Sarah Palin’s Credibility Is the Latest Casualty of Gingrich’s Campaign

I was so disgusted by Sarah Palin’s Facebook note pushing the Big Lie that Newt Gingrich is a conservative outsider persecuted by a malevolent Republican “Establishment” that I’ve been considering taking the time to write a response. Fortunately, Jonathan Tobin at Commentary saved me the trouble by penning a concise explanation of just how badly Palin mangled the truth:
She claimed former Reagan administration officials who noted this week Gingrich was anything but a loyal soldier of the 40th president were engaged in a “Stalin-esque rewriting of history.” This is not merely nonsensical, it is illustrative of the defects in her own character and intellect that have led many of us who once cheered her rise to conclude that she has no business ever putting herself forward for high office again.
While Gingrich supported Reagan and Mitt Romney did not, those who pointed out the former speaker’s often petulant and negative comments about the leader of his movement were merely illuminating a little-known aspect of the truth, not “re-writing” it. For Palin to use that over-the-top rhetoric — in effect comparing someone like Elliott Abrams to a communist monster — is contemptible. For her to go on in the same piece to say Gingrich’s critics were employing “Alinsky tactics at their worst” shows again she understands little about either Saul Alinsky’s writings or history.
While Palin and Gingrich have little in common, the one characteristic they do share is hypocrisy. In her posting, Palin claims Mitt Romney needs to be “vetted” more thoroughly because Democrats will attack him in the fall. Yet she considers any attempt to give the same attention to Gingrich, a man with a freight train’s worth of damaging personal and political baggage that renders him unlikely to win a general election, to be above such concerns.
Go read the whole thing. If you’re still on the fence about Palin, consider three more salient points. First, Palin wasn’t troubled by Republicans using left-wing tactics when Gingrich and Rick Perry were leveling their class-warfare smears at Bain Capital: she dismissed those as the routine “rough and tumble” of politics and falsely claimed that Perry was merely questioning Mitt Romney’s job-creation claims. Second, David Swindle notes that Gingrich says he’d put Palin in his administration, which just might be relevant to her Newt endorsement-in-everything-but-name. Third, if she’s so concerned about Republicans using “Alinsky tactics at their worse,” then perhaps she should read Phillip Klein’s piece on Gingrich’s own cribbing from Saul’s playbook.
I’ve written a lot on Sarah Palin’s behalf over the years, most of which I still stand by, since she was the victim of many specific false charges that nobody should be subjected to. But in light of her latest attacks on whoever won’t fall in line behind Gingrich, it must be conceded that she is first and foremost a populist opportunist, not a principled leader of true grassroots conservatism. Her actions have confirmed the pattern that she began in endorsing Rand Paul in the 2010 Kentucky primary: making decisions based not an a careful reading of candidates’ merits, but on a completely superficial assessment of who insists “I’m an outsider!” the hardest. I can’t sum it up better than Tobin:
Palin, who seems far more interested in burnishing her image than actually helping her party, manages to keep her name in the news every now and then with statements such as this one. But her problem is the more she talks, the more she reminds us why she has doomed herself to the margins of political discourse.

In Defense of National Review Against the Right’s Daily Kos

We’re currently witnessing the death throes of Rick Perry’s campaign. He finished fifth in Iowa, sixth in New Hampshire, and is currently polling fifth in South Carolina, where his fans have placed their hope for a turnaround. He’s in sixth in Florida, and fifth place nationally.

In a final, desperate search for something that can turn his fortunes around, Perry has decided to join Newt Gingrich’s leftist attack on Mitt Romney’s time at Bain Capital. It backfired. Badly.

Perry and Gingrich’s demagoguery has been fiercely condemned by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Glenn Beck, Jim DeMint, the American Spectator, National Review, Reason, the Weekly Standard, Human Events, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Examiner, the Washington Times, Commentary, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, Michelle Malkin, Charles Krauthammer, Power Line’s John Hindraker, Ace of Spades, American Enterprise Institute, the Club for Growth, Americans for Prosperity, the Cato Institute, ex-Perry financial supporter Barry Wynn, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, and PJ Media head Roger Simon, who very candidly apologized for having ever backed Perry, calling him “less qualified, it turns out, to be president than my dead grandmother.”

In other words, Rick Perry (and Newt Gingrich) has offended just about every corner of the Right—traditional and libertarian, moderate and hardcore, establishment and grassroots, commentator and activist, blogosphere and radio, Mitt fans, competitors, and haters alike.

Everyone, that is, except for RedState. Erick Erickson first said he didn’t mind the attacks (with Perry’s version “a bit more carefully nuanced” than Newt’s), then revised his argument to, yeah, but why did Romney support TARP? (Maybe for the same reason Perry did too, Erick?), and later wrote a post conceding the attack “has gotten out of hand”—while falsely claiming Bain got government bailouts and lying about what Perry’s critics were saying: “the sudden decision that it is verboten to level any attack at Romney because of Bain […] corporations should not be immune from criticism.”

The other front-pagers have rationalized the attack, mildly criticized it amidst teeth-gnashing about Romney’s general awfulness, and complained that it was distracting us from bashing Romney on healthcare. The strategy is simple: maintain the single-minded focus on taking down Romney at all costs, while discussing Perry as little as possible, refusing to give a moment’s consideration as to how Perry’s own words just might undermine RedState’s increasingly-hysterical insistence of Perry’s unique conservative authenticity. 

The shameless Perry-whoring is pathetic enough, but recently the site jumped the shark past “pathetic” straight to “obscene” with Thomas Crown’s attack on National Review. After assuring us what a good friend he is to everyone at NR, he tells the magazine “you have lost your way” for no discernible sin other than preferring Romney to Perry:

You have alienated yourself from your readership and your movement […] You have forgotten that one of the founding creeds of the modern conservative movement is A Choice, Not An Echo […] You are supposed to be a beacon of what is best in us, not a reminder that some days, you just can’t win […] It’s a shame, and we’re all poorer for it. We’ll miss you, and hope you come back to us some day.

Nearly 2,000 words, and yet Crown can’t squeeze in the most important part of any argument: the facts to substantiate his thesis. All he has is a handful of lazy mischaracterizations of both the candidates and NR’sWinnowing the Field” editorial:

Consider that in one fell swoop the publication managed to dismiss the longest-serving governor in the nation, with a record of conservative governance unmatched by any governor current or recent past [if you ignore the liberal parts of his governorship and his flip-flop record…oh, and how many of those Texas jobs went to illegals?], linking him unsubtly to a crank known for conspiracy theories and Ron Paul [nowhere in NR’s passage on Perry & Paul do the even remotely link the two, though since Crown raises the subject, Perry has praised Paul before]; praise Mitt Romney, who while apparently a model conservative (the sort who helps get abortion funding in state-run mandatory health insurance) [not true] has failed to seal the deal with conservatives for some unknowable reason; praise Jon Huntsman, whose entire campaign was a John Weaver special from tip to tail (this is not a compliment) [fair enough, but hypocritical: RedState’s had plenty of praise for Huntsman, too]; and praise Rick Santorum, one of the greatest (if dimmest) champions the pro-life movement has had, and who was so conservative he went to war for massive increases in federal spending almost every day, [that’s exaggerating a blemish on an otherwise-excellent conservative record] and whose greatest knock is not his loss to an anodyne nobody by a margin that made even the rest of 2006 look like a joke [also oversimplifying], but rather a lack of executive experience [Fair enough, but still hardly indicative of any problem at NR].

Crown’s fantasy of Perry support being some sort of conservative litmus test doesn’t hold up, and neither does the idea that National Review has sold out to Romney (a smear that RedState has peddled before). In fact, since Erick Erickson and Thomas Crown are so interested in which publications have put personality above principle, let’s do a little comparison:  

At National Review, I can read Ramesh Ponnuru endorse Mitt Romney and Kathryn Lopez vouch for his pro-life sincerity, but I can also read Michael Walsh argue he’s “plainly not” the “candidate the hour calls for” and Katrina Trinko report on jobs lost due to Romneycare. I can read the Editors disqualify Newt Gingrich from consideration, but I can also read Thomas Sowell endorse Gingrich (twice) and Jonah Goldberg credit him as “the only candidate to actually move government rightward.” I can read Shannen Coffin criticize Rick Perry’s Gardasil mandate, but I can also read Henry Miller and John Graham defend it, as well as Christian Schnieder defend Perry on in-state tuition for illegals. I can read Quin Hillyer defend Rick Santorum’s small-government credentials, but I can also read Michael Tanner and Jonathan Adler blast his “big government conservatism.”

Can I read substantive defenses of Mitt Romney, or substantive criticisms of Rick Perry, at RedState? Only from the occasional diarist who hasn’t been driven away by the thought police. From Erickson or the team writers? Don’t count on it. As John Scotus documents, Erickson’s been shilling for Perry since Day 1. The RedState narrative is that Perry’s the only candidate who “authentically represents smaller government,” “by far, the greatest alpha male conservative in a generation,” and supporting anyone else would be settling. The dark side of Perry’s record was almost completely ignored. Romney, however, is routinely characterized as the worst thing to happen to the GOP since John Wilkes Booth. Why, nominating him would kill conservatism! Perry critics and Romney sympathizers are routinely harassed. Erickson repeated Perry’s dishonest attacks on Romney over education and imposing Romneycare nationally, and even calls Romney a bad Mormon

National Review has an editorial leaning toward Romney; RedState toward Perry. There’s no shame in either, but while the former publication is a place where dissent thrives and every candidate is given equal fairness and scrutiny, the latter has dedicated itself fully to a biased image of their guy and their designated anti-Perry.

And yet, Thomas Crown has the nerve to lecture National Review about being unfair to candidates? RedState is the only major conservative venue not disgusted with Perry’s “vulture capitalism” smears, and yet National Review is the one somehow out of step with conservatism?

Which publication lost its way again?

We shouldn’t be surprised that the website that smeared Michelle Malkin for criticizing Rick Perry would conduct itself so dishonorably throughout this campaign. Until Eagle Publishing realizes how far one of their publications has fallen and replaces Erickson Erickson with someone committed to cleaning it up, whatever use RedState once was to the conservative movement will continue to be outweighed by the stench Erickson has allowed to permeate it.

In the meantime, I’m sticking with National Review.

How to Get Banned From RedState Without Breaking the Rules

Since July, I’ve maintained a diary on RedState.com. Unfortunately, that ended on Sunday, November 27, when moderator Neil Stevens banned me, blocking me from posting to, commenting on, and even viewing the site in my default browser. Here’s the transcript of the offending exchange:

buckedup: Let’s face it. There is no more perfect person currently alive in the world than Governor Perry.

Moe Lane: Posting here is a privilege, buckedup…not a right. Kindly grow up, which includes not pretending that you don’t know precisely what I’m talking about.

Calvin Freiburger: Clarification, Please. Which of RedState’s posting rules was Buckedup’s comment in violation of? http://www.redstate.com/posting-rules/

Moe Lane: Take it to the Contact Us link, Calvin Freiburger…if you have a problem or question about our moderation policy. And let me save time, because I’m traveling: my next (and likely continuing) response to your response to that will be “Take it to the Contact Us link if you have a problem or question about our moderation policy.” Because we’re not having a conversation.

Calvin Freiburger: The unwillingess of RedState personnel to answer very simple questions about their own conduct, and to do so publicly for the benefit of their audience, is deeply disturbing.

NightTwister: Funny, I didn’t see unwillingness. You were instructed to take it to the Contact Us link. The fact that they aren’t interested in this particular case to do it publicly is their prerogative. I mean, it is their private property, something conservatives hold dear.

Calvin Freiburger: Deferring all questions & criticism to the Contact Us link is a cop-out. There is no reason simple explanations for disconcerting conduct cannot be given publicly, especially when the concern in question — the vagueness of the criteria by which violations are being judged — is in the interest of the entire audience. Don’t RedState’s readers have a fair expectation that the site’s moderators will hold themselves to the site’s own stated rules? I completely agree that Erickson, Lane, etc. can run the website however they choose. And we have the right to judge them accordingly.

NightTwister: So you’re the judge of “fair” here? You really don’t get the private property thing, do you? I’m not surprised.

Calvin Freiburger: No more so or less so than everybody else. And “the private property thing” is a complete non sequitur to this conversation.

NightTwister: Should be “less so” in your case and mine. This isn’t a public site. This website is privately owned. That means the owners can make and enforce the rules however they like, and they are the final determiners of what is “fair”.

You may not like that, but nobody is forcing you to come here. As for your non sequitur, you prove my point. You don’t understand private property.

Calvin Freiburger: I’ve already acknowledged their right to run RS however they want. Someone’s right to use private property in a certain way doesn’t mean someone can’t or shouldn’t be criticized from behaving badly with their private property. If Streiff, Moe Lane, and company want to falsely accuse people of rule violations, that’s their right. But it’s also my right to notice whether or not doing so reflects badly on RedState and Eagle Publishing.

NightTwister: It’s not a “right” but it would appear for now that they are going to allow you to continue in your quest to right all the wrongs on the interwebz at RedState.

Bill S: Door’s to the right. Moe’s instructions were unambiguous. You obviously lack comprehension skills.

Calvin Freiburger: Do the powers-that-be at Eagle Publishing know this is what you consider an acceptable way to treat their publication’s readers? And before you once again violate your own site’s Posting Rules with another attack on my “comprehension skills” (“2. Namecalling and personal attacks directed at other users is not allowed.”), I’ll just point out that I already have emailed the Contact Us link. Bill S, I have never treated you, or anyone on this website, with dishonestly or unprovoked hostility. I don’t understand what grounds you have for considering me an enemy, other than the fact that I’ve expressed concern over the behavior of certain individuals, have objections to Rick Perry, and think some Romney supporters are being treated unfairly.

Neil Stevens: G’bye. You’ve repeatedly been warned to follow directions. You clearly can’t. I’ve had it.

Bill S: Have a nice life. Neil did me the favor of booting you so I didn’t have to bother with it. My observation about your comprehension skills was a pretty black and white one, given your repeated refusal to follow instructions. Either you didn’t comprehend or you just decided to act like a jackass. In either case, your banning was justified.

My interest in grilling the moderators was sparked after I observed a pattern of sleazy conduct by RedState’s moderators, primarily in the form of harassment against those who defend Mitt Romney or criticize Rick Perry (see below). I’ll be the first to admit I knew I was playing a dangerous game by openly calling the mods out on such behavior. But Stevens’ stated rationale for banning me—that I disobeyed repeated warnings to follow directions—is a lie.

First, RedState’s own Posting Rules say nothing that could possibly be construed as requiring commenters to stop discussing subjects simply because a moderator expresses a desire not to talk about it himself. If a website explicitly says, these are the rules you have to follow, users have a fair expectation that those are the rules they’ll be judged by, not by arbitrary whims. It’s meaningless to even have formal rules if RedState’s actual practice is to fabricate reasons for banning people on the spot.

Second, I was not “repeatedly warned” about my behavior. Not once did Stevens warn me in any way. The only “warning” Moe Lane suggested to me was that my replies to him would be a waste of time because he would answer them all the same way. At no point did he even imply that continuing to discuss my concerns publicly was itself a bannable offense. Bill S’s reply to me did not contain any such warning, either; he merely leveled a personal insult at me—that I “obviously lack comprehension skills”—for not silencing myself. Despite Bill’s decision to violate RedState’s stated Posting Rule against “personal attacks directed at other users,” I took great pains to not respond in kind while defending myself, expressing my offense at his behavior in a firm yet respectful manner that was not profane or vulgar, did not name-call, and did not personally attack. (The only other possible interpretation, that “NightTwister’s” jabs constituted some sort of binding warnings, would be too stupid to take seriously. He’s not a moderator, and I was responding fairly to his insults.)

Third, and most significantly, the comment Stevens banned me for couldn’t have violated any instruction to stop questioning Moe Lane, for the simple fact that it was not responding to Moe Lane. It was specifically responding to Bill’s unprovoked attack on me, and did not restate the question I posed to Lane. In fact, the only reference that comment made to my exchange with Lane was a perfectly innocent clarification that I followed Lane’s instruction to use the Contact page!

Simply put, Neil Stevens—whose signature, ironically, contains a call to “Read the RedState Posting Rules”—banned me not for breaking any of the rules, but for defending myself against his colleague’s rule-breaking.

I emailed RedState—both their general contact and Erick Erickson’s personal email—three times, explaining what had happened in perfectly respectful terms. Nobody responded. I also left a comment at Stevens’ own blog, which he refused to publish or address. I gave RedState ample opportunity to settle this civilly; they rejected that opportunity (and we know that Erickson reads his email), leaving me with no choice but to publicly call out the dishonesty, immaturity, and unprofessionalism of those running what is supposed to be an honorable, serious publication.

Here’s a sampling of the aforementioned unseemly conduct from site moderators:

  • “Streiff” admitted that he doesn’t follow RedState’s Posting Rules in banning Romney supporters, but that he’ll ban them “for disagreeing, for threadjacking, for asshattery, for having red hair, for whatever.” He has also endorsed the idea of banning all Romney supporters from the website.
  • “Streiff” responded to my last diary with a comment full of personal insults—“pretty stupid,” “salted with idiocy,” “Calvin Furburger’s lack of knowledge,” “When your world began only 22 years ago”—that didn’t even accurately critique anything I wrote. That article, by the way, got 84 comments, virtually all of them critical of me, including many overt personal attacks. Among my critics were three moderators—“Streiff,” Moe Lane, and Bill S—none of whom lifted a finger about any of the pro-Perry rule-breaking.
  • Responding to allegations that RedState discriminates against Romney supporters, Erick Erickson told Politico that those who were banned had smeared others as anti-Mormon bigots, which one of the banned commenters, pro-Romney blogger Phil Larsen, denies. I asked the moderators to direct us to the quote in which Larsen did what Erickson claimed. They couldn’t. Such a quote doesn’t appear in the thread where “Streiff” banned Larsen. What does appear, though, is “Streiff” calling Phil & his brother Ryan “buttboy,” as well as saying they, along with commenter “jackdaniels11,” have a “homoerotic attachment to Romney.”
  • Bill S said outright that Romney “groupies” “are not welcome” at RedState.
  • Neil Stevens childishly mocked a commenter who suggested RedState has an excessive anti-Romney bias, equating support for Romney with homosexual feelings—“Mitt Romney’s married. You shouldn’t lust after him like that”; “Don’t use that word [sucks]. It’ll just get him hot and bothered”; and “Coming out as a Romney fan is a traumatic thing.”
  • Stevens threatened to ban a commenter for promoting the anti-incumbent organization Get Out Of Our House. When another commenter asked, “It seems like a pretty boring site. Why the hard-core reaction?” Stevens responded: “Complaints to the contact page. Don’t like it? Tough.” When the commenter called Stevens out on being “mean,” he blew up: “Can you read? I said complaints to the contact page. If you continue to threadjack I will ban you. Don’t like that? Take it to the contact page. Or you can go make your own website and whine about how mean I was to you. I don’t care. Just don’t comment about it in this thread anymore.”
  • On top of all the pro-Perry misconduct and rule-breaking practiced and tolerated by RedState personnel, “Streiff” has incredibly claimed that the misbehavior of Romney fans—“nasty little jerks”—has been so overwhelming as to turn him against Romney. It’s almost as if he’s daring someone to notice his hypocrisy. Well, “Streiff,” I’m happy to oblige.

I did a little searching after my banning, and found that lots of people have had similar experiences. Granted, some of them are probably just vengeful leftists, but most? All?

Under Erick Erickson’s leadership, RedState has become dominated by a handful of unethical, unprofessional thugs, more interested in enforcing “correct” opinion and playing Internet jackboot than in doing their ostensible jobs. Hopefully, sooner or later someone at Eagle Publishing will realize that one of their publications is being run into the ground, and restore some self-respect to RedState. The last thing the Right needs is its own equivalent of the Daily Kos.

Around the Web

Your daily does of Remedial History, Religion Edition: “Four Myths about the Crusades.”

It seems Canada’s got its own counterpart to the great Lila Rose, seen here debating the role of graphic abortion images in public use. I’ve got mixed feelings on the subject – on the one hand, the local pro-life activism I’ve been involved with hasn’t used such images because we figure that level of shock isn’t the best way to introduce ourselves to strangers who didn’t ask to be made sick just for, say, crossing the street or visiting a county fair. On the other hand, I absolutely think they serve an important role: pro-aborts shouldn’t be able to hold or defend their position without being made to confront its true horror.

I first lost respect for noted character assassin Rob Taylor when he smeared Robert Stacy McCain as a rape apologist by taking Stacy’s admittedly ill-considered quote “you buy the ticket, you take the ride” out of context and put a wildly-hostile spin on Stacy’s intentions. So imagine my amusement when I read this debate on the Casey Anthony case, in which Taylor – based on the standards of fair interpretation he himself has established – suggests the Duke Lacrosse players deserved to be falsely accused of rape and smeared as racist predators, simply because they engaged in other sleazy behavior. Put a fork in this guy, his credibility’s done.

San FranSicko’s war on crisis pregnancy centers heats up, with a new law against false advertising (which will be very fairly interpreted, I’m sure) and an asinine lawsuit against a crisis pregnancy center for false advertising because….their name pops up when you Google “abortion.” All in favor of either kicking California out of the country or revoking their statehood…..

Brian Stewart talks defense spending at the Corner. Funny how the only area liberals are willing to cut is the one that actually is the federal government’s constitutional business, isn’t it?

Hey, Let’s Subsidize Crack!

Vancouver health officials will distribute new crack pipes to the city’s non-injection drug users this fall as part of a pilot project aimed at engaging crack cocaine smokers and reducing the transmission of disease such as hepatitis C.

The program, part of Vancouver’s harm reduction strategy, is expected to start in October and run for six months to a year, said Dr. Reka Gustafson, a medical health officer with Vancouver Coastal Health.

The intent is to connect health care workers with crack cocaine smokers to evaluate how many of the drug users are in the city and what equipment they need to lower their risk of catching diseases such as hepatitis C, HIV and even respiratory illnesses.

A kit with a clean, unused pipe, mouthpiece, filter and condoms will be handed out to the participants, Gustafson said. It’s not known at this time how many drug users will take part in the pilot, which is estimated to cost between $50,000 and $60,000.

“There’s been a shift to crack cocaine smoking and we want to make sure the services we provide are the services they need … if we’re providing syringes and what we need are pipes, we’re not serving them,” Gustafson said […] “It’s just understanding and knowing the health consequences of crack cocaine smoking.”
Which is why they’re going help facilitate its continued practice with taxpayer dollars. Because as long as you’re using a clean pipe, cocaine’s pretty much harmless, right?

I guess Canada has abandoned all pretense that self-destructive behavior shouldn’t be encouraged. And too bad they still haven’t figured out that prevention doesn’t decrease healthcare costs. One of Steyn’s commenters, Henry Hawkins, knocks this one out of the park:
The reason they want to get clean needles and crack pipes out on the street is because 95% of addicts don’t keep theirs clean, of course. However, once you’ve passed out a clean pipe or clean needle, **it’s only sterile for that first use**. From then on it’s dirty and stays that way. It will be used again. And again, and again, and again.

But Henry, they’ll teach them all about the importance of sterile works! They have a program and everything! And the addicts will ignore them. Such education programs have been common for over forty years. I’ve been working with addicts since 1986. There is a uniquely evil kind of ignorance that tells would-be do-gooders that the addict who won’t change his behaviors despite the likelihood of death by gunshot, overdose, AIDS, organic damage, mugging, and a thousand others ways an addict manages to die, will for some reason see the light and change out of fear of contracting hepatitis. If you want to kill an addict, give him uncut heroin or a government health department social worker. They are equally deadly.

So now, thanks to Vancouver Coastal Health, there will be many, many thousands more dirty pipes infected with hepatitis and other nasties out there in the addict community than there were before. Same number of addicts, just several thousand extra infected crack pipes, so the individual chance of infection is significantly raised.

But, but, but.. we give them pamphlets!

Arrrgh.
If you think it can’t happen here, think again. The nanny-state mentality is deeply entrenched in the minds of our ruling class, and where drugs are concerned, something tells me libertarians’ steadfast anti-government principles will evaporate right before our eyes.

New on American Thinker – There’s No Reason Libertarians and Gay Conservatives Can’t Support Michele Bachmann

My latest American Thinker post:
Whenever conservative candidates demonstrate their electoral viability, sensationalistic denunciations of said conservatives as beyond the pale are sure to follow. Last weekend, Michael Smerconish declared that Rep. Michele Bachman (R-MN) has “lost a young conservative” named Ben Haney by signing the Iowa Family Leader’s Marriage Vow, which suggests homosexuality is a choice. And that’s not all:
In 2004, at the National Education Leadership Conference, you said of the gay lifestyle: “It’s a very sad life. It’s part of Satan, I think, to say this is gay. It’s anything but gay.”
Then there’s your husband, Marcus, who obtained his Ph.D. by virtue of a correspondence course. He runs a mental-health clinic but, according to Politico, is not registered with any of the three state boards that certify mental health practitioners. (Minnesota is one of the only states in which you can practice mental health without a license.) Last year, when asked during a radio interview about parenting homosexual children, he said:
“We have to understand: barbarians need to be educated. They need to be disciplined. Just because someone feels it or thinks it doesn’t mean that we are supposed to go down that road. That’s what is called the sinful nature. We have a responsibility as parents and as authority figures not to encourage such thoughts and feelings from moving into the action steps. . .”
Marcus Bachmann has denied that his clinic engages in attempts to “pray away the gay,” but ABC’s Nightline recently aired an interview with a man who said that, at age 17, he sought help from Bachmann & Associates and: ” path for my therapy would be to read the Bible, pray to God that I would no longer be gay.”
First, some fact checking: According to the Minneapolis StarTribune, both Marcus Bachmann and interviewer Penna Dexter say the “barbarian” quote referred to children, not gays: “We believe that children are born with a nature that inclines them to challenge and break rules, and that it is thus the parents’ responsibility to guide their children along good and productive paths.” Further, Dr. Bachmann hasn’t denied that he advises gays to pray for sexual conversions; he simply clarifies that it’s “not a special interest of the business and would only be attempted at the client’s request.” However foolish or distasteful gays find such services, let’s keep in mind that they don’t affect anyone who doesn’t choose to utilize them.
As for the “is homosexuality a choice?” debate, I’ve mostly ignored it since it’s irrelevant to public policy—gay Americans would still deserve equal protection of their natural and political rights even if homosexuality was 100% optional, and there would still be powerful reasons to resist the redefinition of marriage even if everyone agreed that sexual orientation was set in stone from conception onward. That said, I suspect homosexuality is substantially predetermined because, as Haney says, “If you could simply choose who you were sexually attracted to, wouldn’t you choose the path of least resistance?”

New on RedState – An Open Letter to the Dane County Board of Supervisors Regarding the Smearing of David Prosser

My latest RedState post:

Dear Dane County Board of Supervisors,

I have several questions regarding the letter twelve of you wrote to Justice David Prosser, in which you ask him to take a leave of absence from the Wisconsin Supreme Court until investigators determine whether or not he strangled Justice Ann Walsh Bradley.

First, the Board of Supervisors is not a law enforcement body, nor does it have any role in the oversight of state government. By what principle or standard does pontificating on the incident fall under the purview of Dane County politicians?

Second, I am sure you are aware that multiple sources report that Justice Bradley was the aggressor, and that Justice Prosser merely raised his hands to defend himself. Have you written a similar letter to Justice Bradley, lecturing her on the serious of workplace violence and asking her to step aside until an investigation reveals whether or not the people of Wisconsin can trust her?

Read the rest on RedState.

The Sad Spectacle of Chris Wallace vs. Jon Stewart

I don’t know which Chris Wallace Moe Lane was watching, but the one the one I saw on “Fox News Sunday” certainly didn’t “school” Jon Stewart. Not even close. He managed a satisfying zinger or two, but by and large, Wallace let the comedian walk all over him with outrageous and uncontested claims about Fox News.
Wallace first challenges Stewart’s claim that Fox News is a “relentless agenda-driven, 24-hour news opinion propaganda delivery system. Well, Wallace doesn’t actually challenge that statement; he instead asks if Stewart’s willing to say the same of the mainstream media. Why on earth would you let that stand? 
It wouldn’t exactly be difficult to refute. First, you could ask for so much as a single example of Fox’s bias, which Stewart doesn’t do at any point in the interview. Second, you could point out that Fox’s mostly conservative commentary programs are separate from its hard news reporting, which is impartial. Third, you could ask Stewart to explain the high number of liberal hosts and paid contributors on Fox, like Andrew Napolitano, Geraldo Rivera, Shepard Smith, Alan Colmes, Ellis Henican, Juan Williams, Marc Lamont Hill, Susan Estrich, Ellen Ratner, Kirsten Powers, or Bob Beckel. Even Bill O’Reilly is hardly a doctrinaire conservative—the guy believes in global warming, routinely bashes oil companies for “price gouging”, and has been known to trash conservative talk radio for being too anti-Obama for his tastes. Can of the competition boast a comparable number of conservative talent?
Anyway, Wallace instead asked if Stewart would be willing to say the same thing about the mainstream media. Predictably, he wasn’t:
WALLACE: You don’t think the New York Times is a liberal organization?
STEWART: No.
WALLACE: Pushing a liberal agenda?
STEWART: The New York Times, no. I think they are to a certain extent. Do I think they’re relentlessly activist? No. In a purely liberal partisan way? No, I don’t.
The entire hour could have been spent listing examples of the MSM’s left-wing bias, and for Stewart to claim he doesn’t see it is phony on its face. Wallace gave him a recent one: the New York Times and Washington Post’s call for their readers to help them go dirt-digging through Sarah Palin’s recently-released emails. Why pull such a stunt, and why didn’t they do the same with the 2,000-page ObamaCare bill?
STEWART: Because I think their bias is towards sensationalism and laziness. I wouldn’t say it’s towards a liberal agenda. It’s light fluff. So, it’s absolutely within the wheelhouse.
So Fox is a partisan propaganda machine, but their competitors’ misdeeds are merely apolitical grabs at juicy headlines. So it didn’t occur to anyone at the NYT or WaPo that there might be a few sensationalistic tidbits in a 2,000-page piece of legislation that many of its supporters didn’t even read? Can’t Fox’s (alleged, unidentified) misdeeds just as easily be attributed to “sensationalism and laziness”? And if sensationalism alone is the lifeblood of the MSM, then how does Stewart explain the MSM’s lack of interest in, say, the John Edwards love child story? What could be more sensationalistic than a man who was almost Vice President fathering a child with a mistress while his wife was dying of cancer?
Next came some arguing about whether Stewart’s primarily a comedian or an activist, which misses the point—lies are lies, no matter who says them. And regardless of what Stewart labels himself, many of America’s youth do turn to him as their primary source for political news.
The diversion did, however, lead to this incredible nugget from Stewart:
STEWART: You can’t understand because of the world you live in that there is not a designed ideological agenda on my part to affect partisan change because that’s the soup you swim in. And I appreciate that. And I understand that. It reminds me of, you know — you know, ideological regimes. They can’t understand that there is free media other places because they receive marching orders.
Here Stewart is using his own lie about Fox as proof Wallace must be wrong about him. Did Wallace call him out for it? Nope.
Wallace next gave another example of liberal MSM propagandizing: Diane Sawyer leading a hard-news story with an outright lie about Arizona’s immigration law. Stewart’s reaction? “That’s sensationalist and somewhat lazy. But I don’t understand how it’s partisan.” Of course.
Perhaps the biggest moment of the whole interview came a bit later, when Stewart—angrily—asked:
STEWART: In polls, who is the most consistently misinformed media viewers, the most consistently misinformed? Fox. Fox viewers. Consistently. Every poll.
How did Chris Wallace respond to such a brutal, direct attack on Fox News Channel’s credibility?
He didn’t.
Not a word about whether it was true. Instead he changed the subject to raunchiness on Comedy Central. Incredible.
Fortunately, PolitiFact decided it was worth checking, and, unsurprisingly, it turned out to be false:
So we have three Pew studies that superficially rank Fox viewers low on the well-informed list, but in several of the surveys, Fox isn’t the lowest, and other general-interest media outlets — such as network news shows, network morning shows and even the other cable news networks — often score similarly low. Meanwhile, particular Fox shows — such as The O’Reilly Factor and Sean Hannity’s show — actually score consistently well, occasionally even outpacing Stewart’s own audience.

Meanwhile, the other set of knowledge surveys, from worldpublicopinion.org, offer mixed support for Stewart. The 2003 survey strikes us as pretty solid, but the 2010 survey has been critiqued for its methodology. 

PolitiFact’s look at the findings is worth checking out in full, as are takedowns they link to by John Lott and Brent Bozell, but they actually give too much credit to World Public Opinion. Here’s the gist of the 2003 study:
It asked three questions: “Is it your impression that the U.S. has or has not found clear evidence in Iraq that Saddam Hussein was working closely with the al-Qaida terrorist organization?” “Since the war with Iraq ended, is it your impression that the US has or has not found Iraqi weapons of mass destruction?” And whether, “The majority of people [worldwide] favor the US having gone to war.”
The obvious problem is that the first two “wrong” answers aren’t actually wrong. The study’s authors can nitpick about what evidence they think respondents should have considered “clear,” but just because people were confident Saddam had terrorist connections and WMDs doesn’t make them “misinformed”; in fact, the evidence of Iraq’s terror ties and WMD pursuits was more likely to actually get covered at Fox, making their viewers better informed than the MSM’s. The only question Fox viewers really do get wrong is the global opinion one—but anyone who remembers Fox’s coverage of the Iraq War at the time (which I do) can tell you that they didn’t try to whitewash anti-American sentiment; in fact, whether America should “go it alone” was a frequent topic of debate.

So the truth behind Stewart’s big, angry beef with Fox was complete garbage, and where a better interviewer could have used it to completely destroy him, Wallace let him get away with it scot-free.

New on NewsReal – Daily Beast’s Leftist Inquisition Still on the Hunt for Right-Wing Extremists

My latest NewsRealBlog post:

Conservatives who are still under the delusion that they can persuade the Left to tone down their rhetorical attacks and play nice would do well to check out Howard Kurtz’s latest column on the Daily Beast, which gives us yet another round of hypocritical finger waving over the Republican Party’s “liability on the fringe.”

Kurtz begins with, of course, the Birthers:

The [House Republican] caucus has 85 new members, more than 30 of whom are new to elective office—“the kamikazes,” they are privately called—and some took strong exception to being urged not to talk about President Obama’s birth certificate. “Well, I don’t think he was born in this country,” one freshman snapped.

A lone quote from a single unnamed GOP freshman, who represents “some” of a group of thirty or so? I guess they just don’t make epidemics the way they used to.

The birther nonsense seems especially pointless—and corrosive—when one considers that Obama was planning the helicopter raid that would kill Osama bin Laden days later, as he was releasing his long-form Hawaii certificate. Conservative author David Frum says bin Laden’s death should end the racially charged insinuations “that President Obama’s identity and loyalties lie elsewhere.”

Frum is no wild-eyed rebel; he helped coin the phrase “axis of evil” in the Bush White House and opposes virtually all of Obama’s agenda.

Don’t you just love it when lefties presume to tell us which conservatives to take seriously? I’m not sure what Kurtz means by “wild-eyed rebel,” but David Frum’s opinion here is meaningless, considering he’s made a cottage industry out of erecting “far-right” straw men he can loudly denounce so publications like the Daily Beast will fawn over how Serious and Responsible he is. Irresponsible attacks (racial or otherwise) against Obama obviously shouldn’t be tolerated, but they should be rejected on their own merits, not because he nailed bin Laden. Likewise, the political no-brainer of taking out the world’s most wanted terrorist shouldn’t insulate the president from substantive critiques of his “identity and loyalties,” like Matthew Vadum’s. Making bad decisions neither justifies dishonest attacks against you nor exempts you from honest ones.

Read the rest on NewsRealBlog.