And with that, began an epic drubbing. William Saletan wrote an article at Slate, lambasting Mitt Romney for betraying free speech.

What, exactly, does Romney mean by “American values”? The embassy never apologized for free speech or diplomatic sovereignty. The only American offense it criticized was the movie’s “bigotry” and “efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims.” Does Romney regard this criticism as an “apology for American values”? Is bigotry an American value? Is it weak or un-American to repudiate slurs against Muslims?

Evidently, he did that by, you know, standing up for free speech and for calling out the appalling apologies for our freedom of speech. It’s kind of hard to grasp what he’s saying; we aren’t fluent in cuckoo pants.

Ace, however, bravely took on the task of getting to the bottom of it. He’s a giver and all!

It’s understandable. Why does he go by one name? Does he think himself Bono? We wonder if he also refers to himself in the third person, all “Saletan says” and “Saletan out!”

Ace then kindly put all his questions in blog form so as to be more easily comprehended by Saletan. Read the whole thing, especially the thrashing of an ending, but here is a delicious snippet.

One might have certain beliefs — such as the idea that a religion predicated upon the de facto slavery of women, the rejection of the reason and humanism, and ultimately, even the rejection of the Commandment Thou Shalt Not Kill — and one might think he would be on firm ground to use the exact same methods and techniques of subversion and spoof and plain ol’ vitriol directed against the Faith of the West for coming on a century now.

But no, William Saletan sharply disagrees, and calls such things an “abuse” of free speech.

Not a legitimate use of free speech. Not a true expression of truly held beliefs (and, again, does William Saletan disagree that fundamentalist Islam could use some reform and rethinking? Let’s get him on the record).

But an abuse of free speech, and if not a crime, per se, at least such a transgression as requires the mobilization of social pressures (ostracization, demonization, even threats to physical safety — ask Salman Rushdie about that) to punish those who would give themselves to such “abuses.”

Will he?

He does! Oh, man, he doesn’t know what he is in for, clearly.

A Saletan wannabe weighs in.

Thankfully, the drubbing continues as a nice palate cleanser after Saletan and his fan boy.

And, he brings it all home with a Teachable Moment ™ for the craven Left.

Boom. Perhaps the Pentagon could learn a thing or two here.

Free speech, and those who defend it always, for the win.