Ron Reagan put his ballet background to use this evening, bending over backwards to avoid admitting the obvious: that the Edwards bloggers are anti-Catholic bigots. Appearing on Hardball, Reagan was matched against one of my personal favorites among conservative commentators: Terence Jeffrey of Human Events.
Asked by host Chris Matthews whether John Edwards should retain the controversial bloggers, Reagan responded:
"Yes, absolutely. If John Edwards had folded, everybody on the right would have known that John Edwards can be put in a defensive crouch."
Jeffrey: "Ron, did you actually read what they wrote?"
Reagan: "Yes I did. I did read."
Jeffrey: "Is it not anti-Catholic bigotry, Ron?"
Reagan: "I don't know what was on their mind. I can't give you a yes or no because I can't read their mind."
View video here.
Jeffrey made the logical retort: "You can read their words!"
When Jeffrey tried to finish his thought, Reagan cut him off with a snippy "can I answer you, Terry? Can I answer you?" As evident in the screencap, Jeffrey didn't bother to hide his exasperation at Reagan's evasiveness.
Reagan went on to claim that bloggers write "in a context, and if you take those remarks out of the context, you lose the flavor. Maybe they are anti-Catholic. I don't know these people. But I'm not willing to say so on your say-so."
Wait a second, Ron. What does this have to do with Terence's say-so? Didn't you just say that you read the remarks yourself?
Jeffrey argued the undeniable: "These statements on their face are anti-Catholic."
Matthews suggested that people look at the facts over the weekend, then added, interestingly, "Terry Jeffrey, I share your view generally. Generally."
Here's a link to the Catholic League page setting forth the bloggers' comments. I would invite viewers to once again play one of our favorite games: WIARHSI? What if a Republican Had Said It? Imagine that a Republican had said comparable things about another religion, say my own, Judaism, or Islam. What are the odds Ron Reagan would have been unable to call it what it is -- vile bigotry?
Contact Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org