. . . Limbaugh’s attacks on Sandra Fluke, his defenders have chosen to focus much less on what he said and opted instead to point to the transgressions of figures typically associated with the left. I’ve decided not to do that for a couple of reasons: (1) It’s important that conservatives police their own, and that’s not possible if you make excuses by pointing the finger at others who have committed similar offenses, and (2) when Rush gets embroiled in a controversy of this nature, it damages the conservative cause far more than anyone on the left ever could.
Having made my feelings clear on the situation with Limbaugh, no one can accuse me of obfuscation or hypocrisy . . . for whatever that’s worth. A great many conservative activists — particularly those who choose to take the Alinskyite approach of never conceding the opposition’s point, irrespective of its validity — will say it doesn’t matter whether you’re consistent in your condemnation because the left will never acknowledge it anyway. And they’re likely correct; the left has never been keen on giving credit to the right for its intellectual consistency. Rather, they tend to exploit it wherever possible.
Still, I’ve never been the type who allowed the left’s tactics to determine my principles. And besides, if in the final analysis all we’re fighting for is a culture in which everyone wants to be governed by conservatives while they behave like leftists, you’ve lost the war anyway. That’s not to say conservatives should never resort to the kind of in-your-face tactics that the left employs to achieve its aims; sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. But, there’s a reason many of us explicitly choose to align ourselves with the right, and one of those reasons has to do with a disdain for the leftist mindset and the way it manifests itself in civic life.
And truth be known, not everyone on the left is comfortable with the behavior of their own, and some are even willing to call it out for what it is. Case in point: Kirsten Powers. (H/T: Aaron Goldstein at The Spectacle.)
Liberal men marginalizing women in the media with name-calling is actually more common that you would think, and it isn’t reserved just for conservative women. Veteran political reporter Karen Tumulty of The Washington Postwrote this week about the time Matt Taibbi—who incidentally blurbed Rachel Maddow’s new book—described Tumulty variously as “mannish,” a “female impersonator,” a “pre-op version of Dave Barry,” and “ugly.” She says that he also “wrote at length about the size of one female reporter’s rear end, and called another one ‘squirrely bitch.’”
If the left reacted with the same furor to liberal misogyny as they have reacted to Limbaugh, misogynist cracks would go the way of racist and anti-gay “jokes.” Let’s just call a spade a spade: the uproar over Limbaugh is only because it fits into the Democratic narrative that the GOP is “anti-woman.” It’s Democratic Party activism dressed up as feminism.
As I’ve mentioned several times in the days since Andrew Breitbart passed on, while I admire the work he did and how much he accomplished through his determination, grit and sheer industriousness, I didn’t agree with every jot and tittle of his approach to taking on the left. While he was no doubt driven by moral outrage at the tactics of the left, what he often (though not always) advocated was an amoral response; to set aside the rightness or wrongness of your own side and focus solely on the wrongness of the other side.
But, what makes Kirsten Powers an effective and persuasive commentator on this issue is her willingness to hold her own side accountable for its hypocrisy. When this particular argument dies down and people do all the internal arithmetic to determine which side was in the right, they’re not going to look to all the conservatives who were defending Rush. They’re going to look to Kirsten Powers and people like her as the voices of reason in all of this because she was able to recognize and willing to acknowledge the glaring weaknesses in her own side’s position.
This, of course, is not going to win her any admirers on the left. She’ll obviously be seen as a traitor of sorts — perhaps even a duplicitous slattern in keeping with the tendency among her journalistic cohort. But in the end she will have been right and consequently will be seen as a more persuasive force on such issues than filth-flinging dirtbags like Bill Maher, Louis C.K. and Keith Olbermann.
The point of bringing all this up isn’t to say that the right shouldn’t take the approach Andrew Breitbart advocated. Truth is, we need people like Breitbart who will take the fight to the left at every opportunity. It’s people like him and Brent Bozell who gather the information and use it to push back against attempts to silence Rush Limbaugh and others on the right who run afoul of politically correct sensibilities. Having those examples to point to is essential in mounting a defense of conservatism when conservatives are under siege.
At the same time, however, the right does need voices who are willing to call out misbehavior on our own side if we are to be able to draw a clear line of distinction between ourselves and our opponents. Otherwise, we will have become little more than the flip-side of the same coin, albeit a little shinier on account of our superior personal hygiene habits.