It's good to be a Villager.
Once you get inside that Beltway and earn your first invite to the cocktail circuit, you're made in the shade. No ethic violations, no infidelity, no narrowly avoiding criminal prosecution will hurt your social life or jeopardize your seat on some televised panel as a pundit. You never have to be correct in your assessments and you never, ever need be ashamed of your ignorance and bigotry.
That's why we see Tony Perkins of Family Research Council talking on everything from Fox News to MSNBC with nary a pushback on being on the SPLC's list of hate groups. All that ugliness, all that hate and ignorance, all that bigotry waving proud in the clip above and yet somehow we're supposed to be fine with legitimizing Perkins as a valid voice.
Dana Milbank certainly thinks that FRC has gotten a raw deal by being classified as a hate group.
I disagree with the Family Research Council’s views on gays and lesbians. But it’s absurd to put the group, as the law center does, in the same category as Aryan Nations, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Stormfront and the Westboro Baptist Church. The center says the FRC “often makes false claims about the LGBT community based on discredited research and junk science.” Exhibit A in its dossier is a quote by an FRC official from 1999 (!) saying that “gaining access to children has been a long-term goal of the homosexual movement.”
Offensive, certainly. But in the same category as the KKK?
Well, they certainly dress less conspicuously than the KKK, but yes, Dana, the irrational and ignorant hate they spew against a specific subset of the population is absolutely analogous. Is it just that we're talking about gays, which make you feel uncomfortable and unable to recognize the disjunctive syllogism of naming them a hate group? Here's a simple thought experiment for you: substitute "black" or "Jews" for "homosexuals" in any of the clips above. Does the hate seem clearer to you?
Michelangelo Signorile, Editor at Large of HuffPo's Gay Voices, invited Milbank on his Sirius XM show to discuss the failures of Milbank's logic and perhaps raise his consciousness on what it's like to be the subject of that kind of dehumanizing rhetoric.
But like the true Villager he is, Milbank just couldn't see it. His reasoning? The FRC is a "think tank" and its founders and some members are well-respected within the....wait for it...Beltway. That's some mighty fine mansplaining. How dare we hoi polloi who care about human decency question the Villagers?
Milbank was invited on my SiriusXM show to discuss the column he wrote last week which has generated much controversy on social media. In the comments section on the Washington Post’s web site and on Twitter and Facebook, many criticized Milbank’s defense of the FRC as a “Washington think tank” which thus shouldn’t be called a hate group, and his calling the Human Rights Campaign and the SPLC “reckless” for terming the FRC a hate group.[..]
“The hate group category, is with the exception of the Family Research Council, a bunch of neo-Nazi and Ku Klux Klan-like groups, and while they may say all kinds of wacky things at the FRC, they’re a Washington think tank, not a group that puts on sheets and organizes lynch mobs,” Milbank said.
Milbank seemed not to know, nor would he address it when pointed out, that the SPLC lists many groups on its website that are not violent, or even claim to oppose violence, but which propagate hate as well. The hate group list includes the Nation of Islam and the Conservative Citizens Council.
“I’m not going to defend [FRC], I’m not going to do it,” he said, repeatedly, affirming that he didn’t come on to defend FRC and does agree that the group’s repeated claim that gays are pedophiles is “hateful,” though believes it should be called by another term other than hate group. “I think there should be a list of people who use unacceptable language.”
Milbank’s reasoning is that because FRC is a “Washington think tank” with respectability it simply can’t be accused of being a hate group.
“This is a group that was founded by James Dobson and was run for many years by Gary Bauer, who was a presidential candidate, a widely respected commentator around town,” he explained. “Why would would you say that’s the same sort of thing as Stormfront?”
See that? These are fellow Villagers. Milbank can't bear the thought of them being held accountable for their actions, consequences be damned. Dobson and Bauer get regular invitations to the cocktail parties and it would make things just so uncomfortable for them to be known as hate-mongers.
So in Milbank's mind, it's the SPLC and the homosexuals who simply want the dignity of equal rights who are the irrational ones.
UPDATE: And as if on cue, guess who Andrea "Mrs. Greenspan" Mitchell, that ultimate Villager, has on this morning to discuss the ongoing Akin saga? That's right, Perkins.