Last night, I reached the end of the Internet. Or at least I assume I did, because I found the all-time worst tweet of the Ebola news cycle, and that’s saying a lot.
It was from Richard Kim, the executive editor of The Nation, a liberal magazine self-described as “the flagship of the left.”
If this tweet is at all representative, the left’s ship is in serious trouble.
The tweet linked to a New York Times article, which reported on the status of Kaci Hickox, the nurse who refuses to follow Maine protocols for self-quarantine after treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone.
Behold the tweet, and forgive the esteemed flagship editor’s profanity:
Let that sink in a moment. Let its sheer absurdity wash over you like a hemorrhagic fever.
The nonsensical combination of Kim’s words instantly reminded me of the Seinfeld episode where George’s girlfriend ends up in a mental institution. George thinks this sounds like quite the life. “You get to wear slippers all day. Friends visit. They pity you…. Plus they give you those word association tests. I love those.”
Jerry agrees, because “there’s no wrong answer.”
Kim calling Hickox a “bad ass” and a “political prisoner” makes about as much sense as if he’d called her a “potato tuberculosis blanket tuberculosis.”
I’m sure Kim is a smart man. I bet he knows many words. Why he chose these specific ones speaks to the dire straits of the liberal movement’s current political status. It’s a few days before midterm elections, Republicans are poised to take the Senate, Democrats are running away from President Obama’s record like it’s, well, Ebola, and all the usual lefty tactics are sinking with a thud.
A Democratic House candidate in New York named Martha Robertson was booed during a debate in which she tried to accuse her opponent of being a part of the “war on women.” Loud groans were audible.
In New Hampshire, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen was booed for interrupting her opponent during a debate to make a snarky comment about the Koch Brothers.
In Massachusetts, the Boston Globe endorsed the Republican candidate for Governor for the first time in 20 years.
And in Colorado, Sen. Mark Udall has run a campaign so narrowly focused on women’s issues, his Republican opponent Cory Gardner is up a whopping 21 points among men. And for all of Udall’s efforts, he is only 6 points ahead among women. He has been nicknamed “Mark Uterus” on the campaign trail.
And that’s just the bad news in blue states. Over in Kentucky the Democrats’ candidate for Senate won’t admit she voted for the President and current leader of her party. In Texas the Democratic gubernatorial candidate ran an attack ad highlighting her opponent’s disability.
The left is not well.
Mr. Kim’s unhinged tweet is a perfect encapsulation of the desperate unraveling of a once pretty together group of people who managed to win not one but two Presidential elections with a guy who had no experience the first time and a pretty questionable record the second time.
Analyzing this tweet is like performing an autopsy on an alien. Nothing makes sense or is where it should be, but you’re pretty sure it had evil intentions.
For starters, Kaci Hickox is categorically not a badass. There’s nothing brave about flouting public health concerns and telling the residents of not one but two states to screw off. It takes immeasurable hubris, not courage, to tell governors responsible for the lives of roughly 10 million people that you know better than they do. And it’s actually pretty impressive that a nurse who volunteered to help Ebola patients in Africa has managed to make herself an unsympathetic character. Eighty percent of the country thinks people like Hickox should be quarantined.
And anecdotally, I can’t think of anything less “badass” to do than bust out of the house to go for a bike ride. Slightly rebellious 13-year-olds do this every day.
But if you did find something inspiring in Hickox’s anti-authoritarian bike ride, it is unequivocally a step too far to call her a “political prisoner.”
For one, there’s the thing that made her the badass: she went for a bike ride. Forget prison — kids in time out don’t even get to do that.
For another, her home is not a prison. It’s her home. Home.
And finally, political prisoners are imprisoned for their political beliefs. She is being (unsuccessfully) quarantined because she may have a deadly infectious disease. A political prisoner is a real thing. It’s serious. Think North Korea or Tibet. Not Maine.
Equating Hickox to a political prisoner is like calling Paris Hilton a POW because of that one time she was placed under house arrest for drunk driving and that’s sort of like the war on drugs or something.
But desperate times call for desperate measures. And so the editor of the left’s flagship magazine has decided to make this nurse the next Gandhi, the next Vaclav Havel, the next Nelson Mandela.
If it weren’t so offensive, it would just be funny. And kind of sad. But at the very least, it finally answers the age-old question: What’s the dumbest metaphor ever?