Good For Him

Say what you want about Whelan’s behavior the last couple of days, this is an unqualified apology:

On reflection, I now realize that, completely apart from any debate over our respective rights and completely apart from our competing views on the merits of pseudonymous blogging, I have been uncharitable in my conduct towards the blogger who has used the pseudonym Publius. Earlier this evening, I sent him an e-mail setting forth my apology for my uncharitable conduct. As I stated in that e-mail, I realize that, unfortunately, it is impossible for me to undo my ill-considered disclosure of his identity. For that reason, I recognize that Publius may understandably regard my apology as inadequate.

Compared to the non-apology apologies we see all the time, that is a refreshing change.

*** Update ***

A lot of you in the comments are not accepting his apology. Some thoughts:

1.) It really isn’t up to you. It is up to Publius, and he has graciously accepted the apology and plans to move on. That should be the end of this.

2.) In an additional comment at ObWi, Whelan states the following:

A second stated concern is that my apology is insincere and coerced. On that score, I will simply say that no one at (or on behalf of) National Review or NRO (or in any other position of authority over me) ever raised with me a single concern about my posts or ever remotely suggested that I should make an apology. Further, as those who know me will readily attest, for better or worse my response to mob pressure is to entrench, not to cave.

I find this persuasive on two counts. First, the collective lot at NRO might between them be able to scrap together a moral compass, but sadly, it will permanently point to fail. Second, as a heater who often flys off the handle and makes intemperate remarks, I fully understand the instinct to dig in. However, he thought about it, and changed course. That is all you can ask for in a situation like this.

3.) Of course the apology can’t undo the damage done, but that is not the point of apologies. What is done can not be undone, but what an apology does do is change the course of the current debate. Whelan could have continued on, digging in, exposing more bloggers, continuing to insist he was right, continue to make farcical cases for why he was right, and so on. There were a wide range of behaviors and options he could have pursued, almost all of them wrong. He chose the only good course of action, which was to sack up, publicly apologize, and hope it was accepted.

I’m not sure what else he could do that I would consider appropriate in this case, and while I still think very little of his political positions or his opinions on both matters, I respect the fact that he made the right choice here. And not only that, he went against the grain at the NRO when he made his apology- they were defending him and covering his back, and on his own he chose to change course. That is to be commended.






136 replies
  1. 1
    cleek says:

    his follow-up in comments is even better.

  2. 2
    Michael says:

    Apologies are cheap, especially when there is no possible corrective course. Whelan only did it to forestall the shitstorm from folks who will go after stuff like his credit reports, pictures of his house and the like.

    My vote is that Whelan stops blogging, but that is unlikely to happen.

  3. 3
    SGEW says:

    Please note the specific words that Whelan uses in his apology, and in his follow up:

    “Charitable” (or “uncharitable”) and “duty.” As opposed to his “right” to reveal publius’ identity (which nobody is really denying, if you define “right” as “what you can do and not get arrested or sued for”).

    It’s like he remembered that whole, whaddya call it, oh yeah ethics thing. Extraordinary.

    Only took him a couple of days, too.

    [And, as I said earlier, I suspect he looked around and saw that only Jonah Goldberg was defending him (poorly). That’s enough to shame almost anyone into reversing course.]

  4. 4

    @cleek: Yes. That follow was elegant and sincere. Good for Ed Whelan.

    Now can we get onto more important matters like whether or not Cole is going to have a good day, or if he’s going to whine about the rain again. I can’t wait to read about it.

  5. 5
    Betsy says:

    @cleek:
    Agreed. That was, shockingly, adult behavior.

  6. 6
    MattF says:

    I’ve never understood the objection to pseudonymous commentary– one can hope that this incident will cement a blogger’s (or commenter’s) “right to remain nameless” into intertube traditions.

  7. 7
    Dork says:

    When can we reveal the real identity of “Ed Whelan”?

  8. 8
    DougJ says:

    I give him no credit, none at all. This can’t be undone.

  9. 9
    matoko_chan says:

    All the right has anymore is Anger Whiggas.
    The shouting always comes first.

  10. 10
    The Moar You Know says:

    Nice apology.

    Shame it can’t undo any of the damage that he did with his revelation, and a shame he’s not willing to do anything further.

  11. 11
    Adam Collyer says:

    This apology is due and certainly more appropriate than the non-apologies that you reference, John.

    That being said, you know what I’d prefer? I’d prefer not needing apologies at all. I’d vastly prefer people think before they act or speak once in a while. I don’t know when this became a rarity in public behavior, but I’d like to think most of our parents have taught us better than that. Mine certainly did.

    I don’t blog, nor do I often comment on blog postings. In fact, this is my first on Balloon Juice. I do, however, read and follow online commentary pretty rabidly. When I do comment, I choose to make my name available, mostly because I don’t believe any real consequences will follow from the way that I express myself online. There’s no one else’s life that would be adversely affected from my own comments. I do prefer that people attach their names to their work whenever possible. But that’s my (or any other author’s) choice to make, and no one else’s. In almost every situation, we should respect that choice and the right of persons generally to be private citizens.

    Mr. Whelan’s apology is nice. It’d be a lot nicer if it never happened in the first place. He can express regret, but he doesn’t have to live with the consequences. It’s this behavior that drags politics into the gutter, and the residual effect is that actual governing pays the price.

  12. 12
    Barry says:

    I wouldn’t accept it. Whelen knew that such a thing is not reversible.

  13. 13

    @Dork:

    When can we reveal the real identity of “Ed Whelan”?

    Yes. It was relatively easy to track down. (This picture is safe for work, but may not be safe for your stomach.)

  14. 14
    SGEW says:

    @DougJ: You don’t give him credit for belatedly acknowledging the basic tenets of the field of philosophy that the institute he presides over nominally studies and advocates for, several days after he had publicly disavowed them in no uncertain terms?

    Oh wait, now that I’ve written that . . .

  15. 15
    Xanthippas says:

    Apologies are cheap, especially when there is no possible corrective course. Whelan only did it to forestall the shitstorm from folks who will go after stuff like his credit reports, pictures of his house and the like.

    Heartfelt apologies are not cheap. If they were we’d see more of them in the blogosphere, and we most certainly do not. I’m not inclined either to accept the apology of those whose bad behavior has lasting repurcussions, but there are so few of them that it’s hard to argue that he shouldn’t get some credit for his apology.

  16. 16
    Joey Maloney a/k/a The Bard Of Balloon Juice says:

    I’d vastly prefer people think before they act or speak once in a while.

    Why do you hate the Internet?

  17. 17
    Raenelle says:

    If he’d been able to admit intellectual error as easily as he fesses up to ethical lapses, the ethical lapse wouldn’t have happened. This whole thing was a defensive reaction to being exposed as an intellectual fraud.

  18. 18
    Cat Lady says:

    So he apologizes after being absolutely hammered for a couple of days by left and right blogistan. Well, OK. Fine. When will he address the substance of Publius’ original post, that he provides dishonest wingnut talking points?

    I won’t hold my breath. Screw him.

  19. 19
    kid bitzer says:

    so far as this apology goes, i take my cue from publius. he is the injured party, and if he declares himself satisfied, then i’m done.

    however, in respect to the last eight years of criminal incompetence, looting the treasury, pissing on the constitution, and acting thuggishly to political opponents, i am one of the injured parties.

    and as a member of the bush crime syndicate, whelan is one of the criminals.

    i’m still waiting for his apology on that one.

  20. 20
    Brick Oven Bill says:

    The Obama Administration demanded to view all Internet writings of members of its Staff, anonymous or otherwise, as a condition of employment. This was a legitimate demand as it is the employer.

    In like manner, teachers at institutions receiving taxpayer funds have no right to privacy in their thoughts. Their thoughts influence their work product, and as society is paying for their work product, it has the right and duty to assess and judge these thoughts.

    We, as taxpayers, should also have access to the medical records of teachers at institutions receiving taxpayer funds. This will include any use of anti-depressants, erection disfunction treatment, and physical ailments. A good way to do this would be to make everybody’s medical records electronic and create a national database, somebody call Immelt.

    Whelan was wrong for disclosing the identity, and followed up with an appropriate apology. Publius is wrong for posting under that particular name, as the men who previously wrote under that name were not scared of a free exchange of ideas. They actually encouraged it.

  21. 21
    Phil says:

    I think Whelan (my wife’s name also; I hate to take it in vain, but oh well…) had little choice but to apologize, given the nearly universal condemnation of his petulance even on the right. I’ve been shocked really at the reaction of the conservative blogosphere to this event; even the utterly dreadful Ann (my wife’s other name; what does this mean?) Althouse criticized Whelan. Many of publius’ defenders remain utter scumbags, but this episode has also led to my discovery of a whole (rather small) world of rational right wing blogs. Southern Appeal
    http://www.southernappeal.org/
    is notable, but there are others. Not sure this is a net positive for my worldview; all in all, I prefer my villains to be, you know, evil.

  22. 22
    The Other Steve says:

    In like manner, teachers at institutions receiving taxpayer funds have no right to privacy in their thoughts. Their thoughts influence their work product, and as society is paying for their work product, it has the right and duty to assess and judge these thoughts.

    Go fuck yourself, Bill.

    We don’t live in the Soviet Union.

  23. 23
    geg6 says:

    I’ll give him a gracious apology and follow up. But what he did was unforgivable. I use a pseudonym because I know that there are people who would use my postings, meager and unimportant as they are, on the Toobz to hurt both me and my employer if they knew it was me. And the long American tradition of citizens debating public policy anonymously would seem to back up my reasoning and illustrate how egregious was the violation that Whelan perpetrated. I can only hope that Whelan’s little temper tantrum, however he much he may now regret it, has not endangered publius’ IRL career or personal safety. And I’ll bet Whelan’s hoping the same.

  24. 24
    Dave Jones says:

    Can someone explain how his regret at being “uncharitable” constitutes an apology. Just doesn’t seem that way to me. Perhaps we should apologize to him for not showing our ongoing gratitude for his otherwise charitable behavior. Seems to just be a different spin on the old “I apologize if I’ve offended anyone.”

  25. 25
    donovong says:

    What more could people ask of him, for chrissake? Sepukku?

    He remains an asshole, but an apologetic asshole (this time). If he were to repeat the behavior, then it would be understandable to continue to call for his head.

    Publius said he is moving on. So, let’s!

    Why don’t we start excoriating Jon Voight today?!

  26. 26
    Goggles Pisano says:

    The apology has no value, the damage is done and cannot be undone. There is no penance, no discernible cost to Whelan, he is just sorry. This falls into the same category as:
    I am sorry I ate the last piece of pie. I am so sorry that my playing with matches burnt your shed. I am very sorry my posting of those nude pictures of you cost you your career.
    What is Whelan going to change in his future behaviour that is in some way equal to what he did. The apology is no cost to Whelan, thus it is valueless.

  27. 27
    SGEW says:

    [re: update]

    A very good point, in that we cannot accept or refuse to accept Whelan’s apology (that was up to publius, and he did so most graciously). And I do give him credit for doing the right thing, especially as he is ensconced in that cocooned fever swamp that is the NRO.

    However, I keep on harping on how he completely disavowed the very notion of deontological ethics having any merit in the discussion. I am glad that he can now spit out the word “duty” (tho’ I’m still waiting for “obligation”), but it just drives me crazy that this guy is the President of the Ethics and Public Policy Center!

    For me, his outing of publius is pretty much secondary (especially as publius has stated that he’s done with the topic), as is the debate over pseudonymity. I want a public apology for ignoring or deriding the concept of moral duty, and for him to specifically address the dichotomy between his actions and rhetoric and his position at the EPPC.

  28. 28
    Brick Oven Bill says:

    Not yet The Other Steve.

  29. 29
  30. 30
    DougJ says:

    Of course the apology can’t undo the damage done, but that is not the point of apologies.

    In many cases, apologizing and undoing the damage go hand-in-hand. I’m sorry your DVD player doesn’t work, here’s credit for another one. I’m sorry I had to leave dinner early last night, how much do I owe you for the check? Etc. etc.

  31. 31
    RH Potfry says:

    Well said, John.

  32. 32
    DougJ says:

    Some things can’t be undone. That’s why I don’t get tatoos or murder people. That’s why Whelan is an asshole no matter how much he apologizes.

  33. 33
    Riggsveda says:

    The medium we use facilitates this kind of popping-off; unfortunately, instantaneous e-mail and posting doesn’t jive with thoughtful discourse, except for those with the most restraint. Most of us are used to being able to blurt out any amount of ill-thought blather (me included) to our companions in the same room, or at the TV or radio, and not being held to account for it. But when we behave with that same rashness while wired, real human beings blurt back. Quelle surprise! Like one’s first encounters with other toddlers on a playground, it’s a matter of learning that your actions have consequences, and that others have feelings like you do. Learning to get along under those circumstances is the beginning of civilization, which I fear is a devoutly-to-be-wished-for state yet to arrive on the internet.

  34. 34
    SGEW says:

    @DougJ: I sure hope you have a few other reasons not to murder people besides a dislike of permanence, Doug. ;)

  35. 35
    geg6 says:

    @Brick Oven Bill:

    Fuck you, Bill. I don’t see an exception in the First Amendment free speech rights for public employees. Or, for that matter, those who are or would like to be government contractors or subcontractors (hmmmm, would you fit that particular description, B.O.B.?) Fuck you and the horse you rode in on.

    Besides, I think I read that publius’ university is a private. Not that it makes an iota of difference.

  36. 36
    someguy says:

    Whelan should resign his job. Then I’d take his apology seriously. An apology without pennance, without repercussions, is meaningless.

  37. 37
    Punchy says:

    I see this akin to “I’m sorry I got drunk and drove thru your minivan killing your child”.

    Had forethought but ignored it? Check.
    Caused irrepairable damage? Check.
    Figured apology was least he could do? Check.
    Peeps affected still royally f’ed? Check.

    Apology worthless.

  38. 38
    Blurm says:

    Who cares anymore. Old news. NEXT!

  39. 39
    Jim-Bob says:

    Whalen saves face by showing humanity. But only after he’d been publicly repudiated by his fellow-travelers. Before the likes of Dan Riehl “stood athwart Whalen and cried, ‘stop!’,” censure from “Obababots” only earned further snark and vindictiveness from Whalen.

    Let’s call that a “meh.” I like to set the bar for intelligence and ethical behavior a bit higher than being cornered (pun intended) into doing the obviously right (again, pun intentional) thing–especially for someone who clerked for a SCOTUS justice, and presently serves as a senior exec. for some wallpaper outfit posing as a watchdog for ethical behavior.

    The harm to publius is relatively minimal, though it does recast his blogging in a slightly different light (for one thing, I finally know where to send my fan mail…). But Whalen’s actions further underscore just how far the Republican establishment will go to discredit their ideological foes. This sort of thing happens several times a day. Only when a dust-up of Plame-affair proportions happens do the mass-consumption media take notice.

    I think the damage should be sustained by NRO and their ilk–to them, the kind of behavior exhibited by Whalen is a feature, not a bug. I’ll not hold my breath.

  40. 40
    forked tongue says:

    It’s almost an apology, and as such surely better than what we’ve come to expect. But it’s not quite there.

    A real apology has four parts:

    1) You say you’re sorry;
    2) You put into your own words exactly what you did that you’re sorry for;
    3) You put into your own words why what you did was wrong;
    4) You say what specific action you will take to undo the damage if possible, or at least what you’ll do to avoid repeating the offense or to prevent similar damage to others.

    Whelan does a decent job on 1-3 and obviously the damage can’t be undone. As for a concrete action, it’s not so easy to see what could be done, but that means it’s time to get creative. A donation to the EFF, maybe? But something like that is what it takes to make an apology that’s more than just words. Just sayin.’

  41. 41
    DougJ says:

    Whelan should resign his job. Then I’d take his apology seriously. An apology without pennance, without repercussions, is meaningless.

    Bingo.

  42. 42
    stinkwrinkle says:

    Sorry to disagree with our host, but this is the very model of a non-apology apology. Uncharitable + uncharitable + ill-considered does not equal “I was wrong”. At best, he’s apologizing for being rude, which is worth something, I guess. (Not very much, IMO.) Plus, the whole damage-is-done thing.

  43. 43
    Deborah says:

    I agree with John. It may not be much, but in an era replete with “I apologize if someone somehow misconstrued my words, ‘all of you are wankers,’ to take offense” apologies, at least Whelan can offer an actual one. At least he has a teeny bit of grace to have taken some of the “outing Publius = nothing to say to Publius’s actual argument” derision to heart, and done what he could. No, it isn’t much. But since I’d have expected him to toss out a few Goldbergesque “that was a brilliant debate point I made!” justifications, I’ll give him some credit for surprising me.

  44. 44
    The Moar You Know says:

    Further, as those who know me will readily attest, for better or worse my response to mob pressure is to entrench, not to cave.

    Fantastic. First, an apology without reparations, and now threats if we ask him for any further evidence of human decency.

    @Punchy: What Punchy said.

  45. 45
    Morbo says:

    OT, but, it was worth the wait. What a putz.

  46. 46
    Jim-Bob says:

    In like manner, teachers at institutions receiving taxpayer funds have no right to privacy in their thoughts.

    Brick Oven Bill:

    Unintentional stupidity is still the greatest entertainment value! (Well, maybe second only to masturbation!)

    I think you mean to say that we have no right to privacy in our publicly expressed thoughts. You’d still be wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. But at least you would be advancing a semi-coherent idea, rather than dredging up some GOP wet dream about thought control from your tortured id.

    Po-TAY-to/Po-TAH-to…

  47. 47
    jrg says:

    Further, as those who know me will readily attest, for better or worse my response to mob pressure is to entrench, not to cave.

    Personally, I don’t follow up a genuine apology with a threat. Maybe Whelan is sorry, but he’s still a sack of shit.

  48. 48
    Scruffy McSnufflepuss says:

    @Jim-Bob:

    I think that if, in their heart of hearts, a schoolteacher believes in evolution or Helioleftism, the public should know about it and should have the right to petition the schoolboard to fire them. Helioleftism is an infectious thought-disease, and I don’t want my kids around people who are contaminated with icky thought-diseases.

  49. 49
    Brick Oven Bill says:

    I will attempt to make my point again, as this may be a teachable moment. If people are worried about this incident, which was bad form on the part of an individual, why are we not worried about the State establishing medical databases.

    I support the right of people, even teachers, to do whatever they want to do on their off-time, including writing rambling incoherent political dissertations on the Internet, taking whatever stance on whatever topic they want.

    This Administration does not support this right, if you hold certain political views. It demanded to review all anonymous postings of all of its prospective employees. This began a pattern of behavior which now includes micro-managing private companies. Universities think they are immune from this, but they are wrong.

  50. 50
    gex says:

    I think Whelan deserves kudos for an actual apology. We’ve all seen the non-apology apology before. The jerk at my work who is constantly insulting me issues them non-stop. It’s the old “sorry you were offended” whereby they apologize for *your* behavior/response and not for their original offensive behavior.

    This is a significant step up from that.

    It remains to be seen whether he actually learns anything from this. If we see a repeat of this, then no further apologies need be accepted.

  51. 51
    Scruffy McSnufflepuss says:

    @Brick Oven Bill:

    Damn. If only we’d all voted for McCain!

  52. 52
    Andrew says:

    Some things can’t be undone. That’s why I don’t get tatoos or murder people.

    You just need a big enough bank account and you can undo either, though I can’t guarantee that your cylon double won’t turn around and nuke your planet.

  53. 53
    Scruffy McSnufflepuss says:

    @Andrew:

    If this were Valhalla, murder would be no big deal. “Yeah, I killed your son. Relax, he’ll fly back together again and be good as new!” Valhalla, Viking Heaven. I suppose it’s where frat boys get to go to Heaven, too, since the Vikings were the original frat boys.

  54. 54
    sparky says:

    sad commentary that a quasi-sincere apology given only after a torrent of abuse should merit a “well-done.” i might agree that it was the right–here really the only–thing for Whelan to do, but it doesn’t follow that we should pat him on the back. this strikes me as rather too much in the vein of excusing bad behaviour on the ground that it could have been worse.

    i mean, should we really be praising people for saying they are sorry they acted like shmucks? is that the best we can do?

    but the NRO’s “moral compass pointing permanently to fail” is alsome. thanks.

  55. 55
    Skepticat says:

    “I think Whelan … had little choice but to apologize … .”

    However, the usual choice/behavior in this situation is to double down and refuse to admit any fault at all. I’m surprised—and pleased—to see an apology. Even if you think it’s tepid, it’s much better than the usual go-cheny-yourself we see from this mindset.

  56. 56
    SGEW says:

    B.O.B., you’ve moved from offensive yet (occasionally) amusing quixotic paranoia to simply parroting standard right wing gibberish.

    The only thing worse on the internet than being offensively wrong is to be boring. And you have become boring. Pie filter for you.

  57. 57
    Matt says:

    I agree with most of the “his apology is too little too late” comments. I will note that the Publius’ acceptance of Whelan apology is the reason I read Obsidian Wings instead of NRO. Whelan’s to be commended but he did out Publius in the beginning. Publius would never have done that, and that’s one of the reasons I read him.

  58. 58
    sparky says:

    @Brick Oven Bill: now, see, here i think you overplayed your hand and crossed over from A+ troll to B+ spoof. or maybe it’s the other way around. nomenclature is hard, right?

    overall, though, nobody churns out teh cleverly linguistic parodies as you, whoever you am. keep up the good um experiment?

    @SGEW: i don’t read him as much as you, i think so perhaps i am missing the dropoff in quality. unfortunate if so. oh well.

  59. 59
    bayville says:

    Time to look forward, not behind. Spilled milk. Lesson learned (or at least until the next time someone calls me on my bullsh@t).

    BTW, when is Goldberg’s apology coming for his ludicrous Tom Paine/James Madison analogy.

  60. 60
    anonevent says:

    @sparky:

    i mean, should we really be praising people for saying they are sorry they acted like shmucks? is that the best we can do?

    Sometimes, yes, that’s exactly what we should do. If you’re going to be cynical about it, then think of it this way: Accepting the apology shows your character. But the only way you can truly accept it is to not be cynical about the reasons it is given.

    He apologized. Publius accepted. You accept an apology not because it fixes things; you accept it so you can let it go and move on.

    If Whelan does it again, no one will take him on his word ever again, and that his loss. It’s no longer anyone else’s concern.

  61. 61
    Don SinFalta says:

    Like publius and John, I’ll take Whelan’s apology seriously. I don’t really care if he did it because it was the only good option left to him; that is often the case and still doesn’t result in an apology. I don’t care to indulge in speculation about his motives from insufficient evidence. Whatever his reasons, he did it and it was the right thing to do. I doubt this was a cost-free act for him. The rarity of apologies in situations like this is a pretty good indicator that it isn’t an easy thing to do. It never is for me. Just because the damage can’t be undone (as Whelan overtly acknowledges multiple times in various places) doesn’t mean the apology has no merit. I daresay those who just want to spit on this act are not doing anything to encourage people to take responsibility for their mistakes, rather the opposite I should think.

  62. 62
    Adam Collyer says:

    @Joey Maloney a/k/a The Bard Of Balloon Juice: In the “it’s only funny because it’s true” category, right? You should hear how much I love talk radio :)

    John, I respect your opinion, but come on. “He could have dug himself deeper into the ground but didn’t, and now just sits in a deep hole in the earth” isn’t exactly a meritorious defense.

    Stop commending these people for borderline inappropriate behavior and they’ll run themselves out of business and have no forum for their nonsense. Instead, commending them for apologizing for doing something excessively stupid only vindicates that these people can sometimes do the right thing, when it’s clear that the only time that happens is when they are caught in an outright lie. Commending his “apology” only serves to move his earlier, nonsensical, inappropriate, and boorish behavior to the side.

    Sully is guilty of this constantly, and people need to call them out on it. Last summer, he continued to call John McCain an “honorable man” and not racist/homophobic/whatever despite clear evidence from his own words. Do I think John McCain is/was racist? No, I think he was appealing to those elements of his base. But what I think is irrelevant. People’s words matter, and we should hold them to it. So I sent Sully an email, which ended up being printed, and it seemed to give him some pause.

    Rant (generally) over. If we stop excusing people’s ludicrous behavior, then maybe we can begin to bring some civility back to the world. Lord knows we need it.

    Damn, who thought the outing of an anonymous blogger would be the topic that finally got me irritated enough to post.

  63. 63
    harlana pepper says:

    meh. as my dad used to say when we fucked up, “sorry ain’t nothing”

  64. 64
    bago says:

    BoB, please just stick to playing the role of redneck Friedman.

    “As I was standing on that porch of this lonely Saloon, comtemplating the REAL meaning of America as an asian midget was winking at the bar-tender I struck up a conversation with the man beside me. He was a Garbage Truck Driver, and as such had connections at city hall. He literally knew where all of everything was buried. That’s when I began to understand the pernicous nature of this power, as outlined in my newest book: The World Stinks — How Garbage Men and Midgets control your life“.

  65. 65
    Shade Tail says:

    I agree with Mr. Cole. Publius accepted it and, since he was the injured party here, that ends it IMO.

    That’s not to say give Whelan a free pass. As JFK said, “Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.” Since Publius has let it go, so should we. But don’t forget this, neither what Whelan did nor the people who defended him when he did it.

    Or, to put it another way, forgive but don’t forget.

  66. 66
    Mr Furious says:

    Fuck Whelan. His actions were an impotent / poor man’s version of outing Valerie Plame.

    He made a conscious decision with malice aforethought. He even asked publius to confirm or deny, and went ahead despite publius’ request that he not do it.

    It wasn’t a hotheaded comment in the throes of a comment battle, it was calculated and Whelan had all the time he wanted to consider his action. He showed callous disregard and went ahead a decided for himself whether Publius deserved his pseudonymity.

    He revealed his name, occupation and place of employment. None of which was necessary to further his argument. Even if he wanted to contest Publius’ credentials, he could have used his information and simply stated that, “as a law prof, he should have known better…”

    He did it to punish publius for criticizing him. He messed with a man’s personal life and livelihood.

    He’s a fucking piece of shit, no matter how eloquent his too-late apology

  67. 67
    David Hunt says:

    In like manner, teachers at institutions receiving taxpayer funds have no right to privacy in their thoughts.

    Insert any of a hundred Orwell references here.

  68. 68
    harlana pepper says:

    What DougJ said.

  69. 69
    sparky says:

    @anonevent: oh i agree with you completely as to that being the end of it, and i agree that you can only accept it if you are not cynical about why it came about. i also agree that if publius accepted it, that’s the end of the matter.

    i think my point was different in that it seemed wrong in some sense to laud Whelan for doing the right thing. i don’t think that is the same thing as saying who cares if he apologizes, but on reflection it is perilously close to concern trolling so i think i will be a bit more careful about how i state it.

  70. 70
    A Mom Anon says:

    So who calls off the flying monkeys that may go ahead do their best to make Publius’ life difficult?

    At the very least Whelan needs to give up his job as Captain Ethics or whatever the hell it is.

  71. 71
    Mr Furious says:

    Publius can accept his apology if he likes, at this point it’s the prudent action to put this issue away, but John thinks Whelan should be commended?

    Fuck that. I don’t even care if Whelan finds religion in the experience and becomes a model of responsible and honest blogging it doesn’t change what he did.

    He’s a paid professional working for a publication that used his position to needlessly screw someone over. He deserves if not scorn, a big “whatever,” not a pat on the back

  72. 72
    Shade Tail says:

    @Adam Collyer:

    You’re right that an apology by itself doesn’t really change what these people do or who they are. But Mr. Cole never actually said that it does. There is a pretty wide gulf between this article and Mr. Sullivan’s constant and infamous fluffing of the GOP.

    In and of itself, acknowledging that someone who’s usually wrong has done something right for a change isn’t a bad thing. The trick is making sure you don’t let that blind you to what happens later. Mr. Sullivan *does* let that blind him. I think that Mr. Cole will do a better job of remaining more objective, based on his posting history.

  73. 73
    Mr Furious says:

    When does Publius have to apologize to Rush Limbaugh?

    Or Cheney?

  74. 74
    John PM says:

    @Shade Tail: #65

    Exactly!

  75. 75

    The more I think about this the more I feel sorry for Ed Whelan. He has to have some big time anger issues to go from enraged to embarrassed in so short of a time. Get some help for yourself Ed. That would be a worthy penance for your behavior.

  76. 76
    Mr Furious says:

    BOB, you ignorant slut.

    I’m pretty sure asking about published opinion/work out in the public sphere is called due diligence when vetting someone for a sensitive position in the Administration.

    Think of the blowback Edwards got for hiring Amanda Marcotte…

    While it might have been part of the yes-man / mind-control initiation of the Bush Administration, that doesn’t mean it’s true of Obama. By all indications, he PREFERS to have divergent views included in his Administration.

  77. 77
    Mr Furious says:

    @Shade Tail: Awesome point. That’s as gracious as I’ll ever get on this.

  78. 78
    Goggles Pisano says:

    Mr. Furious, you hit the nail directly on the head.

  79. 79
    gwangung says:

    He apologized. Fine.

    But that doesn’t mean I won’t stop thinking of him as an ethical scuzz bucket. And it doesn’t mean I won’t stop referring to him in public as an ethical scuzz bucket or characterize him as petty, small minded or think-skinned. If people are curious as to why I think he’s an ethnical scuzz bucket, I’ll refer to this incident.

    Actions have consquences.

  80. 80
    Jen R says:

    If only the pie filter worked on replies to BOB, too.

  81. 81
    Betsy says:

    Cole, I appreciate your contribution to making the world a tiny bit more civil. I think Whelan’s an ass, generally, but I agree with you that the point of apologies is to apologize, admit wrongdoing, and behave in a grown-up way, and it’s a point in his favor that he did so.

  82. 82
    Mr Furious says:

    I can’t help but to look at this as an overall “win” for Whelan. He got to stomp on a “mosquito” with no consequences, and he certainly has raised his hitcount and profile.

    He was the talk of the town (good and bad) for a few days and is now a household name in the circle of the political blogsphere.

    His numbers will be up as a result. From groupthink supporters now aware of him, to lefty critics who will be watching for his next dick move or dumb opinion.

  83. 83
    jcricket says:

    So who calls off the flying monkeys that may go ahead do their best to make Publius’ life difficult?

    This reminds me – what is it about modern day (ha) Republicans that causes them to do this?

    The only analog I can think of on the left are some of the ALF/ELF types who have recently attempted a campaign of harassing big pharma execs’ families at their houses, places of work, etc.

    And ain’t nobody in the Democratic party (talk radio, TV, political blogs included) supporting that type of activity.

    But on the right it seems to be an increasing part of the operative’s MO.

    BTW John, your turn of phrase was inspired:

    First, the collective lot at NRO might between them be able to scrap together a moral compass, but sadly, it will permanently point to fail

    Maybe they need the new iPhone, I hear it has a compass built in. Permanently points to Berkeley, though.

  84. 84

    @Brick Oven Bill:

    teachers at institutions receiving taxpayer funds

    …a group of which publius is not a member, as he teaches at a private college.

    Nice try though, BOB.

  85. 85
    JM says:

    For that reason, I recognize that Publius may understandably regard my apology as inadequate.

    Actually, it’s Whelan that we regard as inadequate, which is how we got into this mess.

  86. 86
    jcricket says:

    Actually, it’s Whelan that we regard as inadequate, which is how we got into this mess.

    I believe the phrase you’re looking for regarding Ed is:

    You have been weighed, you have been measured, and you have been found wanting

    FWIW, the apology is fine, but the key thing I believe is missing is acknowledgment of the larger role the Republican’s demonization of individuals who disagree with the GOP is playing in the decline of the GOP. If you “burn” everyone (nominal ally or critic) like Whelan attempted to do with publius, you’re going to create some serious collateral damage. Like how the hardcore opposition to gay rights and gay marriage is likely hastening the acceptance of gay marriage amongst “fence sitters”.

    I think what Whelan and others need to realize, with this incident as a classic example, is when they trust their gut and follow their baser instincts, they lose far more than the argument itself.

  87. 87
    kid bitzer says:

    well, of course one reason to applaud apologies is in order to reward people for apologies in order to make it more likely that people will apologize next time.

    and that’s a reason that carries some weight even if you think the person apologizing is an insincere schmuck.

    look, a few data points to put this in perspective:

    1) cheney shot a man in the face. whelan was part of the administration that forced that man to apologize, to cheney, on national television. so take this as a measure of how much the political landscape has changed.

    2) the bitch-slap theory of politics (h/t josh marshall).
    when whelan’s administration was riding high, it loved the bitch-slap. and part of that game is never to apologize. never confess error. remember bush’s responses when asked if he had ever made any mistakes? complete denial. no mistakes. no apologies.
    of course, when dick durbin made the entirely accurate and obvious point that the abu ghraib guards had acted like nazis, he was forced to apologize. that’s just more of the bitch-slap.

    whelan’s apology is an admission that he is no longer in a position to bitch-slap his opponents. he can no longer order up wire-taps of his domestic critics, the way he could when he had friends in doj.

    now he’s on the other end of the bitch-slap. and that’s gotta be a bitch.

  88. 88

    I don’t think it matters whether Whelan “meant” the apology or not. (And I think he did.) The fact of the matter is, he made it.

    More than a few people here have said that an apology is no good if it doesn’t come with some form of reparations. Well, I’d consider the establishment of a new internet precedent reparations, if not to publius then to the community of bloggers at large.

    We are aware of all internet traditions, are we not? Well, here’s the newest one — it’s verboten to out a pseudononymous blogger.

    Without Whelan’s very public, very unequivocal apology, we wouldn’t have that.

  89. 89
    gex says:

    Call this clicker training for Whelan. Get Victoria Stillwell to come in with some tasty treats and a clicker and reward any positive behavior you can get out of him. Eventually he may be rehabilitated and we can find a good adoptive home for him.

  90. 90
    Jen R says:

    @jcricket:

    The only analog I can think of on the left are some of the ALF/ELF types who have recently attempted a campaign of harassing big pharma execs’ families at their houses, places of work, etc.

    I’d argue that the people who published names and addresses of people who donated to pro-Prop 8 groups (somebody even mashed the list up with Google Maps) are analogous. They may not have harassed the people personally, but they certainly made harassment more likely.

  91. 91
    Brachiator says:

    The apology works for me.

    Now if only we could get LeBron James to show some sportsmanship.

    I’ve never understood the objection to pseudonymous commentary—one can hope that this incident will cement a blogger’s (or commenter’s) “right to remain nameless” into intertube traditions.

    The tradition is far older than the Intertubes. “Publius” was the pseudonym used by Alexander Hamilton when he contributed to The Federalist Papers.

    But you all knew this, of course.

  92. 92
    kid bitzer says:

    but that was before he got killed by raymond burr.

    on a special episode of ‘ironside’.

    raymond burr–not a lot of people know this–raymond burr actually blogged under the pseudonym “perry mason”, when he was secretary of state for james madison. but then again, that whole administration was shot through with masons.

  93. 93
    Dave S. says:

    @gex: As always, don’t forget to spay/neuter.

    On the larger subject, those who reject Whelan’s apology should keep that in mind the next time they have to apologize for something they have done that cannot be undone and for which any apology is inadequate. We’re all human; it’s going to happen.

  94. 94
    RSA says:

    First, the collective lot at NRO might between them be able to scrap together a moral compass, but sadly, it will permanently point to fail.

    This metaphor is so excellently phrased that it deserves enshrinement somewhere.

  95. 95
    Marmot says:

    Nice. It’s hard to apologize, and I certainly didn’t expect it out of Whelan. Good for him.

  96. 96
    Little Dreamer says:

    @MattF:

    I’ve never understood the objection to pseudonymous commentary

    Nosey, blabbering, tattle-taling gossip-artists hate to be left out of the know. That’s all it ever was.

  97. 97
    AhabTRuler says:

    On the larger subject, those who reject Whelan’s apology should keep that in mind the next time they have to apologize for something they have done that cannot be undone and for which any apology is inadequate.

    Something…something…Caesar’s wife…

  98. 98
    Little Dreamer says:

    It’s not my argument, if publius is happy, I’m happy for the both of them. What I do wonder is how Mr. Whelan can be so deeply involved in ethics and yet forget this while reacting to his anger.

  99. 99
    Jim-Bob says:

    Mr Furious

    Think of the blowback Edwards got for hiring Amanda Marcotte…

    I may be getting a bit off-topic here, but Amanda and publius have nothing in common, other than being on the Intertubes, and living in Texas. Amanda was a victim of her own rank stupidity and vanity. And, in fairness, some credit for the whole contretemps lay with Team Edwards’s deplorable vetting skills, which is ironic, since Mr and Mrs Edwards both are lawyers, and the position Amanda was to have held was in blogger outreach.

    publius, OTOH, was the victim of the stupidity of others.

  100. 100
    Mayken says:

    I agree John. Due respect to him for admitting he fouled up. And kudos to Publius for a gracious acceptance.

  101. 101

    […] that he actually appears to believe them, is laudable. Even John Cole at the ridiculous site, Balloon-Juice, is big enough to use his own name, though I’ve always found it odd that a guy who makes the […]

  102. 102
    aimai says:

    I seem to be alone in this–but I see a whole lot of macho posturing in the original offense, the various defenses of it, and in Whelan’s manly “nobody told me to do it!” apology. And you know what? I don’t think much of it. Nor the excuse that the medium made him do it because its so easy to “hit send.”

    Lets get down to brass tacks. Whelan is, was, and always will be an arrogant person who can’t bear to be criticized, even mildly, by others. He’s a classic kiss up/kick down bully. When he knows the person and that person belongs to his social circle (Volokh) he can be conciliating. When that person is “beyond the pale” or “on the other side” or “a pseudonymous blogger” Whelan’s rage, spite, and ego incline him to try to damage and silence that person. This was not, of course, a spontaneous or unthought out act. He had to investigate Publius, and wrote to him directly to confirm the ID before he published the first attack. He also, I believe, published two more snotty responses after the outing. This was a very slow motion attack by Whelan on an unimportant enemy.

    The blog swarm and possibly some discreet hints from people considers his social equals made his act socially untenable. The assertion, in his “in comments” second apology that “he’s the kind of guy who is resistant to ‘mob action'” is just part of the macho self image and fake honor talk that led him to attack Publius’s ID in the first place. Of course he’s not “resistant to mob action.” Mob action is what people call social pressure when they don’t like the social actors involved. But its no different from a scene at a cocktail party when everyone cuts the local boor by turning their backs or when an intellectual tool for hire like Whelan fears (for whatever reason) that their dance card won’t get filled because they aren’t wearing the right dress.

    Macho posturing aside no one can be passingly familiar with Whelan’s history at the OLC and his blog history at NRO and think for a minute that this guy isn’t angry and unsatisfied and agressive *for a living*–all the things that led him to attack P personally will happen again. His apology is no more credible than that of a battering husband who routinely apologizes between bouts of rage. As for the notion that he didn’t bend to social pressure in apologizing? And his pathetic insistence that he’s too manly to have done so? Please–that’s part of the problem, not part of the solution. He thinks its unmanly to respect social conventions like politeness. Its a total bushism, in its way. Better to be agressively wrong than politely right.

    aimai

  103. 103

    Since I wasn’t the aggrieved party, it’s not my place to determine the adequacy of the apology, but as a casual observer I will say this much: Publius showed more class in accepting Whelen’s apology than did Whelen in making it. I never paid much attention to Whelen previously. Now I consider him to be an amoral piece of shit. I doubt I’ll read anything he has to say about anything unless others point to something especially insidious or stupid coming from him. The funniest detail from the whole episode: Whelen’s in charge of some bullshit organization with the word “ethics” in its title.

  104. 104
    RH Potfry says:

    Boy, you guys must get exhausted trying to keep track of all your grudges. It’s like the sort of angry driver who gets upset when someone tailgates someone else.

  105. 105
    DougJ says:

    whelan’s apology is an admission that he is no longer in a position to bitch-slap his opponents.

    Bingo.

  106. 106
    TenguPhule says:

    This began a pattern of behavior which now includes micro-managing private companies.

    Except that this is a lie, BOB, and you know it.

    The government owns several private companies because said management of private companies FAILED to run their businesses properly and ended up shitting the pig.

    They’re not micro-managing anything.

  107. 107
    geg6 says:

    @Brick Oven Bill:

    Yes, Bill. You’ve made your pointless point again. I happen to have some actual knowledge about what the administration asked of people who were being considered for jobs. And, yes, they wanted to know what online identities those people used. So assholes like the media or GOP operatives wouldn’t be able to come out of the woodwork and create a scandal by outing an anonymous post that might have been written by a current administration employee.

    No big deal, I think. If you don’t want your privacy “invaded” like that, you don’t have to apply for or take a job with the administration.

    As for how much attention Net postings by university employees are getting from the administration, I can attest that it is none whatsoever.

    Sometimes, B.O.B., you really do sound dumber than a box of rocks.

  108. 108
    SnarkIntern says:

    @Little Dreamer:

    Exactly. Some of the objectors to anonymity would change their tune pronto if they were harassed by some of the really crazy — or vindictive — antagonists out there.

    And they are out there.

  109. 109

    Boy, you guys must get exhausted trying to keep track of all your grudges.

    There’s an app for that.

  110. 110
    Sasha says:

    I’m not sure what else he could do that I would consider appropriate in this case, and while I still think very little of his political positions or his opinions on both matters, I respect the fact that he made the right choice here.

    What else he could do is leave the fray until he grows up. He made a decision based on uncontrolled emotional impulses. Apology or not, his behavior was inappropriate. Until he learns to think before acting, he doesn’t belong in the arena of bloggers. (No, he isn’t the only one. I was just addressing what else he could do.)

  111. 111
    LarryB says:

    My takeaway from this kerfluffle:

    Publius: Pseudonymous is not the same as unaccountable: Bloggers have to face their public every day and live or die by their perceived credibility based on what they write. Allowing pseudonymous blogging increases the number of folks willing to contribute to the world of ideas.

    Whelan: I want to know who, exactly, is attacking me (subtext: all attacks are personal).

    Publious basically called Whelan a political hit-man with no intellectual integrity. That’s pretty rough, regardless of it’s truth.

    Moral: Don’t expect to remain unspattered when you start a food-fight.

  112. 112
    geg6 says:

    @Mr Furious:

    Pray tell…

    What for?

  113. 113
    AhabTRuler says:

    Publious basically called Whelan a political hit-man with no intellectual integrity.

    And then Whelan proved the point.

  114. 114
    geg6 says:

    @Jen R:

    Nope. Sorry. Public record and all. You give money to a candidate, part of the deal is that your information is public. Nobody published without permission the Prop 8 supporters’ names and addresses except those entities who are required to do so by law.

  115. 115
    RH Potfry says:

    There’s an app for that.

    iRAGE-CADDY

  116. 116
    Little Dreamer says:

    @geg6:

    Well, of course that information was public, it just wasn’t compiled previously. ;)

    LMAO, some people will find any reason to bitch and complain.

  117. 117
    Jen R says:

    @geg6: I understand that it was public record, but still, gathering it, making it easily accessible, and publicizing it was facilitating harassment.

  118. 118
    Little Dreamer says:

    See geg? I told ya! ;)

  119. 119
    Little Dreamer says:

    @Jen R:

    Try arguing that in a court of law.

    Have fun!

  120. 120
    Jen R says:

    Why would I argue it in a court of law? We can’t have arguments on blogs now? I just don’t think that people should get a pass for acting like jackasses in the name of a good cause.

  121. 121
    slimslowslider says:

    Apologies if this was already posted, but a commenter at Surber’s House of Stupid is mentioning you guys…

    I read Jules Crittenden and I noticed he give reactionary goofball John Cole some credit. John Cole employs a co-blogger “DougJ” whose only note of worth is “spoofing” or astroturfing blogs under multiple anon names. Yeah, it’s that stupid over there.

    Amazingly great! Hopefully Don will delete any posts that disagree with his take on “the deal.”

  122. 122

    From the perspective of being 21 yrs clean and sober I’d like to make a couple points, an appology cannot undo the action it is made for, period. It is done, whatever it is. You admit you were wrong and that you regret it and that’s it. Whether it is accepted or you are forgiven is immaterial, you tell the person concerned you were wrong and you are sorry and from there it is in their hands.

    You cannot undo or fix things that are done, you may ,in some circumstances, be able to do some repair work but actions cannot be taken back, I do not understand what some of you are thinking. Even if it is something mean said in the course of an argument you can’t undo it, it is said. All the back-pedaling in the world doesn’t undo it, un-say it.

    Whelan may be a lot of things, but some of you are expecting something no person can do. Obviously the best course is to not do it in the first place, but that is already done.

  123. 123
    Mr Furious says:

    @Jim-Bob: Jim Bob,

    All I meant by the mention of Amanda was that Obama would immediately be held responsible for anything any appointee ever wrote on the internet, in a thesis, etc.

    Their asking what candidates may have written about or expressed online or elsewhere is not necessarily to analyze or penalize them for their opinions—it might simply be to find any potential blowback or skeletons sure to be dredged up by opponents.

  124. 124
    JDM says:

    Why wouldn’t Whelan ( and possibly NRO and his other employer) be answerable in damages if Publius made the claim and could prove harm to himself? Tortious interference with contract? Intentional infliction of emotional distress? Publication of private facts about a non public figure? It’s not true that Whelan can do no more than apologize. Regardless of his legal liability, he can offer to pay money damages to cover the negative results, if any, stemming from his effort to interfere with Publius’s tenure. I don’t think his apology means shit, although accepting it or not was obviously Publius’ call. Whelan’s a lawyer – presumably he knows all this.

  125. 125
    geg6 says:

    @Jen R:

    If people don’t want to be exposed publicly because they gave to a candidate or cause that requires public disclosure of said contribution? Then they shouldn’t give and that way they can keep their names and addresses private.

    I mean, seriously. This might be the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard anyone complain about.

  126. 126
    AhabTRuler says:

    @geg6: You may be correct, but I still think it was odious and morally questionable tactic. “Legality” =/ “morality” (cf. Bush Admin). I think there are many other, better ways of winning the fight over LGBT rights; you are entitled to disagree.

  127. 127
    Brett says:

    @DougJ: I doubt he’ll resign, but I wonder whether he will continue to attack nominees in the same way.

    Publius was right from the start: people have been looking to Whelan for essentially middlebrow opposition research. Now he has provided an explicit standard for judging whether or not his own arguments are up to snuff:

    [people who] argue poorly [are people] who don’t present opposing arguments fairly, who don’t get the facts right, who don’t reason logically, and who don’t acknowledge and correct their errors.

    link here

    Alas, the smart money is probably on the following: having written those words, he goes back to thirty posts a week without “presenting opposing arguments fairly” (or at all, really). This is nominations warfare, after all. But I’m open to being surprised.

  128. 128
    Anne Laurie says:

    Well, OK. Fine. When will he address the substance of Publius’ original post, that he provides dishonest wingnut talking points?

    Hell, ‘providing dishonest wingnut talking points’ is the very definition of Whelan’s job. As the old lawyer joke goes, “When the facts & the law are both against you — pound the table.” Or, in Whelan’s case, the offending blogger who dared to point out that Emperor Whelan was nekkid.

    Macho posturing aside no one can be passingly familiar with Whelan’s history at the OLC and his blog history at NRO and think for a minute that this guy isn’t angry and unsatisfied and agressive for a living—all the things that led him to attack P personally will happen again. His apology is no more credible than that of a battering husband who routinely apologizes between bouts of rage.

    Aimai nails it. Whelan is a professional thug who’s just been informed that his latest bit of thuggery goes beyond the acceptable social norm. He won’t stop outing bloggers who offend him — who offend the people who pay Whelan to be his thug self — but he’ll wrap the next outing in some kind of weasel-word more-in-sorrow-than-anger legalism, or use one of his sockpuppets to do the dirty.

    John’s right, in the sense that since Publius has accepted Whelan’s apology, it’s not up to the rest of us to keep insisting that Whelan apologize better. On the other hand, now that the general outlines of Whelan’s thuggishness have been illuminated, the rest of us have an obligation to examine Whelan’s future actions in the light of his past bad behavior.

  129. 129
    gwangung says:

    On the other hand, now that the general outlines of Whelan’s thuggishness have been illuminated, the rest of us have an obligation to examine Whelan’s future actions in the light of his past bad behavior.

    Yes.

    Absolutely NOTHING wrong with increased vigilance and scrutiny of his words and actions. Again, behavior has consequences, and increased wariness is the least he should expect of his future behavior.

  130. 130

    […] will say this for Ed Whelan. His apology was nowhere near as weasely as this crap from Jeff […]

  131. 131
    HRA says:

    Whelan did compose his apology directly to what he had done. IOW it was not a blank I am sorry.
    The quote about not caving in was the answer to possible pressure being made to have him give the apology. That is understandable.
    Publius accepted the apology. It was his decision.

    The fallout from the future damage done to Publius from Whelan’s ignorance may be unbearable and may cause acts unknown except when you have been at work in an academic environment where ever so often they come to light. It has nothing whatsoever to do with who funds one’s salary. It has everything to do with the perception advanced by the administrators of the institute.

  132. 132
    Cas says:

    Whelan didn’t apologize for outing publius. He apologized for uncharitable behavior. Twice. I don’t consider ‘not behaving like a petulant douchebag’ to be the same thing as ‘charity’.

    And yes, publius publicly accepted the apology, so the matter is closed – except for the potential self-censorship that publius might now feel coerced to exercise, the continued bullying and power imbalance of right-wing bloggers over the left, and Whelan’s gains in name recognition, traffic, lunatic street cred. Oh, right, and in how we collectively write the ‘history’ of this ugly little affair. Which, right now, goes something like, “Right-wing blogger wildly overreacts, destroys left-wing blogger’s anonymity, and apologizes with heartfelt eloquence.” I’d much rather see the internet record reflect that a right-wing blogger who makes his living in the field of ethics and public policy behaved like a petulant douchebag and later apologized a little.

  133. 133
    Mr Furious says:

    @aimai: The best take I’ve seen on the whole affair. Anywhere.

  134. 134
    Mr Furious says:

    Yes, publius accepted the apology—I would too in his situation. But I wouldn’t mean it and I would still be seething. But the faster this thing goes away the better for publius—the longer it drags out the more attention Whelan gets—bad. And the more attention publius’ RL college professor self gets—worse.

  135. 135
    Ross says:

    Professor Cole,
    I don’t agree with most of your political views. I do however appreciate your posts urging forgiveness for a mistake that someone has sincerely apologized for. I wish more people on the left and right would behave as you have in recognizing that their political opponents are subject to making honest mistakes. When an honest mistake is made and realized then an apology should be forthcoming. I will note that for both sides of the political aisle a sincere apology should be followed up by a change in behavior to avoid a repeat of the initial transgression.

    Thank you again for the civility. It helps us see each other as well-meaning individuals with different points of view when we are willing to be gracious to one another.

    Highest Regards,

  136. 136
    brantl says:

    Except Whelan isn’t a well-meaning individual, he’s a thin-skinned bully whose first impulse is to lash out. He’s a dick, plain and simple. This wasn’t an “honest mistake” it was a punk-move, -executed by a punk.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] will say this for Ed Whelan. His apology was nowhere near as weasely as this crap from Jeff […]

  2. […] that he actually appears to believe them, is laudable. Even John Cole at the ridiculous site, Balloon-Juice, is big enough to use his own name, though I’ve always found it odd that a guy who makes the […]

Comments are closed.