A time-honored parlor game for political pundits is to expose the glaring hypocrisies of their opponents with pithy zingers, a tradition that has flourished in the 140-character universe of Twitter. The boilerplate is something like this: Party A is demanding X, but when the issue is Y, Party A demands the opposite! A liberal-friendly example:
GOP says mental health care not gun safety will prevent deaths. So why are they are turning down Medicaid expansion? eclectablog.com/2013/01/what-y…— LOLGOP (@LOLGOP) January 20, 2013
And a conservative one, referring to President Obama's inaugural address:
"We cannot treat name-calling as reasoned debate." But we can treat it as good, old-fashioned fun, right? Romnesia!— Timothy P Carney (@TPCarney) January 22, 2013
These devastating juxtapositions have not, of course, led either side to reexamine its positions or forge a more conciliatory path forward. However, they at least possess the virtue of making a modicum of sense. It's hard to say the same of a recent attempt in the genre by Tucker Carlson, the editor-in-chief of the conservative Daily Caller. In response to the news that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta would lift a ban on women in combat, a subject upon which people can reasonably disagree, Carlson fired off this tweet:
The administration boasts about sending women to the front lines on the same day Democrats push the ViolenceAgainst Women Act.— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) January 24, 2013
Critics, of course, pounced. Some have lectured Carlson as if he were a child…
@tuckercarlson hey Tucker, fighting for your country is not the same as being beaten by your boyfriend or husband. Sad you don't get that.— Copperbird (@copperbird7) January 24, 2013
…questioned his manhood...
…and attacked his sartorial pretensions.
@copperbird7 The bow tie cut off his supply of oxygen, it would seem...— Caris Severn (@CarisSevern) January 24, 2013
Jonathan Chait at New York compared Carlson's powers of analogy to those of Lindsay Bluth, not exactly the brightest member of the Bluth family in Arrested Deveopment:
This is a Lindsay Bluth–level retort. ("You know, we're not the only ones destroying trees. What about beavers? You call yourself an environmentalist, why don't you go club a few beavers?") Serving on combat is a choice citizens make, accepting risk in order to serve their country. [New York]
And Comedy Central's Indecision blog fears what else may be on Carlson's mind:
Thank goodness for Twitter's character limit or all of Carlson's comments would end with "and what are we going to do when their menstruation attracts bears??" [Comedy Central]
There's plenty more — even from Carlson, who is pretty clearly in no mood to back down. Here's his follow-up:
Feminism's latest victory: the right to get your limbs blown off in war. Congratulations.— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) January 24, 2013
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