A Major Defection in the Conservative Blogosphere

Via Salon: War Room

Charles Johnson, founder of Little Green Footballs, announces a final break

For much of this decade, Charles Johnson was one of the right's leading bloggers. His blog, Little Green Footballs, was famous for its focus on Islamic terrorism, but also for the role it played in "Rathergate" and in exposing various faked photography.

Lately, though, Johnson has been trending back to the left, where he was before the attacks of 9/11. He's been picking fights with some people on the right, arguing with old friends over bloggers like Robert Stacy McCain, a former Washington Times editor who he believes is a racist.

On Monday, Johnson made the split official, with a post headlined, "Why I Parted Ways With The Right." In it, he gave a list of reasons for the break, including:

1. Support for fascists, both in America (see: Pat Buchanan, Robert Stacy McCain, etc.) and in Europe (see: Vlaams Belang, BNP, SIOE, Pat Buchanan, etc.)

2. Support for bigotry, hatred, and white supremacism (see: Pat Buchanan, Ann Coulter, Robert Stacy McCain, Lew Rockwell, etc.)

3. Support for throwing women back into the Dark Ages, and general religious fanaticism (see: Operation Rescue, anti-abortion groups, James Dobson, Pat Robertson, Tony Perkins, the entire religious right, etc.) ....

6. Support for anti-government lunacy (see: tea parties, militias, Fox News, Glenn Beck, etc.)

7. Support for conspiracy theories and hate speech (see: Alex Jones, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Birthers, creationists, climate deniers, etc.) ....

10. Hatred for President Obama that goes far beyond simply criticizing his policies, into racism, hate speech, and bizarre conspiracy theories (see: witch doctor pictures, tea parties, Birthers, Michelle Malkin, Fox News, World Net Daily, Newsmax, and every other right wing source)

Johnson concluded the post saying, "The American right wing has gone off the rails, into the bushes, and off the cliff. I won’t be going over the cliff with them."

At this point, his former comrades in the conservative blogosphere aren't likely to be shedding any tears over his loss. But Johnson was once one of the biggest figures among them.


J said... / Dec 1, 2009, 5:53:00 PM  

Was he really on the right ever anyway? LGF was good in its coverage on the War on Terror but that doesn't make you a conservative in the least bit. I don't like Pat B or Lew Rockwell either, but are they fascist? Not even close. Besides not being fascist, they aren't really relevant either. They are like what Ralph Nader is to the left.

Codester said... / Dec 2, 2009, 12:28:00 AM  

That's your only problem with the right as defined by Charles Johnson... the way he labels Buchanan?

Sullivan has a few of the finer points they've come to be recognized for lately as well...

Nader is relevant to my generation. He's relevant to my mom. She votes. There's voters that Buchanan is still speaking to and he's on TV constantly. He's not relevant to you. But he's relevant.

I had a good talk with Oliver Willis on Twitter.
He's hyper-partisan on the left like you are for the right. He can't really name any of the reasonable voices for the right. A few other liberals jumped in the middle of it and all of them can't name any of the conservatives whose views they can appreciate.

Part of that is their not willing to listen. They can point to any number of things this person did or said in the past that they just refuse to listen any further. Or they just flip the channel.

Part of it is they will never be able to see the right as a compliment to the left. They think all "those" ideas are just wrong or completely invalid (much like you do when you say how leftists are wrong about everything) just for the sake of partisanship, as if one day there won't be a right, but only left.

My short list of reasonable thoughtful conservatives is admittedly pretty short as well... but I'm listening for them everywhere... with an open mind. But I think this is a result of just how far right has gone into ugliness. The left isn't pure... and I realize we had our fringe loonies during Bush. But not like how the right has gone there... in droves.

Call it "purity" if you want and "those" conservatives aren't actually reasonable, but just "RINOs". However, it's not just the left that is recognizing what kind of problems you have now. For the sake of the country... I hope you guys find your way back to sanity.

godlizard (aka dotlizard) said... / Dec 2, 2009, 2:06:00 AM  

I remember LGF very clearly as a major war-hawk and a huge fan of GWB et. al., and so to my mind he was rather rabidly on the far right. In the reactionary blogosphere (people who had been critical of both left and right before 9/11 and went all batshit Rightie afterwards), LGF and asmallvictory were two of the most notable - though many nascent Neocons also rose to prominence in those days, it was the sudden freaked-out defections that really stood out.

I like to think of it as "pulling a Dennis Miller".

Good to see Charles has regained his bearings in the world :)

J said... / Dec 2, 2009, 5:04:00 AM  

"That's your only problem with the right as defined by Charles Johnson... the way he labels Buchanan?"

Not at all, most of it was just hyperbole and half truths that I don't feel like debating ad naseum. I'm not out to defend every right winger out there because of this simple fact: my vision of the world ASSUMES that human beings and the institutions and movements we create will be and always will be imperfect. Capitalism isn't perfect, conservatism as a movement isn't perfect, and leaders and policies won't be perfect either.

"but I'm listening for them everywhere... with an open mind."

Good, then here's what you should do: turn off the cable news. As a former leftist, I read Milton Friedman's "Free To Choose", Thomas Sowell's "A Conflict of Visions", and Hayek's "Road to Serfdom". I thourougly understand most left wing underlying assumptions about policy because at one point in my life, I held them too. But in order to get the underlying assumptions of where conservatives are coming from, you've got to read the masters because there's simply no medium out there that will explain the intricacies and nuances of most conservative thought. Until you're able to see the world through our point of view, EVERYTHING we oppose will be seen as evil, uncaring, and selfish through your eyes. Moderate Republicans or Independents have no idea where libertarians or conservatives are coming from because they just haven't been immersed in those works.

If you turn on the TV and catch a sentence of what Hannity or Beck says without knowing the underpinnings of why they think the way they do, you're pretty much shadowboxing with ideology that you may not entirely understand. I did not just become a conservative by listening to Rush Limbaugh, I sought out the classics.

And speaking of conversions, Thomas Sowell was a Marxist for a long time while studying under Milton Friedman. My favorite talk radio host, Michael Medved, was a Democratic speech writer and strategist for a long time. People change all the time, big whoop.

Codester said... / Dec 2, 2009, 10:56:00 AM  

J said...
"...most of it was just hyperbole and half truths that I don't feel like debating ad naseum..."

Heh heh heh... ok.

"...in order to get the underlying assumptions of where conservatives are coming from, you've got to read the masters..."

Simply defining conservatism is all well and good if the party was currently in resemblance to any of your "classic" examples. I don't need Sean Hannity to tell me what I see repeatedly... everywhere.

The left today doesn't adhere to the canards of classical liberalism either. I wouldn't presume to insinuate that they do, largely. But we are not as far off the rails as conservatives are right now with their ideology and principles.

J said... / Dec 2, 2009, 1:40:00 PM  

"The left today doesn't adhere to the canards of classical liberalism either."

Correct, I do. I'm a liberal.

"Simply defining conservatism is all well and good if the party was currently in resemblance to any of your "classic" examples."

When you are ready to take the Milton Friedman challenge, let me know. Here's a sample


"Look, don't attribute to me your conventional views of what a quote 'conservative' believes, because I'm not a conservative..I believe in freedom!"

J said... / Dec 2, 2009, 8:06:00 PM  

"Simply defining conservatism is all well and good"

I'm not giving you recommendations to get a definition of an ideology, rather a framework of how and why conservatives approach problems the way they do. There are very few leftists that take the time to do that, Thom Hartmann is one of them I can think of off of the top of my head. The New Republic is generally good too. MSM journalists couldn't name an influential book written by a conservative and neither could most leftists, Independents, and the Olympia Snowe's of the world.

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