Right Thinking From The Left Coast
Do, or do not. There is no 'try'. - Yoda

Specter Reax

For a guy who supposedly wasn’t all that important to begin with, Arlan Specter’s defection is generating quite a bit of reaction. Jonathan Chait compares today’s climate with the way things were during Clinton’s first term:

it’s another sign that Barack Obama’s first two years may not look like Bill Clinton’s. In 1993-94, Clinton’s approval ratings sagged, his party lost special elections everywhere, and conservative Democrats were switching to the GOP. Obama’s approval ratings are high and holding steady, Democrats remain far more popular than Republicans, Democrats held the first special election, and now they’ve picked up a party switch. It’s still early, but Obama is starting to build a self-sustaining psychology of success.

In other words, Obama seems to be doing to the Republicans what Reagan did to the Democrats-marginalizing them to the point of near irrelevancy (although they certainly haven’t needed help from him in that area). Speaking of which, Jim DeMint’s reaction seems to be indictive of their current mood:

“I would rather have 30 Republicans in the Senate who really believe in principles of limited government, free markets, free people, than to have 60 that don’t have a set of beliefs.”

Well, congratulations, Jim, because the way things are going you guys won’t even have those 30 seats within a few years. As Sullivan notes:

As the ranks of moderate Republicans thin, and as the GOP becomes increasingly the party of Dixie, one wonders how long the GOP will survive as a real party in whole swathes of the country.

It’s a serious question, as the Republicans now seem to be what the Democrats were in the Fifties and early Seventies-a combination of provincial regionalism and fringe party politics. If Obama’s liberalism seems more acceptable and therefore more mainstream, it’s partly because the Republicans have made it so through their own self-destructive behavior.

Specter’s defection may not seem to mean a whole lot on the surface. After all, as Hal noted, he was old, he wanted to survive, so he jumped ship. But what about the future? Who will be able to run as a moderate Republican without the support of the party’s increasingly shrinking and radical base? Specter was right about one thing-it used to be a “Big Tent” party. Now it’s more like a sleeping bag.

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 04/28/09 at 06:05 PM (Discuss this in the forums)

Comments


Posted by on 04/28/09 at 07:49 PM from United States

Please resign as a contributor, you are ruining this site.

Posted by JimK on 04/28/09 at 08:22 PM from United States

WVR this could easily have been a comment to Hal’s post.  Stop fucking around.

Posted by Aaron - Free Will on 04/28/09 at 08:35 PM from United States

As the ranks of moderate Republicans thin, and as the GOP becomes increasingly the party of Dixie, one wonders how long the GOP will survive as a real party in whole swathes of the country.

Funny, remember how this conversation was being had about Democrats in 2004?

Posted by on 04/28/09 at 08:44 PM from United States

“I would rather have 30 Republicans in the Senate who really believe in principles of limited government, free markets, free people, than to have 60 that don’t have a set of beliefs.”

...and this is wrong because?

Please resign as a contributor, you are ruining this site.

Jim? I don’t think anyone would be too upset if you helped him out the door.

Posted by Thrill on 04/28/09 at 08:45 PM from United States

Please resign as a contributor.  You are ruining this site.

Posted by on 04/28/09 at 08:54 PM from United States

Jim? I don’t think anyone would be too upset if you helped him out the door.

He kind of has Jim over a barrel on that one.

See, Jim isn’t just storming in here and turning this place into the new Right Thoughts. I don’t see that as being his intention, but rather he’s trying to revitalize it… but at the same time, I think he’s trying to walk the line of revitalizing it by undoing certain things Lee did without completely undoing the way Lee wanted things.

If Jim boots out the contributors Lee invited in, then he’s faced with the idea, right or wrong, that he’s diverged too far from it being the legacy of Lee’s site. Whether that divergence being a good thing or not is probably a debate it’s still a little soon to have, but in the end, WVR is part of Lee’s tenure on this site. Jim can’t just toss him without the specter of if it being what Lee would have wanted hanging over his head.

Posted by JimK on 04/28/09 at 08:56 PM from United States

Rann you have it nailed.

Posted by on 04/28/09 at 09:12 PM from United States

I thought I might.

West Virginia Rebel, I said the now-popular phrase for the first time in this thread, and I’ll let it stand as my opinion without repeating it again. It’s clear that many of the site’s commenters are interested in seeing this blog go in a very different direction than it has been in the past under your care.

You’re currently being protected by Lee having invited you here. How long that protection may last, only Jim knows. Whether you’re comfortable with being shielded by that, only you know. You may see it as defending the direction Lee ultimately took the site in before departing it, and you know what, I sympathize with that viewpoint. I honestly see where you’d be coming from on that, and I imagine others can too.

But at this point in time, you are in conflict with the majority of the site’s users. The only way you are going to change that is by revising your posting style and methods, by driving off the users, or by stepping down.

Revising your posting style need not involve abandoning your principles. It’s true that the Republicans desperately need people to point out where they’ve gone and are going wrong. But you’ve taken it too far and gotten too deep into that mindset, and are just point-blank criticizing everything, defending the other side side in a scattershot approach to criticism. You’re not being a reliable critic.

The second had already begun to happen, and could just as easily happen again. While you said you’d rather have a few true believer posters than numerous ones (and how ironic that is, considering some of the content of this post), how is turning this site into a near-dead echo chamber going to reach anyone or keep a legacy alive?

The third… well. You understand the situation. It’s been laid out for you here. The classy thing to do might be at least to offer your resignation to Jim and see if he accepts it. But again, that’s your choice.

Posted by Thrill on 04/28/09 at 09:30 PM from United States

I agree with everything Rann said. 

WVR’s positions aren’t really the problem; it’s that he considers this site to be his own personal “diary” and feels no obligation to clearly articluate his postions and defend his writings that arouses so much anger from the readership.  I was complaining about how WVR’s writing style expressed a certain contempt for the readers over a year ago and have watched how the feedback and criticism from others has become deafening since then.  Still, WVR refuses to change his ways.

WVR was a good commenter on Lee’s posts but has betrayed the spirit of energized debate and thoughtful, original writing that set RTFLC apart.  I have no idea why Lee kept WVR on as a contributor.  I also don’t understand why he banned Manwhore and said that he was going to pick new contributors and never actually got around to doing it.

Now, Jim, you did undo MW’s banning and appoint new authors.  You’ve already done a couple of additional things that were at odds with Lee’s policies.  All we’re suggesting is that a change be made that could only benefit RTFLC.  Nobody would accuse you of harming Lee’s legacy by removing WVR, because the opinion of most of the RTFLC readers is that WVR is destroying Lee’s legacy everytime he writes a copy and paste, two-sentence post and refuses to defend it and would be grateful if you ended his work.

Posted by josparke on 04/28/09 at 09:52 PM from United States

If Jim boots out the contributors Lee invited in, then he’s faced with the idea, right or wrong, that he’s diverged too far from it being the legacy of Lee’s site.

The argument can be made the Lee wasn’t coming around to check in on the crap that WVR was posting the last few months, and likely would not have been agreeable with it.

Posted by on 04/28/09 at 09:54 PM from United States

think he’s trying to walk the line of revitalizing it by undoing certain things Lee did without completely undoing the way Lee wanted things.

Well I can see your point, and only Lee could speak for Lee, but based on how Lee ran this thing, there was always a coherent message behind any topic. That doesn’t mean that there weren’t any posts just to swat the hornet’s nest from time to time. Sometimes you need to liven things up and Lee did that. That happened from time to time, but the justification for the underlying argument was consistent. He was consistent in his justification of his viewpoint.

What we have now is nothing more than spin in whatever direction is necessary to take a shot at the right, and then watch the reaction. One week the GOP are Democratic Socialists. Now they are idiots if they want to believe in free market ideas again. One week they have no principles. The next, they’re idiots for standing by them. Like you, Trill, and just about anyone who posted in this thread or has ever posted here, the issue is that it’s so clear there is nothing of substance here, but just the need for a reaction based on flip flop arguments. I don’t think or at least hope that’s what Lee had in mind.

But you are right, it was his blog and his choices were his choices. I just think WVR is abusing the judgment of his choices, but I could be wrong there too.

Posted by on 04/28/09 at 09:57 PM from United States

The argument can be made the Lee wasn’t coming around to check in on the crap that WVR was posting the last few months, and likely would not have been agreeable with it.

Jim can’t know that. We can’t either. We have suppositions, but suppositions don’t always help a whole helluva lot at times like these.

Honestly, I think at this point in time it might be best if we all just let it be. I think everyone has made their stance, whatever it might be, fairly clear. Continuing to press it home, at this point in time, is probably going to make things hard on people we’d rather not make life difficult for.

WVR will stay or go pretty much based on decisions made by himself or Jim, right now or at some point in the future, but right now is a bad time for us to keep going on about it.

That’s just my opinion and my advice. Let WVR’s status be for now, and we’ll see how things unfold. His current status is tied too closely to emotional issues for the people that make the decisions.

Posted by on 04/28/09 at 10:58 PM from United States

That’s just my opinion and my advice. Let WVR’s status be for now, and we’ll see how things unfold. His current status is tied too closely to emotional issues for the people that make the decisions.

I love you, Rann.

Posted by Manwhore on 04/28/09 at 11:12 PM from United States

If Jim boots out the contributors Lee invited in, then he’s faced with the idea, right or wrong, that he’s diverged too far from it being the legacy of Lee’s site. Whether that divergence being a good thing or not is probably a debate it’s still a little soon to have, but in the end, WVR is part of Lee’s tenure on this site. Jim can’t just toss him without the specter of if it being what Lee would have wanted hanging over his head.

If I may: Lee established some ground rules for blogging that he changed as he gathered more information. Lee, at times, said he didn’t care if he ran the blog into the ground over the torture issue, yet I have emails from him where he explicitly called this blog “his baby”.

We had rules for how much to blog daily, from the “first” not the “second” time I blogged here, which were to keep it to two posts a day. WVR disregarded those rules, amongst many others. There was the “spirit and rhythm” of the blog that Lee smacked me for upon banning.

Ask yourselves, if that was what got me the boot, and now we have someone that many (if not a majority) think has become counter productive to the zeitgeist of the blog, has that now violated those rules? Lee has also remarked that he disagreed with most of what WVR wrote, so other than fighting his war with me, Lee had absolutely no use for WVR, IMO. He was just too stubborn to let anyone tell him what to do with him.

In summary, Lee made up his mind as he went along, so in that spirit, had he returned to the blog he would have had to confront the issue of WVR. We were all “guest authors” at Lee’s blog, fully knowing once he wasn’t in China and could freely speak his mind, he would probably have returned us all to commenters, just like he did during “Exhibit A” which was his big return to Australia that sparked the whole guest author thing in the beginning.

It stands to reason that Lee has returned via JimK, and could do with the site whatever he liked, because after all, the site was Lee’s to begin with, and anyone who wrote here did so as a “guest”. Meaning it was temporary, and subject to Lee’s total discretion. As was the case with me.

I don’t think JimK should even take a second thought getting rid of WVR, if he put himself in Lee’s shoes. WVR has already proven himself to be a wart on JimK’s ass as much if not more than I was on Lee’s and you saw what happened to me.

JimK, I think you should give him the boot.

Posted by on 04/28/09 at 11:30 PM from United States

JimK: From someone who agrees with the majority assessment on WVRs skills as a blogger: Keep him.  I enjoy writing a good rant or two against idiotic writing.  The new blood here (and the posts on a few recent threads) have shown that you have jump started this blog again.  When WVR was one a two or three, the complaints were more warranted.  Now he is a smaller part of the equation, let him ride. 

Also I can’t stand Sullivan any more.  With WVR I can get a few bits of his crap via ssecond hand cut and pastes.

Posted by on 04/28/09 at 11:58 PM from United States

I rarely post, but I want to register my dissent in favor of keeping WVR.

It seems to me there are a few people here who have very strict litmus tests for what a “conservative” is, and very little tolerance for anyone who deviates from that.  They don’t just go after WVR for it; they’ve also gone after Hal and in the past even took on Lee himself.  In many ways it’s a microcosm of what’s happening to the Republican party itself right now.

Giving in to that element will do nothing but turn this site into yet another ultra-right-wing echo chamber.  Lee studiously tried to avoid that, and I believe that’s precisely why he chose some of the contributors he did, including WVR.

I have some of my own issues with WVR—too often his posts seem to merely echo what I’ve already seen elsewhere, such as Sullivan’s site, and too often he doesn’t defend the positions he takes in his posts.  That’s disappointing, but hardly ruins the site.

This repeated “you’re not a *real* conservative, you’re a *liberal*” and “stop ruining this site” crybaby garbage, on the other hand, is an entirely different matter.  In my opinion it is nothing more than lazy whining.  It contributes nothing of value and frankly does far more damage to the site than anything WVR posts.

If you don’t like or can’t handle WVRs opinions, then you have two constructive options: ignore them and let his posts wither on the vine due to lack of response (until he either gives up posting or creates better posts), or respond to those weak posts with better thought out and more convincing arguments. 

You don’t win an argument or convince people to join your side by whining about how terrible the other guy is, and you don’t do it by trying to suppress anyone who dares dissent.  If anything, that kind of behavior simply makes it look as though your side of the argument is so weak that it can’t hold up in the face of conflicting opinion. 

True conservative arguments are better than that, so for crying out loud, make them!  If you can’t, then perhaps you need to re-examine why you claim to hold them.  But if that’s true, it isn’t WVR’s fault.

Posted by Aaron - Free Will on 04/29/09 at 12:11 AM from United States

In many ways it’s a microcosm of what’s happening to the Republican party itself right now.

Funny you should bring this up, since...

If you don’t like or can’t handle WVRs opinions, then you have two constructive options: ignore them and let his posts wither on the vine due to lack of response (until he either gives up posting or creates better posts), or respond to those weak posts with better thought out and more convincing arguments.

Except that this isn’t about whether or not WVR should be able to express his views. It’s about whether or not he should be able to express them *HERE*. That *does* mirror the debate in the Republican Party.

Just as giving airtime to people like, say, Michelle Bachmann drives people away from the Republican Party, if WVR is dominating the site with drivel that squanders the time and patience of readers here, it damages the ability of everyone else on this site to actually reach people with their ideas.

Successful blogs exist to serve their readers, not their authors, and I do think there’s an argument to be made that it’s simply disrespectful to the readers. This isn’t open mic.

Posted by on 04/29/09 at 12:28 AM from United States

It seems to me there are a few people here who have very strict litmus tests for what a “conservative” is

If you’re including me in that, I’m pretty sure that there are at least a couple of people having a fairly good chuckle at your expense.

Honestly, I fail to see how your post is anything other than the “crybaby garbage” you claim to be decrying. Bonus points for irony on the “echo chamber” comments, considering that’s what many people tended to refer to this place as before the recent shift, with everyone but those interested in patting each other on the back for who could bitch about Republicans harder haven largely given up.

But anyway, just to point out a little of the irony (or perhaps just plain hypocrisy) you’ve got going there, lemme start with, from your message:

You don’t win an argument or convince people to join your side by whining about how terrible the other guy is,

And then take a few choice quotes from the rest of it:

Giving in to that element will do nothing but turn this site into yet another ultra-right-wing echo chamber.

crybaby garbage

lazy whining

contributes nothing of value and frankly does far more damage to the site than anything WVR posts.

perhaps you need to re-examine why you claim to hold them.

So. This not whining about how terrible the other guy is… when were you planning to start on that?

If anything, that kind of behavior simply makes it look as though your side of the argument is so weak that it can’t hold up in the face of conflicting opinion.

Posted by HARLEY on 04/29/09 at 04:51 AM from United States

its fricking 5:46 am , and im reading this, so dont expect this to be to organized
Im in favor of keeping WVR, why because as i said before i want him to improve, as a blogger, God knows i need help.

However WVR was LEE’s pick, in that i think we should honor his choice. Now this does not mean we cannot break it off in WVR ass, when he posts a dumb as rant, that is what we are here for.
I agree with Rann, Aaron and the others, let him stay, but if WVR chooses to leave, so be it.

And guys QUIT WHINING! fuck THAT is getting old to, break his postions down and bend him over and assfuck him, when he deserves it.
....
crap off to work i go.

Posted by on 04/29/09 at 06:13 AM from United States

This repeated “you’re not a *real* conservative, you’re a *liberal*” and “stop ruining this site” crybaby garbage, on the other hand, is an entirely different matter.  In my opinion it is nothing more than lazy whining.  It contributes nothing of value and frankly does far more damage to the site than anything WVR posts.

Whatever. I keep hearing this bullshit of challenging him too, and that gets old when there is no response to back up his posts. Perhaps you missed the multiple attempts for him to do so over the past few months. It gets even worse when the standards for his criticisms change on a daily basis, so their is no consistent reason for the criticisms of the GOP or the right in general. Basically it used to be called trolling here if I remember correctly. As has been posted a million fucking times now, no one, no one has a problem with bashing the GOP in itself. Bashing them for the sake of bashing them with inconsistent reasoning that sometimes is polar opposite to the reason for the last bashing post is a whole other story. That’s no someone who has any interest in debate, or thought provoking analysis.

Posted by InsipiD on 04/29/09 at 06:23 AM from United States

WVR is liberal, a retard, and pretty much any other description that has been applied to him is also true.  Up until the new contributors were added, he was ruining RTFLC.  If you check the logs, I would say that “Right-Wing Assholes” would’ve been his most common tag, and he used it several times a day.  It wasn’t possible for Hal to post enough to counteract the flood of drivel, and WVR never answered his criticism with any sort of meaningful defense, even (especially) when someone called him out on it.  It was awful.

That said, I think he should stay.  I wouldn’t be against the 2 post per day limit that has been suggested on another thread.  I’m still behind my “WVR hearts Obama” tag being added to the list, with another contributor being able to switch/add it to a bad post.  The only reason I think that he should stay is that his posts were the only thing that kept some people posting around here.  Even having people interested in how bad WVR’s posts were was still some interest.

Posted by Ed Kline on 04/29/09 at 06:35 AM from United States

Firing WVR would be outright direspectful to Lee. I am barely supportive of removing Drum from the blogroll just because Lee never did it. That said If JimK had passed and Drum said shit out about him like he did Lee, I think Lee wouldve finally removed him after that.
WVR is a terrible poster, and rarely if ever defends his posts. If JimK were too try to manage WVR with rules ( like how many times he can post a day etc...), and WVR showed himself to be unmanageable, then I would understand, but till then, if Lee didnt get rid of him, then why should anyone else do so withouta test of sorts first?!

As for the “where the fuck did Ree go” picture in the corner. It has turned into the sickest joke ever. JimK, you knew Lee 100 times better than I did, but I think he’d think it was funny. If you think I am off base in that assumption, then I defer to your better familiarity.
Regardless, if you want to remove it, for the sake of others, I totally get it.

Posted by on 04/29/09 at 07:03 AM from United States

Firing WVR would be outright direspectful to Lee.

Yeah, just like leaving him here isn’t.

Posted by on 04/29/09 at 07:19 AM from United States

My thoughts, expressed by others:

Thrill:

WVR’s positions aren’t really the problem; it’s that he considers this site to be his own personal “diary” and feels no obligation to clearly articluate his postions and defend his writings that arouses so much anger from the readership.

Rann:

Honestly, I think at this point in time it might be best if we all just let it be. I think everyone has made their stance, whatever it might be, fairly clear. Continuing to press it home, at this point in time, is probably going to make things hard on people we’d rather not make life difficult for.

IndepedendentMac:

This repeated “you’re not a *real* conservative, you’re a *liberal*” and “stop ruining this site” crybaby garbage, on the other hand, is an entirely different matter.  In my opinion it is nothing more than lazy whining.  It contributes nothing of value and frankly does far more damage to the site than anything WVR posts.

Harley:

And guys QUIT WHINING! fuck THAT is getting old to, break his postions down and bend him over and assfuck him, when he deserves it.

The criticisms are valid, there’s no denying that.  However, so are the rationales for keeping him aboard.  So, we have a stalemate.  As far as I’m concerned, this subject has been beaten to death and the uproar has become more of a distraction than the actual posts.  The site is healthier than ever, both with it’s infusion of new blood and the return of many of the most interesting and talented individuals.  How odd it is that it took Lee’s passing to reinvigorate the site, while at the same time presenting such a splendid metaphor as the phoenix rising, quite literally, from Lee’s ashes.  Jim has already demonstrated that we do not need to abandon Lee’s legacy or the structure that he created in order to return this site to it’s former glory.  It’s happening right now, *with* WVR in tow.  Without dismissing the validity of his critics, it’s time to let it go.  It’s time we stop acting like liberals begging Big Government (Jim) to fix things and start acting more like free marketeers by not buying the products that we don’t like.

Posted by on 04/29/09 at 07:28 AM from United States

It’s time we stop acting like liberals begging Big Government (Jim) to fix things and start acting more like free marketeers by not buying the products that we don’t like.

What a total crock of shit!

Most of us here have been asking WVR to do the right thing and resign, not asking Big Brother (Jim) to do it for him.

I would support Jim if he did decided to remove him.

I would be just as happy If WVR suddenly started defending his drivel as I would if he resigned.

</not holding breath>

Posted by Manwhore on 04/29/09 at 07:45 AM from United States

Ummm, guys. I blogged for Lee twice, like some others here. The position was only meant to betemporary.

Let me re-iterate that. The position was only meant to be temporary. The time Lee got back from Australia, he de-listed all authors to commenter status.

Lee might very well have picked WVR, but he never had any intention of all of us writing for all time. I think JimK would be more than justified to have WVR back to commenter status, if for no other reason than WVR blogging here was a temporary invitation.

Jim can do what he wishes, but all the people bleeding for WVR under the premise that we were all cherry picked authors who were to write for the blog until the end of time, are misguided in that opinion. The only person who had that status was JimK.

All of the rest of us were temporary, and there’s no known justification to keeping any guest blogger forever and ever because that’s the way Lee would have it. We were temporary, not permanent fixtures here as authors.

Oh, and Drumwaster was also a “hand picked” author, as was I, as was Brian at Tomfoolery, et cetera.

Things change, and did so many times by Lee. WVR is just a dude who was supposed to be temporary, just like anyone else.

Posted by on 04/29/09 at 08:05 AM from United States

What a total crock of shit!

TOTAL crock of shit?  Hmmmm.......you sure you want to champion that position?  There are people suggesting it in this very thread, and I wouldn’t have to work very hard to find a half dozen entries in the last few days, I’m sure.

The point is, there is nothing to be gained by bitching.  People have been bitching for the last year and NOTHING has changed.  People have been writing things like “WVR, you are ruining the blog and causing me sleepless nights, please resign” for a year and NOTHING HAS CHANGED.  Jim has made it clear that he has no intention of pissing on Lee’s legacy, so you are doing nothing but adding to the white noise.  What Jim *did* do is offer the audience a wider variety of products.  You should have no problem finding some very active debates on this blog.  With so many other options available now, your (collective) obsession with WVR is getting kinda creepy.

I previously made it clear that the issue isn’t whether or not you are right or wrong in your criticisms, but rather that you are wasting your breath.  The issue is closed, per Jim, unless I am misinterpreting his response to Rann:

Rann:

Jim can’t just toss him without the specter of if it being what Lee would have wanted hanging over his head.

Jim:

Rann you have it nailed.

Posted by on 04/29/09 at 08:12 AM from United States

The position was only meant to betemporary.
Let me re-iterate that. The position was only meant to be temporary.

Hey, since I can’t speak for Lee, I don’t want to be the one to disagree with what you think he said.  I’ll let him do that.

Just be sure to note the spot where he says:

So I’d like to offer you a permanent spot as bloggers on this site.

Posted by on 04/29/09 at 08:26 AM from United States

From that same link, I present this quote from Lee:

You know what’s interesting?  I disagree with a great deal of what WVR writes.  In terms of the right side of the political spectrum he’s probably in its leftmost quadrant.  He, however, is never viewed as a “voice of dissent.” He’s accused of “ruining the blog.”

So even a year ago, people were calling for WVRs head and Lee was sticking with him.

Why can’t that be enough for you people, at least to end the debate, or at least to stop trying to speak for Lee?  I think his support for WVR was very clear.  Therefore, if your goal is to “not have the blog ruined”, then stop ruining it with your legless graffiti.

Don’t like WVR?  Don’t read his posts.

This topic can’t be any more fucking closed, yes?

Posted by Thrill on 04/29/09 at 08:36 AM from United States

I’m only really amazed that so many people have come out to defend WVR without him needing to defend himself.  If there is one situation that really sums up the entire problem, it’s this one.

As I see it, this is WVR’s whole attitude on every single post:

“Why should I have to answer to the stupid peasants who are privileged to read what I write?  Let them sort it out--I’m untouchable.”

There isn’t one topic where this doesn’t apply.  We’re arguing whether or not he should be removed as a contributor and he can’t even be troubled to weigh in on it since so many are willing to fight for him.  Unbelievable.

If he is kept, it’s going to validate once and for all that his manner of blogging is acceptable for RTFLC.  Comments will dry up on all of his posts because nobody is going to see the point of commenting and that isn’t a good thing for this blog.  WVR gets to use RTFLC as his platform and--alone among the RTFLC authors--will never be expected to defend anything.

To me, it’s a matter of principle: Why should anyone here debate anything?  Why answer any question that’s put to any contributor or even commenter?  What makes WVR’s writing so exemplary that he must never be challenged?  Understand, if he is not expected to ever respond to any argument or counterpoint, he is unchallengeable. Just like how Sullivan turned off comments at his site, WVR would do the same here if he could.

Honestly, anytime that anyone says anything inflammatory and gets challenged on it, I think they should just be allowed to invoke “WVR’s Law” and be allowed to escape the conversation without further consequence. 

That’s basically what you guys are arguing for: giving the keys to the trolls.

Posted by Thrill on 04/29/09 at 08:37 AM from United States

Kevin, quit triple posting.

Posted by Thrill on 04/29/09 at 08:37 AM from United States

I mean it.

Posted by on 04/29/09 at 08:48 AM from United States

That’s basically what you guys are arguing for: giving the keys to the trolls.

Not true, Thrill.  I even used your own words to demonstrate that those of us carrying the “Keep WVR!” flag are fully aware of the criticism and it’s validity.  I’m trying to be keep my own personal feelings out of it and be judicial with my support of WVR based on a few undeniable facts:

1) WVR was offered a permanent position on this blog by Lee.
2) Even as the calls for his removal grew, Lee wanted to stick with WVR.
3) The blog is thriving in spite of WVRs posts.

To me, the only logical conclusion is that those who are calling for his resignation are fighting a losing, nay lost, cause.  To those of us that realize this and have accepted WVRs posts (and his lack of defense of those posts), the calls of resignation (or, worse, the calls for Jim to drop the axe) have become a greater distraction and nuissance than the posts that they are attempting to eliminate.

You know that I respect you quite a bit, as I do Manwhore and most (if not all) of the others who are calling for WVRs head or resignation.  If you can demonstrate to me that the logic above is fallicious in any way, please do.  However, if not, I’m hoping that we can finally put this debate to bed and focus on the great discussions that are being second-fiddled to these toothless WVR debates.

Posted by on 04/29/09 at 08:50 AM from United States

I mean it.

Doubles only.  Got it.  ;)

Posted by on 04/29/09 at 08:57 AM from United Kingdom

In my humble…..

The times when this (and any other blog) is really rocking, is when there are a couple of well thought out, controversial posts a day. As long as it’s well thought out, and presents an opinion, then it doesn’t matter if it’s ultra conservative, liberal, religious or plain whacko. What makes or breaks the blog is the commenting.

No one comes here to see what WVR thinks of latest developments – or anyone else for that matter. They come here to discuss those developments with a variety of (mainly right leaning) individuals.

The problem with WVR’s posts is not that he’s a pinko liberal who hates the republicans. It’s that his posts don’t provoke debate. A good post will pose a question, or posit a point of view which challenges you to agree or disagree. Look back over the recent posts, and you’ll see that the successful ones mostly end in a question. Lee’s posts nearly always did.

Simply taking someone else’s opinion, quoting it, and saying “I agree with what this guy says” is pretty pointless. It is adding nothing to the debate at all.

Personally, I like the fact that WVR is anti GOP at the moment. I think an articulate, well read, seasoned debater with a left leaning perspective would be an awesome addition to this blog, and really stir the debate up (remember up4debate?) and get peoples juices flowing.

Maybe if WVR only posted one thing a day. And made sure that that thing was the one thing in that day that he REALLY had a strong, well reasoned opinion on, and got stuck in with the debate? Kind of a half way solution?

Posted by on 04/29/09 at 08:59 AM from United Kingdom

If he is kept, it’s going to validate once and for all that his manner of blogging is acceptable for RTFLC.  Comments will dry up on all of his posts because nobody is going to see the point of commenting and that isn’t a good thing for this blog.

Meh – I dunno. As long as the rest play the game, I don’t think so. Since Lee handed the keys over, RTFTLC stopped having a singular voice. It’s kind of like reading columns in a newspaper. I like (for example) Hals posts, so those are the ones I read first. WVR, notsomuch, so I go to them last.

Call it the free(blog)market….

Posted by on 04/29/09 at 09:00 AM from United Kingdom

And I promise not to triple post.

Damn

Posted by Thrill on 04/29/09 at 09:04 AM from United States

If you can demonstrate to me that the logic above is fallicious in any way, please do.

I’m invoking WVR’s Law.  Don’t have to answer.  Nyeah, nyeah, nyeah.

Posted by on 04/29/09 at 09:06 AM from United States

Call it the free(blog)market….

That was my intention with that analogy above.  Buy the products that you like—leave the ones you don’t on the shelf.

As for comments drying up, there seems to be no shortage of comments on his more controversial posts.  Even when WVR doesn’t defend his posts (which is typical), those who comment on the posts often provide useful rebuttals that I find interesting.  I’m not sure how much WVR standing there with his sword drawn would improve upon those rebuttals.

Posted by on 04/29/09 at 09:07 AM from United States

I’m invoking WVR’s Law.  Don’t have to answer.  Nyeah, nyeah, nyeah.

BwAhahAhaahAHahaahHahAAhahaha!!  :)

Posted by on 04/29/09 at 10:23 AM from United States

Rann:  I was most definitely *not* talking about you, though I can certainly understand why it might have seemed that way.  You have my sincere apology; I should have been more clear.

As a matter of fact, I was deliberately avoiding calling anyone out by name (and again, if I had, it wouldn’t have been you).  That would have simply made it a personal pissing match between me and whoever, and as I hoped would be clear from my earlier comments, I don’t think that would be constructive.

Now that I’ve had more sleep, let’s try a reset:

First, I believe that for many (though not all) of the people complaining, the problem isn’t the quality of WVRs posts in terms of originality, research, or whether he bothers to defend his posts.  Instead, the problem is that many of his posts run afoul of what those individuals think a “conservative” should believe.

In a number of cases, those individuals have chosen to respond primarily via the use of ad-hominem attacks on WVR and calls for his expulsion.  At times, those responses have literally been the same text posted as a comment to each of his various threads, completely bypassing the chance to deal with the substance of what he wrote.

I don’t find anything of redeeming value in that behavior, thus my harsh opinion of it.  If you feel it’s hypocritical of me to use terms like “lazy whining” and “crybaby garbage” for that, so be it, but I stand by my assessment. 

Now, on to points others have raised…

Aaron, you’re right that this isn’t open mic, but the question is what is better for this site.  I personally think that this site is better off when there are a variety of different perspectives represented at the top level.  As I’ve pointed out, WVR does have his issues, but I think his presence adds value.  Sometimes that value is simply in airing a weak argument so that the holes in it can be exposed for the world to see, but that’s part of the point of a discussion site.

WVR is no Bachmann, but to follow that analogy, the Republican party would be far better off if fellow Republicans called her out publicly on her delusional bullshit.  WVR is probably better (though imperfectly) compared to Arlen Specter; conservative in many important ways, but not someone who marches in lockstep with every conservative position.  In my opinion, the Republican party is weakened and marginalized by driving out more moderate voices like Specter, and RTFLC would be weakened by driving out more moderate voices such as WVR’s.

In the same vein, I think one of the best things to happen to this site has been the addition of more top-level posters.  It’s added new perspectives and new discussions, and I think that’s sufficient to solve any perceived echo chamber problem that may have existed before.  There’s no need to also purge WVR from the ranks.  My concern is that if you give in to one set of ideologues on that front, you may find that the next head they call for is Hal, or perhaps someone else they disagree with, and the whole thing starts over again.  Better to draw the line now.

If the concern is that WVR (or anyone else) “dominates” the site by creating far more top-level posts than anyone else, that seems to me to be easily solved.  Choose a reasonable number of top-level posts allowed per day, and apply the limit to everyone equally.  That doesn’t single him out for his views, and may well improve quality across the board.  After all, if you only have two or three posts a day, aren’t you more likely to make sure they’re both really important to you *and* well written? Even if a particular poster turns completely into a one-trick pony (writing twice a day only on the subject of torture, for instance), such a limit should ensure that there is enough content from others to balance things out.

If such a limit is implemented and a poster repeatedly violates it, then I’m all for dumping them regardless of their views.  Just apply the rule equally to all.

To the point of WVR not defending himself in the comments, I ask this: who are you trying to convince?  If it’s WVR, there may be little point.  Wiser, I think, to try to win over the other readers who may not yet be set in their opinions, and for that you need cogent arguments.  If WVR can’t or won’t defend his side, then that’s his loss, and your side of the argument is more likely to win out.  If anything, the people most concerned about WVR not participating in the argument should be those who agree with him.

On the flip side, if comments directed at him seem to be mostly personal attacks, there’s no point in him responding. Further, those comments are most likely going to turn off other readers, hence my assertion that such behavior does more damage to the site than WVRs posts.

Posted by on 04/29/09 at 10:41 AM from United States

I don’t find WVR to be “moderate” at all.  Most of his posts appear to be coming from a watered down version of The Daily Kos.

I’m quite sure that The Daily Kos would boot someone as a contributor if they were channeling Rush Limbaugh…

Posted by Thrill on 04/29/09 at 10:58 AM from United States

You don’t understand.  The critics HAVE TRIED to engage him on issues.  They still do from time to time and it doesn’t work.  The calls to drop WVR are coming out of frustration of his poorly-conceived posts and refusal to respond to challenges; they are not based on an inability on the critics’ part to constructively disagree.  The protests to WVR are because of his concept of what his role is as a RTFLC blogger, not his political positions.

WVR philosophically believes that RTFLC is his soapbox and that he is not required to interact with the commenters at all. 

See:

I think some people here seem to be confusing a blog with a forum. A blog is essentially a diary. I post what I think is interesting or relevant (including what I think is hurting conservatism) and let the chips fall where they may in the comments. You’re free to agree or disagree there.

He is using RTFLC to promote Obama’s anti-capitalist, anti-freedom agenda and calling it “conservative”.  It isn’t.  He won’t explain himself either.  Try.  Ask him to back up his arguments.  See what happens.  JimK, the new owner of the site, has called him out on this repeatedly already. 

I just think it’s a bad sign that he’s being given the freedom to never have to answer for anything that he posts.  Lee always expected dissenting commenters to answer his challenges (often under threat of banning) and I had to face the hammer more than once.  That it’s going to be acceptable for contributors to ignore opposing arguments and just move on to post after post regurgitating left-wing talking points with no debate whatsoever is a bad omen of things to come.

If you guys who are defending him (when he won’t even defend himself) want to keep him around, even as a “rodeo clown”, you’re letting RTFLC down because you’re saying it’s okay to lower the bar for the tough forum that this has always been.  Those of you who have favored keeping him today have no right to complain about him in the future.  If you think he was bad before, just wait and see what happens now that he knows he’s bulletproof.

For my part, I’ll respectfully drop out of the debate.  If you guys can’t see that WVR is bad for RTFLC because of his weak, self-centered style of blogging--not his ideological viewpoints; left wing commenters have attacked him too--then there is nothing more I can tell you.

Posted by on 04/29/09 at 11:13 AM from United States

If you guys who are defending him (when he won’t even defend himself) want to keep him around, even as a “rodeo clown”, you’re letting RTFLC down because you’re saying it’s okay to lower the bar for the tough forum that this has always been.

Again, I respectfully disagree.  My desire to keep him around is entirely based on my desire to honor Lee’s wishes.  If I haven’t presented a watertight argument that this is the case, please let me know.

Posted by Ed Kline on 04/29/09 at 11:38 AM from United States

Again, I respectfully disagree.  My desire to keep him around is entirely based on my desire to honor Lee’s wishes.  If I haven’t presented a watertight argument that this is the case, please let me know.

Sweet fucking Christ KevinMKR stop arguing like you’re culturally Japanese. Youre right, they’re wrong, fuck em.

Posted by Aaron - Free Will on 04/29/09 at 12:07 PM from United States

Again, I respectfully disagree.  My desire to keep him around is entirely based on my desire to honor Lee’s wishes.  If I haven’t presented a watertight argument that this is the case, please let me know.

Kevin, are you essentially arguing that we should keep Lee’s room precisely the way he left it, forever, even if the sandwich he left on the desk is getting moldy and attracting pests?

Posted by on 04/29/09 at 12:49 PM from United States

I have avoided speaking for Lee, offering his own words instead.  I also refuse to speak for Jim.  Considering that he is the one “keeping Lee’s room”, he is the one you should be addressing that question to.  However, if you want my opinion, Lee had plenty of opportunity to throw the sandwich away himself, long after it “got moldy and started attracting pests”, and he opted not to.  That’s good enough for me.

Posted by Aaron - Free Will on 04/29/09 at 01:23 PM from United States

That’s good enough for me.

All I’m saying is that it’s dangerous to assume that Lee wanted WVR to continue to be an author here regardless of what WVR might do with that power. Lee gave WVR a “permanant” author position that he could strip away arbitrarily at any time, not a deed to the site.

I think (and it’s my opinion, not speaking for Lee) that Lee wanted this site to continue on as a voice for conservative debate more than he wanted any individual person to write here. Jim knows this full well, I think, but Lee had his limits, too.

It’s not that I don’t see the merits of your argument, Lee *did* see WVR wearing the armor of a douchelord on numerous occasions and let it go. I don’t think that’s evidence he meant for it to go on forever, though.

One thing we do both agree on, though, is that it’s ultimately Jim’s call.

Posted by on 04/29/09 at 01:54 PM from United States

I think (and it’s my opinion, not speaking for Lee) that Lee wanted this site to continue on as a voice for conservative debate

Well, again, I will avoid speculation and ask you to read the quote that I put up above at 10:26am.  Not only did Lee suggest that he wanted a spectrum of dissenting opinions, he suggested that WVR was the one that he wanted providing them.

My whole mission in arguing so passionately about this is to avoid Jim having to deal with it.  I figured people would drop it after I made it clear that Lee supported WVR even during the backlash.  I was mistaken.

That said, Jim runs the shop now, and I support his decisions.  He already made the site better by adding you new authors.  Whether he relieves WVR of his blogging position, or whether he tells you guys to shut the hell up (or me, for that matter), I think that the site is in good hands.

In the meantime, however, I hope that you guys will shut the hell up.  ;)

Posted by on 04/29/09 at 02:08 PM from United States

Youre right, they’re wrong, fuck em.

Ah, the same attitude as WVR I see. This could be a conversation inside his head between both of his brain cells.

Posted by Aaron - Free Will on 04/29/09 at 02:15 PM from United States

Well, Kevin, I think that’s the complaint a lot of people are raising. He isn’t dissenting, he’s seagulling. (That is, he flies in, craps all over everything, and leaves.) It’s hard to imagine that he evens reads the rest of the site to know what opinions he might be dissenting against.

I’m not one of these “you’re ruining the site, please resign” people, but I certainly have a lot of sympathy for their position at this point. WVR is certainly the reason I quit reading the site entirely about a year ago. (It’s only Lee’s passing that made me come back, and I’m glad I did.)

Posted by Ed Kline on 04/29/09 at 02:18 PM from United States

Ah, the same attitude as WVR I see. This could be a conversation inside his head between both of his brain cells.

Not at all the same attitude. I defend what I say...with vigor.

In the meantime, however, I hope that you guys will shut the hell up.  ;)

ahhh much better!

Posted by Manwhore on 04/29/09 at 02:19 PM from United States

This topic can’t be any more fucking closed, yes?

Not really legless graffiti since I was actually banned. Nothing really was “permanent” about it was it? It was temporary and subject to approval. temporary.

You know what’s interesting?  I disagree with a great deal of what WVR writes.  In terms of the right side of the political spectrum he’s probably in its leftmost quadrant.  He, however, is never viewed as a “voice of dissent.” He’s accused of “ruining the blog.”

Take shit out of context much? You can pat yourself on the back as much as you want, but the entire post is a contradication, as is:

Again, I respectfully disagree.  My desire to keep him around is entirely based on my desire to honor Lee’s wishes.

If you were really going to be honest about it. I’ll leave it at that, I don’t feel like slinging mud at you. You plugged for it all on your own and spoke for no one but yourself, right?

Or are you really just being disingenuous? You don’t need to bother to reply to this either, I’m pulling a WVR.

Posted by on 04/29/09 at 02:21 PM from United States

As Long as WVR keeps shitting around here expect other to do likewise.

You can complain about who’s shit smells worse all you want but as long as he’s throwing shit around people will throw it back.

Posted by on 04/29/09 at 03:37 PM from United States

I’m not one of these “you’re ruining the site, please resign” people, but I certainly have a lot of sympathy for their position at this point. WVR is certainly the reason I quit reading the site entirely about a year ago. (It’s only Lee’s passing that made me come back, and I’m glad I did.)

As am I.  You are a good writer and I would hope that you are part of the “alternatives” that I keep alluding to when I tell people to avoid WVR if they cannot stomach his posts.

Take shit out of context much?

Actually, no.  And I didn’t here, either.  Manwhore, I love ya, but your entire point has already been defeated.  My only regret is that I had to link to that particular thread to do it.  I meant no insult to you.  I also feel no need to discuss the reasoning behind your dismissal.  But the fact is, the emails that he sent to each of you indicated that you were permanent authors.  Your dismissal was based on issues of a completely different nature than the ones that are being presented in regards to WVR.  WVR hasn’t changed his methods the entire time that he has posted, so you’ll have to provide some pretty substantial evidence to suggest that Lee would have any inclination to remove WVR when he had protected his authorship this entire time.

You plugged for it all on your own and spoke for no one but yourself, right?

I’m the only one I’m speaking for.  I’ve made my position transparent enough to make that obvious.  I couldn’t be more “ingenuous” with my position, as opposed to:

As Long as WVR keeps shitting around here expect other to do likewise.

You can complain about who’s shit smells worse all you want but as long as he’s throwing shit around people will throw it back.

The day I see WVR throw a flame at one of his naysayers, the day I see him respond in a nasty manner to all of the “shit” that you guys keep tossing his way, the day that I read a comment where he belittles your intellect and insults you is the day that your little wet dream becomes reality.  Until then, the shit is only flying one way, my friend.  Don’t be mistaken for a moment of that simple fact.

On that note, I’ve not once lobbied for anybody to “be nice” to WVR.  I’ve not once lobbied for anybody to ignore his controversial comments or to treat them with kids gloves.  I’ve not once suggested that the problems that people have with WVR aren’t grounded in some reality, be it his lack of defense, his left-leaning “conservatism”, or his prolific posting of cut and paste articles.  All I’m asking is if anybody thinks, personally, or with the evidence that I’ve provided, that Lee would have any inclination to entertain your calls for WVRs removal if he were still with us.  There’s a whole lotta evidence to suggest that the answer is no, and nothing but speculation to suggest otherwise.  That doesn’t take a huge stretch of logic or faith.

And again, all it does it cause Jim a whole lot of pressure to deliberate the “will of the people” versus what he estimates Lee would want.  My response is, why put him in that situation?  Avoid WVRs posts if you don’t like them.  Or go in and tear them apart with thoughtful rebuttal.  Or, continue to piss yourself with fuuuuurrrrious anger every time you see his name.  It’s all the same to me.  However, saying how much you love this blog while crapping all over it is kinda like saying how much you love your wife as you’re smacking her around.  It’s kinda hard to take you seriously.

Posted by on 04/29/09 at 03:49 PM from United States

However, saying how much you love this blog while crapping all over it is kinda like saying how much you love your wife as you’re smacking her around.

This...this made me laugh out loud.

Hee!

Posted by on 04/29/09 at 03:50 PM from United States

It’s all the same to me.

Yeah, whatever.

STFU already.

Posted by Aaron - Free Will on 04/29/09 at 04:01 PM from United States

However, saying how much you love this blog while crapping all over it is kinda like saying how much you love your wife as you’re smacking her around.

Hey, my girlfriend *LIKES* being smacked around.

Posted by on 04/29/09 at 04:16 PM from United States

STFU already.

If only you would take your own advice, I wouldn’t need to keep making you look ridiculous.  Trust me, if you guys would shut your whiny pieholes until Jim makes a decision (*if* he even intends to), my job would be done here.  Unlike you, I *do* care about this blog and Lee’s legacy.

You wanna shut me up?  Take the lead.  I’ll gladly follow.

Posted by on 04/29/09 at 04:18 PM from United States

Hey, my girlfriend *LIKES* being smacked around.

Free Will and S&M;, hand in hand.  So contradictory that it kinda works!  :)

Posted by on 04/29/09 at 06:07 PM from United States

All I have to add to the Great WVR Debate of 2009 is that it is now a lot more boring than the worst of his posts.

Posted by on 04/29/09 at 10:01 PM from United States

You wanna shut me up?  Take the lead.  I’ll gladly follow.

<rolls eyes>

You really must like to read your own sanctimonious drivel.

Unlike you, I *do* care about this blog and Lee’s legacy.

And yet you blather on.

Posted by on 05/06/09 at 02:17 PM from United States

Looks like ol’ Arlen ain’t feelin’ the love from his new homies.

What? You mean the Democrats didn’t keep their promises to you? You mean they’re not grateful for your help? You mean they expect you to shut up and toe the line just for the privilege of being part of their party? That you won’t get any respect or accommodation unless you do exactly as they say? Why, Arlen, say it ain’t so! Why, it’s almost like the Democrats act just like WVR says the Republicans act!

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