Posted on | December 6, 2012 | 19 Comments
In May 2010, during Michael Steele’s chairmanship of the Republican National Committee, research director Jeff Berkowitz resigned and was replaced by David Welch, a 30-something operative who had previously worked on John McCain’s presidential campaigns and for the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
Welch lasted about a year at the RNC gig and used his “former research director” status earlier this week to get himself published by the New York Times denouncing the Tea Party movement:
By loudly espousing extreme rhetoric, yet holding untenable beliefs, they have run virtually unchallenged by the Republican leadership, aided by irresponsible radio talk-show hosts and right-wing pundits. While the Tea Party grew, respected moderate voices in the party were further pushed toward extinction. Republicans need a Buckley to bring us back.
A familiar sort of lament, by someone whose view of Buckley was almost certainly cribbed from books about Buckley rather than from books by Buckley. You meet a lot of these “Cliff Notes Buckley” types nowadays, and it is to be doubted that any of them have ever read Up From Liberalism. much less McCarthy and His Enemies.
The Cliff Noters know Buckley the Historic Icon more than anything else. The one thing they all know about him is that Buckley purged the Birchers, so that whenever any of them wishes to purge those noxious espousers of “extreme rhetoric” — by which they mean Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Mark Levin and any other conservative with a syndicated column, a successful radio show, a best-selling book and/or a Fox News contract — you can be sure they’ll invoke Buckley’s Bircher purge as their historic authority.
So the details of David Welch’s critique are less important than the overall theme, and then there is the matter of tone:
It basically comes down to respect. Do you respect the people with whom you have disagreements? If you respect them, you may disagree with a particular position [or] idea, but you do not disapprove of them personally.
Once you cross that line — showing disrespect for the right, and disapproval verging on loathing for the right — I cannot credit you as being “a maverick within the conservative movement” or whatever other crap title you might want in your CNN chyron. . . . Once you cross that line, you’re not a reformer or internal critic; you’re simply on the other side. . . .
I support no-fault divorces. But what I can’t support is what I’m guessing comes next . . . His claim to not be divorced at all, but a loving and devoted spouse, who just happens to keep stabbing the conservative movement in the face and neck.
That’s Ace of Spades and you should read the whole thing. If we need a Buckley-type figure to purge extremists, I hereby nominate Ace for the duty, so long as he promises never to purge me.