New York

Rightbloggers Tell Liberals To Shut Their Whore Mouths About Godly Mike Pence

by

Politics offers its own amusements, but where our bucket-footed rightbloggers really shine is in that circus arena called culture war. Culture war usually consists of conservatives expressing some bizarre belief related to lifestyle or the arts — that liberals are trying to wipe out Christmas, for example, or that Prince was right-wing and Law & Order left-wing, or that you can fight homosexuality by eating fast food  — and then, when people give them the Springtime for Hitler stare, insisting that they’re not the freaks, you’re the freaks.

Last week they went straight to the you’re-the-freaks part of the process when, in the course of a long article on Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, the Washington Post cited a 2002 story from the Hill claiming that Pence “never eats alone with a woman other than his wife and that he won’t attend events featuring alcohol without her by his side, either.”

This excited some derision and, since the one thing conservatives hate more than safety nets and civil rights is mockery, the brethren rushed not only to defend Pence but also to suggest that people who allowed their spouses to dine alone with members of the opposite sex were depraved libertines.

Pence’s self-segregation was especially piquant to snotty liberals, as he is consistently retrograde on women’s rights issues and frequently front and center in those unfortunate photos of White Wingnut Males that look like a guerrilla marketing campaign for The Handmaid’s Tale.

Making the subject more irresistible were conservative men declaring they were even less inclined than Pence to interact with women who were not their wives.

“Yes I’m a straight, normal, married man so I don’t go out making friends with women, nor do I have any desire to,” fundamentalist blogger Matt Walsh tweeted, as well as, “Seriously what’s the appropriate reason for a married person to go out for a meal alone with a member of the other sex (outside of family)?”

Planning your spouse’s surprise party or funeral and that is it,” agreed erstwhile CNN commentator Erick Erickson, who also tweeted, “If I read twitter right, liberals want the govt out of all our bedrooms, but they want to be in @VP’s bedroom observing,” and, “To recap the week, a bunch of adulterers and unmarried liberals are all upset that Mike Pence and his wife are happily married.”

After that, the jokesmiths really went to town. Some just retweeted the why-would-I-be-friends-with-an-icky-girl guys with a brief eye roll. Others retweeted egregious male self-owns on the subject (Dummy to Clara Jeffrey: “What sort of bosses have you had that required you to dine with them alone?” Clara Jeffrey: “I am the boss”) or drily apposite out-of-context tweets; even the Onion got in on it (“Mike Pence Asks Waiter To Remove Mrs. Butterworth From Table Until Wife Arrives”), proving that the damned liberals have the culture racket sewn up.

Seeking balm for their butthurt, the brethren found it necessary to create a counter-narrative: that a godly-good marriage is only possible when the sexes are strictly segregated at feeding times, and liberals were driven to belittle the vice president because godly-good marriage burns their butts like a sitz bath of holy water.

“ ‘The View’ Slams Vice President Pence’s Respect for His Marriage,” headlined the Washington Free Beacon. “Shorter [Clara] Jeffrey: How dare Mike Pence honor his marriage and honor his wife,” sniffed Patterico’s Pontifications.

Hugh Hewitt was not surprised that “the Left” would “find the efforts of a man to remain faithful to his wife and sober worthy of such derision and ridicule,” because whattaya expect: “Those of us on this side of the aisle are not shocked or amazed at how the Left chooses to conduct themselves in such areas of their lives. How could we be? Their behavior is forced into our homes in even the seemingly most innocent of entertainment.” (I assume he’s talking about The Big Bang Theory, since it involves scientists and sex jokes.)

Hewitt gets bonus points for saying he thought about mocking the mockers back but couldn’t think of any zingers — I mean, was too much of a good Christian.

“When I beg[a]n to collect material for this post my intention was to ridicule the Left in response to the ridicule I have watched a very honorable man suffer under for the last few days,” throbbed Hewitt from the pulpit. But “the more I researched and thought, the more I wanted to weep. I am so sad for people that struggle so hard to fight against something better. I can’t bring myself to ridicule them, I just want to love them into something better.” One thinks of Milo O’Shea putting Jane Fonda into the orgasmatron.

“Don’t Mock Mike Pence For Protecting His Marriage, Commend Him,” ordered Mollie Hemingway at the Federalist. Claiming liberals called Pence a “monster” for “not boozing it up at parties unless his wife is around,” she explained her and her husband’s “rules for engagement” — Hemingway’s way of referring to conversations with members of the opposite sex.

For one thing, said Hemingway, “my husband likes to tell people he’s married early on after meeting them. I do the same,” because wedding rings aren’t that much of a tell. Also, Hemingway said, “we make sure that we’re serving each other regularly, if you know what I mean and I think you do. (I’m talking about knocking boots.)” See, conservatives have sex, too; you may not have known that because they refer to it exclusively in antique slang.

Some right-wing big brains attacked the mockers in tweetstorms. Damon Linker of the Week characterized the jokes as a “surprisingly intense controversy” and attempted to kill the fun with anthropological analysis.

“For Pence, I surmise, human beings are fallen, prone to temptation and sin, in a state of moral degradation,” said Linker. Liberals, on the other hand, are “Kantian,” and thus find “no reason not to immerse ourselves in sexualized culture, have (married) men & women work tog in all settings (din w alcohol).” Dinner and drinks in mixed company is part of our “sexualized culture,” I guess, like nudity on Game of Thrones or Fisting Fridays at Red Lobster.

Linker didn’t buy that liberals’ “anger” and “partisan rancor” over Pence had anything to do with the professional disadvantage at which gender segregation puts women; rather, he judged, it was because “secular libs intuitively understand their Kantian outlook is being challenged by Pence’s behavior. And there is considerable, obvious evidence on Pence’s side. From T Kennedy @ Chappaquiddick, B Clinton & the blue dress to campus sexual assault, not to mention behavior outside modern West . . .”

I’m not kidding, he connected dinner with friends of the opposite sex to Chappaquiddick. Well, his name is Linker!

Another tweetstorm by the New York Times’ Ross Douthat suggested that liberals were hypocritical to laugh at Pence because they, too, believe in marriage and are therefore really conservative.

“I think a lot of liberal married UHBs are a little closer to the Pence approach than they might admit,” said Douthat. (UHB means “urban haute bourgeoisie,” a term from Metropolitan by Whit Stillman, a filmmaker whose work is a signaling device among the tony Catholic wing nuts who think Paul Ryan and G.K. Chesterton have something in common.)

That liberals don’t have obvious Pence-style rules, said Douthat, just means they have “hidden rules that aren’t absolute but do bind,” and that “may be one of the many cases where what works well for highly-educated ppl trained in impulse control w/much to lose . . . might not work as well as, ahem, a universal approach.” This seems to refer to the Charles Murray Fishtown/Belmont theory, popular among Douthat’s sort, that liberals have conservative beliefs (e.g., marriage) that they refuse to share with the poors out of spite and socialism.

By Sunday, Mike Pence had shown himself smarter than any rightblogger by making a joke about the jokes about himself. This the brethren declared a decisive victory over liberal sluts with Soviet-style celebratory headlines: “Mike Pence hilariously trolls liberals & the media with quip about his wife’s dinner plans,” force-laughed Glenn Beck’s the Blaze; “Pence’s Wisecrack About His Wife Proves He Owns the Narrative After Days of Media Scrutiny,” reported Independent Journal Review.

And so this culture war skirmish ended its useful news cycle. I suspect that, all in all, it’s been a great relief for rightbloggers. They love to defend Christianity, or at least the conservative Christianity that’s light on love thy neighbor and heavy on hellfire; but the boorishly materialistic nature of the current administration, lean as it has been on invocations of the Almighty or even simple morality, hasn’t given them much opportunity to do so before now. Maybe if Republicans need a fundie vote jolt in 2018, they can get Pence to leak some other Christer weirdness — that he keeps named fetal children in jars, for example — to draw some sacrilegious snickers and get the brethren righteously indignant again.