Radical feminist writer Kate Harding and soi-disant conservative Peggy Noonan have a lot in common, including some fundamental values. For one thing, neither believes that partial birth abortion—a euphemism for infanticide—is that big of a deal. Both say that they’d rather see Doug Jones, who openly supports it, than Roy Moore, who staunchly opposes it, become the next senator from Alabama.
Both rationalize their positions in terms of ends and means. For Noonan, if the means to eliminating partial birth abortion, which she acknowledges is “barbaric” even by louche European standards, is supporting a man who is facing unsubstantiated and unverifiable allegations of 40-year-old sexual misconduct, then it’s right go on killing fetuses.
What seems to bother Noonan the most is that by supporting the pro-life candidate, Alabamians would seem to be confirming Hollywood’s portrayal of them as “witless and brutish.” They would reinforce every stereotype Hollywood has about them, and we can’t have that, can we?
For her part, Harding justifies the feminists’ continued support of Minnesota Democrat Al Franken on the basis that “if the short-term ‘right thing’ [ousting a proven sex abuser from the Senate] leads to long-term political catastrophe for American women [taking away the right to partial-birth abortion], I think we need to reconsider our definition of the right thing.” In this case, the end not only justifies the means, it makes the means the right thing to do.
Each woman tries to bolster her position with rationalizations that fall flat. For Noonan that means declaring that the Washington Post’s coverage of the allegations against Moore is “rigorously reported.” Problem is, the Post threw out rigorous reporting when it became clear that Donald Trump might win the presidency. It did so because it believed that this was the right thing to do. That’s how progressives think. Their goals are, by definition, “the right thing.”
Noonan is not a critical thinker, and rigorous analysis has never been her strength. The Post reported that a troubled young woman, 28-year-old Tina Johnson, whose marriage was falling apart and who found herself incapable of caring for her 12-year-old son, came to Roy Moore’s office in 1991 to sign over custody of her child to her mother. Nearly 30 years later, Johnson charges that, as mother and daughter were walking out the office door, Moore “molested her.” What kind of molestation can occur when a woman’s half out the door and her mother is right in front of her?
Whatever it was, Johnson said not a word then or later. Not so much as a “Hey mom, you’ll never guess what just happened!”
For Noonan, this was determinative of the truth of Tina Johnson’s allegation against Moore. “That is a tell, that she didn’t tell her mother. They almost never tell the mother.” Not even if your mom’s so close to you that she’s agreed to take your kid off your hands because you won’t raise him yourself? But then if Johnson had told her mother, that obviously also would have been “a tell.” If you’re determined to convict a guy, logic isn’t a particularly useful tool.
The feminist Harding, too, feels the need to bolster her position that Democrats should not turn on Al Franken, notwithstanding the credible and photographic evidence of his sexual abuse of a woman. It would be different if a Democratic official were “credibly accused of a violent abuse.” Remember when microaggressions were enough? Oh, but those were only ever enough to convict suspected Republicans.
Alternatively, one might withdraw support from a Democrat abuser who’s been shown to be a “serial predator.” This raises a question of the sort posed by the sorites paradox. How many abuse allegations does it take for a Democrat to become a serial abuser? If Bill Clinton’s a precedent, it might be too many to count. But if you’re determined not to convict a guy, the bar can be raised so that it’s never reached.
Not so long ago, I wrote an article in which I called the Peggy Noonan-type of conservatives “Pussycons.” Over the years, the Pussycons have supported candidates who were “safe” rather than those who could win, where “safe” meant acceptable to polite society. At the least sign of media disapprobation, the Pussycons’ support would evaporate, and they’d turn on you. Better to lose elections than the golden opinions bought from the opinion makers.
Just observe Mitch McConnell, his wattles all aquiver, pronouncing Roy Moore guilty before he even knew what the charges were. See, he is saying to the Left, I hate the Southerner even more than you do, and I’ll convict him faster and with less evidence.
Or Peggy Noonan who, having received a Pulitzer for sharing her innermost feelings of fear and trembling about the meaning of Donald Trump and the future of the Republican Party, seeks to reassure the opinion makers who gave them to her that she’s still with them. “A thing about predators, from the men of the Catholic Church sex scandals to the man cruising the mall, is that they never prey on the protected.” See, she is saying, I’m willing not only to throw the evangelical Christian under the bus, I’ll give you the Catholic priesthood as well.
Pussycons are without courage, integrity, or self-awareness, and in this they are very like the radical Left they pretend to oppose. There is a difference between them, however. Unlike the radical Left, the Pussycons are willing to soil their own bed.