The Other McCain

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

From the Undeceived to the Rube: My Second Notice of Your Previous Insult

Posted on | July 10, 2011 | 68 Comments

It’s come to this: Not content to insult our intelligence by claiming that her vote for Obama in 2008 was a “rational choice,” now Ann Althouse has sown discord between Smitty and me, distracting me from important issues — there has been another royal upskirt incident that regular readers would normally expect me to cover in comprehensive detail — while I replied to his pro-Althouse post:

Smitty, I assure you I don’t give a damn about Ann Althouse’s voting habits, but was ticked off by her attempt to distinguish her “rational choice” from the millions of other fools who voted for O.
You can’t do that. If anyone had bothered to read the “Future Ex-Democrats” column that I linked in the post — and I linked with the express hope that people would read it — they would find my own confession that I was a huge supporter of Bill Clinton in 1992. And I explained why I was such a damned fool. What I did not do was to attempt to claim that my folly was anything but folly.
Althouse evidently wants to have her cake and eat it, too, without any questions. Pretty damned imperious, don’t you think? And, indirectly, an insult to those of us who were never fooled by Obama. If it was “rational” to vote for Obama in 2008, after all, isn’t Althouse saying that those of us who didn’t vote for him were irrational?
Well, maybe you’re willing to be publicly insulted that way, but I’m not going to take it. Unless and until she owns up to her rubitude — and takes back that slanderous insult — she is still a rube.

Far be it from me to seek to make enemies of Professor Althouse and her many loyal readers. But there is an old country saying that applies here: Don’t piss down my back and tell me it’s raining.

Every man is the steward of his own honor, and none of us can make ourselves judges of whether someone else has been insulted.

We can, however, judge whether the insulted party has responded prudently to the insult. Each of us must endure minor offenses to our dignity in this uncivil and barbarous age, for if we flew into a righteous rage at every offense, we’d spend all our time beating the holy crap out of the idiots and thugs who surround us. (Although it must be admitted that the wait time at Burger King would be much shorter if all the idiots and thugs were hospitalized in intensive care recovering from such beatings.) And so when we choose to call attention to an insult, to require that this offense be either recanted or justified, others are thus summoned to judge for themselves whether our response is wise or foolish.

Therefore, let heaven and earth witness my conduct and, if I have reckoned wrongly, let the voices of men and angels reproach me.

Minding my own business Saturday afternoon, I was checking my e-mail — hoping for that happiest of blogger news, “Notification of Donation Received” — when I saw a message sent at 3:14 pm. ET titled “Question for Ann Althouse.” This was from Moneyrunner, a Rule 1 solicitation of attention to his post of the same title. So I read the post and found myself in substantial agreement with his observations about Althouse’s previous support for Obama:

The guy who said that his election would heal the planet and cause the seas to recede was the guy we were warning Ann and all the other rubes about. Ann thought she had Obama figured out; that the guy behind the curtain was sane and smart and up to the job; the guy on stage was all an act. As Glenn Reynolds so often asks “who’s the rube,” Ann?

You can read Moneyrunner’s entire post and form your own judgment, but the truth of it seemed to me self-evident — especially when I saw the post by Althouse which provoked Moneyrunner’s response. Of all things, she had atttempted to defend her 2008 vote for Obama in a footnote!

This is how people* got hooked into voting for Obama in the first place! Plouffe and company massaged people into the place where they had a feeling about Obama. Hope. Change. Yes We Can. . . .
*Not me. I voted for Obama, but I coolly observed all this emotionalism, soberly examined the 2 major party candidates, and made a rational choice.

Go read the whole thing yourself and, again, form your own judgment. But so far as the current hostilities are concerned, this was The Footnote Heard ‘Round the World.

Don’t piss down my back and tell me it’s raining, Professor. You cannot publicly backhand me — and millions of other steadfast conservatives who opposed Obama despite all the imprecations heaped upon them for so doing — and then walk away without apologizing for such a cruel and purposeful insult.

Moneyrunner evidently felt the same way, and his response struck me as good-natured, gentle and jocular. It was unlikely, however, that the Professor would take notice of his criticism and so I decided to “maximize the contradictions” (as Abby Hoffman used to say of his Yippie tactics) by juxtaposing two quotations, and then amplifying the essential point:

Althouse was a rube, and she refuses to admit it.

It is her refusal to confess error that rankles as an insult. For by claiming that her vote for Obama was a “rational choice,” Professor Althouse has thereby also asserted the obverse, that those who did not vote for Obama were irrational in so doing.

Need I call the names of everyone in the blogosphere who ought to be raising holy unshirted hell about this unwarranted insult? I think not. And if I am the only one who takes notice of this, so be it. Let heaven and earth judge if I am wrong.

Courtesy requires that the offended party serve notice of an offense, and so offer the offending party an opportunity to retract an insult that may have been unintended. This I have done on prior occasions of a similar nature, a sort of shot-across-the-bow: Hey, knock it off, buddy.

The message I intended to communicate was simple: Professor Althouse should stop defending her vote for Obama, and instead begin to explain why and how she was so badly deceived. Her renewed attempt to claim that voting for him was a “rational choice” is an insult to the intelligence of all those who were undeceived. And it is important that readers note the date on this quote of hers:

“[Obama] really is a solid, normal person who remained grounded in the middle of all this craziness. And I like to think that, now that he’s President, with his steely nerve, his intelligence, and his groundedness, he’ll do the job that must be done. The trickery is over.”
Ann Althouse, Jan. 22, 2009

That wasn’t posted on Nov. 5, 2008, but on Jan. 22, 2009. It is important to note the late date of the professor’s fawning praise of Obama, because that was a full month after I had examined Democrats’ economic agenda and bluntly declared: “It Won’t Work.”

Please go read that, and tell me: Should I now tug the forelock and abase myself before Professor Althouse, as she vaunts her superior rationality? Not just no, but hell, no.

My apologies to the professor and her friends for any misunderstanding about the nature of this dispute. My apologies also for whatever untoward, unseemly, unncessary and counterproductive comments may have been made by others, including various commenters at this blog. All I sought was a confession of error and an acknowledgement that the asterisked-footnote defense of that error was insulting to others. If I failed to make clear the precise nature of my grievance, and thereby contributed to the floodtide of incivility that encompasses us in the Obama Age, I alone am to blame for that failure.

When Donald Douglas accused me of Rule 4 traffic-trolling, I immediately disavowed any such intent, but seeing that even my loyal friend Stogie is similarly confused, a failure to make myself understood cannot be denied. Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa.

After I began composing this post, however, my colleague Smitty informed me that Professor Althouse herself has replied, and a quick glance at her reply conveyed the impression that she has doubled down with new (and this time, quite personal) accusations of ignorance, stupidity and bad faith.

To this, I reply with a question: Is the professor fluent in Gaelic?

With that question I must for now conclude, humbly thanking readers for their patient forebearance, as there are other matters requring my immediate attention. It’s not every day one sees a duchess’s derriere.

And as I’ve spent three hours composing this second response to Professor Althouse, it is to be hoped that I shall soon see an e-mail or two with the subject line I was seeking Saturday when I checked my inbox: “Notification of Donation Received.”

Good afternoon, dear readers. Please remember me in your prayers.

UPDATE: The first person to hit the tip jar included the message: “Pro-Althouse Fund,” to which he contributed $25.

So there’s $25 saying I should back down, apologize, tug the forelock and abase myself in abject humiliation before the superior presence of Her Professorship. Perhaps others feel differently and would care to contribute some small amount to the “Oh, Hell, No” Fund.


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