Dumb politics

Last week the Boston Globe quoted me in their story about young conservative activists (despite the fact that it has been more than a decade since I organized campuses for the Leadership Institute). Reporter Dugan Arnett picked just about the perfect quote to sum up our discussion:

“There are always people who are going to say, ‘This is my ticket; I’m going to make sure my campus burns down, I’m going to be on Fox News a bunch, and that’s going to be my path to the spotlight,’ ” says Jim Eltringham, formerly of the Leadership Institute and currently a Republican campaign consultant. “The problem is: That’s a spotlight that burns out quick.”

Our discussion centered on how some campus activists welcomed controversy for controversy’s sake, provoking outrage on purpose to gain attention with little substance behind the actions. It seems like a lesson some in Washington need to learn, too: In a piece on Medium, I argue that there’s a direct link between this type of superficiality and last week’s Republican failure on health care .

A Rolling Stone Gathers an Awful Lot of Outrage

Boston is aghast (as are other cities) at the now-famous Rolling Stone cover depicting Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.  The picture is too kind, too glamorous, and too normal, say critics.  The story is online as of yesterday, but the outrage did not wait.

It’s surprising that the outrage has an anti-terrorism bent but that pro-Islamic groups aren’t railing at the implications.  Check out the sub-title of the cover:

How a Popular, Promising Student Was Failed by His Family, Fell into Radical Islam and Became a Monster

That’s a pretty loaded statement.  The implication is that radical Islam turned an otherwise normal boy into the type who would bring devastation upon the Boston Marathon.

This headline suggests that Tsarnaev did not have evil sewn into his soul;  rather, the corrupting influence of the radical Islamic community exploited his loneliness and confusion to brainwash him.  Of course the image is wholesome-looking – the thrust of this line of thinking is that this could happen to anyone.

One would think a group like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (which has apparently been silent on the issue) would have as many or  more problems with that cover than, say, Hot Air.