It’s a wider problem then just with Weigel, of course. Still, mildly embarrassing, what?
Here’s the exchange, for those morbidly interested.
- Original post by Weigel: “Erick Erickson’s Bad Advice.”
- Leon Wolf’s response: Hey @daveweigel, I am sure @EWErickson cares what an Obama voter thinks about his advice to the GOP. [By the way, Weigel did – along with a lot of other people who should have known better.]
- Weigel’s response to Leon: @LeonHWolf Your ad hominem argument is an excellent rebuttal to my history-based one. Well done!
Yup, it’s the classic mistake. You see, an ad hominem attack is when you respond to an argument with an unrelated insult. In other words, if I were to say “Dave Weigel is wrong because he’s a poopyhead:” that would be an ad-hom. What Leon instead did was to inform Weigel that his historical record of incredibly bad judgement calls (i.e., he’s a self-identified libertarian type who voted for Obama, which is roughly equivalent to a nun voting for Satan) has to be taken into account when assessing whether his judgement calls are accurate right now. In other words, “Dave has been such a stupid dumbass in the past about this sort of thing that you really can’t take him seriously now” is not an ad-hom. It may not be true – dice have no memory, a broken clock is right twice a day, even a blind squirrel finds a nut now and then, and a thrown dart has to land somewhere* – but it’s a legitimate point to make.
*I love cliches. They’re like little introns of language.