The Other McCain

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

Is Ace of Spades ‘Cruel’?

Posted on | March 19, 2022 | Comments Off on Is Ace of Spades ‘Cruel’?

Who was it that first described Ace of Spades as an ewok? I don’t know, but it stuck, because he was bearded and bespectacled and cuddly. Maybe since he’s started working out — GAINZZ! — Ace is less ewok-like than he used to be, but was it fair for Victor Davis Hanson to call him “cruel”?

That clip is from a Ricochet members-only podcast hosted by former National Review publisher Jack Fowler, and it will probably impress the VDH fanboys (of which Smitty is one) that he endorses Ace, despite his cruelty and “eccentricities,” but I would be more impressed if Ace endorsed VDH. Basically, Ace is the reason I started blogging. Back when I had been trapped at my desk at the Washington Times for a decade (and slowly losing my mind because of it), the spectacle of Ace having fun over there at AOSHQ was very tempting. “I could be doing that,” I said, with zero comprehension of the difficulty involved in (a) consistently cranking out content and (b) trying to monetize such mischief.

The backstory of how Ace became Ace is rather interesting. He has a law degree from a reputable university and had been working as a lawyer before developing anxiety issues that made it impossible for him to keep doing that, and then started blogging as a hobby while recovering, but then had such success as a blogger that his “recovery” became more or less moot. I first met Ace in the smoking area outside CPAC 2006. As I recall, he was smoking Lucky Strikes, and I had no idea who he was at first, but when I learned his identity, I had difficulty reconciling this soft-spoken, mild-mannered guy with the wild man character he inhabits on his blog. Ace was one of the big “gets” for the guest list (along with Andrew Breitbart and Mary Katherine Ham) at the now-legendary CPAC 2008 party that Matt Vadum and I hosted in a suite at the Omni Shoreham Hotel. Pretty sure that was the occasion where Dave Reaboi first met Ace, who doesn’t socialize very often.

Ace, along with Instapundit, is one of the Old School bloggers from back in the day before social media (especially Twitter) and corporate money overtook the amateur individualism of the political blogosphere as it developed in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Back in the Dubya era, the main thing was protecting the Bush administration and its War on Terror against the subversive forces of left-wing “moonbats.” Ace remembers all that, and one of his frequent digs at the #NeverTrump types (besides their notorious enjoyment of kinky “cuckolding” scenes) is that they seem to think it’s still 2003. The voices of the GOP Establishment — the kind of people who have actual jobs in think tanks, or as campaign consultants — are stuck in the past, and fail to understand exactly how the political landscape has changed in the post-Obama era.

As much as anyone might be nostalgic for the Good Ol’ Days — Dubya in the White House, Denny Hastert as House Speaker, Bill Frist as Senate Majority Leader, “shock and awe” in Baghdad, etc. — that era is over, and conservatives must either adapt or become extinct. Say whatever you will about Trump, his presidency at least represented a departure from the stale formulas of Bushism, which is the status quo ante to which the #NeverTrump crowd dreams of returning, like 19th-century French royalists dreaming of a return of the Bourbon dynasty.

If Ace is “cruel” to these people, they certainly deserve the cruelty. Their nostalgia for the post-9/11 heyday of Bushism is misguided, and so intertwined with their careerist ambitions — their desire to be influential in the circles of powers, perhaps as Assistant Deputy Secretaries in a future GOP administration — as to render their bona fides suspect. But their biggest problem is that they are simply wrong, both in policy and politics. Not only did their policy preferences lead to the debacles of 2006-2008, but they have all the wrong instincts as to what is needed for the GOP to recapture its lost dominance. The #NeverTrump crowd wants to be respectable, to eschew the populism that enabled Trump to win in 2016, and if we heed their advice we’ll be back to losing again with a Mitt Romney-style nothingburger of vaguely patriotic Corporate Moderation.

Anyway, getting a shout-out from VDH is the kind of recognition Ace ought to get more of, and would get more of if he weren’t so reclusive. Back when we were all being targeted by Brett Kimberlin’s lawfare, Kimberlin made an effort to “unmask” Ace, which effort thankfully failed. The guy values his privacy because it would be impossible for him to be fully “in character” (like a Method actor) if he had to worry about a left-wing mob of chanting protesters showing up at his palatial seaside home in the Hamptons and trashing his Lamborghini.

Wait — what?

Some of you may doubt that Ace is living the Lamborghini lifestyle, with a crew of servants in his beachfront mansion, but on the other hand, you can’t prove that he has not become a multimillionaire from this lucrative blogging racket. His identity and whereabouts are unknown, after all, so he is shrouded in such mystery that VDH must say “whoever Ace is.”

Just keep an eye out for an ewok-looking guy, Professor Hanson.



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