Thursday, December 14, 2006

Tom Delay: It's Hammer-Time in the Blogosphere

Tom Delay has started a blog and he aims to shake up the blogosphere the way he shook up Congress. "When was the last time the Republicans or conservatives attacked the left for their outrageous comments or outrageous activities?" Delay says. "We don't attack. It's time to start attacking and be aggressive about what you believe and fighting for your beliefs." As a little demonstration, Delay went after the Huffington Post's Arianna Huffington, calling her "the long lost 4th Gabor sister."

Before Delay became Majority Leader of Congress, where he was affectionately known as The Hammer, it was a fusty, genial institution where people referred to each other with such quaint phrases as "the right honorable gentleman." It was an institution that ran on compromise and bipartisanship, which meant that no one was very happy with the bills that were passed. Before Delay, Republican members of Congress treated the opposition with respect even when they were traitors and cowards. And despite all of their hard work congressmen received very little remuneration. Delay changed all that and now he would like to bring these reforms to the blogosphere.

But some bloggers wonder if the blogosphere is ready to be turned into a bare-knuckled, no-holds-barred cage fight. Law professor Ann Althouse, who is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I know in the blogosphere, believes that "vicious and nasty lefty bloggers should be bested with better substance and smarter rhetoric." Althouse has done her best to keep the level of rhetoric in the blogosphere on a high level, but she is continually thwarted by those on the left whose liberalism has completely taken away their senses of humor. That must be why, just as most great artists are conservatives, according to Althouse, most great comedians are, too.

Some people misunderstood Althouse when she wrote of the "importance of crushing TMV [The Moderate Voice] (which launched an idiotic - and immoderate! - attack on me)" in the Weblog Awards, which was once a friendly competition among conservative blogs until liberals stepped in and ruined it for everyone. Although TMV's Michael van der Galien attempted to respond with humor, he was not quite able to pull it off since he lacked Althouse's fine comic timing. As I pointed out in a comment to this post, Althouse may have responded the way she did because she was under the mistaken impression that she was nominated for Best Self-Centrist Blog instead of Best Centrist Blog, so it's understandable why she decided to make this battle personal.

Humorless lefties also did not understand the hilarity behind Althouse's poking gentle fun at the breasts Jessica Valenti of Feministing. It was only when provoked by Valenti's trying to defend herself, Althouse was forced to come down from her vaunted academic perch to attack Valenti's looks, speculate that she may be a "clueless fool" and refer to her blog as a "breastblog."

Althouse would prefer to engage her opponents with reason. But is she supposed to stand idly by when Glenn Greenwald has the temerity to disagree with her reasoning? Of course not. And so, though I'm sure she did so only reluctantly, she was compelled to write of Greenwald's prose (using prose that practically sings), "That's atrocious writing. Edit, you idiot. Absurdly, his next line begins "As was painfully clear to anyone who can read..." Well, Glenn, it is painful to read your prose, and anyone who can read and has any taste at all will turn away in disgust at writing like that. (Really, why is his blog popular?)"

Althouse isn't the only conservative blogger who was obliged to go after Greenwald, with the greatest reluctance. When Greenwald unscrupulously attacked the Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler for saying that Supreme Court Justices should be lynched, conservative bloggers were backed into a corner. They had no choice but to spend hours of their precious time researching Greenwald's background. Dan Riehl, who, more in sadness than in anger, called Greenwald "the most annoying little twit of the Left," questioned his credentials as a lawyer. Paterico, a Los Angeles District Attorney who says he doesn't run an "Ann Althouse-style site where everybody is polite and has tea and cookies - and where comments are deleted because they disagree with the host," wrote, "Glenn Greenwald is a douchebag. Hold on: I'm about to back up that charge," and then proceeded to do as promised, proving with the kind of reasoning and evidence that the Los Angeles justice system is renowned for that Greenwald was beyond a shadow of a doubt a "douchebag." The fact that Greenwald is gay has also provided many in the conservative blogosphere with endless opportunities for good clean fun, such as Ace of Spades, who delights in referring to Greenwald's duodenum.

But while some maintain that the conservative blogosphere can maintain this high level of discourse and resist climbing down into the mud with liberals, others are not so sure. Dr. Helen Smith, who just happens to be the wife of the world's greatest blogger Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit, concludes, "Sadly, I used to agree with views like Althouse's but I am beginning to see that while it is admirable to hold facts and substance above attacking one's opponents views, it doesn't work." The noble experiment that was the conservative blogosphere (as exemplified by her husband, who never attacks anyone directly, although on rare occasions he links to someone who attacks someone and stays above it all, godlike) is apparently just not working. And so the forensic psychologist has decided that her rubber gloves must come off.

While I'm not sure yet that making the conservative blogosphere more partisan is necessarily a good idea, the prospect that Delay will help bloggers figure out how to get paid better, which he succeeded in doing in Congress, is a welcome one. Since I became a full-time blogger I have made a comfortable living from the Google Ads on my blog, the check I received from my Bush tax cut and my wife's three jobs. But now I discover that a lefty blogger like Jerome Armstrong, who writes most of the prominent left-wing blogs under various pseudonyms and sock puppets (I believe "Glenn Greenwald" may be one of his aliases), is actually getting paid for what he writes. Who knew that was possible? One innovation Delay has brought to the blogosphere that Armstrong might want to try, is that he doesn't even write his blog himself.

So Mr. Delay, welcome to the blogosphere. I hope you can do for the conservative blogosphere what you did for Republicans in Congress.

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Don't forget to vote for Jon Swift in the Weblog Awards or I will be forced to launch ad hominem attacks at liberals and there will be nothing I can do about it. Vote here.

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Anonymous said...

Tom Delay is the world's biggest lol-cow. Moo! *laughs*

liquiddaddy said...


Conservative most definately are the funniest bunch ever!

That wicked Dennis Miller keeps me rolling, and who can forget P.J. O'Rourke? And that guy that does Mallard Fillmoor?

Plus comic masters like Allan King?

trendyhot said...

You just got my vote. great stuff.


Jaesoreal said...

Blogging is really hard-core! There ought to be a blogging magazine that writes what bloggers are doing and then blogs can be written about the magazine that is writing about the blogs!

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