Conservative writer Ed Whelan has taken some heat over the weekend for using an ill-advised metaphor in a Friday National Review Online post in which he argued against Elena Kagan for the Supreme Court spot. He criticized the former Harvard Law School dean, who will be announced as Obama’s nominee for the vacant Supreme Court seat tomorrow morning, for allowing military recruiters at Harvard Law School despite her opposition to “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
He wrote, “If Kagan genuinely believed that the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law was ‘a profound wrong–a moral injustice of the first order,’ why would she make herself complicit in implementing the grave evil? Yes, of course, it’s true, as the article points out, that ‘barring the recruiters would [have] come with a price.’ But, as George Bernard Shaw would have said to Kagan for selling out her supposedly deeply held principles, ‘We’ve already established what you are, ma’am. Now we’re just haggling over the price.’”
Today, Eric Burns of progressive watchdog group Media Matters for America took Whelan to task for “stooping so low as to imply a woman is a prostitute merely because she didn’t to allow her personal views to stand in the way of our military’s recruiters.” Whelan has since sort of apologized, claiming the “Bernard Shaw quip is widely used in political discourse” and he didn’t mean to suggest “the particular stigma that a narrowly literal understanding would convey.” That wasn’t enough to placate Burns, though: “Too little, too late,” he responded. If this is a sign of the kind of discourse we’re in for at her confirmation hearings, yikes.