Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Link That Shook the Conservative World

There is a crisis in conservative America. A vicious dispute has divided the house of the GOP, at the very moment it requires unity. The combatants are the Deputy Managing Editor of the nation’s premiere conservative magazine and a beloved nationally syndicated shock jock. They’ve been at each other’s throats for two days now, trading accusations, innuendo, and fiery, irresponsible rhetoric. As with nuclear war, and a choice between Ron Paul and Rick Santorum, there can be no winners, only losers in this war. The fate of the campaign against Barrack Obama hangs in the balance, yet successful resolution of this dispute is nowhere in sight.

What brought us to these dire circumstances? Who is responsible for this impending tragedy? Ultimately I suppose, Satan himself. But as with all things in the corporeal plain, old scratch needs a handmaiden. In this case, that role was fulfilled by Chad the Elder.

In short, the argument is between National Review’s Kevin Williamson and radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt, over Williamson’s recent article, “Repo Men”. Williamson makes certain claims about Wall Street’s political rent seeking and it’s association with GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Hewitt had Williamson on his show yesterday. As an ardent supporter of Romney, Hewitt took extreme umbrage at the insinuation, accusing Williamson of being a “Bildebergerish” conspiracy kook. Williamson took extreme umbrage to this charge and the war has been raging ever since, with all the related collateral damage.

And it all may never have happened if Chad didn’t link to Williamson’s article. Evidence, from the transcript of the original Hewitt-Williamson interview:

Hewitt: My pals at, Chad and gang who are virulently anti-Romney, have latched on to a new piece over at National Review by the deputy managing editor there, Kevin Williamson, to add to their feverish anti-Romney vapors. And so I thought I’d go talk to Kevin himself. Hey, Kevin, Happy New Year to you.

Hewitt: I’m just a Californian, and I’m out here being a traditional small government conservative who’s pro-life. And when I read what Chad quoted you saying ….

Hewitt: But your argument, if I can distill it down, and as it has been interpreted by Chad at and others, is that we should be suspicious of Romney because Wall Street supports him.

According to Hewitt himself, he was minding his own business way out in California, blissfully ignorant of the screeds from back East. And then he read Chad’s post linking to Williamson’s article, and all hell breaks loose.

You’ll never find a bigger supporter of civil liberties than me. But I think you’ll agree, some speech must have limits. If shouting fire in a crowded theater is illegal, then throwing gasoline on the smoldering embers of Hewitt’s Romney rage should be as well. For the good of the country, the government should indefinitely detain Chad the Elder.