Start Off Your Day With A Pointless Argument

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Sept. 21 2010 9:21 AM

Start Off Your Day With A Pointless Argument

National Review's Stephen Spruiell responds to my point that his article on the electability of Christine O'Donnell undersold Chris Coons, the Democrat who's suddenly ahead in the race for Delaware's Senate seat.

Weigel has a point. This could describe Scott Brown, if Brown hadbeen, in all of the other ways I describe in my piece, a down-the-lineparty man the way Coons is. But Brown ran as a moderate on issues suchas same-sex marriage and abortion, and it was clear from the beginninghe was no Tom Coburn, not even a Mitch McConnell. In other words, it could describe Scott Brown — if Scott Brown weren’t Scott Brown.

Look, I’m plenty familiar with this phenomenon. It’s called"aggressively missing someone else’s point in the service of sayingsomething superficially insightful," and it is a hazard of blogging,which sometimes involves writing a post just because it’s been awhile,even if you don’t have anything interesting to say.
Advertisement

This is a strange argument to make in defense of an argument intended to stretch a listicle from 4 items to 5 items, but whatever. Spruiell makes a new argument to defend the old one. He says that "Brown ran as a moderate on issues such as same-sex marriage andabortion, and it was clear from the beginning he was no Tom Coburn, noteven a Mitch McConnell." I'm not sure what campaign he was watching. The point of Brown's campaign was that that he supported civil unions, but that he would be a reliable vote for Mitch McConnell, blocking the Democratic agenda on health care and other issues. And the point I was making was that Brown, like Coons, was a good soldier, who got into the race when the top talent passed. He was raising real money (almost $1 million by the primary) and the party hoped at best for a miracle upset and at worst for a strong showing that would give Coons momentum for another statewide run. It was the exact same situation as Brown's, which leaves us wondering what Spruiell's point was. That Coons said he'd mostly support Democrats while Brown said he'd mostly oppose them? That's a great story!

Only Harry Reid can say why he decided to welcome Coons into the race by lobbing the "my pet" grenade into his lap. But it's telling that the first Delaware voters will hear of that comment is a $250,000 ad buy by Jim DeMint's committee. The "creation of the party bosses" story doesn't go one way.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

TODAY IN SLATE

The Juice

Ford’s Big Gamble

It’s completely transforming America’s best-selling vehicle.

Should the United States Grant Asylum to Victims of Domestic Violence?

The Apple Watch Will Make Everyone Around You Just a Little Worse Off

This Was the First Object Ever Designed

Don’t Expect Adrian Peterson to Go to Prison

In much of America, beating your kids is perfectly legal. 

Moneybox

How the Apple Watch Will Annoy Us

A glowing screen attached to someone else’s wrist is shinier than all but the blingiest jewels.

Music

A Little Bit Softer Now, a Little Bit Softer Now …

The sad, gradual decline of the fade-out in popular music.

Is Everyone Going to Declare Independence if Scotland Does It? 

I Tried to Write an Honest Profile of One of Bollywood’s Biggest Stars. It Didn’t Go Well.

Trending News Channel
Sept. 12 2014 11:26 AM Identical Twins Aren’t Really Identical
  News & Politics
Jurisprudence
Sept. 14 2014 2:37 PM When Abuse Is Not Abuse Don’t expect Adrian Peterson to go to prison. In much of America, beating your kids is perfectly legal. 
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 12 2014 5:54 PM Olive Garden Has Been Committing a Culinary Crime Against Humanity
  Life
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 13 2014 8:38 AM “You’re More Than Just a Number” Goucher College goes transcript-free in admissions.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 12 2014 4:05 PM Life as an NFL Wife: “He's the Star. Keep Him Happy.”
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 12 2014 5:55 PM “Do You Know What Porn Is?” Conversations with Dahlia Lithwick’s 11-year-old son.
  Arts
Music
Sept. 14 2014 11:44 PM A Little Bit Softer Now, a Little Bit Softer Now … The sad, gradual decline of the fade-out in popular music.
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 12 2014 3:53 PM We Need to Pass Legislation on Artificial Intelligence Early and Often
  Health & Science
New Scientist
Sept. 14 2014 8:38 AM Scientific Misconduct Should Be a Crime It’s as bad as fraud or theft, only potentially more dangerous.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 12 2014 4:36 PM “There’s No Tolerance for That” Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh say they don’t abide domestic abuse. So why do the Seahawks and 49ers have a combined six players accused of violence against women?