a blog by josef johann

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Erick Erickson has been deservedly knocked around for his early defense of Sanford. What he wrote:

First, we need to be clear on the facts — not the media speculation:

    * Sanford did tell his staff and family where he was going.
    * Because he was traveling without a security detail, it was in his best interests that no one knew he was gone.
    * His political enemies — Republicans at that — ginned up the media story.
    * When confronted by a pestering media, things went downhill.
    * Again though, at all times there was no doubt that Sanford’s staff and family knew where he was.

Now, here is all you need to know about this whole entire story — the reaction from the erstwhile Republicans angry at Sanford for not being a fiscal squish and from the media all go back to their core belief that without Sanford manning the barricades of government at all times, the government will collapse and people will starve, die, and forget how to read and write.

That’s it.

But that did not happen. Life in South Carolina went on. The world did not end. Government did not go off the rails. That the media and politicians would react as they did says more about their world view than anything else.

It is refreshing that Mark Sanford is secure enough in himself and the people of South Carolina that he does not view himself as an indispensable man.

"The world did not end," a defense not unlike nine year old who, upon vaulting themselves off the swing set and over a chain link fence, triumphantly reports that they didn't in fact get hurt. Such a narrow objection says more about the absent perspective.

But Erick Erickson was not (merely) wrong on the narrow facts, which would be unremarkable enough. He was, beyond this, putting the whole cognitive dissonance schematic on display. It's literally a case where circumstance (fortune?) has skimmed off the pretense of factuality but left the coping mechanism.

I glean from this model that the "real" controversy is always the politically motivated rivals who can't get over how great a conservative (insert Republican) is. The controversy additionally reveals some compromising "core belief" belonging to their opponents and its Erick Erickson's job as a blogger set things straight by plumbing the depths of the liberal psyche for these kernels of compromising wisdom.

Critics of Republicans are never merely in need of correction, their context is never in need of adjustment: to make things level, the appetite demands a counter-claim equaling the stature of the original controversy. And so, the very presence of suspicion against a Republican must be symptomatic of a base philosophical defect "proving" the critic out of his depth, or worse.

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