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September 17, 2004

And now, a contrary opinion

I am, as I describe myself in my admittedly brief profile, a libertarian... small L, if you please. As economic freedom is more important to me than social freedom, I tend to prefer Republicans to Democrats. (As to why I value economic freedom more highly, it's because I to see progress towards social freedom as an inexorable process. Slavery ended. Miscenegation is commonplace. Gay marriage is an inevitability. Even the War on Drugs will someday pass. The most fearsome social conservative can do nothing but perhaps delay progress a little bit. On the other hand, an economic liberal can impose government programs that will never die. But I digress.)

On top of that, I differ with many of my fellow libertarians in favoring a muscular foreign policy. Call me a neolibertarian if you want, I think that we're better off when the United States is the biggest, baddest, meanest dog on this rock, and I think Pax Americana has been and will continue to be just wonderful for the world.

But in spite of all this, I am not a Republican, and so in the spirit of bipartisanship I will take this opportunity to respectfully disagree with my fellow Bush-loving bloggers.

This is over the critically important issue of three-year-old Sophia Parlock, left weeping on her daddy's shoulders as a big, mean, union Democrat shredded her precious Bush-Cheney sign.

The howls of outrage ripple across the blogosphere. It hasn't made quite as big a splash as Rathergate, nor will it, but it's there nonetheless. Blogs for Bush darkly condemns the "Thugs for Kerry." Blogs of War (great name, by the way) demands to know the identity of the guffawing bully. Right Wing News asks, "What is wrong with these people?" The always-worthwhile Lorie at PoliPundit passes along the link with a simple yet eloquent comment. And Captain Ed joins the dogpile, with an addendum condemning the father. And that last is what this is should be about.

My friends, I say unto you: get a grip.

This was a stunt, and a particularly cheap one at that. Phil Parlock took his cute little daughter into the lion's den, knowing full well what was likely to happen. He stuck a big, fat, juicy worm on a hook and dangled it enticingly, and inevitably some guy with more passion than brains took the bait. For his trouble, Phil gets a perfect set of Associated Press photos, some momentary fame, and a nice diversion from a similar stunt pulled at a Laura Bush appearance earlier. The stunt worked. But the stunt was cheap.

Can any of you say with any degree of confidence that a cute little girl on her daddy's shoulders waving a Kedwards sign at a Bush rally wouldn't have gotten a similar reception? People who go to political rallies are partisans, and partisans are excitable, and waving the opponent's sign in their faces is like waving a flag at a bull.

In fact, given that excitability, Parlock took a not insubstantial risk with his daughter's health. Had one of the Democrats who'd turned out to greet Edwards lost his senses long enough to do something unthinkable, the stunt would have been even more effective, although at a possibly grievous price.

We can take these pictures now and pass them around, and use them to provoke outrage, hurting the Kerry campaign and helping Bush by proxy. But if we do, man oh man will I need a long bath afterwards.

September 17, 2004 in Election '04 | Permalink

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» Freedom Of Speech, Not For The Democrats from Diggers Realm
First the Democrats punch a Bush supporter and now we once again have Democrats showing their true thoughts on free speech. Yahoo/AP Three-year-old Sophia Parlock cries while seated on the shoulders of her father, Phil Parlock, after having their Bush-... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 17, 2004 2:22:45 AM

» Washington Times Picks Up Democrat Sign Ripping Story from Diggers Realm
The Washington Times has picked up the story of little 3 year old Sophia Parlock. Sophia was photographed crying after a Labor Union Democrat Supporter tore the sign from her hand and ripped it up. The blogosphere exploded with this... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 17, 2004 6:08:41 AM

» Behaving Badly from In Search of Utopia
By now the picture of the crying little girl has made it through the blogsphere. Digger posts a nice little piece about it, and the following Bloggers have all done something similar. | Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler | Wizbang! | Blogs... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 19, 2004 11:48:12 AM

Comments

http://rising-hegemon.blogspot.com/2004/09/bogus-assault-father-freeper-of-year.html

Appears that not only was the cute little girl a juicy worm, but the bass was her brother.

Posted by: sally | Sep 17, 2004 12:26:24 PM

Actually, no he wasn't.

Posted by: Voice of Reason | Sep 17, 2004 12:42:25 PM

After calming down, I had to concede many of the very points this post makes myself, especially regarding the wisdom of him taking her there in the first place.

On the other hand, I will say that based on my own experience and observation, the claim that if he had been a Kerry fan at a Bush rally, things would have happened the same, is not necessarily true. I actually have seen a dichotomy in the way the two sides react, up close and personal.

Furthermore, it's not the incident itself that troubles me so much as the fact that it's not that uncommon anymore. Another brick in the wall, so to speak. I've plenty more to say on my own blog.

Posted by: Brian B | Sep 17, 2004 6:16:05 PM

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