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Charles Johnson ‘Breaks’ From the Right

Little Green Footballs logoIn a move that has been coming for nearly two years, Charles Johnson has issued a manifesto explaining “Why I Parted Ways With The Right.”  For those who don’t know, Johnson is the founder and principal author of Little Green Footballs, one of the oldest and most popular blogs.  He was an elder statesman in the game when I started OTB in January 2003, known as one of the Four Horsemen of the Ablogalypse (along, as I recall, with Instapundit’s Glenn Reynolds, Andrew Sullivan, and the long since semi-retired Steven Den Beste).  (We had a lot of silly names for things back in those nascent days.)

Here’s his list, in its entirely, interspersed with my commentary.

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.)

Without the backstory, I’m not sure what he means by “facsists” — a terribly overused word — in these cases.  While I have plenty of disagreements with Buchanan and McCain, I see them mostly as radical populists; they’re certainly not supporters of Fascism.  Regardless, however, Buchanan has been with us since the Nixon administration.   And, at the risk of being unkind to my fellow Jax State alumnus, Stacy McCain isn’t exactly a major player in American politics.

And, seriously, the BNP? A British fringe party which “received 0.7% of the popular vote but had no candidates elected to Parliament” in the most recent elections?

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

Again, this criticism is wildly overblown.  There have  been elements of bigotry and white supremacy in our society since the beginning, with ebbs and flows depending on the economy and other events.  For the most part, they’ve been trending starkly downward in recent decades.

Two exceptions come to mind in the current period:  Frustration over illegal immigration, which is sometimes coupled with a fear that unassimilated Hispanics will radically change our culture, and fear of home-grown Islamist radicals.   Neither of these is completely irrational nor of the same piece with, say, anti-black racism.  But they can manifest themselves in ugly ways.

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.)

This is just silly.  Because our major religions were founded centuries ago, their doctrines, when taken literally, aim at preserving centuries-old social mores. But women are equals in our society in ways that would have seemed fantastical even thirty years ago.   We have women on the Supreme Court, women secretaries of state, women governors, women fighter pilots, and so forth.   Many of these women are Republicans.

We’ve had Republican presidents most of my lifetime and they’ve not only allowed these changes to happen but participated in them.  Ronald Reagan broke the gender barrier on the Supreme Court and had Jeanne Kirkpatrick as his UN rep.  George W. Bush had Condi Rice — a black woman! — as his National Security Advisor and then as Secretary of State.  John McCain had Sarah Palin as his running mate.

Yes, opposition to abortion is a litmus test for securing the Republican presidential nomination.  It has been so for as long as I can remember, however, so that seems like an odd rationale for a middle aged man to break with the right.

4. Support for anti-science bad craziness (see: creationism, climate change denialism, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, James Inhofe, etc.)

I’ll give him this one.  This isn’t exactly new but this wing of the Republican Party has grown in size and influence over the years.

5. Support for homophobic bigotry (see: Sarah Palin, Dobson, the entire religious right, etc.)

Support for gay rights — a fringe view as recently as the 1970s — has become normalized in recent years.  Most Republicans, including most Republican leaders, are well beyond where, say, Mike Dukakis or Walter Mondale or Jimmy Carter were on the issue.

There is, of course, a mobilization against gay marriage — a concept that would have seemed absurd to even the most liberal Democrats fifteen years ago.   But that’s hardly solely a position of the right.  See Barack Obama.  Or any black church.

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

See Code Pink, 9/11 Truthers, etc.

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

See Cindy Sheehan, Michael Moore, 9/11 Truthers, etc.

8. A right-wing blogosphere that is almost universally dominated by raging hate speech (see: Hot Air, Free Republic, Ace of Spades, etc.)

Oh, c’mon.  First, Hot Air is pretty tame.   Ace is mostly schtick.  Free Republic isn’t a blog.  And most people would have put LGF into this category two years ago.

9. Anti-Islamic bigotry that goes far beyond simply criticizing radical Islam, into support for fascism, violence, and genocide (see: Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, etc.)

I don’t read Geller or Spencer very much these days — a good tip for those who find a particular blog annoying! — and thought they were somewhat radical (Geller moreso than Spencer) when I did.  I don’t recall either of them being advocates of fascism (unless one uses the word stupidly), much less genocide.  If they’ve crossed that Rubicon, however, so what?  What mainstream Republican leader supports nuking Mecca or some of the crazier ideas?  Certainly, George W. Bush didn’t, as evidenced by the fact that he controlled our nukes for eight years and Mecca is still there.  John McCain?  Sarah Palin?

Ironically, I would have put Johnson himself into this category several years ago.   Despite LGF’s prominence, I gave up on it pretty quickly because I found it a cesspool.  In fairness, that was more related to the discussion forum than Johnson’s own writings.   But LGF’s editorial stance toward political Islam, the War on Terror, and related issues was decidedly more radical than my own and, indeed, sufficiently outside the mainstream of our policy discourse that I felt safe in ignoring it.

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)

Pretty much the same could have been said of George W. Bush.  He was despised and vilified and only partly because of policy.  The chief difference is that he’s white and Obama’s part black, so images of the two as monkeys have different social connotations.

Is there genuine anti-Obama racism?  Sure.  It exists, both here and overseas, on both the right and the left.  And the Internet gives the fringes a platform that magnifies their numbers.  But so what?

Ultimately, Liza Sabater gets it right.  She notes that Johnson was “part tongue-in-cheek pundit, part awesomely generous code jock” in the early days of LGF.

Charles Johnson Charlie BrownThen the attacks of September 11 happened.

Back in 2002, Anil Dash best describes my feelings about what happened to Charles Johnson: Since the attacks, Charles, at least in the context of his weblog, lost his shit.

For us old-school bloggers, political activism came out of our very personal values and had nothing to do with political parties. It explains why Charles Johnson is still reticent about calling LGF a blog just about politics. It also explains why Six Apart‘s Chief Evangelist, got into one of the first very public political altercations in the blogosphere during his Quixotic quest to understand the islamophobia heaped by barrels from Little Green Footballs.

Little Green Footballs went to such a deep end that even a white (albeit nuanced) supremacist Norwegian like the anonymous blogger Fjordman (a darling of the extreme-right blogosphere), had called out Charles Johnson and his blog as examples of Islamophobia and racism in the blogosphere. It also earned the blog it’s own “watch blog” (LGF Watch) and even the scorn of Zionist and anti-Jihadist activists.”

[...]

His blog has been a very personal journey. It wasn’t meant to be a business plan. It wasn’t meant to be his product. Little Green Footballs is Charles Johnson.The blog has changed because he has changed and that’s an amazing thing to own up to: That you weren’t the “complete” person people thought you’d be. That the space in which you post a bit of your soul is not just a product or a brand. It is you.

Sabater welcomes Johnson back to the left, which is where he naturally fit on the spectrum before 9/11.   He was radicalized by those events, having his worldview shattered, and went to the other extreme on national security issues.    Because American politics — and especially the American blogosphere — divided into Left and Right almost solely on the War on Terror and the Iraq War, Johnson embraced and was embraced by the Right.   But he’s a social liberal at the end of the day and the American Right — and especially the Republican Party — is dominated by religious conservatives.

Like Johnson, I’m not religious and, like Johnson, I am not a fan of several swaths of the American Right or the general direction the Republican Party is headed.   Unlike Johnson, there are enough other issues where I find common cause with the GOP and am irreconcilable with the platform of the Democratic Party.

Another supporter on the Left, Pam Spaulding, observes that “the Goldwater conservatives and moderates have been put six feet under by the theocrats and know-nothings. I don’t know how you can wrest the GOP back from the crazies.”    While that overstates things a mite, she’s got a point.  I’m essentially a Goldwater conservative myself and there aren’t too many of us.  Or, at least, we’re not the organizing kind in the way that the tea partiers and religious right are.

But it wasn’t all that long ago that people were writing off the Democrats as being out of touch and too liberal to ever win back the White House. A couple of lost elections tends to bring sanity sooner or later.

And, indeed, as Joe Gandelman points out,

Both parties are now showing signs of impending splits, although time will tell how serious and politically consequential each of these splits are. Each party’s base (left in the Democrats; right in the Republicans) consider the word “moderate” a dirty word.

Some in the base of each party want to purge their party of some who they feel aren’t “real” Democrats/Republicans. Some Democrats want to push the party left…some Republicans want to push their party further right.

We live in polarizing times, I’m afraid.   We’ve been through far worse — a literal civil war, for example, seems unthinkable — and likely will again.  Things swing back.  They always do.

UPDATE:   Erstwhile Pajamas Media partner Dennis the Peasant offers an uncharitable alternate reason for Johnson’s “break.”

Jules Crittenden offers a useful roundup of other reactions, including this from Ann Althouse:  “Personally, I don’t need to go through the exercise of figuring out what happened to Johnson. I’ve avoided him all these years because he seemed too extreme and hateful. Now, he’s fired up about other people being extreme and hateful? And he’s fired up in a way that seems extreme and hateful?”

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. The splits in the Republican party aren’t really base vs. moderate. What you’re seeing is different parts of the base with entirely different views of what the party should do are starting to polarize. Yet these various groups (e.g. religious conservatives, right wing populists, libertarians, pro-business conservatives) are all very non-moderate in incompatible ways.

    The real issue is that the groups were all originally united by opposition to Communism, and with that threat largely gone, there’s not enough common ground left to keep them together.

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  2. steve says:

    Good analysis. I would disagree on a couple of issues. Sheehan and Moore never had the influence of a Beck and Limbaugh. These are the top rated, most watched or listened to people in the country. You also have Republican Congressmen now flirting with this stuff. You always have the crazies on both sides. It is unusual to see it seeping into the talk of the pols at the upper levels. Most, on both sides, will encourage with some subtlety the crazies in the base. We are not used to seeing this at higher levels. You are correct to point out it has been worse and was more common in our past.

    On the women and gays issues, this is much more common amongst the religious right than you may think. I do not have the sense that you read those sources very much. I dabble there and have family extensively involved.

    The Republicans will be back. The lack of cohesion among Dems guarantees that. My concern is that they may get elected back too soon.

    Steve

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  3. Anderson says:

    Pretty much the same could have been said of George W. Bush. He was despised and vilified and only partly because of policy.

    ???

    Other than the debate over the 2000 election — which was a genuine controversy by any objective standard — ALL of the despising and vilification of Bush arose out of his policies. Iraq? Torture? Remember those?

    The man was tremendously popular after 9/11, and then squandered that on neocon delusions and Rovian “50% + 1″ politics.

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  4. James Joyner says:

    Other than the debate over the 2000 election — which was a genuine controversy by any objective standard — ALL of the despising and vilification of Bush arose out of his policies. Iraq? Torture? Remember those?

    Sure. But Obama’s policies are genuinely unpopular — indeed, outrageous — with those in question here. But, in both cases, the criticism became personal rather than political.

    Both have been caricatured as Hitler, for reasons that at least make sense. Both have been caricatured as monkeys, too.

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  5. Matt says:

    He left out #11, “This (totally sincere) change of heart is going to going to make me famous! (see David Brock, Arianna Huffington)”

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  6. sam says:

    I’m essentially a Goldwater conservative myself and there aren’t too many of us.

    The last time I saw Barry Goldwater was on TV during the opening of a People for the American special way standing in front of crowd of about 100 people, each of whom was doing something different. It looked like a circus. Of course, that was the point: American freedom ought to be like a circus, with everyone free to do his or her own act.

    One of my profs in college, Henry David Aiken (not much read nowadays, pity because he was a beautiful stylist of the American language), as liberal a man you’d find, remarked that he didn’t know what all the fuss was about re Barry’s “Extremism in the defense of liberty” line was–it was about as purely an American utterance as you’d ever find. I’m ashamed to say, it took me years and years to finally appreciate Barry Goldwater, even if I never agreed with most of his positions. The true measure of the decline of Republicans is that they’d not find a place in the party for him now.

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  7. steve says:

    Gee, I left the party and it didn’t make me famous. Granted, my reasons were more centered on foreign policy and economics, the dominance of the religious right had been bugging me for many years. When Palin gets the 2012 nomination, I think James will join us among the independent ranks. It is difficult to like a lot of what the Dems are doing, but more difficult to support the current trends in the Republican party.

    Steve

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  8. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Anderson, you do not remember all of the prominent democrats making statements about Iraq and their possession of WMD? Did you forget what Pres. Clinton had to say about Iraq and WMD? Did you forget the bill Clinton signed concerning removing Saddam from power? Did you forget???? Did you forget the Democrats stabbing South Viet Nam in the back? You want Charles Johnson? You got him. By my read, he drank the cool-aid and went around the bend. Looks like he would have made a perfect candidate for East Anglia CRU. He disallows dissent on LGF.

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  9. rodney dill says:

    It’s time for the NNL

    (New Not-Left)

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  10. Ugh says:

    Both have been caricatured as Hitler, for reasons that at least make sense.

    In what way has Obama been caricatured as Hitler that makes sense?

    But Obama’s policies are genuinely unpopular — indeed, outrageous — with those in question here.

    Which ones are those?

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  11. [...] coming even if you didn’t read the interview I did with him a few weeks back.  James Joyner parses out Johnson’s list and I have to say, I agree with James on pretty much all his points except for his take on [...]

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  12. LaurenceB says:

    What mainstream Republican leader supports nuking Mecca or some of the crazier ideas?

    Tom Tancredo. Former Republican candidate for President.

    Face it, James, the crazy-wing has taken over the Republican Party. I’m proud to say I’m not a Republican anymore.

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  13. Andy says:

    That’s a rather defensive reading of the list, particularly the responses to 6 and 7. I’m not sure Johnson ever said he was joining the left.

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  14. physics geek says:

    climate change denialism,

    You’ll give him that one for the anti-science brigade? Really? So hiding data and code, manipulating peer review and destroying evidence are considered to be science now. Good to know that the left has science well in hand.

    You might try painting with a somewhat smaller brush in the future. Just an FYI.

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  15. You know, your

    “see [example on the left]”

    only works if the gentleman is leaping to the left.

    If he is moving to be non-aligned or independent, it might actually reinforce the logic of his decision.

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  16. James Joyner says:

    Tom Tancredo. Former Republican candidate for President.

    Tancredo got something like zero delegates. Anyone can declare themselves a candidate and anyone with a significant platform will be allowed in the debates and whatnot until after the early primaries. All Tancredo did is get elected in one congressional district.

    You’ll give him that one for the anti-science brigade? Really? So hiding data and code, manipulating peer review and destroying evidence are considered to be science now. Good to know that the left has science well in hand.

    The global warming denialism started years before the East Anglia emails were released, so skepticism isn’t based on that evidence. And Creationism, Intelligent Design, and other things also feed into the anti-science argument.

    Which ones are those?

    Trillion dollar bailouts, for example.

    If he is moving to be non-aligned or independent, it might actually reinforce the logic of his decision.

    The problem is that there are two parties. Both have their share of nuts but they’re the only two vehicles for electing candidates to major office.

    The relative nuttiness of the parties is cyclical. The GOP is down to its base right now and the Dems have most of the moderates. That’s already beginning to shift, however.

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  17. Sure. But Obama’s policies are genuinely unpopular — indeed, outrageous — with those in question here.

    This is pure distilled essence of bullsh*t. The tea partier’s reaction has almost literally nothing to do with specific policies or issues.

    Do you honestly believe that people are screaming spittle-flecked diatribes and carrying signs equating Obama and Hitler because of a plan to offer a public option alternative to private insurance plans?

    You’re a Menshevik, James, too clueless to know that the Bolsheviks are the party now.

    You are about issues. Your party is about rage and racism and paranoia. It’s not a coincidence that the GOP is now the party of rustics and southern white males. These are people who believe — and they are correct — that their special position in American society, and especially their self-generated mythology, is no longer tenable.

    They are correct in sensing that the country and the world have passed them by. They fear this. And it comes out in racism, homophobia, and a generalized inchoate rage that has precisely nothing to do with what you and your think tank friends say, write or believe.

    Charles Johnson’s points are baloney in many cases because he’s trying to rationalize and explain an essentially emotional reaction on his part. He woke up one day and could no longer deny that he was walking in a parade alongside losers and loonies. Worse yet for him, he looked around and the partisan scales dropped from his eyes and he saw that he wasn’t leading the Crazy Town Parade, he was actually just slogging along behind Beck and Palin.

    The question is why you aren’t equally clear-headed. Do you not get how irrelevant intellectuals like you are to your deeply anti-intellectual party? Do you not want to admit it? What role do you think you perform now? Are you telling yourself that these nutjobs will be swayed by your careful reasoning?

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  18. Thank you for your reply James. I’d point to this WikiAnswers page (emphasis mine):

    Independents are voters who, when asked by friends or pollsters, identified themselves as “independent” of the Democrats and Republicans. In some states, these voters can register as “independent” or “unaffiliated,” but in other states, they register as Democrats or Republicans. Nationally, they make up about a third of all voters, but in some critical states like New Hampshire, they comprise over 40% of the electorate, both in general and most primary elections.

    Yes, there are literally two parties, but as independents become a larger group (a non-party group) they become a greater part of the dynamic.

    Certainly if Repubs and Dems knew that they had a 30-40% middle out there to capture they should behave differently.

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  19. sam says:

    Things swing back. They always do.

    Unless they don’t: Whigs and Republicans come to mind.

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  20. James Joyner says:

    Do you honestly believe that people are screaming spittle-flecked diatribes and carrying signs equating Obama and Hitler because of a plan to offer a public option alternative to private insurance plans?

    I don’t assume that they’re acting out of intellectual reason but rather out of fear. The marches and whatnot preceded public option talk — they started in response to the various bailouts. They seem to genuinely believe that they’re paying all the taxes and having to subsidize everybody else.

    The question is why you aren’t equally clear-headed. Do you not get how irrelevant intellectuals like you are to your deeply anti-intellectual party? Do you not want to admit it? What role do you think you perform now? Are you telling yourself that these nutjobs will be swayed by your careful reasoning?

    I don’t deny that the populists and whackos are taking a larger role in the party. But at the end of the day, the Republicans didn’t nominate Tom Tancredo, or even Mike Huckabee, but rather settled on John McCain. Yes, McCain made Palin his running mate out of desperation but it was a long bomb and I don’t think he had any clue who she was beyond a one-page set of talking points.

    Intellectuals don’t make up the mainstream of either party. Never have, never will. It’s just that 24/7 cable news and the Internet give the crazies a much bigger platform than they’ve ever had.

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  21. BTW, I can see that it makes sense as a strategic argument to paint Mr. Johnson’s move as “I’m going to the Dems” even when he didn’t say that.

    If your goal is to keep Republican registration up, you want people to see a huge gulf, and to see their alternative as being a Democrat.

    Not only that, it’s easier to make arguments about the evil Liberals than … the evil Moderates? It doesn’t play quite so well.

    For my money, the two party system is more problem than solution in late 2009. Building the rolls of moderates and non-aligned improves things. YMMV.

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  22. PD Shaw says:

    Without the backstory, I’m not sure what he means by “facsists” — a terribly overused word — in these cases.

    AFAIK, a section of the anti-Islamic blogosphere began playing a game of how many degrees removed each other is from Adolph Hitler. If you posted to a rally in which there are posters of some black guy with a toothbrush mustache, you were two degrees removed from Hitler unless you spun in a circle three times and spit. If only there was some sort of meme that introduced the idea that once Hitler is used as a vehicle of comparison, everything goes to sh!t.

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  23. Anon says:

    Trillion dollar bailouts, for example.

    That was Bush’s policy, championed by McCain. Obama had nothing to do with it other than voting for it. You might be thinking of the stimulus package, which was something different entirely.

    And this is a perfect example of the rampant anti-intellectualism on the right that’s been driving me nuts. There’s no fact checking and such ham handed rewriting of the recent past. How can I believe these people know what they are talking about if they can’t accurately remember the basic details of something that happened only a year ago?

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  24. [...] James Joyner: Sabater welcomes Johnson back to the left, which is where he naturally fit on the spectrum before 9/11.   He was radicalized by those events, having his worldview shattered, and went to the other extreme on national security issues.    Because American politics — and especially the American blogosphere — divided into Left and Right almost solely on the War on Terror and the Iraq War, Johnson embraced and was embraced by the Right.   But he’s a social liberal at the end of the day and the American Right — and especially the Republican Party — is dominated by religious conservatives. [...]

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  25. datechguy says:

    You are missing the point, this is all about the Instalances he stopped getting back in Aug and the traffic he no longer receives from them.

    This is his David Brock play, maybe he can now openly go on Soros’ payroll.

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  26. I don’t assume that they’re acting out of intellectual reason but rather out of fear. The marches and whatnot preceded public option talk — they started in response to the various bailouts. They seem to genuinely believe that they’re paying all the taxes and having to subsidize everybody else.

    Fear of Bush’s bailouts? So that’s why they hate Obama? Because of Bush’s bailouts of banks and insurers who went under on his watch, after 8 years of GOP control in the White House?

    In that case, James, you’re making the argument that your party is motivated either by very short memories or by a need to find a scapegoat.

    What a coincidence — a coincidence, I say — that masses of southerners and rustics would choose to became outraged at the black guy who just showed up on the crime scene and not the white guys with powder burns on their hands and the victim’s wallet in their pocket.

    And of course a great many of these people aren’t paying income taxes. And they aren’t in line to pay any more in the future. A great many of them — elderly, retired, or lower middle class — are tax freeloaders.

    In which case you’re arguing that they are not only afflicted by poor memories and a need to find a scapegoat (bonus points for a black scapegoat) but by a dishonest self-pity.

    Which puts you pretty much in line with my own view of the current GOP. The main difference being that you still see yourself as part of this group.

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  27. Ted says:

    The most hilarious thing about Charles’s breakdown is his complaint about ‘fascism’ on the right, which of course he mischaracterizes, while ignoring his pseudo-fascism on his own blog, by banning users for the slightest deviation from the LGF groupthink. He has become a deranged fool; just look at his nonsensical defense of the global warming hoax that has been revealed over the past couple of weeks.

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  28. ThomasD says:

    The global warming denialism started years before the East Anglia emails were released, so skepticism isn’t based on that evidence.

    It appears that information was prepared in response to a Freedom of Information request, no doubt generated by people who had serious questions about the activities of the CRU. So the skepticism already existed, release of the email merely validated the skepticism.

    Additionally there were many other appropriate reasons for the existence of skepticism, including Lombord’s book, the debunking of the ‘hockey stick’ some years ago, and many, many other voices decrying the obvious and problematic secrecy surrounding the key players.

    Falsely describing a highly politicized exercise in group think and boot strapping as ‘science’ is anti-science.

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  29. sam says:

    Erstwhile Pajamas Media partner Dennis the Peasant

    Heh heh, ‘erstwhile’ — that’s pretty funny, James

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  30. [...] interesting roundup of bloggers: Outside The Beltway, Right Wing Nut House, The Moderate Voice, minx.cc, Pam’s House Blend, Israel Matzav, Dennis [...]

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  31. I suppose anyone who has bought the conspiracy theory will just assume Scientific American is part of it … but I think their Answers to Contrarians are good and reasonable. They do come out kind of strong, but in this day and age that might be appropriate.

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  32. physics geek says:

    The global warming denialism started years before the East Anglia emails were released, so skepticism isn’t based on that evidence.

    So skepticism about an overly politicized position promoted by people who actively hid and destroyed data and refused to allow their climate modeling code to be tested and reviewed is denialism? James, you really need to review the scientific method. Transparency, disclosure and reproducibility are paramount for the process to be done properly. According to your statement, ignoring those steps because of the fraudulently created consensus equates to denialism.

    Is there any evidence that you can think of that would convince you that AGW is not a fact? Based on your statement above, it appears not.

    And conflating skepticism of AGW with creationism is dishonest. At least ardent creationists admit that they’re taking a leap of faith, or most of them do. You trying to equate that with wondering where the actual proof of AGW is indicative of working backwards from what you know to be true (we’re all burning up and it’s our fault!!!). Maybe you can fill in the “and then a miracle occurs” blank in your chain of logic.

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  33. And conflating skepticism of AGW with creationism is dishonest. At least ardent creationists admit that they’re taking a leap of faith, or most of them do. You trying to equate that with wondering where the actual proof of AGW is indicative of working backwards from what you know to be true (we’re all burning up and it’s our fault!!!). Maybe you can fill in the “and then a miracle occurs” blank in your chain of logic.

    Even if you don’t like the binding, you should admit that it is a social phenomenon. There were those who opposed science, for reason of creationism, and for whom opposition to climate science was a natural follow-on.

    They are not all the climate skeptics, but I think they might have formed the early core of the denial crowed.

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  34. The qualitative differences between the fringes…

    THE QUALITATIVE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE FRINGES…. Following up on that last item, about Charles Johnson officially giving up on the right, I was especially interested in seeing what James Joyner had to say about this. James is conservative, but I……

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  35. Little Green Turtle Turds Is DOA…

    Around September of 2007 is when I finally came to the conlusion that LGF was a waste of time.  I thought from the get go that he was a socialistic libtardish hack ……

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  36. Iokaanan says:

    I’m afraid Prof. Joyner is missing a fundamental point, one Steve Benen at “Washington Monthly” lays out clearly:

    “The point is, there’s a clear and impermeable line between the progressive mainstream and the left fringe. The line between the Republican Party/conservative movement and the far-right fringe barely exists.

    Whereas Dems kept the fringe at arm’s length, Republicans embrace the fringe with both arms.”

    Nobody from the Democratic Party is running to Cindy Sheehan for an endorsement, yet it appears everyone from the Republican caucus is falling over themselves to stay in Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck’s good graces.

    Many of Prof. Joyner’s counterpoints are legitimate, but ultimately dated. The appointment of Sandra Day O’Connor was followed up with the nomination of Robert Bork, a move one could hardly call ‘progress’. And frankly the less said of Dr. Rice’s tenure in the previous administration, the better.

    Similarly, I’m unaware of any interests on the nominal Left who speak out or organize against Same-Sex Marriage, or who insist upon outdated gender roles being re-established, with quite the same zeal and breadth as we see on the Right.

    What’s relevant is what we’re seeing happen now on among the nominal Right, and frankly its not a little disturbing. I likewise agree we’re unlikely to see an actual civil war erupt, but an armed, anti-government insurgency certainly seems plausible given the nature and breadth of ideologies involved. One can only hope you’re right and the GOP will regain its intellectual footing.

    One hopes, but the prospects are anything but promising.

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  37. Steve Verdon says:

    Fear of Bush’s bailouts? So that’s why they hate Obama? Because of Bush’s bailouts of banks and insurers who went under on his watch, after 8 years of GOP control in the White House?

    Right, which is why Obama didn’t spend the second half of the TARP funds…oh…wait a minute. And it was Obama who bailed out Chrysler and GM.

    What a coincidence — a coincidence, I say — that masses of southerners and rustics would choose to became outraged at the black guy who just showed up on the crime scene and not the white guys with powder burns on their hands and the victim’s wallet in their pocket.

    There was widespread dislike towards TARP legislation, which as you correctly note, was legislation passed under and signed by Bush. In fact, the first bail out bill failed. Seems to me the one with the memory issues is you.

    And of course a great many of these people aren’t paying income taxes. And they aren’t in line to pay any more in the future. A great many of them — elderly, retired, or lower middle class — are tax freeloaders.

    Well, there are some pretty sizable increases in marginal tax rates for many with the health care expansion and entrenchment legislation working its way through Congress. Of course who gets dinged and who doesn’t isn’t simple given the convoluted nature of the policy. So…I can understand the concern. It is like a tax lottery, are you going to be lucky or unlucky?

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  38. Forrest says:

    Truthers are bipartisan, judging by what I get in the mail (“Obama’s a Marxist from Kenya and 9/11 was an inside job!”).

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  39. Iben says:

    Chucky is and has been not much more than a sad/bad joke for quite some time…..

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  40. MHamilton says:

    Support for bigotry, hatred, and white supremacism

    I assume Johnson is referring to things like Buchanan’s rants about the shrinking white majority and his calls for whites to “take America back” and McCain’s neo-confederate leanings along with his diatribes against interracial marriage, defending segregation, etc. Are you saying these are not “completely irrational nor of the same piece with, say, anti-black racism”?

    Support for homophobic bigotry

    “Support for gay rights — a fringe view as recently as the 1970s.”
    So, in your opinion, those who were opposed to equal rights for blacks in the 80s could have justified their position by saying the such a concept was a fringe view as recently as the 50s?

    Support for anti-government lunacy … for conspiracy theories and hate speech (see: tea parties, militias, Fox News, Glenn Beck…Alex Jones, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Birthers, creationists, climate deniers etc.)

    “See Code Pink, 9/11 Truthers…Cindy Sheehan, Michael Moore, 9/11 Truthers, etc.”
    Could you give me some examples of leading Democrats kowtowing to one of these organizations, or apologizing for offending them or sponsoring legislation (co-sponsored by multiple other Democrats) supporting one of the conspiracies? The Democratic Party has its fringe elements, but that’s what they are, FRINGE elements. They aren’t the party’s leading policy makers. The inmates are running the asylum in today’s Republican Party.

    Hatred for President Obama that goes far beyond simply criticizing his policies

    “Pretty much the same could have been said of George W. Bush. He was despised and vilified and only partly because of policy.”
    Show me the left wing equivalent of the tea parties; sponsored by FOX News and supported by leading Republicans. Show me the Democratic elected officials talking about Bush’s “fascism” in the way that Republican elected officials are tossing around the fascist/socialist accusations. Where was the equivalent of Representative Bachman’s “House Call” protest? Did Keith Olberman and Rachel Maddow organize and promote anti-Bush rallies? Heck, when MoveOn released their “General Betrayus” ad, the Democrats couldn’t denounce them quickly enough.

    Sorry, Mr. Joyner, but your case is pretty weak here.

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  41. kindness says:

    James, James, James…..tsk tsk.

    Charles has opinions, so do you. Charles actually writes out his opinions, you try to belittle them.

    You know what? It’s you who is coming out looking small. I expect more of you than this tripe you’re trolling as rebuttal. It is unworthy of the reputation I thought you deserved. Guess I was an idiot for thinking as much, eh?

    Specifically, your retorts are frequently shallow. You compare apples to oranges and act like they are equal. And you put yourself on a pedestal. How? By saying Charles not only is wrong but unworthy (ie- your rebuttal is nothing but that). And here’s the deal: had you made well thought out arguments that were accurate and clear, you may have had a point. Your arguments were in order:
    1) dumb – you know very well what Charles is saying wrt fascists & the right,
    2) incorrect – just watch the ‘Tea Party’ protests. Bigotry abounds and you’re denying by covering your eyes & ears is immature,
    3) strawman – abortion is legal & the right wants to take it away from women.
    4) You are correct here…Good man!
    5) incorrect – Democrats largely support gay rights & gay marriage. Just because individual Democrats don’t doesn’t imply otherwise. the Right would prefer gays just go back into their closets or preferrably die.
    6) wrong to the point of lying – like code pink is remotely on par with Rush, Beck, Palin or Bachmann.
    7) You are largely correct here too….Good!
    8) lying – how many right wingers/sites does he have to name to make his statement true? You say he isn’t truthful but then you only agree with him wrt individual sites.
    9) you didn’t actually make an argument against this point, which is good. You merely said LGF was a intolerant site also, and that was certainly true.
    10) Here you’re lying again, this time worse. bush43 brought us legalized torture, indefinite jailing without charges, spying on our own citizens without warrants, invasion and occupation of countries that hadn’t harmed us. Every one of those things is specifically illegal by the US Constitution & Bill of Rights. Name one thing that President Obama has done that rises to that level. You can’t.

    I’m sorry for you. Now go sit in the corner with a dunce cap on till I think you’ve repented.

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  42. TangoMan says:

    Is there genuine anti-Obama racism? Sure. It exists, both here and overseas, on both the right and the left.

    Don’t overlook the pro-Obama racism. It’s a more powerful effect and cancels out the anti-Obama racism. It was so powerful that it led a McCain campaign strategist to quit the campaign for fear of harming Obama’s reputation.

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  43. Dennis D says:

    Moore and Sheehan for a time had much more power than Limbaugh. Cindy was able to get onto any TV show she desired from Oprah to Today. She had massive media coverage as long as she bashed Bush. One she began attacking Dems she was banished. Moores film probably did more to spread anti Bush propaganda than anything. An entire generation of young people think F911 was actually true. Moore was seated with former President Carter at the Dem Convention.

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  44. Dennis D says:

    kindness

    I attended many tea parties and I was an anti war protester in college in the early 70s. These Tea Parties were not racist and they were probably the most peaceful demonstrations in American History. So please stop slandering good Americans just because you disagree with them.

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  45. TangoMan says:

    Tom Tancredo. Former Republican candidate for President.

    Face it, James, the crazy-wing has taken over the Republican Party. I’m proud to say I’m not a Republican anymore.

    Umm, Al Sharpton was a for Democratic candidate for President. Kucinich, another Democratic candidate for President, sponsored legislation to prohibit the US for using mind control rays from space.

    Should I draw conclusions in generalized form by applying these two specific examples?

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  46. Dennis D says:

    Code Pink is much worse than Beck et all. Remember when they attacked Condi Rice with bloody hands? Then they damaged an Army Recruiting station ? They are very extreme.

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  47. [...] saw that this morning. James Joyner (Outside the Beltway) gave a pretty good response. Charles Johnson ‘Breaks’ From the Right I tend to side with Ann Althouse on this one [...]

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  48. Dennis D says:

    Tom Tancredo is a wonderful American but his campaign needed more than a single issue. How dare he resent people from entering the United States illegally. What a nerve he has huh? What an evil man for wanting to protect our borders..

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  49. TangoMan says:

    The global warming denialism started years before the East Anglia emails were released, so skepticism isn’t based on that evidence. And Creationism, Intelligent Design, and other things also feed into the anti-science argument.

    There are many strains of global warming skepticism, and one strain is well anchored in the realm of process – code sharing in models, validation of models against other models rather than observed data, secret data and secret code not available for replication, etc. The verification of these complaints with the release of the CRU emails doesn’t invalidate prior criticisms based on sloppy and duplicitous process.

    As for anti-science attitudes ask those on the Left about their deep incorporation of leftist creationism in their personal, political and policy perspectives. While religious creationists certainly reject the scientific perspective, frankly, there is little intersection between the question of human origins and public policy. Leftist creationist rejection of evolution in humans is a cancerous perspective that infects a complete world view and when it touches on policy it has disastrous implications for everyone.

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  50. Jay says:

    Funny, my perception of LGF as to #8 had a lot to do with my shying from it and paying little attention to it from all the way back in 2003 or maybe 2004. Too rabid and over the top. Too many and vehement commenters.

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  51. Clovis says:

    unless you spun in a circle three times and spit

    You have to spit three times into your right hand and rub it on the back of your neck to undo a black cat curse.

    For a general heavy whammy curse, graveyard, dead cat, whirl three times around your head, then over the wall. The specific “Divil g’way fra me” does not appear to be diminished by improv.

    When young Sabater said Little Green Footballs is Charles Johnson” she was mostly correct. It is Charles Johnson, his refusal to entertain oppositional thought and the three followers (but 50 sock puppets!!) that stifle reason and/or debate.

    Mad King Charles was a pony-tailed hippie shocked into reality by the events of September eleventh. Once he became comfortable in his wee bubble, he forgot that there are real threats (external and, in some ways internal) and focused his meager talents on those horrible Christians and scientists. That he can not see the inherent weakness of claiming that “the science is settled” while deleting any comment that is skeptical of same is simply proof that he is, ultimately, what he is. A very mid-level thinker who unquestioningly accepts his daily thought gruel.

    Let him go back to riding bikes and taking pictures. Mayhap he could sess guitar with someone worth mentioning. Do not, however, confuse him with a conservative, for he never was one. He flirted with reality instead of his airy fairy dreams, but didn’t have enough mud to hang on. Perhaps he can get together with Sullivan and break a tremendously important uterine story.

    If he did that, Sharmuta and Kilgore Trout (way to debase the Vonnegut there, guy) would cut their own wrists and draw a bath, but extrapolating from a survey of their laser-like intellects displayed in the comments at LGF, they would do it wrong. I’ll need more raw data. The rawer the better.

    Tremendously amusing is the stance that a jazz guitarist’s knowledge of climatic science is so superior to that of his readers. When called on that he does the “clown nose on/ clown nose off”(ht;Treacher) that informs this debate. “I only know what the the men in white lab coats tell me, even though the men in white lab coats lie to me … a lot” is more denialist than the purported “denialists” that he slags.

    While I appreciate the work he did in the Rather matter (animating a Giff) the real work was done by “Burkhead” and the boys at Powerline.

    Let the man retire to his bikes, his unremarkable guitar work and his blog that attracts three readers (with attending sock-puppets) and the overweening ego that makes him feel that a declaration from him is required.

    Me, I just vote.

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  52. Clovis says:

    Far as curses go, cats get a raw deal.

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  53. Jim Treacher says:

    I’m not sure Johnson ever said he was joining the left.

    Neither did Andrew Sullivan. There’s more bank in “iconoclastic conservative who can be counted on whenever we need somebody to bash conservatives.”

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  54. Jay Tea says:

    kindness, revel in the freedom to dissent from the host you’re enjoying. You certainly don’t have that back at LGF.

    As far as the Democrats not kowtowing to the leading leftist nuts… how many high-ranking Democrats attended the premiere of Fahrenheit 911? Where did Michael Moore sit at the 2004 Democratic National Convention? Which party proclaimed that Cindy Sheehan had “absolute moral authority?” Which party gave Code Pink whackjobs passes into highly-secure (theoretically) events within Congress, allowing them to assault Condoleezza Rice and verbally attack General Petraeus?

    The Democrats loved Sheehan — right up until she started demanding they actually keep their promises about “ending the war.”

    J.

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  55. jpe says:

    Jay Tea and his ilk are the reason thinking people will always recoil from the GOP base.

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  56. floyd says:

    Charles Johnson sounds confused, glad I never heard of him![lol]

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  57. Jay Tea says:

    gosh, jpe, you’re following me here, too? I’m flattered.

    As the chairman (and sole member) of the Jay Tea Party, you’re BANNED.

    From my party, that is…

    J.

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  58. As for anti-science attitudes ask those on the Left about their deep incorporation of leftist creationism in their personal, political and policy perspectives.

    Or to translate from TangoMan/Peter Brimelow-speak into English: Don’t forget, negroes are inferior to the master race.

    Dontcha just love your racism extra scientific?

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  59. Steve says:

    climate change denialism

    What a goofball. Anyone who swallows this climate change horse pucky is the anti-science zealot.

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  60. Steve says:

    Does Johnson express one single thought here which a hardcore leftist might disagree with?

    This screed reads like it was written by Howard Dean or Dave Axelrod or Bill Ayers. Or a commenter from Democratic Underground.

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  61. SteveM says:

    .. Johnson embraced and was embraced by the Right. But he’s a social liberal at the end of the day and the American Right — and especially the Republican Party — is dominated by religious conservatives.

    No, Johnson is a left-liberal on just about every topic you can mention, in both foreign and domestic policy. One of those peoples distinctive tropes is their obnoxious bigotry towards Christians, but it does not follow that this is all which animates them.

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  62. [...] like he’s a two-timing golf god, go somewhere else. Doltishness on the part of Matthews or Johnson or Sully isn’t newsworthy or interesting anymore, at least to [...]

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  63. Techie says:

    It’s a neat trick to label anyone that disagrees with you politically an “extremist”. Then you don’t have to show evidence or present arguments or even acknowledge them; because who debates with “extremists” anyway?

    Not intellectually honest in the slightest, but a neat trick nonetheless.

    thinking people will always recoil from the GOP base.

    Just keep patting yourself on the back there.

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  64. Techie says:

    I have a feeling that if pressed, the only GOP/Right/Conservative leader that wouldn’t qualify as “an extremist” would be one that agrees most with The Left.

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  65. [...] Submitted By: The Glittering Eye — Outside the Beltway – Charles Johnson ‘breaks’ from the Right [...]

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  66. Julie says:

    I think what you’re ignoring in Johnson’s statement is the recurring phrase “support for”. Sure, Cindy Sheehan EXISTS, but I haven’t seen a lot of Washington Democrats or establishment liberals clamoring to bring her into the fold–she ran against Nancy Pelosi, after all. (I guess I also don’t understand what’s so crazy about protesting the Iraq war, or about Michael Moore’s films-but maybe that’s just me.)

    Nor can I remember any Democratic congressman pushing for an investigation into the possibility that 9/11 was a government plot(Ron Paul seems to be the Truthiest congressman)–not so with Republicans/Birthers. I don’t remember Obama begging Van Jones to stay, either.

    Sometimes it seems to me that anyone with passionately held beliefs is deemed a nutjob by our establishment media, regardless of the facts (or absence of fact) supporting those beliefs, and Washington Democrats are quick to distance themselves from anyone deemed a little bit whacky by the media. But there are plenty of Republican congressmen willing to lend their support to right-wing nuttiness. That’s the big problem with your comparisons.

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  67. [...] these people have more: Ace o’ Spades Jawa Report Jules Crittenden Dan Riehl James Joyner and Robert Stacy [...]

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  68. Soccer Dad says:

    Submitted 12/03/09…

    This week’s Watcher’s council nominations are up along with commentary. Council SubmissionsSoccer Dad – The Warming ConcensusThe Razor – ClimateGate Shows the Importance of the Amateur ScientistJoshuapundit- Obama – The War P…

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  69. [...] Third place with 1 2/3 points — Outside the Beltway – Charles Johnson ‘breaks’ from the Right [...]

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  70. [...] Third place with 1 2/3 points — Outside the Beltway – Charles Johnson ‘breaks’ from the Right [...]

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  71. The most Recent Watcher’s Council Results…

    A lot of really great entries this time around, with some particularly outstanding winners. Congratulations to all involved in the most recent competition! Council Submissions First place with 2 1/3 points! – Mere Rhetoric – Leaked Global Warming Docs:…

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  72. [...] Charles Johnson ‘Breaks’ from the Right [...]

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