Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: History, Media, Politics — Rick Moran @ 9:11 am

Joe Klein, reporter, author, columnist, and blogger who is currently ensconced at Time Magazine’s blog Swampland, has had a full flowing, Road to Damascus revelation about the left wing blogosphere.

After pondering the matter for however long he has been taking the slings and arrows flung his way by the rabid dog left, it has suddenly dawned on Mr. Klein that these are not very nice people. Nor are they very rational. Nor are they very “liberal” in the classical sense of the word.

Klein’s eyes were opened when he quoted Representative Jane Harmon (former Chairman of the House Intel Committee until Reverend Mother Pelosi saw fit to boot her off in favor of one of her cronies) prior to the Iraq funding vote as saying that she wanted to vote against the bill but felt an obligation to support the troops by giving them the equipment they needed to do their jobs. Harmon, as politicians are wont to do, changed her mind and voted against the bill anyway leaving Klein hanging out to dry and the netnuts went to town on the poor fellow:

The next day, I was blasted by a number of left-wing bloggers: Klein screwed up! I had quoted Harman in the past tense—common usage for politicians who know their words will appear after a vote takes place. That was sloppy and… suspicious! Proof that you just can’t trust the mainstream media. On Eschaton, a blog that specializes in media bashing, I was given the coveted “Wanker of the Day” award. Eventually, Harman got wind of this and called, unbidden, to apologize for misleading me, saying I had quoted her correctly but she had changed her mind to reflect the sentiments of her constituents. I published her statement and still got hammered by bloggers and Swampland commenters for “stalking” Harman into an apology, for not checking her vote in the Congressional Record, for being a “water boy for the right wing” and many other riffs unfit to print.

First of all, if Joe wants the job of carrying water for the right wing, he’s more than welcome to it. Somebody’s got to. Since no one in Congress seems to be stepping up to do it, it may as well be Klein.

But Joe would first have to delve into the world of moonbattery and paranoia. For he has, in fact, discovered the lefty netnuts to be a bunch of unhinged, drooling, raving lunatics:

This is not the first time this kind of free-range lunacy has been visited upon me. Indeed, it happens, oh, once a week to each of us who post on Swampland (Karen Tumulty, Jay Carney and Ana Marie Cox are the others). A reasonable reader might ask, Why are the left-wing bloggers attacking you? Aren’t you pretty tough on the Bush Administration? Didn’t you write a few months ago that George W. Bush would be remembered as one of the worst Presidents in history? And why on earth does any of this matter?


But the smart stuff is being drowned out by a fierce, bullying, often witless tone of intolerance that has overtaken the left-wing sector of the blogosphere. Anyone who doesn’t move in lockstep with the most extreme voices is savaged and ridiculed—especially people like me who often agree with the liberal position but sometimes disagree and are therefore considered traitorously unreliable.

I was just thinking about this very thing as it relates to the right side of the blogosphere the other day as I was bemoaning my loss of readership over these last few months. While many smaller and mid-sized bloggers have drummed me out of the Conservative Book Club and taken away my key to the executive washroom at Haliburton’s corporate headquarters (a turn of events I regret for the most part since a lot of those people I consider my friends), all of the largest righty blogs still link to this site on occasion and have never attacked me personally for being something of an apostate. This kind of tolerance has always been lacking on the left and bespeaks a mindset exactly described as Klein; if you don’t toe the line, we kick you in the balls.

But before we go patting Joe on the back for having the good sense to recognize the illiberality of liberal blogs, Klein descends into full blown moonbattery himself while ignoring history with a vengeance:

Some of this is understandable: the left-liberals in the blogosphere are merely aping the odious, disdainful—and politically successful—tone that right-wing radio talk-show hosts like Rush Limbaugh pioneered. They are also justifiably furious at a Bush White House that has specialized in big lies and smear tactics.

And that is precisely the danger here. Fury begets fury. Poison from the right-wing talk shows seeped into the Republican Party’s bloodstream and sent that party off the deep end. Limbaugh’s show—where Dick Cheney frequently expatiates—has become the voice of the Republican establishment. The same could happen to the Democrats. The spitballs aimed at me don’t matter much. The spitballs aimed at Harman, Clinton and Obama are another story. Despite their votes, each of those politicians believes the war must be funded. (Obama even said so in his statement explaining his vote.) Each knows, as Senator Jim Webb has said repeatedly, that we must be more careful getting out of Iraq than we were getting in. But they allowed themselves to be bullied into a more simplistic, more extreme position. Why? Partly because they fear the power of the bloggers to set the debate and raise money against them. They may be right—in the short (primary election) term; Harman faced a challenge from the left in 2006. In the long term, however, kowtowing to extremists is exactly the opposite of what this country is looking for after the lethal radicalism of the Bush Administration.

It’s the right’s fault that lefty bloggers are a bunch of pinch-faced, bile spewing half wits? And they are only aping a “tone” that was pioneered by Rush Limbaugh?

Does Klein actually believe that all this bloody “speaking truth to power” by savaging your opponent in the most vile, personal way imaginable sprang from the microphone of Rush Limbaugh in the 1990’s?

I’m sorry, but that is at best disingenuous and at worst, a calumnious lie. Let me give Mr. Klein a little history lesson to open his eyes a bit.

If modern conservatism has a beginning, it could very well have been the publication of William F. Buckley’s God and Man at Yale.. Let us examine what some of those polite, tolerant, intellectually honest liberals said about the book at the time:

The book reviewers were absolutely hostile, enraged at what they read.

“The book is one which has the glow and appeal of a fiery cross on a hillside at night. There will undoubtedly be robed figures who gather to it, but the hoods will not be academic. They will cover the face,” snarled one, ominously comparing it to a work of the Ku Klux Klan. “This fascist thesis,” angrily spluttered another, “…This…pure fascism….What more could Hitler, Mussolini, or Stalin ask for…?” Still others piled on. The book was dismissed as a series of “fanatically emotional attacks” that “succeeded in turning the stomachs of its readers.” The author drew howls of outrage, the lesser of which focused on adjectives like “rude” and “obnoxious” before descending into cries of “fascist.”

The name of the book was not Godless. And the author was not Ann Coulter. The book that drew such ferocious attention was God and Man at Yale. The author, a recent Yale graduate, was a precocious William F. Buckley, Jr.

With conservatism consigned to the outer political darkness in the 50’s and the 60’s, liberals felt more than enabled to carry out a slash and burn rhetorical campaign against them. “Nazi” and “Klansmen” were common epithets applied to conservatives - as they are today. Witness the treatment Goldwater received in the 1964 campaign:

For Goldwater, the first modern conservative to win a presidential nomination, the unending torrent of abuse verged on the apoplectic. CBS News solemnly reported the week of his nomination that Goldwater’s first act after the convention would be to travel to Germany for a visit to “Berchtesgaden, once Hitler’s stamping ground.” And what will the conservative Goldwater do once there? “There are signs,” CBS reporter Daniel Schorr said ominously, “that the American and German right wings are joining up…” Got that? Barry Goldwater, said CBS in so many words, was really a Nazi. With a presidential nomination in hand, he was literally heading to Hitler’s home to get the international Nazi movement rolling. The story, from the trip to Germany to the visit to Hitler’s estate was, of course, false from beginning to end.

Equally hysterical was a liberal magazine that published a 64-page “psychological study” of the candidate which began: “Do you think Barry Goldwater is psychologically fit to serve as President of the United States?” You guessed it — after claiming to poll over 12,000 psychiatrists across the country, the answer was no. New York Times columnist C.L. Sulzberger answered the question this way: “The possibility exists that, should he (Goldwater) enter the White House, there might not be a day after tomorrow.” In case voters didn’t get the message, Democratic strategist and LBJ aide Bill Moyers designed the so-called “daisy commercial” that saw a child counting the petals of a flower disappear in the mushroom cloud of a nuclear explosion.

The Nixonian interlude allowed the left to fully vent their hatred at one conservative who most people think deserved everything he got. But the emergence of Reagan on the national scene gave liberals the screaming meemies. Reagan himself remarked that he discovered once he crossed the Mississippi River, he grew horns and a tail. And the viciously personal and outrageous comments made by his political opponents during his terms in office were unmatched until the Clinton years. Ted Kennedy accused President Reagan of deliberately fostering policies that would starve old people and children. Representative Charles Rangel called him a racist. The vitriolic hate directed against Reagan was met with a shrug, a wink, and usually a devastating put down that always contained a little humor. Hardly the stuff of a right wing attack dog.

For Klein to blame the left’s historic, hate-filled rhetoric on the recent phenomena of talk radio and specifically Limbaugh’s broadly drawn (and at times, over the top) satire is fantastically ridiculous. The world did not begin in the 1990’s with the right’s reaction to the deliberate Clintonian strategy of personally destroying your opponent with outrageous smears and lies. It’s just that the left has now perfected the technique and uses the world of blogs to vastly amplify the tactic so that the target feels beseiged. Witness the most recent kerfluffle over a post at Six Meat Buffet that skewered recently deceased blogger Steve Gilliard.

Forgetting how they reacted every time in the last few years when a person of note on the right passed away, publishing the most outrageously disrespectful, cruel, heartless, drivel imaginable, the netnuts went ballistic I personally found the post in extremely poor taste and borderline racist. But the point wasn’t to skewer Gilliard so much as to show liberal bloggers what incredible hypocrites they truly are.

The fallout from the episode claimed a Tennessee woman - a liberal - who blogged at WKRN. She made the mistake of pasting an excerpt from the Six Meat Buffet piece and not condemning it. For her oversight, she was subjected to a withering blast of stupidity from left wing bloggers and their mouth breathing commenters. She has since quit in disgust.

Klein is already hearing it today for daring to call the liberal blogs what they are; raving lunatics who cannot tolerate an iota of dissent from their worldview. Will Joe Klein do as most other liberals do who find themselves in the crosshairs of lefty blogs and go before them with bended knee and abjectly apologize for his heresy? Or is he enough of an independent thinker to tell them to take a hike?

Should be interesting to watch…


  1. [...] SOME OTHER THOUGHTS ON KLEIN: TPM Cafe, Talk Left, David Frum, Hot Air, Tbogg, Right Wing Nuthouse, [...]

    Pingback by Are Bloggers Merely Bullies With Computers? » The Moderate Voice — 6/7/2007 @ 12:45 pm

  2. The only thing “racist” in my post was Gilliard’s attack on Michael Steele. His most famous legacy being all but ignored in the leftist hagiographies of SG prior to me writing it.

    Though intentionally insensitive - there was no racism on my part. Unless talking about race is now deemed borderline racist.

    Comment by Smantix — 6/8/2007 @ 12:01 am

  3. > Klein is already hearing it today for daring to call the liberal blogs what they are

    You’re linking to a Salon article from 1996!

    Comment by Arthur — 6/8/2007 @ 6:58 am

  4. Whoops! Wrong link. That was from my own research.

    Now I have to dig into my history to find the right link.

    Thanks for pointing it out.

    Comment by Rick Moran — 6/8/2007 @ 7:24 am

  5. Yes, because the left spewed vile first that justifies the right doing it. You perfectly illustrate my point that being in the middle is like refereeing a schoolyard fight between foul mouthed juveniles. Here is a thought, try elevating the level of debate by leading by example, and not responding in kind.

    Comment by grognard — 6/8/2007 @ 7:38 am

  6. It’s an outrageously false charge by Klein to intimate this poisonous aspect of policits was invented by Rush Limbaugh. We conservatives - as I demonstrate more than amply above - have been putting up with this crap for 60 fricking years!

    I’ll lead by example when the left starts telling the truth.

    Comment by Rick Moran — 6/8/2007 @ 7:43 am

  7. Quote Of The … 23rd Hour…

    From Joe Klein, blogging at Time:But the smart stuff is being drowned out by a fierce, bullying, often witless tone of intolerance that has overtaken the left-wing sector of the blogosphere. Anyone who doesn’t move in lockstep with the most…

    Trackback by Joust The Facts — 6/9/2007 @ 3:35 pm

  8. Rick, suit yourself, I don’t really care. It is not the left, by the way, that you need to worry about, it’s the center. The Left and Right share the same dilemma, they need the [insert derogatory term here] center to win elections. What I point out to both the left and right is that the partisan attacks don’t play all that well with moderates, and yes I know I am a voice in the wilderness. You wont change but there is always a chance one of your readers might. By the way I was a ranter once myself so I am not claiming any moral high ground here. I realized the error of my ways after hearing a speech by Joe Lieberman on how but both sides were speaking past each other to energize their base and how he felt there we could find some common ground on the war if we could end the partisan attacks.

    Comment by grognard — 6/9/2007 @ 10:55 pm

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