May 2, 2007 [LINK / comment]

Meltdown in the blogosphere

As a "relatively obscure blogger" (according to "Elle"), I find all this sudden (negative) attention from some of the pro-Sayre bloggers very strange. At the very least, this episode served to reveal the mean streak that underlies much of the present-day "conservative movement" behind the Scott Sayre candidacy. It was almost as if I had contrived the whole affair precisely to expose their "true colors."

Several of those blogs made the perplexing suggestion that I might be associated with Waldo Jaquith in some way, or perhaps even a closet Democrat. These included "Elle", the notorious "General Grievous' Dog", and Carl Kilo, notwithstanding the fact that I came to Carl's defense in a dustup with the "Richmond Democrat" blogger in March (scroll down to third item). Such a bizarre speculation about partisan intrigues calls attention to the troubling paranoia that has afflicted the right wing in America at various times over the course of history, most notably the Red Scare of the McCarthy Era. For more on that theme, see the second item on my October 30 blog post, referencing Professor Richard Hofstadter about the "paranoid style" of "pseudo-conservatives." It is extremely relevant to the current situation.

So why did Waldo draw attention to my blog post? Well, as a Democrat, he is probably quite eager to seize upon divisions in the opposing party. That's a no-brainer. I followed his blog off and on for a couple years, but I don't think I ever linked to it until the big blogosphere flap over "GGD" in early January. I joined Chad Dotson, Shaun Kenney, and other respected conservative bloggers who are worried about the trend toward trashy discourse in the the Old Dominion. My stance on this issue apparently upset some of my erstwhile colleagues. In February, however, I took issue with the way Waldo occasionally violated his own high standards, using foul language, etc. I think this excerpt is very pertinent to the current flap:

Bloggers on all sides of the political spectrum need to get a grip, put an end to all these nasty innuendos and rumors, and present their opinions in a frank and honest manner, without hiding behind some pseudonym.

Finally, Ward Smythe ought to get an award for snarkiest blog post title of the year: "How do we know he's really 'Andrew Clem?'" (Wow, what a philosophical conundrum!) I fail to understand, however, why he and all those others got so worked up about my simple, un-snarky observation regarding bloggers with an "anonymous or dubious" identity. Please, folks, lighten up!

Hanger-Sayre update

In the Charlottesville Daily Progress, Bob Gibson examines the Hanger-Sayre contest, especially the fund-raising aspect. The story mentions that Hanger was endorsed by Albemarle Commonwealth's Attorney Jim Camblos, and that Sayre "received $2,650 in contributions from former House of Delegates Speaker S. Vance Wilkins Jr." (For background on him, see george.loper.org.)

Candidate rankings

I have updated my rankings of 2008 GOP presidential candidates, putting Fred Thompson at the top, even though he has not formally declared. Former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore recently announced his candidacy, but he is not considered a serious contender by many people. I saw a C-SPAN cablecast of his speech at a GOP gathering recently, and while he made some very good points on some issues, on others he fell flat. Early on, I was enthusiastic about his "no car tax" proposal, but as the state government faced a revenue shortfall in his final year in office, I thought he should have shown more flexibility in implementing those tax cuts. To me, his stubbornness was disappointing.