Comments Dave Weigel made on a listserv have been made public. The most eye-catching one:
This would be a vastly better world to live in if Matt Drudge decided to handle his emotional problems more responsibly, and set himself on fire.
The buzz on Twitter and the blogs this morning is that this just goes to show that Weigel holds conservatives in contempt and having him cover the movement for a major newspaper is journalistic malpractice. But, frankly, his feelings toward social conservatives and Tea Partiers were hardly a state secret before now. No one who read Dave at Reason, The Washington Independent, or his Twitter feed is shocked.
Do I think someone more sympathetic to the movement would be a better fit for the beat? I do. It would be more insightful to get a broad spectrum view of a Tea Party rally, say, than a series of posts making fun of the looniest members of the crowd.
There are a couple of real stories that are being missed in all the coverage of Dave and his various remarks that range from stupid to snarky to sensible, but in some cases badly stated, but the big one is this: The Left, whether as an army or an army of one, has a problem with Dave, and a big one at that.
A lot of leaking has been done with the clear objective (I believe) of ruining Dave's career, and forcing his ouster by the Washington Post. I suspect it is happening because dave committed the cardinal sin of defending Rand Paul, a figure who has become so reviled by many on the Left that it's hard to draw a bright-line distinction between him and Saddam Hussein, by their standards (in fact, for some of them, I believe Saddam Hussein is held in less contempt). That's a bad place for Dave to be, but he got there because he had the courage of his convictions and defending a man who many on the Right consider almost indefensible-- and he did it at the Washington Post, not Reason Magazine.
The follow-on from that is that there are conservatives who are equally determined to shut Dave down because (pick your reason) a) he disagrees with them on gay marriage and other social issues b) he is friends with liberals c) he sees a lot of snake-oil salesmen involved in conservative politics and thinks they stink d) he's been prepared to report on some aspects of the conservative "movement" that occasionally appear more akin to a racket than an outgrowth of deeply-held philosophical conviction, and depict them as such and/or e) they would infinitely prefer for the Washington Post to host Ezra Klein and Greg Sargent, but no one who is even several houses away from a conservative, because it aids and abets their ability to wage a cultural war in which the media, and media bias, is target #1.
The Dish has long seen Dave Weigel as one of the brightest stars in the next generation of journalists. He deserves to prosper. But he needs to get off that listserv.