David French For President

I stand with David French.

I don't stand with him on social issues, at least not most of the time. I don't stand with him on many geopolitical issues — though I note that he's willing to back up his views by volunteering for military service rather than merely sending other people to risk their lives to advance them.

I stand with him as someone I respect, admire, and trust.

I met David in 1991 at Harvard Law School. He stood out. In a class awash in people from Princeton and Stanford and Yale, he came from a small private college in Nashville, but was manifestly intellectually qualified to be there. He was open about his faith in a positive and friendly way. He was unapologetic, firm, but polite about his political views, which were very substantially to the right of Harvard's rather unreflectively lefty ethos. These were the days of the Clarence Thomas hearings and the run-up to the 1992 elections, and political discourse mostly consisted of expressing disdain and disbelief at the existence of different viewpoints. David got hissed in class — that's what people did before there was Twitter — by the usual suspects.

Yet David, unlike some people with strong political beliefs, was generally well-liked because his strong beliefs were accompanied by an air of decency, humility, and friendliness. Friends — people with a wide array of political beliefs and social, ethnic, and religious backgrounds — used to joke that David was the reasonable man of legal lore. When we studied the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress — which traditionally imposes liability when someone's conduct is so terrible that it would cause a reasonable member of the community to exclaim "outrageous!" — we relied heavily on David. We'd explain the facts to him, and if he exclaimed "OUTRAGEOUS!" we felt comfortable in concluding that's how a decent, normal American would react.

Since then, David has led FIRE, one of my favorite organizations, to fight for the free speech, assembly, and worship rights of students. Faced with a war he believed in, and faced with the sacrifices of others, he joined and served honorably in a war zone rather than supporting conflict without personal sacrifice. Like me, he adopted a child into his family, and like me recognized that the opportunity to adopt a child is an incredible blessing upon the family that should inspire parents to feel profound thankfulness.

I disagree with David quite often. For instance, I think he's too uncritical of our international military agenda. I think his criticisms of the cultural left too often characterize the whole based on the bad behavior of the few and too often indulge in the sort of gratuitous rhetoric that doesn't live up to the rest of his persona. But I respect him because I know he got where he is based on principle and that, if I argued with him over it, he'd listen to me and discuss it with me like a grown-up (and perhaps give me more attention than my antics deserved). I trust him more than I trust the vast majority of politicians, even when I agree with those politicians' apparent stated positions of the moment.

This week's attacks on him annoy me. They annoy me because so many are careless, puerile and uninformed. They annoy me almost (almost) to the point of reflection — is that how I sound when I reject candidates out of hand?

I don't know if David will decide to tilt at this windmill. I do know that it would be a pleasure to vote for someone whose integrity and decency I trust, and for whom I have abiding respect, even if I don't share all of his views.

Last 5 posts by Ken White

Comments

  1. David Ruddell says

    If he does run, and gets any traction at all, the alt-right freak-out will be epic.

  2. Alex M. says

    lol garbage homophobe David Who? French will never be president, will not make a dent in the race, is irrelevant detritus.

  3. #NevertheothertwoDumpsterFires says

    Great to hear about French's personality, I trust Ken's judgement. I can't vote for Trump or Hillary and having French in the race will prevent me from writing in my favorite Lefty. In this case, Clayton Kershaw.

  4. LongCat says

    Shot: "This week's attacks on him annoy me. They annoy me because so many are careless, puerile and uninformed."

    Chaser: "lol garbage homophobe David Who? French will never be president, will not make a dent in the race, is irrelevant detritus."

    Amazing.

  5. Erik says

    I know next to nothing about him, but I'm afraid that the negatives associated with an uber-NeoCon Bill Kristol endorsement goes well past the positives of a Ken White endorsement.

  6. Brice says

    Met him at a free speech seminar at my college a few months ago and he seemed to be a decent guy. Still voting for the lovable loser libertarians

  7. Aaron says

    Sounds like someone who would understand the concept of loyal opposition, and just because you disagree doesn't mean you're unpatriotic. That's one of the things that galls me the most. You can be patriotic and highly critical at the same time!

  8. Craig says

    I won't support him for President, but I'm all in favor of him mounting an independent campaign if it pulls votes away from The Donald among the principled-conservative segment of the Republican party.

  9. TimothyAWiseman says

    That is a resounding endorsement of an impressive sounding man. If he runs, I will have to give serious consideration to him.

    Since he has not yet announced, I am currently exploring Gary Johnson. Although I generally consider myself a moderate Republican, there have been a number of issues where I have disagreed with the mainstream Republican ideals for a time. I was content to overlook all of those until Trump effectively secured the nomination. Trump is far from a moderate Republican and I cannot support him. I do not fully agree with Gary Johson either, but I find him far more palatable than Trump

  10. mcinsand says

    Aaron gets it!

    >>Sounds like someone who would understand the concept of loyal opposition

    This is exactly why the major two parties are so screwed up; they have eliminated anyone that would dare question their leadership's new clothes. The two major parties have sunk so low that there is absolutely no way I would vote for either. In my fantasies, third and fourth parties get so many votes that the GOP and DNC leadership collectively wets their pants. It would be nice to see them get a message that we can vote them out.

  11. Zack says

    If he runs, he's got my vote, just based on this.

    I had NO idea he lead FIRE. Would've been nice if the media would've mentioned that.

    I'll vote for a good man over a man I agree with 100% of the time.

  12. Pete Finnegan says

    Popehat: You have me blocked on Twitter for reasons unknown. I probably got carried away once or twice. I enjoy your commentary. @Pete_Finnegan

  13. says

    Dear Ken,

    Thank you for sharing what you know of David French. You have convinced me that he's an intelligent, thoughtful person, and a man of integrity. I wish more conservatives seeking to enter politics were like him. Our nation would be so much better for it.

    He reminds me of one of my congresspeople, who, when I sent him a letter about issues I had with the initial version of the DMCA, sent me a thoughtful reply (not the form letter), and his voting on subsequent versions of the legislation shows that he's not in the pocket of the MPAA/RIAA. He has also served, and is an active member of the church I was raised in — but he doesn't beat people over the head with it. Everything I have ever heard about this man leads me to believe that he is thoughtful, intelligent, and principled.

    He does not have my vote, however, and I'll get to that in a second.

    You say:

    I don't stand with him on social issues, at least not most of the time.

    Knowing you as I do from your tweets, this website, the popehat signal (which you once offered to fire up on my behalf about 7 years ago), it sounds to me that you're saying that French does not support LGBTQ rights, a woman's reproductive rights (I'm not talking abortion, but unfettered contraceptive/morning-after-pill access), age-appropriate medically accurate sex education, wage reform, policing reforms, and health insurance access for all. PLEASE correct me if I am wrong.

    These are all the reasons I cannot in good conscience vote for my aforementioned congressman, though I do believe he's a smart man and good person doing his best to do right by his nation and the people he represents.

    All the things I mentioned but most especially LGBTQ rights and reproductive rights are not mere "social issues". They are fundamentals. Unwanted, unplanned, and unpreventable pregnancies (because the pharmacist thinks s/he has the right to make your medical and personal life choices and overrule you & your doctor, or because of laughably inadequate abstinence only sex-ed) alter the course of too many peoples' lives, and not for the better. Then there are all the problems caused by STDs; there is study after study tying STD outbreaks to abstinence only sex-ed; and STDs (even when curable) can have life altering consequences (eg. infertility). I have personally seen too many people dismissed from jobs, denied housing, denied a pot to piss in, denied care & services, denied access to their loved ones in the hour of need because they are LGBTQ. It's not a mere difference of opinion, it's not toe-may-toe/toe-mah-toe. These choices directly (and often quite cruelly) impact people's lives.

    While I respect people's integrity and courage, I cannot support them for a public office when that same integrity, intellect, and courage — when their goodness — is used as part of their framework for denying fundamental equalities to women like myself and my fellow citizens.

  14. pjcamp says

    I thought we were against French things as being socialist. Perhaps he should change his name to David Freedom.

  15. Leo Marvin says

    They annoy me almost (almost) to the point of reflection — is that how I sound when I reject candidates out of hand?

    It's how most people sound. Generosity is nonexistent for politicians who don't advocate our views. Yet on the rare occasion someone knows a politician personally, testimonials seem the norm (Ted Cruz a notable exception). Even Trump, who to be clear IMO would be the worst presidential choice this country has ever made, seems mostly to have the respect and affection of people who know him.

    I assume people with personal history know a politician better than the rest of us who see a scripted persona distorted by media filters. Sure, politics ain't beanbag, but I think it speaks poorly of us that we default so easily to tribal animosity for people the testimonial evidence suggests aren't the miscreants we treat them as.

  16. Zack says

    "health insurance access for all"

    I would think the actual CARE would be more important than the ability to have a card in your wallet, but that's just me.

    "unfettered contraceptive/morning-after-pill access"

    You're arguing against a straw man then, plain and simple, or being deliberately arcane about what you mean by 'unfettered'.

    Do you mean, "Nobody has a right to refuse to sell it"? Do you mean "Nobody has a right to refuse to provide it, even if I can get it two feet away from you?" Do you mean "Nobody has a right to refuse to prescribe it, even if there's a doctor five feet across the hall who will?" All of those are at best laughable propositions, which essentially mean "my liberty as a customer is more important than your liberty as a business", with no real justification for the distinction.

    If you mean, "nobody has a right to criminalize it or bar access to it by statute", then you'd both be right and arguing against a several-decades-old straw-man.

    "age-appropriate medically accurate sex education"

    Again, you're being deliberately inarticulate so you can argue against a straw man. Nobody disputes kids should be taught that. What they dispute is what "age appropriate" means, and who is responsible for the educating.

    Sex has the greatest level of protection of privacy of almost anything in the country, so why is it so vitally important that it be taught in public? Why can't something practiced and executed in private, that enjoys so many privacy protections, be taught in private?

    " wage reform"

    Again, you're being deliberately vague here.

    Come right out and say it: you want criminalize the labor of anyone who produces under $15 dollars an hour of value. You want to make it illegal for someone to agree to work for less than $15 dollars an hour.

    You don't want to put it that way because it clashes with your view of yourself as being for individual liberty, but it's a hit your ego should be able to take, if you're as fact-driven and rational as your believe yourself to be.

  17. says

    A few short months ago, we were told that Trump was simply Hillary's stalking horse, and a vote for him was a vote for Hillary. This is the same time that the "principled conservatives" were calling for Trump to sign a pledge that he would support the eventual nominee.

    Now, the so called "principled conservatives" are trying to convince us that their guy isn't Hillary's stalking horse (when he obviously is) and that we should, under no circumstances, support the Republican nominee.

    The innermost circle of Dante's hell is reserved for those who indulge in treachery and betrayal. Let me know what it's like.

  18. Chaon says

    Did David French really argue that hot dogs should be rated R? Or are Twitter shenanigans getting the best of me again?

  19. Ron says

    > I'll vote for a good man over a man I agree with 100% of the time.

    This is an utterly terrible way to vote.

  20. Andrew says

    tl;dr – you went to school with David French and it bugs you that people would deign to hurl invective at somebody you personally like.

    The lamentations after your mini-bio highlight one of the big meta-lies of American political life: decorum is a prerequisite of the serious or thoughtful. That, of course, is pure bullshit, and a notion that has been repeatedly and gleefully pissed upon on this very site. He wants to put himself out there as some social critic and thought leader in the contemporary right? He can deal with being called an embarrassing pissbaby and bigoted dipshit—or, if he can't deal with it, he can go fuck right off right back to being a private citizen with private opinions.

    Compartmentalizing the private person from the political one when talking about a potential political candidacy is also a completely silly exercise. "But he's a good guy" is the weakest argument one could conceivably make about a political candidate, precisely because it's so stupidly free of larger political context. I'm sure Hillary Clinton is a wonderful and loving grandmother—and I have little doubt that thousands upon thousands of granddaughters and grandmothers across North Africa and the Middle East will find their corpses pinned under heaps of rubble as a direct consequence of a Clinton presidency. French is, and ought to be, no different, and basically every position he espouses—by sheer coincidence, no doubt!—is precisely the proposal that would bolster and perpetuate the supremacy of rich straight nominally-Christian white men. I don't care if he sweeps up after the crosses burn themselves out on a gay couple's lawn, the larger policy goal is fucking odious.

  21. Stormy Dragon says

    So did you come to respect David French before or after his tireless work for the ADF to assure that state governments could continue sending men to the homes of homosexuals in the middle of the night to beat them and drag them off to be locked in cages?

    Or was it his work to kidnap the children of homosexuals and place them with more appropriately Christian families?

  22. Andrew Murphy says

    I think there's very few politicians in either your country or mine (UK) who say what they believe.

    Right now I think I would rather vote in someone who would do what they say, even though I might disagree with it, rather than someone who I have no idea what they would do.

    That's a sad reflection on the current political parties.

  23. Craig Fitzgerald says

    This article was clearly written in order to announce Ken's desire to be French's VP.

  24. deadrody says

    Don't you really mean, Hillary Clinton for President ? Any independent cnadidate running to the right of Hillary Clinton clearly draws votes from the only legitimate contender to prevent another Clinton presidency.

    And I do enjoy the assholes that thnik the horrible alternative of a Clinton presidency is offest by the epic alt-right frkakout. Here's a tip: You're a Democrat.

  25. wanfuforever says

    Personally voting Libertarian. We've gotten where we are now because we're tired being let down by constantly bickering leadership. The well is so toxic now we need the basic reform of understanding the freedom of speech actually applies to groups we don't like. My suggestion is whenever a demagogue starts railing about the shortcoming of the other side (whoever that is) they have to state where that same side has a good argument and where there own side falls short on a topic. If they can't do it then forget 'em because they are not thinking.

  26. Jim Kendall says

    I need to be convinced that he is running to win. If so, he will get my vote and damn the odds.

  27. bbob says

    Interesting that this is a move to stop Trump and not to stop Hillary.
    French wont get 1 percent of the vote if he runs.

  28. T says

    Gehrig says

    June 2, 2016 at 4:02 am

    The guy is simply a political puppet for his boss Kristol at the NR.

    I'm sure you have an intelligent, well-informed, and carefully-reasoned basis for believing this.

    Except that, well, Kristol doesn't work for NR at all, champ.

  29. LlamaHerder says

    I've heard similar testimonials from people who've worked with Hillary, but your word counts for more than most.

    I won't be voting for him since his policy positions are very distasteful to me, but it sounds like he's a decent person in his personal life.

  30. Daniel Weber says

    I thoroughly enjoyed the post. The comments not so much.

    For now I'll probably support Johnson. The big-L Libertarian Party is a perennial joke, but given who is being put up by the big two this year, that means that now the fight is happening in their house. (And according to the NYT it takes 15% in polling to get on stage at national debates, and Johnson is already at 10%, so only a few more points to go.)

  31. Dan says

    Well, I'm voting for Hill-dawg.

    I was for Bernie but I'm not "Bernie or bust"… that's just silly. Hill-dawg stands on the right (left?) side of most issues I care about, and Trump must be denied the presidency. Granted, she's got a secretive, oligarchist, even authoritarian streak… but Trump makes her look like Cinncinatus.

    David French, with all due respect, is a non-entity. I do hope he runs, because the best he could do is increase Hillary's margin of victory by sapping some votes from Trump, like Nader did to Gore.

  32. Aaron says

    @Zach
    RE: sex education

    So, a huge problem in this country is that large parts deem sex as dirty and shouldn't be spoken of. And that the only right way is abstinence. Which clearly hasn't been working. This also contributes to a culture of shame around sex that's instilled at a very young age and promotes the shaming of young women who want to enjoy sex.

    Why can't something practiced and executed in private, that enjoys so many privacy protections, be taught in private?

    It's clear that it isn't being taught, or it's simply being told "don't". And clearly teens aren't following that in massive droves.

    Proper sex education which (as they get into pre-teen & teen years) includes instructions on condom use, dangers of STDs and unplanned pregnancies (especially at a very young age), and types and availability of contraceptives of all kinds. Additionally education that there are lots of different ways of having sex, that there can be all sorts of different emotions that come up along with pleasure, and you aren't bad for feeling them.

    And last, and probably most important, good training in proper consent. This is one of the biggest things, IMO.

  33. Gene says

    In my life, at very different times, I've met three people that went to Lipscomb. All were very good thinkers and well rounded people.

  34. Wick says

    Hillary strikes me as a classic business law litigator. She is determined, she is detail oriented, she reveals as little as possible, and she has the charisma of a tuna.

  35. says

    There's far too much disingenuousness in this to quote. Abstinence-based sex ed doesn't teach that sex is "dirty", it teaches that is a bad idea. Saying, "don't have sex" doesn't dirty it anymore than Coca-cola is "dirty" because we tell kids not to drink sugar.

    Women aren't being shamed for "liking sex", they are being shamed (by their peers) for having premarital sex. Noting in abstinence-based sex ed says "never ever have sex." It says, "don't have sex while you are an unmarried teenager."

    The problem with your definition of "proper sex ed" is that you can't find it in leftist-converged public schools anymore. They jump straight from how to put on a condom to BDSM, "wouldn't it be wonderful to be a homosexual", gender "exploration", ways to masturbate better, and probably even more offensive things than I've heard of.

    The people teaching the classes have shown that they can't be trusted with reasonable limits, and the only reasonable response to that is extreme limits that leave them no gray area.

  36. Argentina Orange says

    Considering that it is literally impossible for him to get on the ballot on all the states, I doubt he would be running to win.

  37. Aaron says

    @Phelps
    Most abstinence only based education is taught from the idea of religious "this is what's right". I have no problem with including it. Please do, it's a very valid option that needs to be explored as well.

    The problem I have is with how it's being represented. From what I know of how it's taught it's all about religion, the only way that's right and just and is good in the world. Being shamed for having premarital sex is often hypocritical by many people. Not all, some do hold fast to their beliefs and I admire them for it. But it's not something that's right for everyone. Don't try and enforce other beliefs on me for something that doesn't harm you.

    The I interpret what you wrote is saying there's One True Way and the only way. And any other education on the subject is wrong. I can't disagree in the strongest of words. To me, you're saying no education past "don't do it" is wrong. There's a lot more past that for basic, responsible sex education which includes condom use, discussion of risks, and general awareness of everything that can surround sex. And especially, as I said before, consent.

    I don't have kids and haven't seen what recent sex education is in middle schools, so I can't speak to exactly what is in them. I agree a good curriculum doesn't go from "put the condom on the banana" to "BDSM 101". But a brief description of the subject and the positive mention that it doesn't make you a bad person for wanting it is a good thing.

    And I in no way said "it's wonderful to be a homosexual", just that sexuality can be complicated and just because you feel different doesn't make you a bad person. I in no way think it's OK to have education saying "you should try this", but "if you feel this way and try it it's OK" is fine with me.

    The table here is more what I mean. I haven't read anything else on the sight, but under the Comprehensive Sex Education column is much more what I mean. The Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage is irresponsible and doesn't try and educate kids about options and how to deal with what they probably will be doing anyway.

    Jon Oliver's show did a fairly good spot on sex education in America. Now, a lot of it is just to get laughs, yes, but through all that there are lots of good points being raised.

  38. L says

    You're arguing against a straw man then, plain and simple, or being deliberately arcane about what you mean by 'unfettered'.

    Do you mean, "Nobody has a right to refuse to sell it"? Do you mean "Nobody has a right to refuse to provide it, even if I can get it two feet away from you?" Do you mean "Nobody has a right to refuse to prescribe it, even if there's a doctor five feet across the hall who will?" All of those are at best laughable propositions, which essentially mean "my liberty as a customer is more important than your liberty as a business", with no real justification for the distinction.

    If you mean, "nobody has a right to criminalize it or bar access to it by statute", then you'd both be right and arguing against a several-decades-old straw-man.

    You can call it a strawman if you like, but French thinks Griswold was wrong, so

  39. L says

    It seems to me like a vote for Clinton is twice as effective at preventing a Trump presidency as a vote for Johnson or French. That to me offsets all other considerations of the relative merits and demerits of Clinton, Johnson, and French.

    I don't always vote for the least-worst viable candidate, but when the worst viable candidate is Trump, I do.

  40. says

    The main problem with a David French candidacy: Too late to get on many ballots. Unlikely to gain any popular attraction. Not really a "third party" candidate, but an alternate Republican meant to satisfy a sliver of the GOP base that couldn't find anyone of note willing to run.

    I have no idea what the personal attacks are on French are that Ken's referring to. But there's plenty to criticize without getting personal.

  41. says

    I understand what you are saying. What I am saying is that you are being sold a bait and switch, where as soon as the classroom door closes it does in fact go straight to what I described, including indoctrination like "everyone is homosexual to some degree, and if you don't agree that makes you a homophobe".

    As I said, they can't be trusted with "reasonable."

  42. Aaron says

    @Phelps
    I'm not saying it doesn't. But give me some documentation/videos/whatever about it. Until them I'll be skeptical. And is it widespread or just a few schools?

  43. says

  44. dave varez says

    I didn't read this .

    I dont have to , it is ignorant , like reading Benedict Arnold's "explanation" .

    I dont care if French is eligible for Sainthood , his candidacy can only ensure a Hil-liary election and I dont want her or her Supreme court nominees ,

    Apparently Kristol doesn't care – Even if French did have a chance , which he does not , just the willingness to take the risk of a Hil-liary win disqualifies anyone pushing this idiocy from credibility .

    It sure is dangerous when morons fancy themselves intellectuals but in reality dont have a clue .

  45. Aaron says

    @Phelps
    RE: http://www.pennlive.com/news/2016/06/teacher_fired_for_cursing_talk.html
    Cursing shouldn't be condoned, although that has nothing to do with the subject we are discussing. Talking about sex…I suspect he's just a foul mouthed idiot. Nothing to do about sex education.

    RE: http://dailycaller.com/2016/06/01/washington-state-to-teach-transgenderism-to-kindergartners/
    I think it's laudable that they actually _have_ generalized topics on sexual health. I'm not an expert on young kids, so some of the Identity issues, depending on how they are presented might be incorrect at the young elementary level. A lot of it is in the details. I do think it's wonderful they are trying to put in safe vs unsafe touch and recognizing it starting all the way in kindergarten and about refusing touch. No clue how it's going to turn out though.

    RE: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/sex-education-controversy-erupts-in-omaha/
    Seems like the controversy is over a few parts:
    1) Teaching the use of condoms (Oh No! My baby might have sex! Oh, they might be anyway without me knowing)
    2) They're going to make our kids gay! Or think it's OK!

    This is mostly based on my reading of that single link. Statistically, some of those kids will be feeling sexual attraction for the same gender. Why shouldn't we ensure they have some information that they aren't the only one, and that they aren't bad for that. And also to equip the kids who might be approached that they don't have to react violently. It's not the end of the world. It's OK, but they have every right to say no and walk away.

    RE: http://www.tbnewswatch.com/News/389570/Sex-ed_changes_drive_opposition_protest
    Depends on what the grades are and the specific topics. When they say early, if it's something like K-3, the few topics mentioned probably are a bit too old. But it sounds like a lot of it is more about how they went about it without sufficient parent input.

    I'm not for telling folks to question their identity, but I am for equipping them with the knowledge some people do, it's OK, and here's some resources to find support if they do.

    With the exception of that first link, which I think is mostly just a very inappropriate teacher, mostly I don't see any evidence in those links provided that say that teachers are going beyond the curriculum. Mostly it's controversy of schools (or State guidance) changing their curriculum.

    I'm open to you feeling that curriculums are going too far, and perhaps some specific topis in the Washington State guidance could present some school districts to be too political in what they teach.

    To me, you haven't provided sufficient evidence that teachers are going beyond the curriculum they are supposed to teach when it comes to sexual education/health. I took your statement to mean teachers teaching other than the curriculum. Is that what you meant?

  46. T says

    Shot:

    I didn't read this . I dont have to , it is ignorant ,

    Chaser:

    It sure is dangerous when morons fancy themselves intellectuals but in reality dont have a clue .

  47. Aaron says

    LOL Ken. Needs more exclamation points. Then again, your point is better made without punctuation of any kind.

  48. Ken in NJ says

    I didn't read this. I dont have to , it is ignorant

    It sure is dangerous when morons fancy themselves intellectuals

    For sheer, awesome, Trumposity, the only way this comment could be better is if those two bits had been in the same sentence.

  49. SPQR says

    "uber-NeoCon"

    Whoa! What a great idea. A phone app that allows me to connect up with a NeoCon directly, without any intermediary company taking its cut.

    That's brilliant. Where can I download this great app?

  50. T says

    That's brilliant. Where can I download this great app?

    Don't bother. The surge pricing is awful after a security incident.

  51. dave Varez says

    Yeah , I should read this and then tell you how stupid it is .

    It's not stupid if you're a liberal , because if there's a third party Conservative candidate
    you are guaranteeing Hil-liary a win , but otherwise the only response thinkable is to note how stupid this is .

    If this guy runs , he's gonna lose .

    If this guy runs , Trump – or Cruz – or whoever the Republicans ran is going to lose .

    So you support Hil-liary and you support her Supreme Court nominations , as given the built-in liberal vote a Republican win will be razor thin and cannot survive being split .

    Please dont say no , I dont support Hil-liary , because you do .

    This is tantamount to explaining to a child that 1+ 1 is 2 , hope you and Kristol get it .

  52. Alexis W says

    I wish that I could support him because I have a deep dislike for Hillary Clinton, not that I am exactly a fan of Bernie Sanders or especially Donald Trump, but I simply cannot.

    His positions on every issue except for free speech that I have are absolutely unconscionable, when they are not directly against me. I am a lesbian transwoman, I cannot vote for a man who thinks that I do not deserve human rights. How can I possibly vote for someone who thinks that getting to live your life as you wish is a tragedy or entitlement?

    Believe me, I'm far from a radical leftist. I hate that I am forced to choose between those who support the majority of my beliefs and those who believe that I deserve to be allowed to get married or simply not be treated as if it is a walking tragedy for me to leave the house.

  53. Bibliotheca Servare says

    @Aaron: I think the most pointed, effective observation Phelps made was this (extreme paraphrase): If they can't teach their students how to *read* why the *hell* would you trust them to teach them about sex?! I'm dying to know your thoughts on this. *VBEG* Our school system, on average, can't even teach basic reading and math skills…but sex is a much less complex subject, I suppose, so maybe they'll be able to handle that one with greater competency. After all, the State Knows Best(TM) right? …I think I broke my sarcasm-bone. (It's a real thing! Trust me, I know these things…) :-P

    edit: no offense intended…sorry if I was a little too abrasive or sarcastic. :-)

  54. says

    I think you should recalibrate your idea of "human rights".

    A government that is so deeply embedded into everyday life that they tell can tell people that those people cannot forbid certain other people from their bathrooms is just an election away from one that tells its machine to throw you off of a building like ISIS.

    Every single socialist regime eventually turns on the homosexual and transgendered. You are their Useful Idiot, and once they've used you to break society, they are going to throw you away.

  55. says

    Better said invective was hurled at Bill Kristol for an utterly idiotic move, and some of it inadvertently splattered onto David French.

  56. Ronnie says

    He thinks homosexuals should be rounded up in the middle of the night but hey, man, he's fun at parties! Tips well! Doesn't beat his dog! Gosh isn't it just a shame that people are so goshdarn RUDE to a person who actively wants to make the world a worse place for me and mine? We should all be ashamed of how we've treated the poor man who wants to cause grievous harm to my family, because you know, there are some dipshits in academia who need to be restrained so that single thing demands I tolerate his refusal to offer me basic human dignity. I mean, what would Miss Manners think?

    Ken, this is a genuinely terrible article. Your defense of him has not heightened my opinion of him, and sad to say, it has lowered my opinion of you, as valuable as I find your work. It has revealed a dramatic imbalance in your priorities, and a callousness to people's actual lived realities. I have no obligation to show respect to this complete stranger who would use the power he seeks to harm the people I care about, and you certainly do not have the right to whine about how he is treated.

  57. John says

    Let's see, you have no political overlap with French and totally disagree with on all things but you support him because …

    You are both literally cuckolded men, raising the children of other men.

    This is the only common link I can see.

  58. dave varez says

    "You know where the door is"

    Gee , ridiculing my comment was a-ok (you know – "without reading the article it's dumb unless you are rooting for Hil-liary and her Supreme Ct Justices") –

    But getting ridiculed?

    Not so a-ok?

  59. dave varez says

    I have no respect for anyone who prostheletizes intellectual as if there's any choices to be made .

    There isn't , and Bill Kristol has lost all credibility .

    French is not the issue , I dont care if he's God or the devil ,

    He isn't gonna win anything , all he's gonna do is increase the chances of Hil-liary winning – how you gonna win when you cant even run in Texas anymore?

    This is a case where us nobody's are credible to say to the venerable Kristol "You're A Moron" because that's what he is with his silly all knowing smirk , unless he announces a goal of supporting Hil-liary in which case he's a miserable traitor .

    I have no patience whatsoever for this dangerous game being played by ignoramouses masquerading as credible pseudo intellectual leaders .

  60. Nobody says

    "He thinks homosexuals should be rounded up in the middle of the night but hey, man, he's fun at parties!"

    {{citation needed}}?

  61. Eggo says

    He can deal with being called an embarrassing pissbaby and bigoted dipshit

    For your sake Ken, I hope you learn to enjoy this kind of invective. Because getting Hillary Clinton elected means you'll be seeing a lot more of it directed at your friends and family who disagree with the left.

    It won't be funny, but there's grim irony in the thought of French himself guaranteeing that FIRE will be harassed repeatedly "investigated" by an IRS overseen by the Clintons.
    Libertarians really are willing to dig their own graves, aren't they? What an incredible sight.

  62. OrderoftheQuaff says

    Ken, have you done due diligence on this guy before you endorsed him? I'm sure he was a great law school schmoozebuddy and I support the goals of FIRE, but there's a LOT of negatives…

    I first learned of his candidacy, well, Kristol's endorsement anyway, on another site where the post highlighted his attitude toward women. Before he deployed overseas, he ordered his wife not to go on Facebook when he was gone, in order to avoid "the ghosts of boyfriends past", and he also ordered her not to have any conversations with men, whether in person, phone, email, whatever, and he forbade her to drink alcohol. When she told him that she was discussing the Christian faith with a male colleague in email, he related that his "stomach clenched" and he ordered her to have no further contact with the colleague.

    Ever read Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale"? Mr. French's statements make it sound like he would be in full accord with the government described in this novel. I am not a militant feminist, but I believe that men and women have equal rights of bodily and social autonomy (straights and gays too), and this is non-negotiable in the voting context. You know who else was bad on social issues, but possessed integrity in the sense of telling his people what he thought and what he was going to do, even writing a book about it?

    I voted for Bernie Sanders in the Oregon primary, so my conscience is clear, and I will be comfortable defending my position in the future. Will you?

  63. Procopius says

    First thing, "… too often indulge in the sort of gratuitous rhetoric that doesn't live up to the rest of his persona." I have to judge people by what they say. Especially people running for public office. I don't know what a "persona" is. If you mean he often says things he doesn't mean, that's troublesome. If you mean he often says things that sound unlike the image he wants to project, that's Marco Rubio.

    Being sponsored by the most egregiously wrong neoconservative war hawk with the worst record of being wrong about everything is not a good beginning. As the ancients would say, the omens are not auspicious. Even if he want with one of the existing heterodox parties, he's missed several ballot deadlines so he couldn't run in all states. The chance of his getting even a small part of the Republican vote is negligible. I have to suspect that this is not a serious endeavor. He may be honest, but the Republican Party and the conservative movement are filled with grifters, scammers, frauds, consultants, and thieves. They may be looking to use him as a front.

    It's nice that you like him. I've never met Bernie, but I like him

  64. Sacho says

    Before he deployed overseas, he ordered his wife not to go on Facebook when he was gone

    If he has the power to order his wife around, then that's enough of a problem for me – the rest is irrelevant. If he doesn't, then the way his personal relationship with his wife works is none of my business.

    Thinking a woman can be "ordered" around seems more bigoted than whatever French said.

    At any rate, it seems David French won't be running for president – http://www.nationalreview.com/article/436222/david-french-not-running-president

  65. Encinal says

    “You have a problem with me supporting blatant bigotry? You know where the door is.”

    Fuck you.

    @Phelps
    “There's far too much disingenuousness in this to quote. Abstinence-based sex ed doesn't teach that sex is "dirty", it teaches that is a bad idea.”

    You're the one being disingenuous. Anti-sex advocates start with the idea that sex is dirty, and look for reasons why it's a bad idea. It's a classic case of motivated reasoning.

    “Saying, "don't have sex" doesn't dirty it anymore than Coca-cola is "dirty" because we tell kids not to drink sugar.”

    Again, you're the one being disingenuous. Aaron never said that saying “don't have sex” dirties it, and you're just being dishonest pretending he did.

    “Women aren't being shamed for "liking sex", they are being shamed (by their peers) for having premarital sex.”

    Yeah, women raised in anti-sex communities don't have any shame over sex once they're married. Riiiiight.

    “Noting in abstinence-based sex ed says "never ever have sex." “

    Then why the hell is it called “abstinence”? Is there a section in abstinence-only sex education where they go over all the birth control options, so that once the students are no longer unmarried teenagers, they'll be well informed? You are so full of shit.

    “They jump straight from how to put on a condom to BDSM”

    More bullshit.

    “The people teaching the classes have shown that they can't be trustedwith reasonable limits”

    And by “reasonable limits”, you mean “endorsing my bigotry”.

    “A government that is so deeply embedded into everyday life that they tell can tell people that those people cannot forbid certain other people from their bathrooms is just an election away from one that tells its machine to throw you off of a building like ISIS.”

    I don't know of any law requiring private individuals to allow anyone into their bathrooms. The only law I know of dealing with private individuals is South Carolina's anti-transgender bill. The controversies over pro-transgender laws have been over who the government allows into which of its bathrooms. It's a classic Rightist tactic to pretend that one part of government telling another part of government what to do is somehow tyranny, and it's a classic tactic of bigots to claim that if not oppressing minorities will lead to the majority being engangered.

    "http://www.pennlive.com/news/2016/06/teacher_fired_for_cursing_talk.html”

    So your evidence that teachers engage in inappropriate speech is that a teacher was fired for doing so? That's absurd.

    “http://dailycaller.com/2016/06/01/washington-state-to-teach-transgenderism-to-kindergartners/”

    So your got-to evidence for how beyond the pale education is is that students are being taught to not bully people who are different from them? You are an awful excuse for a human being.

  66. Encinal says

    Just in case anyone is having trouble seeing how awful the "You know where the door is" comment is:

    If I'm a guest at a party, and I say to the host "I don't like this music", and the host says "You know where the door is", that's kind of rude. A host isn't obligated to let guests dictate the music, but they should take their guests' tastes into account.

    If my neighbor is having a party, and I come over and say "I don't like your music", and the host says "You know where the door is", that's really rude. The host is obligated to let their neighbors have a say in music that is loud enough to hear from next door. And going out the door doesn't solve the problem. The music is still blaring.

    French's bigotry affects everyone. Ken White support of that bigotry affects everyone. I could stop reading this blog, but that would do nothing to address the fact that Ken is supporting bigotry. I don't object to Ken's behavior as a reader of this blog, I object to it as a citizen of a country that is made a worse place by people like French.

  67. says

    French's bigotry affects everyone.

    Doubtful, and sounds suspiciously like the start of an argument for censorship.

    Ken White support of that bigotry affects everyone.

    More doubtful.

    I made clear — to any honest reader — that I disagree with David French on social issues. I've argued with him before and am likely to do so again. I advocate for the social positions I support here and elsewhere, and they're often contrary to his.

    But that's not enough for some people. Only total ideological compliance and capitulation will do.

    Social forces that David French opposes — normalization of same-sex marriage, for instance — have won overwhelmingly. There are a few impediments to that trend continuing, a few major triggers of potential backlashes. One such risk is the growing, and frankly fair, perception that some winning social forces are unsatisfied with anything but rigid ideological compliance. That means that it's unacceptable to some for me to praise a man like David French, a personal friend, for his good qualities whilst maintaining my disagreement with him. He's an enemy of the new state.

    I decline to be cowed. There's the door. Use it. Don't come back. Go be a shrill Mrs. Grundy at someone else. Run along and report me for crimethink. You're not welcome.

  68. Eggoeggo says

    I recently read the last few letters exchanged between Herbert Marcuse and Theodor Adorno before the latter's death, and thought people here might also find them interesting.
    Adorno speaks with horror of the struggle sessions the revolutionary student groups were beginning to demand of their professors. The storming of meetings, the occupation of offices, the vandalism and threats.

    I name as symptomatic of this the technique of calling for a discussion, only to then make one impossible; the barbaric inhumanity of a mode of behaviour that is regressive and even confuses regression with revolution; the blind primacy of action; the formalism which is indifferent to the content and shape of that against which one revolts…

    Marcuse, still the darling of his American students (who only occupied and burned other people's offices) replies with shock that Adorno would not just turn the other cheek, and wait to call the police until he was actually being beaten. From his perspective of "daily swimming in the Mediterranean and French cuisine", there was no reason for Adorno to be cowed by a bunch of rabble-rousers.

    Old letters are always fascinating when you read them from a modern perspective.

  69. Ronnie says

    > One such risk is the growing, and frankly fair, perception that some winning social forces are unsatisfied with anything but rigid ideological compliance. That means that it's unacceptable to some for me to praise a man like David French, a personal friend, for his good qualities whilst maintaining my disagreement with him.

    This is beyond disingenuous, and beneath you. I'm not asking you to stop being friends with him. I'm not asking you not to praise him. I'm not even asking you to not endorse him for president, a position where he would have the power to cause immeasurable harm to me and mine with his base prejudices — prejudices which he stubbornly holds onto despite the changing tides of society, a fact which I would argue makes his position less justifiable, not more.

    But no, I'm not asking you to do any of that. Enjoy your friendship. Admire him for his admirable qualities. All I'm asking you to do is the bare minimum of NOT LECTURING ME, about goddamn MANNERS of all things because I refuse to respect his deeply dehumanizing, degrading position. I weather such insults from family, friends and strangers, and I accept that we all have our flaws, but they're not running for president. I don't owe David French a damn thing; I'll speak however I want him, I'm sure you will too. If you wanna couch this as you being persecuted for "crimethink," well, your call for civility rings pretty goddamn hollow. "Crimethink"? I'm responding to a direct insult; lecture your friend about his manners before you lecture me. At the very least spare me your boo-hooing about the lack of civility.

  70. says

    Oh bullshit Ronnie. Let's review how you marched in:

    Ken, this is a genuinely terrible article. Your defense of him has not heightened my opinion of him, and sad to say, it has lowered my opinion of you, as valuable as I find your work. It has revealed a dramatic imbalance in your priorities, and a callousness to people's actual lived realities. I have no obligation to show respect to this complete stranger who would use the power he seeks to harm the people I care about, and you certainly do not have the right to whine about how he is treated.

    Once again, Maoist assholes like you won't tolerate anything but sniveling apologies when you come demanding ideological compliance. I don't give a shit if your opinion of me is lowered and I'm aghast at the narcissism that led you to think anyone here would care. Fuck off.

  71. anne mouse says

    Ken, you don't support him on social issues, you don't support him on foreign policy, but you'd "be proud to vote for him" for President of the USA anyway, have I got that right?

    That seems… bizarre to me. Does that make me a "Mrs Grundy" too? How about a "maoist asshole"? Am I accusing you or him of "crimethink"?

    Your problem is that you're enraged at unspecified "some people" for unspecified "attacks," and you're taking it out on your blog comments. It's not a good look for you.

  72. says

    That seems… bizarre to me. Does that make me a "Mrs Grundy" too? How about a "maoist asshole"? Am I accusing you or him of "crimethink"?

    No.

  73. Stormy Dragon says

    Social forces that David French opposes — normalization of same-sex marriage, for instance — have won overwhelmingly.

    @Ken White

    David French does not just oppose "normalization of same-sex marriage". He was a senior counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom while they were arguing before the Supreme Court in Texas v. Lawrence that States had a duty to criminalize same-sex sodomy for public health reasons.

    This is not, as you try to whitewash it, a mere difference of social views. He has publicly advocated in favor of violence toward homosexuals.

  74. Michael Cox says

    Few will listen, but wth? Vote your conscience, people. Ignore the "you're wasting your vote", the "but the _other tribe_ will win!!!1!", or the "why do you hate _who-what-ever_". Vote for someone who isn't likely to do something you abhor. Vote for someone you think will do good. You'll be much happier with your choice. If everyone would do that, we wouldn't be staring into the abyss right now, and I think that's true if you support either of the major parties. Write someone in! Vote for a Green, a Libertarian, or your college buddy! Vote your conscience! It's better.

  75. Encinal says

    Doubtful

    What is doubtful about it? Is there anyone in this country not affected by anti-gay bigotry?

    sounds suspiciously like the start of an argument for censorship.

    Dude, I know that “censure” and “censor” sound kinda similar, but if you're going to be a writer, you really need to learn the difference.
    Argue against what my argument is, not what your fervent imagination thinks it might possibly turn into.

    I made clear — to any honest reader — that I disagree with David French on social issues.
    Annnnnd now you're obliquely accusing me of dishonesty.

    You said “I stand with him as someone I respect, admire, and trust.” Next to that, you saying that you don't stand with him on social issues makes it sound that he has a few positions that you mildly disagree on, or even just are unsure about. But if you insist, I'll take back “support of bigotry”, and substitute “Depraved indifference towards bigotry”.

    But that's not enough for some people. Only total ideological compliance and capitulation will do.

    On your part, or his? If the former, that's quite disingenuous. That one particular position contrary to ours offends us does not mean that any position contrary to ours offends us, and I think you're smart enough to know how fallacious this argument is. It's also quite hypocritical, as what I took offense to you was not merely your support of a bigot, but your telling someone who took issue with that to leave. So apparently you demand that people agree with you, or at the very least you take certain forms of disagreement to not be acceptable. And now you're criticizing us for our lack of tolerance of disagreement?

    Social forces that David French opposes — normalization of same-sex marriage, for instance — have won overwhelmingly.

    Bullshit. First, that's not the only thing he opposes. As mentioned in another comment, he opposes legalization of same-sex intercourse, and he and his wife took their children out of public school because they didn't want them to be exposed to pro-gay rights ideas (which adds even more hypocrisy to your accusations above, as French demands total ideological compliance from his children's educators).

    Second, same-sex marriage is now legal because of a narrow Supreme Court majority. As far as I know, only a handful of states actually legalized same-sex marriage through referenda or legislative votes. There are still a large number of people, probably a majority in quite a few states, who oppose same-sex marriage. That's not “winning overwhelmingly”.

    Third, Nancy French had no problem whining about how she felt that her adopted black daughter wasn't welcome when she took her to a public swimming pool. Can you explain how this is different? Suppose I had responded to that blog post with “Anti-racist policies have won overwhelmingly. There are a few impediments to that trend continuing, a few major triggers of potential backlashes. One such risk is the growing, and frankly fair, perception that some winning social forces are unsatisfied with anything but rigid ideological compliance. That means that it's unacceptable to some for me to make a black child feel uncomfortable.” Would that not be wildly insensitive?

    There are a few impediments to that trend continuing, a few major triggers of potential backlashes.

    Oh, noes! We must coddle the bigots, otherwise their feewings will be hurt!

    That means that it's unacceptable to some for me to praise a man like David French, a personal friend, for his good qualities whilst maintaining my disagreement with him.

    Bullshit. You made only the most tepid reference to your disagreement with French, and you didn't merely praise his good qualities, you asserted that his good qualities so overwhelmed his bad that HE SHOULD BE ELECTED PRESIDENT, and then you told a poster to leave because they took issue with that. The idea that what I find unacceptable about your behavior is merely that you praised him is dishonest malarky.

    He's an enemy of the new state.

    Yes, yes he is. You seem to be trying to evoke the negative connotations of that phrase, of a police state disappearing any dissidents, but we don't want French be to disappeared, we just have a problem with you glossing over his disgusting bigotry as merely “social issues” that you don't quite support.

    I decline to be cowed.

    “Cowed”? Seriously? You're acting like disagreeing with internet commenters is some brave act of defiance? Saying that you won't be cowed implies that someone is trying to cow you. That's bullshit. No one has threatened you, Ken. Don't pretend that disagreeing with you is a violent threat. Or that speaking in glowing terms of bigots is some noble pursuit.

    I don't give a shit if your opinion of me is lowered and I'm aghast at the narcissism that led you to think anyone here would care. Fuck off.

    Why even post an endorsement of French, if you don't "give a shit" whether anyone respects your opinion, and why even if have an comment section, if you think it is "narcissism" for anyone to post anything? If that is narcissism, what is writing a blog post that consists of nothing but presenting your opinion of French with the apparent expetcation that people would care?

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