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.