Five Best Tuesday Columns
Ana Marie Cox on Breitbart California's sexist ads, Eugene Robinson on the correct response to the CIA's torture report, Simon Doonan on the persistent 'Normcore' trend, Farah Stockman makes the case for moderate politics, Jonathan Bernstein says there is no Republican civil war.
Ana Marie Cox at the Guardian on Breitbart California’s sexist ads. “Republicans have finally found an edgy and provocative voice in an outsider artist who goes by the name Sabo. His art is also unrepentantly racist, misogynistic and homophobic. We talk about a Republican "war on women", and the GOP has floundered in its response,” Cox writes. “Sabo's art makes the assertion that women aren't people, and Breitbart passed along that assertion. Sabo's iconography may be draw from [Miley] Cyrus, but to put a woman who didn't choose to pose that way into that position is a form of virtual sexual assault. This is very much like when Hustler decided to demean columnist SE Cupp in an even more vulgar form. Conservatives were justifiably aghast.”
Eugene Robinson at The Washington Post on the correct response to the CIA's torture report. “Torture is immoral, illegal and irreconcilable with this nation’s most cherished values. If defenders of the CIA’s 'enhanced interrogation' program disagree, they should come out and say so. Instead, they blow smoke. Sexist smoke, at that: Former CIA director Michael Hayden said Sunday that Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) is being “emotional” rather than 'objective',” Robinson writes. “The reason to fully examine the CIA’s torture program isn’t that it was ineffective. It’s that it was immoral. The report is written. Only when Feinstein — in her cool and unemotional way — gets to share it with the nation can we begin to put this most hideous of episodes behind us.” Oodle’s Lauren McGregor tweets, “The #CIA torture report: I'm outraged. Torture is immoral, illegal, & irreconcilable with this nation’s values”.
Simon Doonan at Slate on the persistent ‘Normcore’ trend. “The normcore look is a knowing piss-take of the heterosexual male’s desperate desire to be sartorially unremarkable. Normcore is not brave or butch or swagger-y. Normcore is about dressing like a mild-mannered mental patient or a bewildered Icelandic exchange student circa 1984,” Doonan writes. “When dealing with a suspected normcorer, it is important to realize that many of these men often resemble depressed ’80s perverts. We are talking socks with sandals. This does not mean that they are, in fact, depressed ’80s perverts. Please try to avoid making any libelous insinuations.” Laura Helmuth at Slate tweets, “Normcore appears good-natured, but it can be deadly and venomous. And it gives @simondoonan conniptions.”
Farah Stockman at The Boston Globe makes the case for moderate politics. “That’s the irony of “identity” conflicts. The voices that can pull a country back from the brink are the easiest ones to silence. Moderates are sitting ducks. They face enemies on two fronts: extremists in their own camp, and those on the other side. Even here in the United States, partisan wrangling has turned “moderate” into a dirty name for an endangered species,” Stockman writes. “The moment that moderation expires is the moment conflicts spin out of control. People take sides. Positions harden. Bodies start piling up. The thirst for revenge sets in. By then, moderates have gotten killed, or dismissed as traitors, or they have transformed into extremists."
Jonathan Bernstein at Bloomberg View says there is no Republican civil war. “Andy Kroll asks why the Republican civil war doesn’t appear to be hurting the party's chances in the midterm elections. He does a reasonable job of explaining why Democrats are in trouble in the Senate (and won’t win the House), but he doesn’t really explain how these difficulties are connected to internal Republican divisions. There's a simple answer: There is no Republican civil war,” Bernstein writes. “I don't mean to suggest the Republicans are in good shape to govern. They remain “post-policy,” and their radical wing, with its denunciations of compromise and deal-making, makes getting anything done extremely difficult. But that doesn’t have any obvious electoral effects, at least as long as Republicans are out of the White House.” MSNBC contributor Perry Bacon, Jr. tweets, “And here is another explanation, by @jbplainblog, for why Jeb may struggle in today's GOP.”