Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It Ain't Easy, Being Sleazy

Sojourners is an organization that unilaterally supports the agenda of the Democratic party. No reasonable person doubts this, but their acrobatic prevarications to the contrary are amusing to read.

No more so than when they actually catch someone who isn't paying attention, and actually takes the pseudo-centrist bait. In particular, they are often the victim of left wing critics who have not (and seldom do) any research.

The organization pretends to bemoan such criticism, knowing full well that their conceit relies upon it. This is how Jim Wallis gets (handsomely) paid.

His toady, Ryan Roderick Beiler, explains:

Every now and then someone to our right or left posts an article excoriating Sojourners or Jim Wallis for not being _____ enough,

Actually, Ryan, they just disagree with you on the issues. That is allowed, and even encouraged, in some circles. Also, a thesis statement really shouldn't feature blanks.

infuriated that we still claim to be _____ even though we’re really just _____.

Non-partisan. Partisan.

You may want to play along with this Mad Libs game at home.

Just did. That was very clever, the Mad Libs thing.

The comments on this blog often do,

Until the commenters are banned, if they are conservative.

filling in those blanks with terms like “conservative,” “liberal,” “evangelical,” “progressive,” “pro-life,” “pro-abortion,” “anti-abortion,” “pro-gay,” “anti-gay,” “radical socialist,” “closet conservative,” “Obama shill,” and “White House hijacker”

Well, the blog itself claims to be progressive... As to Obama shill, I'll say this. Would a forthright Obama shill, for example that poor retarded fellow who is forced to conduct press conferences on Obama's behalf, find any complaint with anything written in Sojourners magazine, or on the Sojourners blog?

respectively, depending on whether it’s the right or left wing that’s doing the flapping.

"Flapping" is a good word to use to discredit the arguments of those who disagree with you, without having to actually engage their viewpoint, which Sojourners never does, and of which Ryan is incapable.

While we don’t shy away from honest debate,

"Honest debate" is hyperlinked to a three year old exchange with Ralph Reed, conducted more than three years ago. Ralph. Reed. Three years ago.

we generally prefer not to respond to attacks that are unfair, inaccurate, or ad hominem.

Or respond to any criticism at all.

However, I’ve always had a tremendous desire to introduce our critics on the left to our critics on the right.

I think this is defining downward the concept of "tremendous desire", no?

I would love to be a fly on the wall as they debate which one of them is wrong about our position on hot button issues,

Alternately, you could spend more time articulating your position on those issues.

of which abortion is the easiest example: “He’s anti-choice!” “He’s certainly not pro-life!”

Let me explain what Ryan is doing here. He is using the presence of a debate about Sojourners' stand on an issue to imply that Sojo has not taken a stand. Misunderstandings aside, this question has a correct answer: Sojourners is a pro-choice organization, which simply chooses not to shed light on that fact, lest it be forthright, and lose delusional donors in the process.

Of course, they might just find common ground — that they both don’t like Sojourners or Jim Wallis.

Poor Jim Wallis. The people he criticizes don't like him, and neither do the people he pretends to criticize.

But at the risk of fanning the flames, I want to make at least one virtual introduction as an example: Adele Stan of Mother Jones, meet Keith Pavlischek of First Things:

From Stan’s “White House Religion Adviser Trying to Hijack Health Care For Anti-Choice Cause“:

Adele Stan accuses Jim Wallis of being opposed to legal abortion. Jim Wallis favors legal abortion. So Adele Stan is mistaken, though it's hard to blame him for being so since this Wallis has been so utterly dishonest about the issue. Which, given that rendering opaque the Sojo opinion on abortion is sort of the organization's bread and butter, I'm not sure if Ryan really wants to be "fanning the flames" here.

From Pavlischek’s “Back to Zero Cheers for Jim Wallis”:

Ryan ellipses and parentheses' Pavlischek to death, as follows:

[Wallis] has become little more than a flack for the Obama administration … Wallis has never really been serious on abortion … Wallis said that the abortion issue should not “doom the chances” of healthcare legislation … Back to zero cheers for Jim Wallis.

What Pavlischek actually said was that Wallis had earned one cheer for at least opposing the inclusion of abortion coverage in the health care reform bill, but that he lost that cheer for later arguing the inclusion of such language ought not to condemn the bill.

Also, since Wallis is so keen on "honest debate", I challenge him to debate one of the editors of "First Things". I mean, why be a fly on the wall when you can have a comfy chair at the table? No? Rather stick to panel shows and Ralph Reed? Okay, then.

So which is it? Are we hijacking Obama’s health-reform policy with our radical anti-abortion agenda?


Or are we uncritical lackeys of the Obama Administration that don’t really care about abortion?


Do we really get zero cheers? And multiple jeers?

Sounds fair.

Of course, this brings to mind the old joke that being a bridge builder means you get walked on from both sides.

Of course, in this case, all parties wind up in the Mississippi.

And though being beaten up by both sides doesn’t necessarily make you the happy medium,

Especially when there is nothing happy or medium about you.

there is something deeply gratifying about having the attacks of one set of critics offset by the arguments of their ideological counterparts.

Ryan and I have differing ideas as to what constitutes gratification. What is gratifying about being fundamentally misunderstood as to how you approach important issues? Expedient, surely, especially in this economy, but gratifying?

I suppose that’s the price for taking nuanced, common ground positions in a world of fundamentalists on both the left and the right.

No. It's what you get for being full of crap. You stink, no matter who's doing the smelling.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pavlischek responds at First Things:

10:22 AM  

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