort of relationship with the girl. In this case, he’s a married man and a public servant having an affair with someone young enough to be his daughter.
  2. Weiner sent the photo unsolicited. In this case, he’s a married man and a public servant exploiting one of his supporters’ fondness for him and sexually harassing harassing her.
  3. Someone else sent the photo. In this case, somebody committed sexual harassment against this girl, framing a United States Congressman in the process, but for some reason that congressman doesn’t want the perpetrator brought to justice.
Obviously, none of these scenarios describe a “certifiable non-issue.” Or at least, it should be obvious. But then, sound judgment on sexual impropriety stories has never been FrumForum’s strong suit… 
So, to recap: “conservative” blogger John Guardiano takes a story about a horrendous far-left Democrat engaging in sleazy behavior and badly lying about it, completely ignores the key facts of the case, and spins it into a story about conservatives being irresponsible. At least he’s following his master’s example to the letter.

UPDATE: Now that Weiner’s fessed up to the whole thing, Guardiano has another post. Does he admit that his asinine claim that it was “clear” Weiner didn’t send the photos was totally wrong? Of course not. Instead, he rips on conservatives who are openly enjoying Weiner’s disgrace and insisting that the scandal is all about Weiner’s private life, which should be off-limits:

Anthony Weiner was caught doing a wrong and stupid thing: By his own admission, he “exchanged messages and photos of an explicit nature with about six women over the last three years.” Some of this communication took place after Weiner was married, and he lied about at least one explicit tweet.

That’s sad, shameful and embarrassing. But it also is of no real public import. It’s between him, his wife, his rabbi and his God.

In fact, it remains true even now that nobody has shown Weiner’s actions had any legal or public implications whatsoever.

The should-we-care-about-politicians’-infidelities debate is an old one, and it’s no surprise an unprincipled hack like John Guardiano takes the side of indifference. In my opinion, of course a politician’s affairs are politically relevant – they reveal whether he likely to keep promises, whether he takes trust seriously, whether he has self-control or is a narcissist, etc. And in Weiner’s case, it definitely sounds like not all of Weiner’s pen pals were interested in show & tell. Again, does the phrase “sexual harassment” mean anything to John? How pathetic is the state of American politics that we can’t even agree that swapping causal sex talk and photos with complete strangers is conduct unbecoming a congressman, and that it reveals that someone lacks the judgment we should expect out of the people making decisions that affect our lives and liberties?

Guardiano goes on to make himself look like even more of a moron:

Some have argued that, by sending explicit photos to a women he barely knew, or had just met online, Weiner made himself susceptible to blackmail. I suppose that’s technically true, but it’s also rather farfetched and unrealistic.

Weiner’s politics are well known; his congressional votes are well publicized; and so it’s hard to see how, in our open and democratic society, he could be blackmailed into changing his political stripes.

Saying Weiner made himself susceptible to blackmail is no more convincing than saying that corporate campaign contributions “buy” a congressman’s vote. In truth, campaign contributions follow a congressman’s vote; they do not direct it.

By the same token, Weiner was pursuing these women for his own personal purposes; they were not political types pursuing him for partisan or financial gain.

This is so ridiculously obtuse I barely know where to begin. First, I doubt Weiner would change his political stripes, either, but it’s incredibly ignorant and simplistic to suggest that’s the only conceivable kind of blackmail. Not all votes are a question of ideology, and there are plenty of other ways a congressman can be useful, such as pulling strings with various federal, state, and local agencies. Second, it’s even more absurd to limit the pool of blackmailers to Weiner’s known partners/victims – the point is, Weiner was so indiscriminate that he didn’t care what kind of people were getting this material, and that there’s no telling whose hands it could ultimately fall into (again with the judgment thing). Third, it doesn’t matter how unlikely blackmail is in any particular case of impropriety. Public servants are supposed to avoid even the appearance of being compromised, to maintain the public’s faith in the process.

As a political junkie, I often find myself asking one question: is Person X simply dishonest, or is he really this stupid? With John Guardiano, I honestly don’t know. Does the American Spectator, an otherwise-serious conservative publication, know how badly their association with this guy reflects on them?

Advertisements

Kurtz on Why "Speech Policeman" Frum Should Turn In His Badge (Updated)

At National Review, Stanley Kurtz, author of the acclaimed new Obama expose Radical-in-Chief, has a great article taking David Frum to task for his war against those who use harsh rhetoric Frum wants to place out of bounds. He explains that Frum’s idea of “reckless demonization” actually includes reasonable, substantive arguments:

What exactly do Galston and Frum mean when they say they intend to “call out” those who use labels like “racist” and “socialist” in public debate? I think I can answer that question, since a series of attacks engineered by Frum on my then-unpublished book, Radical-in-Chief: Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism, appears to have been a dress rehearsal of sorts for the operation of No Labels.


On July 27, 2010, I announced the forthcoming publication of my book at National Review Online’s blog, the Corner. The announcement made it clear that my book was the result of more than two years of empirical and historical research into Barack Obama’s political past, and would marshal “a wide array of never-before-seen evidence to establish that the president of the United States is indeed a socialist.” Frum, however, didn’t wait to consider my evidence or argument, or even bother to read my book. Instead, he invited a self-described Democratic activist who writes under the pseudonym “Eugene Victor Debs” to attack the very idea of my book — before either had read it.


I would probably not have responded to an anonymous attack on an unpublished book were it not for the fact that I knew and respected Frum, who warned me in advance that Debs’s piece was coming and invited me to respond. I did reply to Debs, after which, to my surprise, the attacks kept coming, both from Debs and from Frum himself . In my responses to Frum and Debs, I finally began to speak more frankly about my dismay and puzzlement at their persistent attacks on a raft of new evidence that I had not yet even had a chance to present to the public. Oddly, since the actual publication of Radical-in-Chief, there has been not a word about the book from either Frum or Debs.


He also explains how Frum’s mission will likely have the opposite of the affect Frum claims to want:

All Galston and Frum have done is to make explicit — and reinforce — the mainstream press’s existing determination to ignore and silence critics of Obama’s radicalism. Once No Labels gets going, public resentment at these silencing techniques is bound to increase. Contrary to Galston and Frum, the way to reduce polarization is not to suppress disagreement but to invite reasoned debate on the issues that actually divide us. Since a substantial portion of the public views the president as a covert radical, let the topic be debated in the widest and most respectable forums. If the president’s accusers offer mere bluster, or his defenders are living in denial, we shall see it all then. A true public debate on this issue in the pages of the mainstream press would rivet the public’s attention and immediately raise the level of discussion. By further suppressing this debate, on the other hand, Galston and Frum promote distrust and enmity between Left and Right.


None of this is particularly mysterious — or at least it ought not to be to those who have learned from the classical liberal approach to democratic debate recommended by John Stuart Mill in On Liberty. Mill discourages the creation of implicit or explicit rules banning any substantive claim in public debate, calling on us instead to judge a given argument according to the quality of its reasoning and the degree to which it fairly represents and successfully parries opposing points of view […]


It is not the job of those who cherish liberty of thought and discussion to ban claims of Obama’s socialism or of Tea Party racism, but to subject all of these assertions to the scrutiny of serious debate. While many or most accusations of Tea Party racism are baseless, legitimate complaints are possible and cannot be ruled out in advance. If Tea Party critics have serious evidence of racism, let them present it. If their evidence is tissue-paper thin (as most of it has been), that weakness can be (and has been) exposed.

It’s a great read. Needless to say, I agree with Kurtz 100%, and have little patience for Frum-style civility crap. It’s worth noting one additional thing, though – Frum doesn’t actually believe in his professed mission. If he did, he wouldn’t have developed a record as one of the most vicious, dishonest character assassins around.

UPDATE: My NewsReal colleague Mark Meed has more sharp analysis of this “No Labels” nonsense, including Frum’s selective reading of surveys to reach his preferred picture of what the American people want.

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?

The Blog Post That Should End Two Careers (Updated)

No, not this one. This one. [WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT AT LINK.] My NewsRealBlog colleagues David Swindle and Jenn Public have compiled an absolutely stunning, sickening array of evidence exposing the pedophile tendencies and sympathies of former NRB contributor – and current FrumForum contributor – Alex Knepper. Knepper, you may recall, got canned from NRB and retaliated with a persecution story that didn’t hold water. At this point, it goes without saying that this should be the final nail in Knepper’s career, and if the reaction of Breitbart and NewsBusters is any indication, it may very well be.

But ultimately, Knepper’s a punk of limited significance. More importantly, this post should be the final proof that David Frum has hit rock-bottom, that he doesn’t care about the degeneracy of those who prove useful to him, and is therefore as unprincipled as they come and deserves to be ejected from the few remaining corners of the conservative movement in which he somehow isn’t seen as a disgrace. Frum apologists and lapdogs like John Guardiano – at least, the ones who still claim to have scruples – can no longer ignore the evidence of Frum’s indecency. Those who refuse to abandon this sinking moral ship deserve to go down with it.

UPDATE: Predictably, the pro-dishonesty Guardiano has chosen the sinking ship. That he accuses David Swindle – a socially-liberal blogger with a clear record of supporting not only gay rights, but also (some) gay political causes – of homophobia should be all the proof we need that Guardiano simply does not believe in holding himself to any meaningful standards of honesty and ethics.

This Is Getting Old

Once again, John Guardiano feels the need to whine about how mean the rest of us are to his hero, David Frum. But as usual, he simply ignores the real reasons we oppose the object of his worship: Frum’s proven record of dishonesty and smear-mongering. John, who pretends to care about “vitriolic” pundits making politics “personal, nasty, and vicious,” doesn’t seem to care that Frum allows his website to run badly-sourced, inflammatory misquotes, ugly and ill-founded insinuations of racism, and smears of the entire pro-life movement for a crime committed by one. John doesn’t seem to care that Frum’s faux zeal for responsibility doesn’t apply to Trig Trutherism crusaders, either. Of course, that might be because John himself is also okay with lying about political opponents – lies which find an outlet at FrumForum. Spare us the crocodile tears, please.