We are informed by the hoary cliche that one cannot teach an old dog new tricks. To a certain extent, there is some hoary truth in the adage, but it was coined long before the advent of tasers and cattle prods. These days, it’s amazing what a dog of advancing years can pick up with an electrode sparking into his backside.
And that was precisely the effect Bill Haney’s words had on me when read his e-mail yesterday morning. In it, he castigated me for doing what I have been doing on a regular and semi-regular basis for the past three and a half years: telling it like it is in a style all my own.
Those of you who have followed my blogging over the past three and a half years knew what to expect when you read any of my posts: I have a low threshold of tolerance for stupidity, asshattery or malevolence – especially when it affects people and things I keep close to my heart – and did not hesitate to attack when my judgment called for it. Nor was I ever a blind partisan to any cause: if I observed stupidity, asshattery or malevolence on our side of the divide I could (and often have been) just as brutal in my criticism of it.
My object ever and always was the truth and I left no stone unturned or cave unexplored in my effort to uncover it. It was that quest, combined with a snarky style of writing, that made my work noteworthy and very popular with so many readers. In the course of nearly four years I have acquired a reputation for honesty, integrity and probity that even my harshest critics will admit is untarnished: when Gene Hoyas the Blogger announced that x + y = z, you could take it to the bank with no second thoughts.
It was that insistence on remaining an independent voice that prompted me to rise to the defense of the Tea Party movement a year ago when several groups were being viciously attacked by parties that shall remain nameless because most folks know to what and to whom I am referring. Since then I have become acutely sensitive to the ever-present threat from desperate and ill-designing people who, if they cannot co-opt the Tea Party movement for their political or personal agenda, will do everything in their power to destroy it or at least marginalize it.
In the wake of the recent Republican primary, I experienced what the Japanese call “satori,” a sort of inner illumination similar to an epiphany, in which I understood intuitively what needed to be done if the Tea Party movement was to not only survive, but triumph in altering the self-destructive course this nation has taken in the past three years in the hands of the Barack Obama Thugocracy.
Hence my Proposal for Tea Party Unity, which I published here on June 15, never expecting or even remotely dreaming that, a little over a month later, it would become the impetus for a statewide unity movement that appears poised to succeed beyond anyone’s wildest expectations – especially my own.
Needless to say, when I was asked to moderate the historic July 14 Tea Party Summit in Red Bank, I figured it would be a short cakewalk (“Tea Party X, meet Tea Party Y…you two will have lots to talk about”) after which I would traipse out the back door and ride off into the sunset to resume my Bulldog Blogging. It turned out to be a misconception of Olympian proportions as I found myself increasing involved in the machinations of founding a new entity that will – if it succeeds – forever alter the nature of the Tea Party movement – and very possibly ensure the defeat of Barack Obama this November.
In a matter of days, I went from a blogger with an idea to the Moderator in charge of ensuring the gestation and healthy birth of the American Tea Party Congress and during the past week I wandered in that grey twilight of existence – where one is neither fish nor fowl – sincerely believing I could be both.
Hence my Bulldog attack on what I perceived to be a very real threat to the unity of the Tea Party movement. That was when a rolled newspaper in the form of an e-mail from my good friend Bill Haney smacked me across the snout. He wrote:
“Whether you like it or not, you have become the face of our group. As such you have also become the de facto spokesperson…”
I pondered his words for only a few moments before the proverbial ton of bricks landed on top of me: everything has changed – irrevocably – since July 14. One of those changes involves a transition from pundit to moderator…from one who says what is on his mind to one who must reconcile others who say what is on their minds. Unfortunately, my words could have been better chosen to represent a sentiment that, nevertheless, is one borne not of malice but of a very real and sincere concern for the well-being of Tea Party movement. Circumstances have since necessitated that I remove myself from the controversy and in so doing I leave the matter to others who, hopefully, will uncover the truth and obtain answers satisfactory to those who have plenty of questions.
I’m reminded of the advice given by Dr. Franklin to a very headstrong and opinionated John Adams, after the latter publicly insulted Mr. Dickinson during a heated exchange in the First Continental Congress.
Just as the Tea Party movement made a great leap from one world to another, so too have I: Gene Hoyas the Pundit must now transit to a new role as Gene Hoyas the Moderator, though I will continue to be a zealous defender of the Tea Party movement.
Thank you, Bill Haney, for the wake-up call. I will do my level best to make Dr. Franklin proud.