Archive for February, 2009

February 28, 2009

Tea Parties, Defeatism and Wolverines

Discussing Rick Moran’s criticisms of the Tea Party protests, Dan Riehl writes:

I remember when Rick pronounced the Iraq War lost and a humiliation for America. So this sort of thing from him doesn’t really surprise me. . . .The naysayers are always the least remembered voices when something succeeds or even when it fails. There’s good reason for that. America just doesn’t take kindly to losers, even if they turn out to have been on the right side of events.

Very harsh. I hesitate to judge Rick as harshly as I would judge David Brooks or George Will if they wrote the same thing — and perhaps I’m wrong to be more tolerant of bloggers than of Old Media pundits.

Friday, I had lunch with Tim Mooney of Save Our Secret Ballot and, in the course of discussing everyone’s favorite CPAC ’09 topic — what’s wrong with the GOP? — discussed the problem of the polluted information stream.

Among the ill effects of liberal bias in the media is that much political “news” amounts to thinly disguised DNC talking-points. The conservative must learn to think critically about news and politics, to filter out that which is misleading, or else he will internalize the funhouse-mirror distortions of reality that define the liberal weltanschauung.

This, I said to Mr. Mooney, is one of the major problems of the Republican Party, that so many of its supporters have unwittingly accepted liberal beliefs as political truths. Therefore, when those who present themselves as conservatives parrot the liberal line, the damage they do is far worse than if the same statements were made by Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi. Why? Because this “conservative” echo tends to act as a hardening catalyst for the conventional wisdom.

I have never forgiven David Brooks for “National Greatness.” Brooks’s argument, that “anti-government” conservatism is both wrong as policy and doomed as politics, had a demoralizing effect on the Republican Party. The elegance of Brooks’s writing — whatever your opinion of the man, the elegance of his prose style is beyond dispute — was the spoonful of sugar to make that poisonous medicine go down. That was 12 years ago, and if the GOP now appears disastrously ill, Brooks and his erstwhile publishers at the Weekly Standard are heavily implicated in this perhaps fatal disease.

Rick Moran is not David Brooks. Moran’s influence is sufficiently limited that he can be wrong without inflicting much damage. But in such a desperate political crisis as conservatives now face, they can ill afford to let off-key voices lead the chorus. Moran and others are free to quarrel with the “Tea Party” tactics of opposing Obamanomics, but small-d democratic considerations will relegate them to the role of dogs barking at the passing caravan.

“The opposition party must oppose,” as Jennifer Rubin said. Since the Democratic majority is proposing a liberal economic monstrosity of epic scale, opposition ought to be easy. And just because it is so easy, conservatives should resist the temptation to be lazy or sloppy in tactics.

Constructive criticism of tactics is one thing; pronouncing the opposition as doomed from the outset is something else. Stephen Green is a good blog buddy (whom last I saw at 2 a.m. in the lobby of the Omni Shoreham), but when I heard Stephen arguing in essence that the GOP couldn’t possibly make a dent in Democratic hegemony before 2014 — hey, I called bullshit.

Friends don’t let friends peddle defeatist bullshit. You cannot organize opposition unless you first believe that opposition can be effective and meaningful. Telling conservatives that there is no point deploying an ambush on the road to serfdom? That’s defeatist bullshit. If Ho Chi Minh had thought that way, the French would still rule Indochina.

Conservatives are now a guerrilla resistance. Harassing the enemy — staging raids and ambushes that prevent him from enjoying his conquest at leisure — is basic to guerrilla resistance. If we are doomed to destruction, as least let it be said that we died fighting. But those who never fight, never win.

In a word: “Wolverines!”

UPDATE: Linked by Dan Riehl, who colorfully accuses me of being too nice to Rick.

PREVIOUSLY:
2/25: Thoughts on strategy
2/23: Rick Moran takes counsel of his fears
12/21: But seriously, folks

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February 28, 2009

Full Metal Jacket Saturday

Applying Rule 2 of “How to Get a Million Hits on Your Blog,” we offer this round up of posts from blogs that have linked here in the past week:

This is just the starter list. I didn’t get home from CPAC until 4 a.m. and am very tired. (It’s CPAC Syndrome, a state of extreme exhaustion caused by sleep deprivation.) I’ll try to update to add more linkage this afternoon before I go back to DC for the big Rush Limbaugh event tonight. And don’t forget to do some Rule 5 blogging today for the Sunday roundup.
BTW, a big shout out to Georgia Tech graduates Ruth Malhotra and Orit Sklar, whose victory over political correctness on campus earned them the Reagan Award at Friday’s gala CPAC banquet.
February 28, 2009

Tea time for taxes

Instapundit has a massive roundup of photos and news from the Tea Party rallies nationwide, and Michelle Malkin has another. Dave Weigel was at the protest in front of the White House and his report has this photo of “Megaphone Michelle” giving ’em . . . encouragement!

UPDATE: Rick Moran is not running for Mr. Popularity in the right-wing blogosphere, deriding and mocking the protests:

When you get some money, organization, professionalism, and a little more realism, come back and see me.

Rick points out that, with more than 8,000 conservatives at CPAC, only about 300 turned out for the White House event. But this says nothing about the merits of the Tea Party movement, as such, nor does it mean that CPAC attendees were not interested in the movement. To the second point: People come to CPAC for the speeches and other events; they pay money for that experience; they’re not going to skip a Newt Gingrich speech or book signing to attend something else.

Rick doesn’t seem to believe that opposition to Obamanomics could ever become a decisive groundswell. And he is entitled to that opinion. But to say that such opposition is not now a groundswell does not mean it will never become one.

As for Rick’s snark about the lack of “money, organization, professionalism” behind the Tea Party protests — huh? Why wait until professional organizers get interested? I remember when the DC Chapter of Free Republican organized the “Get Out of Cheney’s House” protests at the Naval Observatory in 2000. They didn’t get 300 people. They had no money nor any “professionalism.” But we know that those protests had an impact.

In general, conservatives don’t do the “protest” thing. (We’ve got jobs.) So if the protesters at the White House numbered only 300, that’s significant of a much larger discontent.

February 28, 2009

On CPAC and ‘image’

Via Donald Douglas, we have Patterico concerned about conservatives projecting the proper “image” at CPAC.

The question you have to ask yourself is, why were Cliff Kincaid and John Bolton selected to give main-room speeches at CPAC? Well, Bolton was a Bush administration official and we don’t know if his jokes were vetted in advance.

Still, the question of who was selected for main-room speeches is interesting. I know lots and lots of conservative activists who would crawl through glass and climb over three strands of concertina wire for the chance to give a main-room speech at CPAC. It is not as if there is any shortage of would-be CPAC speakers. So . . . how are the choices made?

I don’t know the answer, any more than Patterico knows the answer. But it is important to ask the right questions, you see.

February 27, 2009

VIDEO: Ziegler vs. Blumenthal

Thanks to James Joyner of Outside the Beltway for uploading this video.

Max Blumenthal was doing one of his video ambushes in the Omni Shoreham lobby at CPAC, and was confronted by documentary filmmaker John Ziegler. I just happened to be there with my camera when the argument started. I couldn’t overhear much of what was said between them, but Ziegler was very angry, and his body language was very aggressive.

UPDATE 2/28: Savane was there, and I should note that, in a Friday night conversation with Ziegler, he said that it was Blumenthal, not he, who initiated the confrontation I captured on video. I didn’t start rolling the video until after the confrontation began, and quit recording before it ended, so am in no position to say what did or did not happen, other than what’s on the video. Frankly, I’m under such a fog of CPAC Syndrome (a state of severe sleep deprivation and sensory overload) that I would be unable to contradict anyone’s account of events. So the video is what it is.

UPDATE: Donald Douglas has a good roundup of CPAC blogging.

UPDATE II: Some more exclusive videos from CPAC today, starting with Tom DeLay:

“People ask me if I hope [Obama’s economic plan] is gonna fail. I tell ’em, I don’t have to ‘hope’ anything. It’s gonna fail.”
Tom DeLay

(NOTE: Becky Banks of Students for Life asked me to take down her video until further editing can be done.)

John Munger of Imagine Arizona:

Thanks to Kerry Picket for uploading those last three videos.

February 27, 2009

CPAC Day 2: LIVE!

BUMPED; UPDATE 2:31 p.m.: Exclusive video interview with Chris Maligisi, president of the Young Conservative Coalition:

Thanks to James Joyner of Outside the Beltway for uploading the video. (More of that reporting that Tucker Freaking Carlson says conservatives don’t do. I was in the media center when I heard Carlson giving his arrogant lecture and resisted the urge to go down to the Regency Ballroom and beat that elitist punk into a coma, which would have been a Change We Can Believe In.)

UPDATE 3:05 p.m.: Linked by Jimmie at Sundries Shack, who’s having waaaay too much fun at CPAC.

Expect further updates . . .

PREVIOUSLY: Excuse me if I am a bit late returning to blogging at CPAC today. After spending most of Thursday schmoozing networking and introducing my old cronies professional associates to hotties aspiring activists, this morning I had to do some reporting for the American Spectator, about Sen. Jim DeMint and the Young Conservative Coalition.

Just ran into my beer buddy conservative mentor Phil Kent, which means that tonight we will be closing down the lobby bar engaged in political strategizing.

February 26, 2009

Rule 5: Works in real life, too

How to get a Hot Air link: Introduce Michelle Lee Muccio to Ed Morrissey.

How to get a Sundries Shack link?

I could have gotten an Ace-of-Lanche, too, but the Ewok refuses to be photographed.

February 26, 2009

CPAC Day One — LIVE!

BUMPED, UPDATE 10:25: In his keynote address, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) just called for “sound money” — evincing cheers from the Paulistas.

UPDATE 10:06 a.m.David Keene of the ACU just introduced Ed Feulner of the Heritage Foundation. Ed Morrisey is livechatting from Blogger’s Row. The Omni Shoreham lobby is full of earnest young Paulistas handing out leaflets for Friday’s Liberty Forum with Ron Paul and Andrew Napolitano. Will continue updating throughout the day . . .

UPDATE 10 a.m.: Just ran into Kelly Vlahos of The American Conservative, who’s checking in and trying to resolve her own Wi-Fi issues. Also ran into Franklin Raff of Radio America, Orit Sklar (who ran Jews for Mitt in 2008), and radio hostess Martha Zoller. I’ve already gotten credentialed for the Victory Solutions VIP lounge.

PREVIOUSLY: I’m live from the Omni Shoreham, where I had breakfast this morning in the lobby with Ed Morrissey of Hot Air. Last night, I was hanging out with Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs, Stephen Green of VodkaPundit, investigative journalist Matthew Vadum, Ken Hanner of Human Events and Kirby Wilbur of KVI Radio.

Guess who I ran into in the lobby? John Ziegler, who didn’t punch me in the nose, so I guess things are all right.

I’m having Internet connection issues that need to be fixed, so I’m writing this post from Internet Row in the Exhibition Hall. Please keep hitting the tip jar! Will have to solve the connection issue before full-time blogging can commence.

February 26, 2009

Ouch! Ouch!

“Someday, when scholars are trying to fingerpoint the nadir of the post-Bush Republican Party, they may arrive at Jindal’s speech tonight.”
Thomas Schaller

Well, either that, or John Ziegler’s blind date.

February 26, 2009

Are you offended yet?

“It’s gotten to the point where the gatekeepers of the news walk so tepidly on the path of least resistance that a journalist can’t even get a dirty joke in the newspaper.”