As you may know, Foster Friess, a generous financial supporter to Rick Santorum’s presidential campaign, appeared on Andrea Mitchell’s MSNBC show and made a widely-reported comment on birth control.
Here’s the exchange between Friess and Mitchell:
Mitchell: Do you have any concerns about some of his comments on social issues, contraception, about women in combat, and whether that would hurt his general election campaign would he be the nominee?
Friess: I get such a chuckle when these things come out. Here we have millions of our fellow Americans unemployed, we have jihadist camps being set up in Latin America, which Rick has been warning about, and people seem to be so preoccupied with sex. I think it says something about our culture. We maybe need a massive therapy session so we can concentrate on what the real issues are. And this contraceptive thing, my gosh, it's such inexpensive. Back in my day, they used Bayer aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn't that costly.
Mitchell: Excuse me, I'm just trying to catch my breath from that, Mr. Friess, frankly.
That’s all I could find. Perhaps there’s a longer transcript available somewhere; if so, I’d like to read it. But that’s the exchange that’s being reported: my link is to the Wall Street Journal; the Journal’s link is to TalkingPointsMemo.
This past Sunday, David Gregory brought this comment up on Meet The Press; Andrea Mitchell was one of the panelists on the show. Here’s Gregory’s description of what Friess said (emphasis mine):
MR. GREGORY: This aspirin business, Foster Friess, who's a Santorum supporter, said to you on your program that the best means of birth control is putting a Bayer aspirin between your legs, which is kind of an old joke.
Here’s Mitchell correcting Gregory’s mischaracterization:
MS. MITCHELL: Yes.
Just for the record.
Re: Re: Bad Jokes - Michael Potemra, writing at The Corner. I like this post partly because Potemra is very clear on the problems with what Friess said, which is refreshing coming from someone writing from the Right.
I like this post even more because Potemra sees Friess as a living, breathing person, with all the complexity that entails, all the potential for missteps, all the potential for opening mouth and inserting foot, all the potential for reconsideration and apology. I’m very tired of people attributing earth-shattering - and always horrifying - significance to every word uttered by those with whom they disagree. It’s confirmation bias on steroids. People aren’t just cherry-picking facts to fit their preconceptions; they’re hypervigilant for incidents they can use to prove how terrible their opponents are. If someone who disagrees with them politically says a thousand decent things and one questionable one, they seize on the latter to prove that those who disagree with them are monsters.
Robert F. Kennedy said:
What is dangerous about extremists is not that they are extreme, but that they are intolerant. The evil is not what they say about their cause, but what they say about their opponents.
It seems to me that our country - at least the part of it that pontificates about politics - today contains very few people who aren’t extremists. This state of affairs is scary; bodes ill for the future of the nation; and raises serious questions about the viability of our form of government. It’s also incredibly tiresome.