In the Arena

Wingnuts At Play

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It’s been really enjoyable watching the neoconservatives splash and play in the mud and defecation of the McCain campaign. Now, Noemie Emery of the Weekly Standard has attacked me for predicting that win or lose McCain will eventually try, once again, to apologize to the press for the sleaziness of his sex education ad.

Only she never mentions the sex education ad.

And she never mentions the last time McCain apologized, for supporting the confederate flag atop the South Carolina state house. She does quote me, semi-accurately–boy, these neocons love ellipses!–describing (quite accurately, I believe) McCain’s rising July frustration over the fact that his bellicose Middle East policy had been overwhelmed by events this summer: the Iraqis decided to favor Obama’s troop withdrawal, the Bush Administration decided to talk to Iran…and, most recently, decided to chase after Al Qaeda and Taliban on the “Pakistani” side of the non-border–a line drawn peremptorily by the British–with Afghanistan, a policy that Obama favored and McCain called “naive.”

Actually, I”m proud of having written that. It was prescient. McCain’s sludge fiesta began immediately after, with the intent of obscuring the fact that Obama had proved right in this crucial policy area and McCain had proved wrong (with, I was careful to note, the exception of his support for the use of counterinsurgency tactics By General Petraeus, which had helped improve the security situation in Iraq). Seeing how successful they could be with smears, and how easily diverted the media were, the McCain campaign has gone–you’ll excuse the pig metaphor–hog-wild with mendacity this month. And, on The View today, McCain continued the Not-So-Straight Talk, defending his sleazy sex ed ad and the other lies peddled by his campaign.

Emery’s attempt to smear me falls quite neatly into the wingnut canon: neoconservatives style themselves as intellectuals, but they shy away from proper conversations about facts and ideas. Though some are erudite, and some even polite, their public face in magazines like the Standard and Commentary–with a few notable exceptions–is quite different: they are, at base, ideologues not intellectuals, propagandists not journalists, thugs not thinkers.