Plumb Lines

March 11, 2009

Chas Freeman and Social Conservatives

Filed under: Uncategorized — Matthew Schmitz @ 3:19 pm

Chas Freeman’s withdrawal from consideration for a top intelligence post offers a compelling example of how a nominee with unpopular views can be stopped through grass-roots support that eventually builds into mainstream consensus. As such, it offers a striking contrast with the failure of social conservatives to stop, or even slow, the nomination of pornography extremist David Ogden. Ogden’s views on pornography are at least as far outside the mainstream as are Freeman’s foreign policy views. In Knox v. United States, Ogden argued that:

videos titled, “Little Girl Bottoms (Underside)” and “Little Blondes”: Ogden argued that the videos weren’t child porn unless “the genitals or pubic area exhibited” were “somewhat visible or discernible through the child’s clothing.”

Like Freeman, Ogden was nominated to a post ill-suited to his fringe views. As deputy attorney general, Ogden is now responsible for overseeing the same pornography prosecutions that he has spent a large part of his career fighting. Despite the fact that supporting child sexual exploitation is, in my opinion, just a little worse than dissenting from pro-Israel orthodoxy, Ogden received his position while Freeman sits out  in the cold. Why? One reason, I suspect, is that many Americans, particularly Jews and evangelical Christians, care more about Israel and the middle east than social conservatives do about pornography. Nonetheless, it is disappointing that on one issue where there was the possibility of a real bipartisan consensus encompassing social conservatives, feminists, and most of the rest of America, no one payed any attention. ‘Freeman’ may not make as compelling a verb as ‘bork‘  (maybe we should try ‘chaz’?), but if social conservatives cannot replicate the opposition thats successfully took down a fringe figure like Freeman, they are going to enjoy very few successes indeed.

-Matthew Schmitz

Advertisements

2 Comments »

  1. “Like Freeman, Ogden was nominated to a post ill-suited to his fringe views.”

    I had my own problems with Freeman’s nomination, but he is, by all accounts, an honorable man and a distinguished civil servant. I have no problems with grassroots activism, but suggesting Freeman’s views on foreign policy are somehow akin to an extremist defense of child pornography is a bit much.

    Comment by Will — March 12, 2009 @ 10:29 am

  2. Will, I think you’re quite right to make this point, and perhaps it should have been clearer in my post. However, I did make the litotic suggestion that “supporting child sexual exploitation is, in my opinion, just a little worse than dissenting from pro-Israel orthodoxy.”

    Comment by Matthew Schmitz — March 12, 2009 @ 10:34 am


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: