There’s a YouTube clip getting big circulation now, in which Democratic strategist Paul Begala “Schools Meghan McCain.” When I saw that title, I had to shake my head and say, “Paul, why?” Just watch:
There are a few problems with this, but mainly, Begala takes the same bait that conservatives have with regard to Meghan. They engage her in the micro, as if she is (or claims to be) a policy expert, and miss her larger point. In the process, Begala just comes off as a bully. Yes, you are more learned than she is, but no, that doesn’t mean she has to STFU.
In fact, Begala’s response is an excellent crystallization of the partisan divide in this country. Meghan makes the point that Barack Obama blames Bush for a lot of this mess. (I think she overstates it, but she did say “…to some degree.”) Begala’s response is, “Well, your guy did it more.” This is the predictable course of most political debate in this country.
When I wrote about that Playboy article, people on the left pointed out instances of conservative misogyny, as if that made it OK. We have to stop letting our rivals set our own boundaries.
I happen to agree with Begala, Barack Obama has been handed a monumental mess, and he really only ever points that out when the people who made the mess try to get schoolly with him. That’s what my response would have been, not “Hey, I wasn’t born during the Mesozoic Era, but I still know what a stegosaurus ate for brunch.”
Meghan McCain is trying to meet the Democrats halfway, and taking shit from her side in the process. She shouldn’t have to take shit from both sides. Where’s the healing in that?