The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

David Welch, Snake for Hire

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.



19 Responses to “David Welch, Snake for Hire”

  1. Finrod Felagund
    December 6th, 2012 @ 4:44 pm

    Snake? I’d call him a crapweasel, personally.

  2. wordygirl
    December 6th, 2012 @ 5:00 pm

    Good article. One comment, though, after listening to and watching Ann Coulter over the last several months, I’m not so sure I would place her in the same conservative category anymore. She’s becoming a little too enamoured of liberal attention.

  3. robertstacymccain
    December 6th, 2012 @ 5:16 pm

    I’m prepared to forgive gestures of “pragmatism” from Chairman Ann, in light of her long years of service in serving up “extreme rhetoric.” My point in naming her was to point out that these malcontent supernumeraries like Welch are forever “punching up,” claiming that the problem with the Republican Party is famous people more successful and popular than themselves.

  4. Adjoran
    December 6th, 2012 @ 5:50 pm

    My outrage is tempered to the point of sedation by the realization that if I EVER heard of either Berkowitz or Welch it was in passing, a bit of trivia unworthy of retention.

    But nothing elevates the stature of a nobody Republican like slamming the party and/or conservatives in the media, eh?

  5. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    December 6th, 2012 @ 5:51 pm

    She loves her Republican man round and sassy. Sorry, I just don’t get it.

  6. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    December 6th, 2012 @ 5:52 pm

    Bill Buckley loved Rush Limbaugh and did events and things with him all the time. Rush loved him right back. Rush was obviously the son Buckley wished he had.

  7. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    December 6th, 2012 @ 5:53 pm

    Yeah, snake implies thought. Crapweasel just implies a voracious weasel appetite for self promotion.

  8. Adjoran
    December 6th, 2012 @ 6:03 pm

    But shouldn’t “punching up” be reserved for those lesser beings who at least have a platform, low though it be mounted, upon which to stand as they punch – the Conors Friedendorfs and Davids Weigels and their ilk?

    These guys are less “punching up” and more “flailing about” IMHO.

  9. SDN
    December 6th, 2012 @ 6:04 pm

    Who gives a crap? Jim DeMint just showed the rest of us that continuing to try and animate the Zombie Republican Party is a waste of time and energy.

  10. jsn2
    December 6th, 2012 @ 6:07 pm

    “…espousing extreme rhetoric, yet holding untenable beliefs”

    This whippersnapper shows signs of being a Manchurian Staffer, programmed by a college professor to infiltrate the right then go all Jumpin’ Jim Jeffords on us. On the other hand he may just be a prick.

  11. gwheelockvan
    December 6th, 2012 @ 6:56 pm

    Until these bozos start have the distance between their ears measured by an icepick they will continue to infest.

  12. richard mcenroe
    December 6th, 2012 @ 7:37 pm

    Ask John McCain. He and now his family have made a good living at it.

  13. Bob Belvedere
    December 6th, 2012 @ 7:54 pm

    I think that Southern Gentleman just elevated himself to the head of the Conservative Movement, with Mrs. Palin as his consort.

  14. Quartermaster
    December 6th, 2012 @ 8:10 pm

    Jeff Lord wrote a column about Mike Murphy, another of the Axis of Weasels, which includes Steve Schmidt and Welch.

    He got a response from Murphy, and tore the hole bigger right after that.

    The entire bunch needs to go.

  15. K-Bob
    December 6th, 2012 @ 10:27 pm

    I think so, too. DeMint seems to actually care about being a movement conservative. He’s talking like Newt always did, while trying to claw his way back into the spotlight. Only DeMint is leaving on his own terms, and instead of having to claw, he’s been given a good position from which to make stuff happen.

    We’ll see. Politicians are politicians, after all.

    But the griping about it I think is misplaced. Besides, his time in the Senate is totally wasted, since we control nothing. He can get another guy some Senate time by leaving now, too. So it might prove to be crazy–like a thing that sounds crazy but isn’t really crazy, or some kind of animal that’s smart and stuff.

  16. K-Bob
    December 6th, 2012 @ 10:29 pm

    Insulting upward sometimes works really well, if your plan is to be a turncoat. Witness famous “conservative” voice, Andrew Sullivan.

  17. K-Bob
    December 6th, 2012 @ 10:30 pm

    She’s awful at predicting stuff and picking candidates and assessing people.

    But she’s a very good researcher and writer.

    Can’t have everything, I guess.

  18. K-Bob
    December 6th, 2012 @ 10:36 pm

    J L tore him a bigger one, is right.

    Well done, Mr. Lord, and thanks for the link to that, Q.

  19. scarymatt
    December 7th, 2012 @ 8:20 am

    As all liberals know, the only good conservative is a dead conservative. And the longer they’ve been dead, the better, since memories that contradict their claims will be fewer and not as fresh.

    Somehow, the toilet posture ad seems right at home with this post.