The Corner

Profiles in Cluelessness

I really should be working on my article for the next issue of NR, but I can’t resist commenting on Al Hunt’s latest column. It’s about Dan Ponder, the latest recipient of a “Profiles in Courage” award, which is generally given to public figures who put the desires of liberal opinionmakers ahead of the wishes of the people who elected them. Or, as Hunt puts it, “put principle ahead of political expediency.” Ponder, a Republican, is being rewarded for giving a speech to the Georgia House that helped persuade it to pass a hate-crimes bill. Most of Hunt’s column consists of excerpts from the speech–in none of which Ponder identifies any “principle” that requires the passage of hate-crimes laws. Instead we hear a lot about Ponder’s upbringing, his past racial insensitivity, and his intention to raise his children “to be tolerant.” (“In our home, someone’s difference would never be a reason for injustice.” What is a good reason for injustice in the Ponder home?) The closest Ponder comes to giving a rationale for the law is to say that it would “send a message to people that are filled with hate in this world, that Georgia has no room for hatred within its borders.” I think Hunt expects us to react to his column by wishing that our legislatures contained more people like this Ponder. I’m happy he’s a former legislator.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.


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