I'm reading this op-ed by Richard Cohen at WaPo instead of finishing up the embryonic presentation I have to give in less than 90 minutes, because I like pressure. Cohen brings up the recent Bennett "abort crime" fiasco:
They then abandoned their party's tradition -- I would say "obligation" -- of defending unpopular speech by piling on William Bennett, the former education secretary, best-selling author and now, inevitably, talk show host.
Responding to a caller who argued that if abortion were outlawed the Social Security trust fund would benefit -- more people, more contributions, was the apparent (idiotic) reasoning -- Bennett said, sure, he understood what the fellow was saying. It was similar to the theory that the low crime rate of recent years was the consequence of high abortion rates: the fewer African American males born, the fewer crimes committed. (Young black males commit a disproportionate share of crime.) This theory has been around for some time. Bennett was not referring to anything new.
But he did add something very important: If implemented, the idea would be "an impossible, ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do."
He should have saved his breath. Prominent Democrats -- Harry Reid in the Senate, John Conyers and Rahm Emanuel in the House and, of course, Pelosi -- jumped all over him. Conyers wanted Bennett suspended from his radio show. Emanuel said Bennett's comments "reflect a spirit of hate and division." Pelosi said Bennett was out of the mainstream, and Reid simply asked for an apology.
Actually, it is Reid and the others who should apologize to Bennett. They were condemning and attempting to silence a public intellectual for a reference to a theory.
I may make you question your spam filter for letting my newsletter through, but I wholeheartedly agree with Cohen and am rather disappointed in the misguided hysterics of our Democratic leaders, not to mention my favorite lesbian. When I first heard Bennett's remarks, it was on my morning ride to work listening to the Rachel Maddow podcast. I was knee-jerk outraged myself, but only because -- I may be wrong on this, but if memory serves -- the sound-byte did not include the "morally reprehensible" disclaimer. Man oh man, am I glad I didn't sit right down and blog about it as soon as I got in, because I would certainly become the King of Hypocrisy.
Why? Because my personal blog is nothing if not a testament to the ridiculous, preposterous, tongue-in-cheek and more often outright sarcastic. I thrive on the use of shock and hyperbole to provoke debate, to throw subtle patterns into sharp relief, and, of course, to garner an audience (which I assume is one thing Bennett keeps in mind as a radio personality).
He included a totally obvious disclaimer that no one on the left includes in their reactive rants. How is it that some of you can listen to Howard *%@! Stern without puking and yet go bonkers over Bennett? I'm honestly curious.
So that's my take. Chill the hell out. We ARE supposed to be the tolerant ones here. Your thoughts?