The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

WeinerGate Götterdämmerung

Posted on | June 7, 2011 | 93 Comments

“If these new standards come in to play, it will mean a drastic reduction in the number of people willing to risk running for office — or be activists or writers or anyone that Andrew Breitbart deems interesting enough to start a harassment campaign against.”
Amanda Marcotte, “The Worst Thing About Weinergate? The Total Obliteration of Sexual Privacy by Ideologues Like Andrew Breitbart,” AlterNet.org

Whenever Ms. Marcotte delivers herself of a sanctimonious sermon like today’s 1,095-word opus, it induces a terrible strain to resist the temptation of responding with language that would make Rahm Emanuel blush. Alternately, one might respond with a mere jest:

Of course, no Democratic sex scandal is complete until Amanda Marcotte embarrasses herself.

Life is a big joke and Ms. Marcotte is the punchline, so that all we need do is to say, “Hey, go read what this idiot wrote,” and everyone will see for themselves why she is so transparently absurd.

Yet Amanda Marcotte is taken seriously by influential people, who pay her to preach to the rest of us, and it would be wrong to dismiss her without at least attempting a serious analysis of her errors. It may be true of Ms. Marcotte, as Mary McCarthy said of Lillian Hellman, that every word she writes is a lie, including “and” and “the.” But exactly why and how her writing is so pervasively false requires further explanation.

Note how Ms. Marcotte deploys “ideologue” as an epithet against Breitbart when she is herself an avowed adherent of the ideology of feminism. Indeed, if it weren’t for her idolatrous devotion to feminism, Ms. Marcotte would have nothing to write about. Her entire raison d’être as a writer is to filter the world through a feminist lens.

She is one of those writers who, despairing of achieving notoriety in the larger literary world, seeks a readership in some ghetto niche occupied almost entirely by third-rate talents, so that her occasional second-rate contributions appear conspicuously impressive by comparison. And in her feminist niche, the only standard by which anyone may be judged is according to their zealous devotion to The Sacred Cause:

Weiner has an outstanding record supporting sexual rights of others, with100% ratings from NARAL and Planned Parenthood, and has a strong record of support for gay rights.

See? He votes the right way. And isn’t that what really matters?

The point is not merely to demonstrate that, when Ms. Marcotte calls Breitbart an “ideologue,” she is engaged in psychological projection. That is both so true and so obvious as to require no explanation.

Nor do I feel it particularly necessary to explain — for you can see yourself — that her argument is a ridiculous exercise in fearmongering. Contrary to what Ms. Marcotte suggests, Andrew Breitbart does not randomly mount “harassment campaigns” against innocent scapegoats, nor is he likely to begin doing so. She employs Breitbart as a nightmare bogeyman to frighten her readers, whom she assumes (and perhaps rightly so) to be so childishly naive as to fear that they might be next on Breitbart’s Big List of Victims.

There is no need, you see, for me to convince you of these things which are readily apparent to any sensible person who will take the time to read Ms. Marcotte’s article.

What I would like to point out, however, is that no error of judgment Ms. Marcotte makes can ever discredit her in the eyes of those who share her ideological faith. Her flawed judgment has been quite obvious for years, as when she was delighted to be “recruited” in 2007 to lead the online effort for Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards.

Ms. Marcotte was hired by the Edwards campaign, she explained, because of “my strengths of writing about progressive politics and building a blog audience.” We recall the excellent writing that earned her that prized opportunity, including her nuanced musings about Hurricane Katrina in September 2005:

They really want to take away New Orleans, don’t they? It’s too European, too dark, too mysterious, too real, too gritty, too fun, too neighborly, too every f***ing thing we’re told that ‘real’ Americans are not — we’re to be a nation of white supremacists, hateful and paranoid and xenophobic, worshipful of wealth but disdainful of anything that has real beauty or intelligence.

And this subtle rumination from January 2007:

For a while, I had to listen to how the poor dear lacrosse players at Duke are being persecuted just because they held someone down and f***ed her against her will – not rape, of course, because the charges were thrown out. Can’t a few white boys sexually assault a black woman anymore without people getting all wound up about it? So unfair.

Such were the sophisticated and erudite expressions that called Ms. Marcotte to the attention of Team Edwards, which placed her in charge of their campaign blog. Perhaps you recall how that episode ended: People who did not share the ideological inclinations of Ms. Marcotte and her feminist blogger colleague, Melissa McEwan, began to criticize the decision of Team Edwards to hire them. The courageous John Edwards declared that he believed in “giving everyone a fair shake” — prior to throwing Marcotte and McEwan under the bus a few days later.

However, rather than criticizing Team Edwards or admitting the incompatibility of her f-bomb-strewn ultra-partisan ouevre with the public-relations requirements of a presidential campaign, Ms. Marcotte rushed out to pin the blame on the “right-wing noise machine,” to portray herself as the victim of a “smear” by political enemies “spreading inaccurate information.”

Amanda Marcotte’s narcissism would not permit her to admit any culpability in the matter, nor was it possible that a politician she admired could be less than an icon of integrity. She was stricken with a sort of politically-induced blindness, so that the only enemies to fear were right-wing enemies. When it was subsequently revealed that John Edwards had been shtupping Rielle Hunter (even while masquerading as the devoted spouse of his cancer-stricken wife Elizabeth), this might have alerted Ms. Marcotte to the falseness of her worldview.

She had been willing to portray John Edwards as generous, trustworthy, strong and brave. In reality, John Edwards was selfish, dishonest, weak and cowardly. Yet when confronted with the contradiction, she rejected reality, refusing to see how she had been bamboozled, and rode off in search of some other progressive hero to celebrate.

And what a hero she has found this time, huh? On the morning of Tuesday, May 31 — three days into the scandal — Ms. Marcotte dismissed the entire WeinerGate imbroglio as a hoax ginned up by Andrew Breitbart:

Alas, the saddest part of all this is that the mainstream media hasn’t yet learned that the only proper response to Andrew Breitbart, when he goes off like this, is to dismiss him as you would if you heard a random person on the street reeking of booze and ranting about how the space aliens are out to get him. That Breitbart can operate a computer doesn’t give his rants any more credibility. Many media outlets ran with the story that there were “questions”, and as more details came out and it became clear that what is really going on is that a random dude on Twitter is sexually harassing Weiner and one of his Twitter followers, there was a bit of bitterness.

And when the truth was revealed, again providing Ms. Marcotte with a chance to acknowledge the vast distance between reality and her (false, politicized) perception, she once more chose to cling to her ideological safety blanket, writing more than 1,000 words at AlterNet accusing Breitbart of conspiring toward “The Total Obliteration of Sexual Privacy.” Before that, however, she posted a quick sermonette at Slate, with this headline:

Time For Americans To Grow Up

Congressman Junkshot was apparently cybersexing an online harem — including a college girl, a porn star and, perhaps, a teenager or two — and yet his behavior is not the problem. No, insists Ms. Marcotte, the problem is that we are too immature to accept such men as worthy leaders of a republic.

Nor is there is any acknowledgement on Ms. Marcotte’s part that, as I have said of others, she was wrong, wrong, wrong, while Breitbart was right, right, right.

Even though Amanda Marcotte was completely hoodwinked by wild-eyed DKos/Media Matters/Joan Walsh conspiracy theories, she maintains that neither she nor her new idol Anthony Weiner did anything wrong and that the true villain in the story is Breitbart.

When we see such a reliable pattern of wrongness, such a horrific intensity of hatreds — toward  men, toward Christians, toward Republicans, toward Andrew Breitbart — we know that we are in the presence of irrational belief.

Facts or logic do not inspire Ms. Marcotte to lash out at Breitbart, to heap obscenities on the Duke lacrosse team, to denounce America as “a nation of white supremacists.” These are expressions of prejudice, of deep-seated neurotic obsessions which evidently gnaw at Ms. Marcotte’s psyche and compel her to adopt a perverse ideology as a defensive shield against facing up to the unfortunate reality: The problem in her conflict with the world is not the world’s fault, but her own.

Amanda Marcotte is her own insoluble problem, and the appeal of politics to such an irreparably warped personality is that it appears to make sense of her alienation from society. All she needs to do is to re-frame her grievances in an ideological context — to say that “sexists” or the “right-wing smear machine” or some other such politicized bogeyman is to blame for her own unhappiness — and suddenly she is no longer a whining malcotent, but a heroic crusader for social justice.

Voila! By that simple trick, she acquires admirers cheering her on in her one-woman drama, Amanda Marcotte vs. the Forces of Right-Wing Evil. She is published at Slate, so that she might spread her particular psychological dysfunction, the Typhoid Mary of an epidemic of idiocy.

The fact that she is so habitually wrong is ignored by her admiring allies because, if they stopped to ponder the significance of her habitual wrongness, it might clue them into the inherent flaws of the ideology that they and Ms. Marcotte share.

And what is true of Ms. Marcotte is likewise true of the scoundrel she now endeavors to defend, Rep. Anthony Wiener.

Now that we know Weiner was engaged in a series of “online relationships” with different women, Tweeting his crotch photos hither and yon, to coeds and single moms and Vegas blackjack dealers, etc. — as I say, now that we know these things, don’t certain other aspects of Weiner’s political career appear in a new light?

Doesn’t Weiner’s fanatical 100% pro-abortion record make sense as an epiphenomenon of the deeper psycho-sexual syndrome at the root of his pseudo-”progressive” politics? And are we surprised that the deluded True Believers in that ideology gladly accept Ms. Marcotte as a spokeswoman for their cause?

Amanda Marcotte deserves Weiner in the same way that she deserved John Edwards: False heroes of a false politics, admired only by fools.

* * * * * * *

UPDATE: Welcome, Instapundit readers!

UPDATE II: Why am I not surprised to learn (via Professor Ann Althouse) that less than a year ago, Ms. Marcotte’s erstwhile Team Edwards colleague Melissa McEwan was revving up the Anthony Weiner presidential campaign bandwagon?

It’s a Wagnerian epic: The Nibelung Ring of Feminist Beclownment.

Linked by That Mr. G Guy — thanks!


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