Satire? Hit Piece?
I’d like a specific answer, from Mayor Laffey, whether this (PDF) is satire:
There are many people who are too weak to live by any moral principles; they decide what is best by their own irrational whims and desires. These cowards attempt to justify their actions in two ways. Firstly, they try to bring others down to their way of life by exhorting them to compromise their values. Secondly, these moral milksops say that no one can be wholly good so please don’t accuse me of being all bad. It is these same ingrates who belittle people who have clear, simple answers to the world’s problems. They accuse others of seeing things in black and white, as if that was bad, impossible, or somehow wrong. What these poltroons are really saying is “Please don’t discriminate between right and wrong.”
Now, I’d be the first to express pretend astonishment that the Providence Journal would offer this particular college-age Laffey column as “a sample of a humor column by Stephen Laffey in a campus newspaper,” rather than, say, the column from which Scott MacKay has drawn his first example, from which the headline was drawn, and on which Laffey was specifically using the humor defense. If the Providence Journal intended to prove that its pretense toward journalistic neutrality is merely a cover for aspirations toward status as a political force in this state, it could have comported itself no better.
That doesn’t, however, excuse Laffey for taking the politically expedient route of disavowing all of his writing at the time. How refreshing it would be if the mayor would quickly put a larger sampling of his college columns on his Web site and explain what principles expressed therein were legitimately held and which were “over the top.” Doing so might (one can only surmise) help to resolve some of the ambiguity that Rhode Island conservatives find in his persona.