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?

New on NewsReal – What Donald Trump’s Popularity Means for the Rest of the 2012 Field

My latest NewsRealBlog post:

Before I sat down to write this article, I pinched myself just to make sure I was awake and today’s subject wasn’t some weird dream. But alas, talking heads on both sides of the political spectrum really are seriously entertaining the possibility of President Donald Trump.

At the Daily Beast, Jim DeFede reports on why several Florida Tea Partiers have said they’re backing the Donald:

“We need a real businessman,” said Linda Kogelman, 63, a retired postal worker. “The lawyers don’t know how to run the country. They bow down to too many people.” Kogelman said no one else in the Republican field excites her.

“There is no one there,” she continued. “Romney is old hat. Newt is old hat. It’s just the same old same old. We need new blood.”

Her husband, Ken, 64, who closed his crane business in 2009 because of the downturn in the economy, nodded in agreement.

“They’ve destroyed this country,” he spit. Who?

“The Democrats.”

Standing nearby, 78-year-old Richard Walters was holding on to a letter he had written. He was hoping to be able to hand it to Trump.

“I used to be the Rolls Royce dealer in Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach,” said Walters, who is now retired. “And he was one of my customers.”

Fond memories of The Donald?

“I didn’t like him,” Walters said. “He was an arrogant bastard. But I love him now. He is the only person in this country who can right the ship.”

Lest you think DeFede has cherry-picked some outliers to exaggerate Trump’s popularity, note that The Donald has some formidable poll numbers in the Republican primary field (he fares worse, however, in general election match-ups). Among the conservative punditocracy, the reaction is more mixed—Sean Hannity has been giving Trump substantial interview time, while Mark Levin has been intensely critical, and with good reason—Trump has flip-flopped on abortion, healthcare, and his party affiliation, used to be far more favorable to Barack Obama (calling George W. Bush “evil” in the process), and has donated substantially to Democrats.

Read the rest on NewsRealBlog.

Daily Caller vs. Journolist: Guess Which Side David Frum Is On?

David Scum thinks it’s somehow significant that one of the Daily Caller’s own reporters was a member of Journolist for a while, because it shows that the group wasn’t the left-wing monolith it’s supposedly been made out to be.

But 1.) the piece has Sam Stein quoting Gautham Nagesh as saying it was, on balance, a collection of predominantly left-of-center figures, and 2.) just how many people on there thought what really isn’t the story. The scandal is that certain journalists have been caught conspiring to kill coverage of political scandals, slander people as racists, speculating about using government to shut down media outlets, and enjoying the heart attacks of political opponents.

Not that we should expect Scum to care. Any excuse to present himself as the Last Principled “Conservative” in America TM is good enough to run with. He routinely allows his website to run badly-sourced, inflammatory misquotes, ugly and ill-founded insinuations of racism, and condemnations of pro-lifers generally for a crime committed by one. Scum’s faux zeal for responsibility doesn’t apply to Trig Trutherism crusaders, either. The real scandal is that this fraud still finds anyone willing to pretend he’s anything more than the miserable creature he is.

Conservatism Can’t Survive Without the Pro-Life Movement, Part II

In Part I, I argue that it would be politically foolish for the Right to further backpedal or abandon the pro-life cause. Here I want to make the case that the right to life truly is inseparable both from core conservatism and from any meaningful effort to advance conservative ideas—that, in fact, pro-abortion tendencies actually endanger the prospects of those who value limited government, the free market, and strong national defense.

As I explained on June 15, abortion is an affront to the Declaration of Independence. As the unjust taking of a human life, it is wrong for the same reason slavery, theft, assault, honor killings, rape, eminent domain abuse, and individual health insurance mandates are wrong: they are all violations of human liberty and natural rights.  Accordingly, society justly protects its citizens from them via law for the same reason.  As long as conservatism still “holds these truths to be self-evident” that all men have “certain unalienable rights” to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” and as long as conservatism still accepts that “governments are instituted among men” for the purpose of “secur[ing] these rights,” then philosophically-consistent conservatives have no choice but to oppose legalized abortion. Nobody can support abortion in good conscience without either honestly confronting this conundrum head-on, or asking himself what definition of “conservatism” he’s been operating under all this time.

That pro-choice views are an egregious exception to conservatives’ and libertarians’ pro-liberty rhetoric should be obvious. What may be less obvious—but is no less true—is that such dubious thinking cannot help but undermine other core conservative principles and efforts. Continue reading

Conservatism Can’t Survive Without the Pro-Life Movement, Part I (Updated)

The more I reflect on The Great NewsReal Abortion Debate, the more convinced I am that I made a critical error.

I want to revisit the issue of whether or not the pro-life cause is central or peripheral to the conservative movement.  I made clear where I stood on that question—as an egregious deprivation of human rights, abortion should be opposed by every lover of liberty with every fiber of his or her being—but I fear I didn’t go nearly far enough in explaining the implications of the answer.  This essay will explore the practical aspects of the matter; my next one will address the moral and philosophical.

I conceded that I could “basically support” the kind of ‘truce’ David Swindle was talking about, i.e. candidates centering their campaigns on the “two unifying issues” of the free market and defeating Islamofascism. That’s more or less how wartime Republican presidents since Ronald Reagan have run for office anyway (in Reagan’s case swapping out Islamofascism for the Soviet Union), and that’s okay.  I don’t have a problem with our candidates emphasizing some issues more than others to put voters’ most immediate concerns front and center, or to address crises that demand immediate resolution.

However, that doesn’t exempt a candidate from talking about the right to life at all, or from being pro-life.  I have already argued that pro-life principles are inseparable from core conservatism, and that abortion cannot be regarded as merely one issue among many, and I’ll elaborate more on those points in the next post.  But it’s also important because whether or not one is capable of recognizing abortion for the evil that it is, and is willing to do something about it, tells us something about what he or she is made of. I know there are exceptions (Ron Paul is pro-life but deranged, Joe Lieberman is radically pro-abortion, but firm on the war), but I truly believe that strongly pro-life candidates will tend to be of a higher caliber than pro-choice candidates in several qualities that will benefit public servants, and the American people, in all areas: Continue reading

Now Is Not the Time for Truces

Possible GOP 2012 candidate Mitch Daniels thinks we need a “truce” on social issues:

“We’re going to just have to agree to get along for a little while,” by casting social issues like abortion aside so the next president can focus on fixing the beleaguered economy.

Expecting a backlash if the remarks weren’t explained further, Weekly Standard reporter John McCormack followed up with the governor. He asked Daniels if his remarks meant the next president shouldn’t try to stop the abortion funding in the Obama health care law or put the Mexico City Policy back in place to stop international abortion funding.

Daniels said the United States faces a “genuine national emergency” concerning the economy, budget and national debt and that “maybe these things could be set aside for a while.”

“But this doesn’t mean anybody abandons their position at all. Everybody just stands down for a little while, while we try to save the republic,” the governor added.

Daniels replied, “I don’t know,” when asked if he would issue the executive order every pro-life president has done by instituting the Mexico City Policy Obama revoked.

Given how little our national leaders actually do to end abortion or preserve marriage once they get into office, Daniels’s proposal sounds less like a game plan for “saving the republic” and more like a lazy excuse to not talk about issues he doesn’t feel like discussing.

Joseph Lawler rightly notes that Daniels’s cowardice on the Mexico City policy isn’t a truce, but unconditional surrender.  And so, the Republican march of mediocrity continues…

Crooked FL GOP Chair Indicted

Throw the book at him:

According to state investigators, Greer devised a scheme to siphon off a cut of the donations from major Republican donors after he had fallen on hard financial times, despite a party salary of $130,000 a year.

Statewide Prosecutor William Shepherd said Greer used a company called Victory Strategies LLC to launder the money, pocketing a total of $125,161.50. Greer’s hand-picked executive director and partner in Victory Strategies, Delmar Johnson, collected another $65,093, according to an affidavit that accompanied a search warrant sought by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

“Mr. Greer just used the money for his own personal lifestyle,” Shepherd said.

The Orlando Sentinel first disclosed the existence of the Victory Strategies contract in February, a month after Greer was forced to resign as party chair. By then, top Republican leaders had also discovered the contract and quietly forced Johnson to resign.