When news breaks that calls into question some liberal or left-wing belief or assertion, the right-wing/libertarian sector of the blogosphere is all over it. Generally, the liberals and lefties have less relish for such stories and if they cover them they tend to minimize or debunk them as best they can, occasionally conceding one if they are not utterly partisan or believe it will give them more credibility in the future.
Similarly, when the Trent Lott “nostalgia for segregation” story broke and was kept alive in the blogosphere until finally catching on in a big way, many of the better right-wing / libertarian bloggers (I call them Heinleiners) took Trent to task. Of course, no one liked Trent and he didn’t take down a whole powerbase with him, and he was old-South racist-style conservatism embodied and new-business libertarian-style conservatives probably didn’t mind sticking a fork in him.
Now the Plame Affair has caught fire after the story was first broken by David Corn in the Nation, its embers fanned by – once again – Joshua Micah Marshall, among others, and strangely, the Heinleiners in the blogosphere find it all “too complicated” to comment on just yet.
Now, if you’ve ever seen these guys go after a nuanced liberal argument like a pack of raging pitbulls, you may find this strange diffidence hard to understand, or to stomach.
For example, CalPundit is losing his patience:
The Valerie Plame story is “too complicated” for Glenn Reynolds to understand? Give me a break.
My take on it is that “too complicated” signals “I don’t know how this one is going to shake out and I don’t want to go on the record yet with any of a number of plausible defenses in case I’ll be undermined in the next 24-hour newscycles.”
A shorter version of my translation of “too complicated” is “no have talking points” (yet), or “talking points keep changing.”
It will be interesting to see how this story is covered by political webloggers as it unfolds further. With legal (5-year prison terms for violators of the laws in question) and national-security ramifications (the alleged risking of the sources and methods of an undercover CIA agent in the context of tracking down loose weapons of mass destruction), as well as the targeted leak to the Washington Post that invigorated this new round of questions, I don’t see how the story is going away without some blood on the floor.
Let’s close this little update with some moral clarity (via Talking Points Memo) to help the people who find this all “too complicated” to comment on:
Even though I’m a tranquil guy now at this stage of my life, I have nothing but contempt and anger for those who betray the trust by exposing the name of our sources. They are, in my view, the most insidious, of traitors.