Applause for the Daily Beast's Michelle Goldberg, whose recent non-offense committed against the woebegone "martyr" of Ann Romney earned the latter this thoughtful non-apology:
I’m truly sorry to have given the right a pretext for another tedious spasm of feigned outrage. I’m sorry to have stirred one of the teapot tempests that now dominate the increasingly dispiriting world of political journalism.
As a student of American political history, I am sensitive to the perspective that every era has come complete with a Glenn Beck, a Westbrook Pegler, or a James Callender. In that, every era has been "dispiriting" in its political journalism and commentary. But Goldberg is right to add "increasingly." When I unloaded on the Post's Jennifer Rubin this morning, it was as much a culmination of my swelling, amplifying fury at the right's generalized chronic madness--its Becks, its Krauthammers, its Limbaughs, its virtually Rubinesque everything--as it was any isolated fury at any particular Rubinism.
The right's singularly intelligent strategy is, I guess, to drive all of us as mad as the right is--to embroil us all in the right's juvenile distractions, its adolescent food fights, its infantile diversions from whatever is truly important. In time, or so the strategy goes, the civilized intelligentsia will walk away in resigned disgust, as will barely interested independent and moderate voters, leaving the political arena almost entirely to the right.
The trick to defeating such a diabolically ingenious strategy, I suppose, is to remain as calm as is psychiatrically possible and to just hang on a bit longer--within each and every day. For every day the right weakens a bit more, as its increasingly frantic volume would suggest. Because the right knows it's doomed--demographically, if in no other way. What we're presently suffering are its last, vile exhalations.
In future eras, perhaps we can get back to merely one or two Becks or Rubins at a time.