Ed Whelan, a conservative writer for National Review Online and president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, is under fire for using a prostitute metaphor in making the case against Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan.
In a post on National Review's website on Friday, Whelan criticized Kagan for allowing military recruiters at Harvard Law School despite her opposition to the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.
If Kagan genuinely believed that the Don't Ask, Don't Tell law was "a profound wrong--a moral injustice of the first order," why would she make herself complicit in implementing the grave evil? Yes, of course, it's true, as the article points out, that "barring the recruiters would [have] come with a price." But, as George Bernard Shaw would have said to Kagan for selling out her supposedly deeply held principles, "We've already established what you are, ma'am. Now we're just haggling over the price."
On Sunday, Eric Burns, the president of the progressive watchdog group Media Matters for America, released a statement blasting Whelan. "It is disgusting, yet not surprising, that the conservatives' favorite judicial attack dog would stoop so low as to imply a woman is a prostitute merely because she didn't to allow her personal views to stand in the way of our military's recruiters," Burns said. "Conservatives should stand up to Whelan, demand he apologize, and refuse to parrot his imminent attacks against whoever the president nominates to the bench."
Following Media Matters' statement, Whelan updated his post with the following addition:
I see that some lefty bloggers...have taken, or feigned, offense at my use of the Bernard Shaw quip. Set aside the fact that the broader point of my post is that Kagan surely doesn't believe her own extremist rhetoric (not that she believes it but is willing to sell her principles away). The Bernard Shaw quip is widely used in political discourse...to criticize someone for selling out; it obviously doesn't carry (and in my case certainly wasn't intended to carry) the particular stigma that a narrowly literal understanding would convey.
Media Matters' response: "That's too little, too late."