Commentary Magazine


Topic: Mother’s Day

Andrew Sullivan’s Own Goal (and My Assist)

This post is about Andrew Sullivan, so I promise to make it mercifully brief.

Sullivan is a pioneer. He was the first blogger to realize that in the low-knowledge, high-offense Internet age the shortest route to popularity was simultaneous moral outrage and moral dishonesty. I can’t believe you’ve done the thing I know you didn’t do. (See: Bush policy and Abu Ghraib, neoconservatives and wars for Israel).

The man who has designated Barack Obama the first gay president has appointed himself the arbiter of political hyperbole, naturally. He makes his rulings about beyond-the-pale commentary via negative “awards” on his blog. For my last post about Obama’s self-mythologizing and personality-cult efforts Sullivan has nominated me for his “Hugh Hewitt Award.” Hewitt is, of course, a national treasure, but in Sullivanland the award  “is given for the most egregious attempts to label Barack Obama as un-American, alien, treasonous, and far out of the mainstream of American life and politics.”

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This post is about Andrew Sullivan, so I promise to make it mercifully brief.

Sullivan is a pioneer. He was the first blogger to realize that in the low-knowledge, high-offense Internet age the shortest route to popularity was simultaneous moral outrage and moral dishonesty. I can’t believe you’ve done the thing I know you didn’t do. (See: Bush policy and Abu Ghraib, neoconservatives and wars for Israel).

The man who has designated Barack Obama the first gay president has appointed himself the arbiter of political hyperbole, naturally. He makes his rulings about beyond-the-pale commentary via negative “awards” on his blog. For my last post about Obama’s self-mythologizing and personality-cult efforts Sullivan has nominated me for his “Hugh Hewitt Award.” Hewitt is, of course, a national treasure, but in Sullivanland the award  “is given for the most egregious attempts to label Barack Obama as un-American, alien, treasonous, and far out of the mainstream of American life and politics.”

Sullivan objected to my post because I considered Obama’s comical insertion of his name into other presidential biographies and things like his administration’s personalized Mother’s Day cards alongside the self-aggrandizing efforts of Kim Jong Il. In order to make me sound sufficiently loony and nativist, Sullivan pasted one part of my post to another, using an ellipsis in place of five paragraphs which appear in the original. But that’s not what’s most entertaining here.

This is: In a May 9 blog post titled “Obama’s Creepy Emails And Ads,” Sullivan discusses some of the same Obama Mother’s Day cards I discuss. And here is his very own pronouncement on them: “What is this, North Korea?”

Whoops.

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Doubling Down on the War on Ann Romney

Michelle Goldberg just doesn’t know how to quit when she’s behind. The Daily Beast pundit dug herself a deep hole on MSNBC on Sunday when she made an astonishing comparison between an innocuous Ann Romney op-ed about Mother’s Day and the policies of Stalin’s Soviet Union and Hitler’s Nazi Germany. Predictably, that whopper drew attention to her bad judgment as well as a desire on the left to smear the Romneys. But rather than merely admit that her analogy was inappropriate and move on, Goldberg is guilty of the same fault that she accuses the candidate’s wife of committing: trying to make herself a victim.

In her column about the incident, Goldberg refuses to apologize and puts the controversy down as just another Twitter-era fake controversy that Romney is exploiting. But before we buy into that attempt to weasel out of this, it might be apt to ponder exactly what Goldberg and the entire mainstream media would be saying if a conservative talking head on one of the cable TV networks compared Michelle Obama to Hitler and Stalin for praising motherhood of all things. However, Goldberg’s decision to air her animus for Mrs. Romney again shows that her problem goes deeper than forgetting the person who first mentions Hitler and Stalin in a debate almost always is the loser.

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Michelle Goldberg just doesn’t know how to quit when she’s behind. The Daily Beast pundit dug herself a deep hole on MSNBC on Sunday when she made an astonishing comparison between an innocuous Ann Romney op-ed about Mother’s Day and the policies of Stalin’s Soviet Union and Hitler’s Nazi Germany. Predictably, that whopper drew attention to her bad judgment as well as a desire on the left to smear the Romneys. But rather than merely admit that her analogy was inappropriate and move on, Goldberg is guilty of the same fault that she accuses the candidate’s wife of committing: trying to make herself a victim.

In her column about the incident, Goldberg refuses to apologize and puts the controversy down as just another Twitter-era fake controversy that Romney is exploiting. But before we buy into that attempt to weasel out of this, it might be apt to ponder exactly what Goldberg and the entire mainstream media would be saying if a conservative talking head on one of the cable TV networks compared Michelle Obama to Hitler and Stalin for praising motherhood of all things. However, Goldberg’s decision to air her animus for Mrs. Romney again shows that her problem goes deeper than forgetting the person who first mentions Hitler and Stalin in a debate almost always is the loser.

Goldberg complains that the outrage about the incident was feigned. But that is no truer than the Democrats’ crocodile tears for Seamus the dog’s rooftop ride to Canada or the boy Mitt Romney may have hazed in high school 47 years ago. She also complains that many of the comments made about her gaffe on Twitter and e-mail are rude. No doubt they are, but for someone who writes on the Internet to complain about that sort of thing is pretty weak. As anyone who does this for a living knows, anything one writes, no matter how bland the topic, may provoke nasty comments.

But Goldberg’s not apologizing for a reason. What she resents about Ann Romney is her ability to undermine the Democratic theme of a fake Republican war on women. It that quality that is frustrating the left:

For the record, I don’t believe that Ann Romney is either Hitleresque or Stalinesque. Rather, I think she is a calculating political wife who once struck me as fairly likeable, but who is now determined to play up the idea that’s she’s being victimized for being a stay-at-home mom. Her op-ed was part of that effort. Unfortunately, if the messages I received on Monday are any indication, it’s an effort I might have assisted.

While I don’t think anyone ever accused Goldberg of being a brilliant political observer, trying to gin up an effort to portray a woman as generally admired as Ann Romney as a political villain is about as dumb an idea as has come down the pike in a long time.

As I wrote earlier today, polls seem to indicate that the voters aren’t buying the war on women as a substitute for a defense of President Obama’s failed economic policies. Neither is the war on Ann Romney.

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