Republicans Deserve Praise for Not Embracing Convenient but Reckless Theory


Ed Whelan isn’t a terribly admired person right now. The conservative lawyer is under attack from all but the fringes of the American political firmament after he used Twitter to promise information that would absolve Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh from 35-year-old sexual assault allegations, and then tweeted a theory that was as bizarre in its conclusions as it was in its intricate (and utterly outré) construction.

“The hype ping-ponged from Republicans on Capitol Hill to Kavanaugh’s team in the White House, evidence of an extraordinarily successful public relations campaign that ultimately backfired when Whelan’s theory — complete with architectural drawings and an alleged Kavanaugh doppelgänger — landed with a thud on Twitter Thursday evening,” Politico reported.

These tweets, in other words, did not age well:

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What’s even odder, according to Politico, is that Whelan didn’t do it all by himself.

Whelan has since apologized for the theory, and likely not just because he was accusing a random person of sexual assault — literally no one supported him.

And by no one, this means neither liberals (which should have been unsurprising) nor conservatives (which should also have been unsurprising if one has paid attention instead of prejudging) embraced the weird, offensive theory.

That’s right — conservatives, whose political position would be considerably buttressed by embracing Whelan’s Oliver Stone-like theorizing — absolutely rejected every part of it. Take pundit Ben Shapiro, who could reasonably be adjudged to be the loudest voice on the right demanding Whelan stop talking and slither back from whence he came:

Shapiro also questioned President Donald Trump’s decision to come forward and attack Ford’s inability to put a place or a date to the allegation:

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While the right-leaning social media jury was and is still deliberating whether or not the president’s tweets were counterproductive, the verdict was decidedly in on Whelan.

Even Erick Erickson — the NeverTrumper conservative whose defenses of Kavanaugh have been both clamorous and frequent — made sure to distance himself from Whelan in a conspicuous manner.

Whelan’s dubious contribution aside, Kavenaugh himself, meanwhile, is more than ready to clear his own name before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

To sum up, Whelan’s ridiculousness found no quarter in anything but the most credulous dank corners of the conservative world. I know we play role-reversal not infrequently here, but imagine if this were a Democrat nominee and a liberal made the same sort of John Nash-at-his-worst attempt at making a political point. Would they have the same reaction?

If we want to look at that question in the concrete as opposed to the hypothetical, just look at the left’s most famous conspiracy theorist.

Michael Moore is currently out and about supporting his new film about President Trump titled “Fahrenheit 11/9.” I must confess I haven’t had the time to watch it yet (I think that episode of “Supernatural” where Paris Hilton was guest starring was on last time I got the urge to see it, and my DVR is almost full).

I have, however, sat through its “prequel” of sorts, “Fahrenheit 9/11.” That’s where he presented a series of inchoate theories which unsubtly intimated George W. Bush may have been in league with the bin Ladens and used the 9/11 terror attacks for nothing more than political gain.

Moore’s film was a great deal more shameless than Ed Whelan’s bizarre tweets, and yet the rotund crypto-socialist filmmaker is still a member in good standing of the cultural left. After Thursday, Whelan probably doesn’t have much of a career left, at least in public eye.

Nor should he. Whelan’s theory was poxed and iniquitous at best and libelous at worst. No major right-wing figure bought into it, and I would encourage every fellow conservative who thought there might have been so much as an outside chance of it being true to do some very earnest political soul-searching.

Either way, Ed Whelan is a solid object lesson in the difference between the left and right in recent American history. The right calls out its cranks. The left exalts them.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture