Via the Right Scoop, here’s why I feel a little sorry for Contessa Brewer, who’s taking the brunt of the outrage today merely for being dumb enough to say something that her colleagues are too smart to own up to in public. The media’s invested a year in building the narrative that the right is a violent, racist, proto-terrorist movement that no reasonable person could possibly support at the polls. Can you blame them for being bummed that they didn’t get some return on their investment on Saturday night? Jonah Goldberg:
When the Times Square story first broke there was a part of me that said, “Man, I hope it’s not some white militia nutjob.” When I saw the news this morning that it was a Pakistani, the same small part of me was relieved. I don’t want to speak for many conservatives on this, but I know I’m speaking for more than just myself.
And, I will simply assert that I believe lots of liberals had something very close to the opposite series of reactions (here’s one small example of what I’m talking about). If this had been some Tim McVeigh type, Frank Rich would know exactly what he was going to write for his Sunday column, and he would be excited about writing it. I don’t want to say he’d be happy about it (and he certainly wouldn’t be happy about the murder victims if the bomb went off). But he would certainly be smug and righteous and full of a certain emotion that looks a lot like the glee one feels when you get to say “I told you so.”
Oh, Rich will write a variation on that column anyway. Instead of “I told you those teabaggers wanted to kill people,” now it’ll be “this shows how easy it’ll be for teabaggers to kill people when they finally decide they want to.” Watch and see. (Per the obligatory “blowback” argument, he might also gently knock Obama for inviting this with his drone campaign against the Taliban in Waziristan.) As for the partisan feelings of relief/disappointment Goldberg describes, Limbaugh says it well: “That’s where we are in the country.” Indeed, although I don’t think the disappointment in the media stems solely from seeing their narrative about the right fail. Another part of it is that they think the threat of Islamic terrorism is wildly inflated by the paranoid wingnut imagination; as such, a major domestic terror incident — committed by someone nominally aligned with the right, no less — could be used to jumpstart the argument that the militia threat is as bad as, or maybe worse than, the threat from jihadis, with various policy adjustments flowing from that. Instead, suddenly, the wingnuts don’t look so paranoid. No wonder Contessa’s bummed.
Admittedly, it’s always risky to practice armchair psychoanalysis on your opponents, but if it doesn’t bother Peter Beinart, it doesn’t bother me. The question now: What can the media salvage from this busted flush? The answer: This, of course. Nanny Bloomberg made that same point today too, evidently not realizing how insulting it is to New Yorkers. But then, casual insults are his stock in trade. You might hear him name-checked in Rush’s monologue too, and deservedly so.