It is important for conservatives to hold our own side accountable. We have seen many disturbing trends in the conservative movement over the last five years, and we should stand for principle. However “standing for principle” does not mean “punching right” for its own sake, and if we truly do want to defend conservative principles we must be sure that our criticisms of fellow conservatives are fair and honest.
In recent days, the media has taken to sounding the alarm bells over a ‘second wave’ of coronavirus infections. Such panic is overblown.
The Bulwark was gloating that Pence was wrong in June because as the podcast was recorded we were having another wave of COVID-19 infections. This criticism of Pence is deeply dishonest.
First, Pence was specifically talking about the conditions we were seeing in June, not what would happen six months later. There is no need for Pence to admit he was “wrong” because he was not wrong about what was happening at that time. It is deeply dishonest to argue Pence was writing about December, because he was not. This is not an example of the unfortunate trend in conservatism that we must never back down or admit we are wrong. This causes us to double down on errors. It takes courage to admit you are wrong.
Second, we knew in June that there would be another wave of COVID-19 infections in December. In fact, we knew in April that we would see a wave in the cold winter months. Why? Because that is cold and flu season, a perfect time for a respiratory virus to spread. What we were seeing last month is exactly what everyone who knows anything about virology knew was going to happen.
The Bulwark wants to pretend they are “saving” conservatism from Donald Trump. If they want to do that, they need to show integrity in their criticisms of Trump and Pence. This particular argument was lacking in honesty and integrity, and showed ignorance of basic facts of how diseases spread. Charlie Sykes should apologize to Mike Pence for his dishonest and uncharitable attack.