Wesley Donehue

Wesley Donehue helped win U.S. Senate races for Republicans in Arkansas and Georgia this year.

Wesley Donehue apparently doesn't know his retail clientele very well.

Last week, the political consultant and brewpub partner aired his anti-abortion views on social media — while also taking a swipe at self-identifiers.

The craft beer crowd got hopping mad, and just like that Donehue is on his way out of West Ashley’s Frothy Beard Brewing Company.

Obviously his politics are better suited for a bar that sells, say, Bud Light.

He should have seen that coming, but Donehue — a free-market Republican — can at least appreciate that people have a right to vote with their pocketbooks.

And if he doesn’t, too bad.

Both sides here need to dial it back a bit and let go of this over-inflated controversy. Because at this point the progressives are doing their cause more harm than good.

Donehue got in trouble when he took umbrage at remarks about Alabama’s new law that restricts abortions even in cases of rape or incest. Several states have basically tried to outlaw abortion lately, and he defended those efforts on Twitter and Facebook most of last week, arguing with countless folks and eventually calling one woman “crazy.”

No, that wasn’t nice, and his whole argument was incendiary. But what else would you expect from a professional pot-stirrer?

He also said that until more women run for office — which he correctly noted should be the case — “men will and should control legislative bodies.” The “and should” is wrong-headed, and contradicts his earlier statement. Maybe it was misogyny, or perhaps just sloppy typing.

Point is, who really cares what Donehue thinks?

Evidently more than a few people, many of whom were set off because he added, “For the remainder of the day, I am self-identifying as a woman so I can have an opinion on abortion.”

It was a bad joke, which some people have conflated into an abuse of civil rights. And that's an over-reaction. An insult is not remotely in the same ballpark as, say, not being allowed to vote.

Making more of a stupid remark than it deserves does nothing but give Donehue a platform. Don’t give it to him by getting snowflakey and demanding safe spaces. It only plays into right-wing stereotypes … even if their leader is actually the world’s most notorious snowflake.

For a long time, the political right has had a ludicrous answer to liberal pushback on racism and sexism: Basically, they say, how dare you be intolerant of my intolerance. They just never boil it down to that essential hypocrisy.

But the left’s current trend of public shaming over every offense, great or small, is getting just about as Orwellian. Or at least that’s how it looks to vast numbers of people in the middle, who decide elections.

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It would be a lot smarter to let a few pitches go by without swinging, and quit alienating voters who may only be apathetic, not antagonistic.

See, if the hand-wringing continues it will end up making Donehue a right-wing martyr. Oh, look what the evil liberals did to this poor guy for expressing his opinion. That’s what it becomes.

So Donehue has some repugnant views, and he made an insensitive joke. But it was a joke, not federal policy. So don’t buy his beer, don’t vote for his candidates — or just don’t follow him on Twitter (assuming he reactivates his account).

But don’t fight bile with bile, or treat every snide remark as an affront to our national soul that must be scrubbed from existence, or demand some insincere apology that’s not going to satisfy anyone anyway.

Donehue got his break in politics via use of the internet, so he should have known something that a lot of other people would do well to learn: Millions of people post ignorant stuff on the internet, and it only means something if someone lets it.

And, just because you have a way to broadcast your every thought to the world, it doesn’t mean you should.

Unless, as Donehue has learned, you want to deal with some ugly consequences … and drink Bud Light the rest of your life.

Reach Brian Hicks at bhicks@postandcourier.com.

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