Watch It, Cons
posted at 4:54 pm on October 23, 2009 by CK MacLeod
You can go ahead and think the worst, on strong evidence, about the President, the Lunatic Liberal Left, and Maureen Dowd, but please try not to make a fool of yourself while you’re at it.
Michael Ledeen, and, via Ledeen, Rush Limbaugh, as well as assorted bloggers, were taken in by an apparent hoax today regarding the young Obama’s “missing thesis.” Credible reporting has the subject of that thesis being US-Soviet relations and nuclear arms, but Ledeen somehow ran across a late August post by Brian Lancaster at the “Jumping in Pools” blog claiming that the thesis instead focused on the US Constitution as a document that was “inherently flawed” in its failure to address economic democracy. The source was supposedly Joe Klein, who had supposedly been given privileged access to the thesis. Klein has firmly denied the story.
Ledeen has since confessed that he was “taken in.” Lancaster’s failure to link to any supporting evidence – such as the post he claimed to be quoting – should have been a tip-off.
Meanwhile, over at PowerLine, Scott Johnson has gotten himself annoyed enough with use of the obscene “tea-bagger” epithet to describe Tea Party protesters, that he’s gone searching for other offenses as well. In the second of two (so far) posts on “A dirty mainstream,” he moves from teabagging investigations to a Maureen Dowd column (the one I nominated last week for the eternal Hall of Lame), and he pieces together an, in a word, ridiculous case that the title of the column, “A Daisy Chain of Cheneys,”amounts to a crude reference to another sexual practice.
Frankly, I don’t think the charge is worth much discussion: “Daisy chain” is (or was, or should be) a perfectly respectable expression, with a sexual connotation only in the minds of those looking for sexual connotations wherever they can find them (i.e., everywhere).
There’s also a lot of discussion on “teabagging” over at The Corner today – an embarrassment to both Jay Nordlinger and Rich Lowry, in my opinion. It’s the kind of thing that teenage boys brag and snicker about, not something for polite or would-be respectable discussion – and, no, I don’t care and don’t think it matters whether or not the Tea Party protesters attempt to “own” the intended insult.
Obama is ideologically suspect. He has spent much of his life and career rubbing elbows with radicals, and his earliest political forays were conducted in association with Democratic Socialists and fellow travelers (ACORN, the New Party, et al). That all might have made the thesis hoax more plausible, but it doesn’t excuse leaping at a dated and amateurish blog post to gild the leftwing lily. Instead, like Birtherism and Autobiography Trutherism, such exercises make any discussion of the President’s ideological background, connections, and orientation just a little more suspect, a little easier to laugh off and dismiss.
And the whole “teabagger” affair is a standing embarrassment for the likes of Anderson Cooper, Rachel Maddow, and Janeane Garofalo, as well as for (even) lesser lights on the left. Their intention to ridicule instead underlines just how narrow and degraded their own experiences, social circles, and values are, and every smirk and chortle etches the underline deeper. The NYT and Maureen Dowd have embarrassed themselves over and over again. What they clearly intend to be understood in their editorial content provides ample material to critics – no need to stretch for an indictment – or play Beavis-the-blogger looking for something “dirty.”
cross-posted at Zombie Contentions