by John Hawkins | November 1, 2006 9:20 am
Ex-conservative, John Cole over at Balloon Juice, is shoveling manure as fast as he can at his former allies on the right.
At one time Cole ran a reliably conservative blog, but about the time Terri Schiavo became a big issue, he got a real bee in his bonnet about religious people being allowed to have a voice in the Republican Party, too, and he flipped out and veered left. In other words, he pulled an Andrew Sullivan and got so upset that the majority of the conservative commentariat disagreed with him, that it twisted his whole philosophy.
Of course, he benefitted from stepping to the left a lot more than Sullivan did. Sullivan had a big audience and actually seemed to pay a price for switching allegiances. On the other hand, Cole went from being a small fry conservative blog to being a small fry ex-conservative blog that regularly got links from liberal blogs like the Daily Kos that love nothing more than to read a blogger claiming to be a conservative ripping on other conservatives.
Here’s Cole’s latest spiel that could have been written by any of a hundred other hacks in the liberal blogosphere (Yet, it gets attention because someone claiming to be a Republican is writing it):
“In short, it really sucks looking around at the wreckage that is my party and realizing that the only decent thing to do is to pull the plug on them (or help). I am not really having any fun attacking my old friends- but I don’t know how else to respond when people call decent men like Jim Webb a pervert for no other reason than to win an election. I don’t know how to deal with people who think savaging a man with Parkinson’s for electoral gain is appropriate election-year discourse. I don’t know how to react to people who think that calling anyone who disagrees with them on Iraq a “terrorist-enabler” than to swing back. I don’t know how to react to people who think that media reports of party hacks in the administration overruling scientists on issues like global warming, endangered species, intelligent design, prescription drugs, etc., are signs of… liberal media bias.
And it makes me mad. I still think of myself as a Republican- but I think the whole party has been hijacked by frauds and religionists and crooks and liars and corporate shills, and it frustrates me to no end to see my former friends enabling them, and I wonder ‘Why can’t they see what I see?” I don’t think I am crazy, I don’t think my beliefs have changed radically, and I don’t think I have been (as suggested by others) brainwashed by my commentariat.
I hate getting up in the morning, surfing the news, and finding more and more evidence that my party is nothing but a bunch of frauds. I feel like I am betraying my friends in the party and the blogosphere when I attack them, even though I believe it is they who have betrayed what ‘we’ allegedly believe in. Bush has been a terrible President. The past Congresses have been horrible- spending excessively, engaging in widespread corruption, butting in to things they should have no say in (like end of life decisions), refusing to hold this administration accountable for ANYTHING, and using wedge issues to keep themselves in power at the expense of gays, etc. And I don’t know why my friends on the right still keep fighting for these guys to stay in power. Why do they keep attacking decent people like Jim Webb- to keep this corrupt lot of fools in office? Why can’t they just admit they were sold a bill of goods and start over? Why do they want to remain in power, but without any principles? Are tax cuts that important? What is gained by keeping troops in harms way with no clear plan for victory? With no desire to change course? With our guys dying every day in what looks to be for no real good reason? Why?”
In other words, supposedly Cole is hopping into bed with people like Kos, Jane Hamsher, Michael Moore, Ted Kennedy, Robert Byrd, William Jefferson, John Kerry, & Ted Rall, because he thinks Republicans are mean.
This whole, “The Republicans are being unfair to James Webb,” line is particularly hilarious given that the entire campaign in Virginia, for months, seemed to be about nothing more than mentioning the word “macaca” about a million times and alleging that George Allen used the N-word 25 years ago. Then it’s, boy, how dirty is it for Republicans to actually publish perverted excerpts from James Webb’s novels? Why can’t they run a clean campaign! Moreover, the same guy who is complaining that Bush spends too much money apparently thinks Ted Kennedy, Hillary Clinton, and the rest of the libs in the Senate are going to get the deficit fixed right up. Great. Meanwhile, the Republicans are corrupt, but the Party of Harry Reid and William Jefferson is pure as driven snow. Gotcha, Cole!
Maybe it’s just me, but when I see people like John Cole, Andrew Sullivan, and David Brock basking in praise from the left and criticizing the right for all the same things that their new best buddies do day in and day out, I can’t help but think that they’re, at least to a certain degree, phonies who’re writing things not because they believe them, but because they think it’ll pull in more traffic and money for them. For example, is John Cole’s stance on the war what he believes or what he needs to keep his new friends on the left linking him? It could be one or it could be the other. It’s hard to say with a guy like Cole.
Also, let me add that Cole really shouldn’t say that, “My party is nothing but a bunch of frauds,” because when you’ve been carrying water for the Democrats for a year and a half or so, the Republican Party isn’t in any meaningful sense “your party” any more. Personally, I haven’t considered Balloon Juice to be a Republican/conservative blog for a long time. In my book, Cole traded in his party and his ideology a long time ago and the only reason he’s still pretending otherwise is because it benefits him to do so.
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