Michael Kinsley Defends MoveOn’s ‘Betray Us’ Ad

On the eve of the Senate voting overwhelmingly to condemn MoveOn's recent "General Betray Us" ad, Michael Kinsley chose to defend the actions of this far-left group while poking fun at conservatives for being so outraged (h/t NB reader Lee Martin).

In an article published by Time Wednesday, the former "Crossfire" host stated that the ad could be interpreted "merely as questioning the general's honesty, not his patriotism," and that Republicans were suddenly practicing "political correctness" that could turn "discussions of substance into arguments over etiquette."

Here were some of the lowlights:

  • Goodness gracious. oh, my paws and whiskers. Some of the meanest, most ornery hombres around are suddenly feeling faint. Notorious tough guys are swooning with the vapors. The biggest beasts in the barnyard are all aflutter over something they read in the New York Times.
  • All across the radio spectrum, right-wing shock jocks are themselves shocked. How could anybody say such a thing? It's horrifying. It's outrageous. It's disgraceful.
  • You would not have thought that the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly would be so sensitive. Sticks and stones and so on. Yet they all seem to have taken one look at that ad and fainted dead away.
  • The ad is pretty tough, and the pun on the general's name is pretty witless. You could argue that since the verb betray and the noun traitor have the same root, the ad is accusing the head of American forces in Iraq of treason. The ad can also be interpreted - more plausibly if you consider the rest of the text - merely as questioning the general's honesty, not his patriotism. But whatever your interpretation of the ad, all the gasping for air and waving of scented handkerchiefs among the war's most enthusiastic supporters is pretty comical.
  • The fuss over this MoveOn.org ad is something else: it is the result of a desperate scavenging for umbrage material. When so many people are clamoring for a chance to swoon that they each have to take a number and when the landscape is so littered with folks lying prostrate and pretending to be dead that it starts to look like the end of a Civil War battle re-enactment, this isn't spontaneous mass outrage. This is choreography.
  • All this drawing of uncrossable lines and issuing of fatuous fatwas is supposed to be a bad habit of the left. When right-wingers are attacking this habit rather than practicing it, they call it political correctness. The problem with political correctness is that it turns discussions of substance into arguments over etiquette.

Yet, the last laugh will certainly be had by conservatives given the following observation by Kinsley (emphasis added):

The Republican front runner, Rudy Giuliani, is another tough guy who has seized the opportunity to reveal his easily bruised soft side. He is running TV commercials saying Hillary Clinton "stood by silently" while MoveOn.org ran its despicable ad. Another way of saying this would be that she had nothing to do with the ad. But Rudy accuses her of "joining with" MoveOn.org and "attacking" General Petraeus, although the only evidence he can muster for this accusation is a clip from Clinton telling the general at a hearing that his reports of progress in the war "really require the willing suspension of disbelief."

Actually, Michael, the conceivably more vital piece of evidence Rudy now has is that Hillary, the day after you wrote this piece of detritus, voted against showing support for the General and condemning the MoveOn ad.

If you need any help pulling that foot out of your mouth, please let me know, for I'm sure many of my readers would gladly assist you.

Iraq Michael Kinsley David Petraeus
Noel Sheppard's picture