The RINO vs. TruCon battle . . .

. . . for the soul of the GOP hasn’t exactly come to an end, but I couldn’t help noticing Kurt Schlichter’s post over at Townhall today (thanks to rdbrewer’s sidebar link over at Ace of Spades). It’s a surprisingly balanced piece if you only go by the headline, which reads simply, “The GOP Needs to Stop Attacking Conservatives.” It could have been at the top of any right-of-center blog rant written in the past 12 years.

But, as you get further into Schlichter’s post, you’ll find a refreshing splash of candor that doesn’t frequently appear in the writings of those who occupy a place as firmly to the right on the political spectrum as he does. And make no mistake about it; Schlichter has TruCon bona fides in spades. A perusal of his Twitter account activity should remove any doubt on that score.

True to form, he doesn’t spare the RINO contingent any criticism — something I’ve come to expect from Schlichter over the past few years. And, if any of his criticisms have been unfair (I’m at a loss to remember any myself), I doubt any have been wildly so. Based on what I’ve observed, the guy fits somewhere between the RINO and self-professed TruCon camps. He’s all about taking the fight to the enemy when the opportunity presents itself, and he’s not exactly risk-averse about it. At the same time, he’s fairly measured where others can be more reactionary.

This internal argument over ideas will lead to a stronger Republican Party. But attacking our own base will lead to a stronger Democrat Party.

We should be challenging people like John McCain, whose track record of never winning and unearned media adoration have made him the GOP’s Danica Patrick – mercifully without the nipple-flashing selfies.

In our increasingly wussified culture, we shy away from rousing fistfights. I say let’s go a few rounds. It’ll do us all some good. But we need to remember that McCain, for better or worse, exemplifies a substantial chunk of the GOP – and we Republicans all need to figure out a way to get along. A third party means one party rule, and you know which party that would be. That’s why every time a disgusted conservative quits the GOP, Hillary smiles.

Most importantly, we need to look at ourselves critically. As much fun as it is mocking the RINOs and the squishes – and it is – what is most important for conservatives is to listen to critiques of our own tactics and strategies. It isn’t fun, but we need to do it.

For example, as much as we adore Ted Cruz, there are serious people on our side who question his tactics and wonder about his strategy. If you simply disregard someone of the stature of Thomas Sowell because you don’t want to hear his conclusions, then you are being foolish. If Ted Cruz has failed to carefully read and think over Sowell’s recent critique, he’s wrong.

Kurt Schlichter is what I’d call a “GustoCon“.

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So, ya wanna fight . . .

. . . fight,  fight like hell, huh? That’s the answer to all of conservatism’s challenges? That’s what the Democrats do, and that’s why they always win, right? We have to emulate that in order to stand a chance, do we?

Well, as I said in one of my more recent posts, there’s good fights and then there’s stupid fights. And far too often, conservatives seem content to engage in the really stupid ones. You know, the ones where you wind up defending the use of the words “subhuman mongrel” to describe a sitting president who happens to be black, or where you taunt the senate minority leader by comparing him to a turtle. Or where you cheer on a congressman for threatening to break a reporter in half and throw him off a balcony.

Those are the fights we should be engaging, are they? That’s why the left has been cleaning the right’s clock ever since Saul Alinsky penned Rules for Radicals? Well, let me demonstrate why that’s utterly stupid. All you have to do is take a look at what’s going on down in Texas‘s gubernatorial race right now.

“If you want to come into my house, the first thing you have to do is to see me — see me as a person, see me as a human being, see me as a fellow Texan,” he said. “See the Hispanic community as anything, anything other than a problem to be dealt with or worse yet, to be dismissed.”

——

It turns out that Mr. Hernandez’s behavior was even worse than reported. A source tells me that in addition to the screeds above, he launched a personal attack on Abbott’s family. Cecilia Abbott, the attorney general’s wife of 31 years, is Hispanic. A source tells me that Hernandez callously dismissed her as a “prop.”

Is this how Democrat activists are going to behave? Are personal attacks on family members like this acceptable to Wendy Davis?

Mr. Hernandez, a leader of what’s apparently called Tejano Democrats, is doing just what so many conservatives are urging Republican candidates and the leadership to do — get in their faces, stir things up, and fight-fight-fight!!!

Well, he looks like an idiot, don’t you think? And he’s going to look like even more of an idiot when Wendy Davis loses and he’s failed to rally Tejano Democrats to victory. Does anyone think that doing this sort of thing, only cranking it up to eleventy, is going to be the key to winning the Texas governorship? Does anyone honestly believe that Hernandez is actually helping Wendy Davis’s cause with this?

And yet, that’s exactly what the Tex Cobb wing of the conservative movement is urging the GOP leadership and candidates to do. Because, fight!

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The 60th Anniversary of the Fender Stratocaster . . .

. . . marks the celebration of a seminal moment in musical history. It’s been the instrument of choice for guitar gods down through rock n’ roll history, with such legends as Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, David Gilmour, Jeff Beck and countless others making it their own. I’m a Telecaster guy myself, but even I recognize the Strat’s greater prominence as a rock music icon. What can I say? I’ve developed an ear for country music in my old age.

Still, I wouldn’t mind having a Stratocaster of my own, someday. They’re undeniably beautiful guitars that lend themselves to a wide variety of musical styles. One of my early guitar heroes, Yngwie Malmsteen, swears by them. And if they’re good enough for him, they’re certainly good enough for someone of my comparatively execrable ability.

The Los Angeles Times ran a story on the Strat’s anniversary today, and did a creditable job of it — so creditable, in fact that the Washington Post picked it up. When two major metropolitan daily papers run a story on a line of guitars,  you know it’s something special. And yet . . . well, let Ed Driscoll tell you about it:

Take a good look at the headline of the above page of yesterday’s Washington Post music section, and in the caption underneath the photo. Now take a look at the name on headstock of the guitar pictured. (Click to enlarge photo if necessary.) Note that they don’t match. While he might get blamed for it, the error very likely isn’t the author’s fault. Presumably, he turned in his article, an editor or his assistant went through the Post’s photo morgue to find photos of one of the superstar guitarists mentioned, recognized Jeff Beck’s name, and pasted in a recent image.

Layers and layers of something, indeed.

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A world without Piers Morgan and Tommy Christopher . . .

. . . is a world I dared not contemplate until yesterday. But, as it turns out, it’s a world we’ll get to live in, if only briefly. I’m sure both men will turn up in our lives again in due course — like dandelions and shingles. But, as was noted to much wailing and gnashing of teeth (in the Christopher household, anyway) yesterday, Tommy has been canned at Mediaite, and Piers’s days are numbered at CNN.

It’s hard to imagine either man was surprised by this not-so-sudden turn of events. Piers, for all his delusional idiocy, understands numbers to the extent that they involve him personally, and even willful blindness couldn’t obscure the self-evident horror of his ratings. He ran a perpetual distant third to the distant second-place Rachel Maddow up against Fox News’s Megan Kelly, who reliably pulled twice as many viewers as her closest rival. Even an industrial grade dullard like Morgan had to know what was coming.

As for the chronically vituperative Christopher — well, if you read his recent missive on the subject of Rachel Maddow’s appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher alongside National Review‘s Charles Cook and managed to make it all the way to the end, you were likely left wondering what happened to his resumé attachment.

Meanwhile, Morgan is reacting to the recent developments in what’s left of his career with his typical aplomb. (H/T — Maetenloch at the AoSHQ ONT)

UPDATE: By the bye, CNN — if you’re looking for a proper replacement for Piers, might I suggest Jeremy Clarkson (on the assumption he’d be willing to take over in the midst of a ratings nightmare, that is)?

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I’ve sat out the McConnell-Bevin race . . .

. . . from the outset in large part due to a generalized lack of interest in politics. Though, some of my reluctance to enter the fray has to do with the fact that there are people supporting Bevin whom I like and respect. God knows, when I do comment on politics, I tend to do so in a way that rankles — and, well, I just don’t want to alienate any friends.

The simple fact of the matter is, I long ago decided I’d be voting for Mitch McConnell in the Kentucky US Senate primary this May. (Pause for boos and catcalls.) And I’ll be voting for him again in November. I won’t get into the weeds of defending my choice; it’s been made and, barring the emergence of the proverbial dead girl or live boy, that’s just how it’s going to be.

Now, let me hasten to add that I don’t have anything nasty to say about Matt Bevin. I know little about him beyond what’s been reported in the press — and we all know how reliable that is. Still, I’m just not angry enough at Mitch McConnell to feel compelled to put on a “Ditch Mitch” shirt in favor of a man who has lambasted him for his support of a massive bailout package after having benefited from it.

And I don’t say that as a slam against Matt Bevin. There are lots and lots of people who benefited from TARP to some extent — some of whom are working stiffs who hope to be able to retire someday, rather than be wheeled out of the workplace on a gurney. Surely not all of them are parasitic moochers.

Still, I have a hard time rallying behind a guy who does so and then uses it as an avenue to gain political advantage against his opponent. And, given the sum total of what we know about Matt Bevin’s political career, the only conclusion we can draw from it is that he’s willing to stand on principle when he’s in a primary election fight. But, then again, aren’t they all? We have no idea what he’d do when safely ensconced in the clubby atmosphere of The World’s Greatest Deliberative Body®. We may think we know, and we may hope for the best — but that’s about it.

In any event, that’s all I have to say on that particular issue. This post is actually a continuation of what I wrote about yesterday, and it’s not to hang any of the blame for my extreme distaste for politics on Matt Bevin. As far as I can tell — and, again, I haven’t been paying a great deal of attention to politics lately — he’s run an honorable campaign, and his “attacks” have been relatively standard fare for anyone trying to mount a credible challenge to a longtime incumbent of the same party. Bevin is not the issue here.

This is the issue:

Now, before you start in with the “LEAVE MITCH ALONE!!!” wisecracks, let me just say that the ad above would be just as mindlessly juvenile had it been directed at any other candidate in any other race. And you can be sure that, if it had been directed at Ted Cruz or Mike Lee or any other Tea Party-backed politician, I’d find it just as sophomoric — because that’s what it is.

And the sad fact is that it perfectly symbolizes much of the conservative infighting I’ve seen so much of over the past few years. It encapsulates the mindset Ann Coulter discussed on Hannity this past Wednesday night. Yes, that Ann Coulter. And she’s right; the Tea Party is slowly being co-opted by “shysters and con men” out to make a fast buck and grab a piece of that sweet, sweet D.C. careerist pie.

Now, obviously, the rank-and-file of the Tea Party movement are generally well-meaning people who just happen to be sick and tired of the way business is done in D.C., and angry that the cost of doing that business inevitably comes out of their own pockets while they accrue no measurable benefit from it. It’s perfectly understandable and honorable to feel that way; they are put-upon.

But, the people who have appointed themselves as the “leaders” of the movement are keenly aware that the anger is out there in such abundance that, once tapped into, it can release a massive payload of dollars. And they also know that the best way to tap into that anger is to promise a good, old-fashioned donnybrook with anyone who arouses it. And the nastier the fight, the better.

Enter Ted Nugent:

“I have obviously failed to galvanize and prod, if not shame enough Americans to be ever vigilant not to let a Chicago communist-raised, communist-educated, communist-nurtured subhuman mongrel like the ACORN community organizer gangster Barack Hussein Obama to weasel his way into the top office of authority in the United States of America,”

Now, obviously, Ted has no designs on the D.C. cocktail circuit or the filthy lucre that gets doled out within it. He’s his own man with his own opinions and plenty of his own money. It’s just that he happened to be stumping on behalf of Texas gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott when he went off on that ill-advised rant.

It should go without saying that Greg Abbott didn’t write the script for Terrible Ted, and there’s no reason to believe he endorses the expressed sentiments. Plenty of other conservative politicians have let their disapproval of Nugent’s words be known. My own junior senator has called on him to apologize for his remarks. Whether or not he will remains to be seen, but I’m not holding my breath.

But, at the heart of this problem is the fact that there are too many conservatives willing to excuse Nugent for what he said out of the misguided belief that he’s showing the proper instinct to “fight”. That’s what much of the activist right is consumed with right now: Fight, fight, fight! Even if you have to lead with your chin, just get out there and fight! To yet again abuse an analogy I’ve often abused in the past, Ted Nugent is the perfect distillation of the Tex Cobb wing of conservatism.

Now, you may be saying to yourself, “I thought you were done with politics, Walt. Shouldn’t you be out there taking your pretty little pictures and plucking around on your fancy guitar?”

Well, yeah. You’re probably right. But, you know, I can’t help feeling that somebody should have told Tex Cobb it was a bad idea get in the ring with Larry Holmes. And, in all likelihood, a few people did. And, in the end, he probably still believes it was worth it. He definitely showed he had the chin, legs, and heart of a champion even if he did lack the skills.

Still, no one who watched that spectacle came away from it elevated in any sense — quite the contrary. But, boy, did they ever get their money’s worth.

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