The Corner

Sandra Fluke v. Joe the Plumber

You may recall that when Joe Wurzelbacher was approached by Barack Obama entirely accidentally, he became something of a political celebrity for having a philosophical disagreement with the president over spreading the wealth around and all that. Before long, the mainstream press went to battle stations to discredit the man. He didn’t even have a plumber’s license! (didn’t need one in Ohio). He had financial problems! He was a fraud! An astroturf plant! Blah blah blah. The Democrats, likewise, were unrestrained in their efforts to ridicule the man. Here’s Joe Biden ridiculing Wurzelbacher (and offering a tendentious argument about taxes): [See update below]

 

 

 

Meanwhile, here’s Sandra Fluke a 30-year-old law student and committed political operative and activist. And yet the mainstream press can’t muster the slightest skepticism about her efforts.

Even Jake Tapper, easily among the fairest of MSM reporters, treats Fluke with kid gloves as if she’s simply a victim of history (note: I think she was an unfair victim of Limbaugh’s ill-advised and offensive attacks, but she has to be delighted with how successful she’s been over the last month). I don’t begrudge Fluke her efforts. She’s an activist and she seized the opportunity presented to her by Congressional Democrats and the press.

Still, I think the comparison is interesting in numerous ways. When average citizens are thrust into the political debate, they are heroes — if they confirm prevailing liberal arguments. When they run against the grain of the preferred narrative, they are ground down, caricatured, and treated to corrosive media skepticism.

Obviously, there are differences between the two cases. Some are relevant, some aren’t. If you think Fluke is special because she’s a woman, that’s awfully chivalrous of you (and I might even agree!). But such old-fashioned deference to the delicate sensibilities of women is not exactly a pose we’re told feminists of Fluke’s stripe support. Moreover, as Kirsten Powers notes in an excellent column, such deference to the fairer sex is not a standard liberals support when the woman in question is a conservative.

Update: For some reason the video I posted above has conked out. So here are some others easily found on YouTube.

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute and is a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, is on sale now.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Kat Timpf Chased Out of Brooklyn Bar

Fox News personality and National Review contributor Kat Timpf was forced to leave a bar in Brooklyn over the weekend after a woman she had never met became enraged upon learning she worked in conservative media. Timpf, who has twice previously been harassed while socializing in New York City, first described ... Read More
Film & TV

The Dan Crenshaw Moment

Given the spirit of our times, things could have gone so differently. On November 3, when Saturday Night Live comic Pete Davidson mocked Texas Republican Dan Crenshaw’s eye patch, saying he looked like a “hit man in a porno movie” — then adding, “I know he lost his eye in war or whatever” — it was a ... Read More
U.S.

The Present American Revolution

The revolution of 1776 sought to turn a colony of Great Britain into a new independent republic based on constitutionally protected freedom. It succeeded with the creation of the United States. The failed revolution of 1861, by a slave-owning South declaring its independence from the Union, sought to bifurcate ... Read More
Elections

Fire Brenda Snipes

Brenda Snipes, the supervisor of elections in Florida’s Broward County, does not deserve to be within a thousand miles of any election office anywhere in these United States. She should be fired at the earliest possible opportunity. Snipes has held her position since 2003, in which year her predecessor, ... Read More
Elections

Florida’s Shame, and Ours

Conspiracy theories are bad for civic life. So are conspiracies. I wonder if there is one mentally normal adult walking these fruited plains -- even the most craven, abject, brain-dead partisan Democrat -- who believes that what has been going on in Broward County, Fla., is anything other than a brazen ... Read More
World

How Immigration Changes Britain

Almost nothing is discussed as badly in America or Europe as the subject of immigration. And one reason is that it remains almost impossible to have any sensible or rational public discussion of its consequences. Or rather it is eminently possible to have a discussion about the upsides (“diversity,” talent, ... Read More