During the early years of the Iraq war, the so-called Pottery Barn rule -- “you break it, you buy it” -- became a common expression inside the Beltway. Talking Points Memo’s Josh Marshall suggested on Monday that something like the Pottery Barn rule describes what’s happened to the Republican party: conservative media wrecked it and now, along with Donald Trump, control what’s left of it. “The rightwing media echo-chamber created a framework in which you are immediately discredited if you do not subscribe to a series of demonstrably false claims, non-facts and theories…all leaving the party ungovernable and vulnerable to a takeover by someone like Donald Trump,” declared Marshall.
The debate rages on as to whether Donald Trump has remodeled or vandalized the Republican party. In any event, left-wing pundits spent the week gaping at, and writing about, what they viewed as the grotesque spectacle of the RNC. For example, Daily Kos’s Hunter opined that the convention was "was barely one step up from an internet-peddled snuff film,” and Salon’s Heather Digby Parton declared that “all that’s left of the ‘three-legged stool’ of conservatism is the seat — racism, nativism and xenophobia.”
Media coverage of Pope Francis’s Amoris Laetitia typically noted that it reaffirmed the Catholic Church’s opposition to gay marriage. Slate’s William Saletan acknowledges the literal truth of that reporting, but suggested in an April 8 article that the document contains seeds that will sprout into Vatican acceptance of same-sex unions, though he admits that process “might take centuries.”
Saletan argued that in time, the Church will extend Amoris Laetitia’s treatment of infertile heterosexual couples to same-sex couples: “This double standard, between homosexuality and other forms of infertility, is the cracked pillar at the foundation of the church’s policy against same-sex unions. It’s how Catholic teaching on homosexuality will eventually collapse.”
A certain January 20, 2009 private dinner in Washington is famous because the Republican bigwigs in attendance resolved to stymie President Obama’s agenda. William Saletan implies that gathering also should be known for inadvertently getting the Donald Trump presidential ball rolling.
“The Republican Party decided to be what Obama wasn’t,” opined Saletan in a Monday article. “And what Obama wasn’t—insecure, bitter, vindictive, xenophobic, sectarian—is what the GOP, in the era of Trump, has become.” Saletan argued that Republicans’ exaggerated ideas about Obama’s liberalism were a major part of their problem: “If Obama had been a leftist, the GOP’s policy of negating him on every issue might have positioned Republicans in the mainstream. Instead, because Obama was a moderate, the GOP’s negation strategy pushed it toward the fringe.”
William Saletan has done a deep dive into Ted Cruz’s statements regarding the Senate’s 2013 debate on immigration reform. Saletan’s conclusion, to adapt a line from Seinfeld, is that Cruz’s shadiness is real, and it’s “spectacular.” He calls Cruz “a passionate, indefatigable liar” and alleges, “For him, truth isn’t a matter of plain meaning. It’s a matter of technicalities.”
In a 3,600-word Sunday article abounding in legislative and linguistic minutiae, Saletan contends that in 2013, Cruz “chose his words exquisitely so that down the road—say, in a future campaign for president—he could position himself on either side of the immigration debate” -- an approach, Saletan suggests, which undermines Cruz’s claim to be a true conservative.
Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio put media bias on the front burner at CNBC’s Republican presidential debate, but conservatives and liberals differed sharply on whether what was in the pot smelled appetizing. Several lefty bloggers turned up their noses at the idea that in last night’s event and in general, the media favor Democrats.
Since even some conservatives thought that Hillary Clinton won Thursday’s Benghazi hearing, it stands to reason that lefty bloggers would be happy with the way things turned out.
In fact, not all of them waited until the hearing was over. Early in the afternoon, when Clinton still had several hours of testimony before her, Talking Points Memo editor and publisher Josh Marshall observed that “Hillary…looks poised; [Republicans are] radiating spittle.” As the hearings rounded third and headed for home, Esquire’s Charles Pierce sniped, “This was a performance piece for the people residing within the conservative media bubble…who already are too smart to be fooled by the Hildebeast and her alleged facts because Mark Levin has told them that they are too smart to be so fooled."
Saletan approves of “lifestyle conservatism,” but when it comes to defining that term, your mileage may vary, given that for Saletan it includes support for same-sex marriage. In a Thursday piece, Saletan asserted that conservatives ought to accept that two-person marriages, whether hetero- or homosexual, fit into the “tradition” and “enduring institution” of matrimony.
“Republicans are right to worry about redefining marriage,” wrote Saletan. “But their decision to draw the line at sexual orientation was a profound mistake. They thought homosexuality was a lifestyle. In reality, the only lifestyle at stake is marriage itself. By locking gay people out of that institution, Republicans disserved their party’s mission: a well-ordered society.” The real enemy, he claimed, is a “lifestyle liberalism” that condones “polygamy,” “infidelity,” “promiscuity,” and “cohabitation.”
On Tuesday, I wrote that "Every day seems to bring in at least one new example of alleged journalists who are really propagandists insisting that what is obviously false is true."
Today's entry into that category will be extremely hard to beat, and may well stand as one of the worst attempts at an argument ever made by a leftist hack. Before I excerpt William Saletan's column at Slate and his attempt to describe it in detail, I'll ratify the observation in the column's current top comment: "So during WWII, Japan said they were at war with the USA. The USA agreed. So that means we were 'sounding a lot like Japan'?"
Apropos of President Obama’s refusal to use the terms “Islamic extremism” or “radical Islam,” Saletan opines, “If we’re going to start calling out religious and political groups for extremism, we could start at home with Republicans. Too many of them spew animus. Too many foment sectarianism. Too many sit by, or make excuses, as others appeal to tribalism. If Obama were to treat them the way they say he should treat Islam—holding the entire faith accountable for its ugliest followers—they’d squeal nonstop about slander and demagogy. They’re lucky that’s not his style.”
Give Anthony Weiner another chance! Slate’s William Saletan fawned over the genius political rehab strategy deployed by former disgraced Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), as he’s mulling whether to run in New York’s mayoral election this year. Saletan’s April 10 piece, laughably headlined " I'll Be His Weiner Wife, " observed how the recent Weiner expose -- sorry, I mean feature -- in a recent New York Times Magazine “doesn’t look like a strategy. It’s so deeply embedded in the narrative that you can’t see it."
"Weiner has made this a story not about himself, but about his wife and their future together. You have to forgive him because she has forgiven him, and if you hold a grudge against him, she’s the one you’re really punishing," Saletan argued. Cut Weiner out of politics for life and you hurt Huma as well. Heck, you're probably hurting America too! Isn't that patronizing at best and misogynistic at worst?
The article gave the tired argument that even if you're choosing life, it's still a choice. Pam Tebow "chose to ignore doctors" but she still had options open to her. Author of the article Cathy Lynn Grossman, however, painted Tebow's choice as both ignorant and selfish, since the pregnancy could have left her first four children motherless.