I’ve often written about Paul Mulshine – the cranky, Jacobin hack columnist employed by the uber-liberal Newark Star-Ledger as its token “conservative” – and, as you can tell from my subtly worded introduction, I’ve been less than fulsome with my praise. As many regular readers (especially those who live in New Jersey) know all too well, Mulshine dwells in the fantasy world of theoretically perfect Burkean Conservatism, where only he and those who agree with him are the True Believers and Practitioners…the Conservodox, if you will. All others are either Marxists or useful idiots.
It’s a bizarre form of political Manicheanism made unintentionally funny by his relative obscurity: any fame he possesses of late was acquired as the consequence of being quoted or referenced by pundits and bloggers not as the paradigm of conservatism but rather, its most aberrant mutation. Not that any of it matters to Mulshine, of course, who is content to rule as the Dung-Beetle-in-Chief of Cow Flop Hill.
What makes it all the funnier is when he goes on a tear after the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin; the latter is derided in Mulshine’s columns as “Marxist Levin” (no doubt in retaliation for the “Paul Moonshine” moniker he received from Levin for political opinions that seemed less a product of rational, reality-grounded thinking than a weekend binge with a jug of white lightning). Despite the fact that it’s obvious to anyone with an IQ above room temperature that Levin is anything BUT a Marxist, Moonshine persists in tagging him as such and there is no question that all 34 of his readers agree. Only Moonshine would dismiss everything Levin wrote in Liberty and Tyranny on the basis of what appears to be a single mis-statement on page 64.
But that’s Moonshine’s modus operandi: zero in on typographical errors, grammatical errors or inartfully expressed words or phrases and use these to impugn the intelligence, character, and motives of any writer he deems unworthy of acceptance into the Conservo-Gnostic Breakfast Club. Then again, I can understand Moonshine’s animus toward and obsession with Levin: the former is a hack columnist in the employ of a dinosaur media, liberal newspaper whose circulation continues to dwindle – much like his readership. The latter is the author of numerous best-selling books whose talk-radio program reaches millions of people and is rated by Arbitron as the third most listened to talk show on the AM band. Levin reaches, instructs and inspires millions of Americans with his conservative evangel; Moonshine brays like an alpha donkey in a stable full of donkeys – an ass among asses to whom no one of consequence pays any serious attention.
Lately, this circle jerk of exclusion has been extended to the entire Tea Party movement in an on-line column redolent with the stench of gnostic elitism:
There’s only one problem with mass movements, but it’s an intractable one: They involve the masses. And the masses don’t think. They feel.
That’s always fun at first. But it falls apart fast. To put it in terms a Baby Boomer can comprehend, you start with Woodstock and, the next thing you know, you’ve got Altamont.
The tea party movement didn’t fall apart that fast or that violently. But its collapse is just as complete.
If you doubt that, check all those polls of tea party members showing that their No. 1 pick for president is Newt Gingrich.
Newt Gingrich? How could a movement dedicated to fighting Beltway insiders manage to be fooled by the biggest Beltway insider of them all?
According to Moonshine, the Tea Party is comprised of ignorant saps and naive boobs who comprise the vast, unwashed and unthinking “masses” of a movement whose time has passed – all because they overwhelmingly supported Gingrich at the time Moonshine’s column was published. Things have changed since then – a fact that Moonshine ought to consider before shooting from the hip next time.
If he had a shred of integrity, Moonshine would admit that he was upset with the Tea Party movement because it didn’t fall in lockstep behind the candidacy of Dr. Ron Paul, who he considers the exemplar of Founding- Father-style conservatism – despite the fact that Dr. Ron’s Semitophobic/Islamophilic foreign policy would have had Thomas Jefferson reaching for the early 18th century equivalent of Dramamine.
Then there is the matter of those pesky newletters: with each passing day, more and more racist and anti-semitic dreck emerges, putting Dr. Paul in a double-bind: either he knew and approved of the content before publication or he was ignorant of it. If the former scenario is the case, then the Tea Party movement is justified for having rejected a Blame America First foreign policy loon who happens to be a closet racist.
If the latter is the case, then the Tea Party movement is justified for having seen what Moonshine’s blind eye apparently missed: a man too incompetent to manage a lousy little newsletter that went to print with screeds so full of racist venom that the American Nazi Party and the Neo-Nazi website Stormfront enthusiastically promoted it.
If he wants to learn the truth, Moonshine need only stop his tiresome auto-fellatory routine and take measure of the pulse and breath of the Tea Party movement by actually speaking with its members, who will tell him that they are (were) not so much in love with Gingrich as they are desperate for a conservative standard bearer. They know that Romney is an establishment RINO and Ron Paul is a kooky nutjob. Gingrich did and still does talk a good conservative ballgame. Any support he received and continues to receive from the TP movement isn’t so much an indicator of their naivete or stupidity as it is their desperation to close ranks behind the most conservative candidate they can find who has a chance of defeating Barack Obama.
And that candidate sure as hell AIN’T Crazy Uncle Ron who, if he had a shred of decency and integrity, would register as Libertarian and run for office as such. As for Paul Moonshine: if he had a shred of decency and integrity, he would stop calling himself a Conservative and start calling himself an Uncle Ron Libertarian.