Unless you live, eat, and breathe right wing paranoid politics, you probably haven’t heard that a young, conservative woman whose photo of herself holding a bible and a gun ‘went viral’ on social media last year also cheated on her combat veteran husband with a video editor from the Tea Party News Network. And unless you brush your teeth every day while pondering whether President Obama is secretly gay in addition to being a closet member of the Muslim Brotherhood and a Kenyan citizen, you probably couldn’t care less.
Nevertheless, this trivial, utterly unimportant soap opera is the current obsession of right wing creep and super-hypocrite Charles C. Johnson, who usually gets his jollies by outing rape victims, stalking political enemies, and offering rewards for pictures of comatose people when he isn’t just fabricating stories. He’s been suspended from Twitter more than once for violating their Terms of Service by publishing personal information about the objects of his wrath. And the best part is that whenever anyone writes about his deranged, error-filled writing, Johnson sniffingly threatens to sue for libel because he’s such a warrior of free speech.
This weekend, Johnson’s boorish and deranged behavior over the ‘Tea Party affair’ story, and his nonstop feuding with absolutely everyone, resulted in Dana Loesch unfollowing him on Twitter, whereupon he went after her in his blog with the usual vicious, unhinged nonsense. You can read his hit piece here; Loesch’s response is here. Johnson manages to make Loesch seem like the rational adult in the situation, underlining just how goofy he is — like Lee Stranahan stripped of his few redeeming qualities and then topped with extra crazy-sauce.
Which brings me to my point: this episode is another chapter in the continuing war over Andrew Breitbart’s legacy, a conflict that has torn apart the lunatic fringe of the conservative media world ever since the hate overpowered his heart and dropped him dead on the sidewalk.
Johnson was writing at Breitbart’s ‘Big’ sites back then. In fact, Johnson claims responsibility for finding the Derrick Bell video that Breitbart was rolling out to “vet the prez” when he dropped dead in 2012. That video was not a breakthrough, however; in fact, it wasn’t even new. Tucker Carlson, who presented the video as his own exclusive following the ‘new media’ mogul’s demise, had already reported the story in 2007. Thereafter, Johnson got a job at Carlson’s Daily Caller, where he was intimately involved in what appears to be an attempt by Cuban intelligence agents to smear Senator Robert Menendez. Sometime after that fiasco, Johnson struck out on his own with a new website, GotNews.com.
Dana Loesch, you may recall, was also in Breitbart’s stable of writers before his death. While Johnson is correct that Loesch was one of the people St. Andrew had cut back before his death — putting her in the same company with Mandy Nagy, for instance — he has elided the fact that Breitbart.com editors invoked Loesch’s contract to prevent her from leaving to write anywhere else. He accuses her of suing Breitbart’s widow without noting that, because of St. Andrew’s poorly-planned decision to die intestate, his wife was left as the only responsible party for all of his living errors. Loesch settled for no money and the freedom to pursue other opportunities, but Johnson skips over this nuance to try and make her look bad.
One issue Johnson takes up against Loesch — that her husband took advantage of certain tax credits while renovating a building in St. Louis — perfectly encapsulates what these people are about.
Urban ‘brownfields’ are a major source of blight, and credits which encourage redevelopment rather than sprawl actually save extraordinary amounts of money for taxpayers, who don’t have to pay for road extensions and parking lot cuts, sewer and power line extensions, or a wider police and fire response radius. (Anyone who doubts this basic reality can prove it to themselves by playing Sim City for an hour. Alternately, you can try driving through Detroit.) Brownfield credits are the perfect example of a sensible federal program that enjoyed broad bipartisan support until a new kind of radical, tea-stained Republican Party decided to let it lapse. First passed by the Newt Gingrich Congress, the brownfield credit was allowed to die in 2011, the same year during which the GOP-controlled House of Representatives started holding the debt ceiling hostage. Whereas brownfield credits had the unwanted side-effect of creating jobs and boosting small businesses, Congressional Republicans were eager to hurt the economy in order to damage Obama’s reelection chances — and these days, they never go for any tax break that doesn’t help a hedge fund somewhere.
In his attack on Loesch, Johnson tries to make her husband’s past use of what used to be seen as a sensible, nonpartisan federal tax credit into evidence of hidden liberalism. In her defense, Loesch simultaneously defends her husband without defending the brownfield credit. It is a government program, after all, and the only thing these lunatics agree on is that sensible government programs are always terrible. After all, that’s what Saint Andrew believed, so it must be true.