A Webb of Insults


Nick Gillespie and Radley Balko already covered the SOTU, but a day later this put-down of James Webb by former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson is still making the rounds.

Senator Webb made liberal use of cliches: the middle class is "the backbone" of the country, which is losing its "place at the table." I am not even sure there is a literary term for a mixed metaphor that crosses two cliches. And Senator Webb's logic was as incoherent as his language (the two are often related). No "precipitous withdrawal"–but retreat "in short order." Fight the war on terror vigorously–except where the terrorists have chosen to fight it. It is, perhaps, a good thing that James Webb earned a job as senator. As a speechwriter he would starve.

That's not much of an insult, is it? Senators hire speechwriters; speechwriters, generally, don't hire senators. It's a bit like saying "It's a good thing he earned a job as a CEO. As a call center manager, he would starve."

For a more damning take on last night, note Tony Perkins' grumbling response to Bush's speech.