As primary season draws inexorably closer, it’s the persistently burning question du jour for the conservative movement in New Jersey, which incurred a massive infection late in 2010 that, over the course of the next six months, became a hideously swollen boil that yours truly spent the better part of the past three months lancing. It was a messy job and, metaphorically, there is pus everywhere. But until the wound is completely cleansed, it will never be free of infection and therefore never able to completely heal itself.
It should go without saying that the events of the past nine months have become an object lesson for all conservatives – but if this lesson is ignored or forgotten, we’ll be doomed to repeat the whole sorry spectacle all over again. And what, precisely, is that lesson?
Truth and integrity mean as much – if not more – than ideology, for without them ideology is reduced to mere propaganda. You cannot base a political cause on lies and dishonorable conduct and expect it to garner respect and support any more than you can build a house on sand and expect it to remain standing after the first rainstorm.
In a comment posted last night in the Overnight Open Thread, CNJ contributor Frank Fiamingo made the following plea regarding the recent internecine warfare between the Bayshore Tea Party, Bulldog Pundit and bloggers writing for Conservative New Jersey:
Nothing would make the establishment happier than to see people like us fighting among overselves instead of spending our precious time, talent and resources working to find them other employment opportunities. I have no intention of trying to sort out who did what to whom. “He started it” is not the proper response from a rational adult. Are those of you who are “standing on “principles” willing to continue to stand in the “People’s Socialist Republic of New Jersey” or is it more important to save our state and country FIRST and sort out our differences later?
I cannot answer these questions for anyone but myself. However, I *AM* asking for a two weeks “cease fire” from all concerned. Those of you who do happen to know me are probably aware that my primary interest is in promoting the Second Amendment to the Constitution. I am not running for office. I am not seeking to prove one side right or another side wrong. I am simply asking that we *ALL* drop the in-fighting for two weeks and concentrate of saving the state.
Who among us can argue that unity in our ranks is critical at a time when we face a most determined adversary? But the above statement raises an equally important question that cannot and will not go away until it is resolved: at what price shall we achieve that unity?
Ironically, Fiamingo’s plea for amity and unity was made just three hours after Dick Zeundt posted yet another attack on his site that I will address in my 11 AM post.
And here is where the conundrum arises: Fiamingo writes that he doesn’t care which side is to blame and that the matter ought to be dropped and forgotten for the sake of unity. For those who know nothing about the nature and history of the conflict, his assertion of moral equivalency appears to be a sensible prelude to a working compromise. Unfortunately, it ignores the nature and history of the conflict – at the heart of which lie the critical predicates of truth and integrity.
I won’t belabor the reader with a rehash of the conflict. It has been assiduously chronicled in the web pages of this blog. I will, however, encapsulate the controversy:
Early this year, bloggers writing for Conservative New Jersey commenced an assault on the Bayshore Tea Party that continues to this day and is documented to be based on distortions, half-truths, insinuations, innuendo and outright lies.
Shortly after Bulldog Pundit launched on July 4 I began to answer these attacks, triggering internecine warfare that continues to this day. In so doing, I have exposed the dishonesty and outright hypocrisy of several individuals who play an important role in the conservative movement.
Working behind the scenes, I initially asked only that the attacks cease so that we may all work together toward the greater objective of defeating liberal statism in New Jersey. This call was answered with treachery and renewed attacks to which I continue to respond.
I cannot speak for the Tea Parties who were attacked, but as far as I’m concerned I’m not prepared to lay down the metaphorical weapons, declare an end of hostilities and dance a jig in the street just because there is a call for unity, for that is to admit that the end really does justify the means and that thuggery and intimidation really do pay off.
It’s easy to call for a truce and take the moral high ground by asserting that rational adults don’t say “he started it” – when you are on the side that, in fact, started it. Where were you when all this began, Frank? Were you doing your damndest to persuade Dick Zeundt to call of his attack dogs or were you a silent spectator? Did you enjoy watching Bayshore being dragged through the mud? If so, then you deserve as much scorn as Zeundt and Eichmann. If not, then where the hell were your posts criticizing what was being done? Or were you too terrified of Zeundt’s tyranny to speak up?
Apparently, my efforts on behalf of the Tea Party movement have borne fruit: there you stand with an olive branch and a plea for a truce. Are you kidding me? I don’t think I need to tell you what you can do with that olive branch.
I did not start this conflict. I did not cast the first stone or fire the first shot. I wasn’t the one who spent the better part of nine months libeling and defaming several Tea Parties and numerous Tea Party activists, Frank. And I sure as hell am not going to bend over, grab my ankles and take one in the caboose so that you can have your precious unity.
In the name of integrity, truth – and ultimately justice – the people directly involved in the libeling and defaming of the Bayshore Tea Party and other Tea Party groups must come forward, apologize for and renounce the damage they have done and promise to never do such things again. Those who approved of or enabled these attacks must likewise PUBLICLY denounce the attackers – by name – and apologize for their complicity in this debacle.
THAT is justice and integrity. Without it, the conservative movement will continue to fracture , come apart at the seams and ultimately founder just in time for the primaries next year and the Jacobins – along with their enablers – will have only themselves to blame.