My memory was tripped by this Monday quote from Mark Steyn. Ordinarily you'd expect he'd be saying something about how the Muslims have taken Oberammergau, but on Monday, he decided to take a break, and instead defend the stalking of a 12-year-old boy and his family:
Michelle Malkin reports that the blogospheric lefties are all steamed about the wingnuts' Swiftboating of sick kids, etc.
Sorry, no sale. The Democrats chose to outsource their airtime to a Seventh Grader. If a political party is desperate enough to send a boy to do a man's job, then the boy is fair game. [Emphasis mine]
"Fair game." Now where had I heard that before?
Back in May, my friend and then-editor at Minnesota Monitor, Robin Marty, announced she was expecting a child. It was great news for Robin and her husband Steve, and obviously those of us who know them were happy for them.
Now, Robin was and is a longtime supporter of abortion rights. Something about women having the right to determine what happens in their own bodies. Anyhow, like many pro-choice women, Robin was still able to enjoy her pregnancy, knowing that even though it was early in her term, the fetus that she carried was going, eventually, to grow into her child.
This is, of course, something those of us who are pro-choice get. I knew that at one month, two months, even four months, my daughter really didn't exist yet. Had my ex-wife suffered a miscarriage, we would have been sad, of course, but I know in my bones that we would not grieve the way we would...well, let me put it this way. I can type "if my ex-wife suffered a miscarriage." I can't even bring myself to type out the hypothetical that would apply to my daughter now. The mere thought makes me sick to my stomach. If anything happened to my daughter, a part of me would die, forever. I would never be the same, and I would never want to be. Had my ex suffered a miscarriage? It would have been sad, and we would have grieved for the idea of the child we'd expected. And we would have tried again, and succeeded, eventually. And no part of me would be wounded long-term, no part of me dead. It would be a sad memory, but not the end of the world.
This is a roundabout way of saying that one can believe a fetus is not yet a person, and still be excited about pregnancy. And Robin was. So like any good blogger, she posted an image of the first ultrasound.
At this point, enter Tom Swift, crazy Minnesota blogger and erstwhile GOP candidate for school board in St. Paul. (I won't link to him, and if he finds his way back here, Melissa, terminate him with extreme prejudice.) He blogs under the name Swiftee, and he created an image to welcome Robin and Steve's child into the world:
You get it? Because Robin was pro-choice, she might decide to abort the child she wrote about, so let's get it some protection.
Disgusting doesn't even begin to touch it. The insinuation Swiftee makes is that Robin would want to harm her child, not just as a fetus, but once born, too. It's attacking Robin, using the image of her eventual child to do so.
That's not the interesting part of the story, though. Swiftee's image got those of us on the left seething, but we let it go, primarily because we don't want to give him the traffic. But that seething got back to local blogger Mitch Berg, who styles himself as a "reasonable conservative," someone who believes in hitting his opponents hard, but fairly. And Mitch's response to Swiftee was what I remembered:
Is Robin and Smarty’s baby “fair game” for satirists, given that
1. she put the ultrasound out on her public website, and
2. she and her colleagues from the “Minnesota Monitor” rentablog she “edits” have stumped for abortion on demand and partial birth abortion, and fumed and phumphered when the SCOTUS shot the procedure down?
Well, I’d say “I hope not” - but of course, in the world of internet “cartoonists”[...]pretty much everything is fair game. If there’s an unflattering or embarassing pic of yourself out there somewhere online, it’s going to pop up sooner or later, intended to dink at some belief of yours or another.
So - did Swiftee “cross a line” with his cartoon? What line? Where? In the coarse thrum of the political blogging interchange, I’m not sure there’s a line left anymore; any line one person draws is someone else’s sport to cross, and ones’ best bet is to strictly separate the personal and the public (as, indeed, I do). The one that civil people try to observe when dealing with one another…
Very Pilate-like, Mitch was. But it was that line -- "fair game" -- that caught my memory. Mitch styles himself as reasonable, but if you cross out the official hemming and hawing, Mitch's meaning is clear: heck yes, the child of Robin and Steve is fair game. If you can make a political point by attacking the Martys, then by all means, go for it.
What is happening to the Frosts is not unusual, and not unique. It happened to Melissa and Amanda when they had the temerity to be women with opinions who wanted to work in politics. It happened to John Murtha, who had the unmitigated gall to be an anti-war ex-Marine. It's happened over and over, and will happen over and over again.
Mitch was right: there is no line anymore, at least for the right. Everyone is "fair game." If they can advance a political point by attacking someone's child, they will do it. If they can take a political shot by staking out the home and business of an average American family that dares to have an opinion, they will do it. If they can attack a woman using her own ultrasound records for the sin of being both pro-choice and an excited expectant mother, they will do it.
They have no scruples, and they have no morals, and they have no point at which they say, "We may be crossing a line here." They want to destroy the left, full stop. And I fear that things will only spiral further before, as more wheels come off the right wing's trolley.