I’m about to break one of the behind-the-scenes rules here at Wizbang: I’m not supposed to mess around with Wizbang Blue. This rule — which I pretty much proposed — was because I get along fine with three of the authors there.
And then there’s Lee Ward, who makes the raving lunatics at Democratic Underground look like the guys from Powerline.
I’ve been content to ignore him, to let him fester in the fetid abyss of his own well-deserved obscurity, but he’s done something so colossally stupid — and it happened to be on a subject I had recently versed myself upon.
I did something that rarely — if ever — crosses Mr. Ward’s mind: I actually looked at facts, and left the frothing, hysterical invective jar on the shelf. And when I looked at the financial figures for the groups, what did I find?
Judging just by the top 25 groups, oughly 2/3 of all monies raised so far by 527s has gone towards liberal-leaning groups. Conservative groups get about a quarter of the total pot. (The remaining goes to “neutral” groups.)
And as Mr. Ward was so kind to point out (from someone else’s article, which he quoted extensively — his article is 500 words of someone else’s article, 150 of his own), a lot of the conservative people and groups who worked hard in 2004 are sitting this election out, for various and sundry reasons.
Indeed, as far as I know, there’s only been one major move by any 527 group — MoveOn.org’s hysterical (in several senses of the word — both as a description fo the actress in it and the sentiment behind it) “John McCain, you can’t have Alex” video. Brought to you by the same people who got a heftily-discounted ad in the New York Times to call General Petraeus a liar before he even testified, this featured a young lady telling John McCain that he can’t have her son — who will not turn 18 until the year 2025 or so, when McCain will be nine years out of office (presuming he wins this November and again in 2012) and pushing 90.
Which means MoveOn apparently thinks that John McCain will not only repeal the 22nd Amendment, but also reinstate the draft — a move that so far has been entirely pushed by Democrats.
So that’s the situation on the 527 front: roughly 2/3 of the top 25 groups — and about the same percentage of money raised — is pretty securely in the Democrats’ corner. Several of the “big players” on the conservative side have publicly declared no interest in getting involved in the election entirely. In short, based on actual, verifiable facts, it’s fairly clear that the liberal 527 groups will be far more involved in this election than the conservative ones.
Unless, of course, you’re Mr. Ward — who probably sees Karl Rove under his bed or in his closet, just waiting for the precise moment to JUMPOUTANDSMEARLEEWITHMUDANDSHIPHIMOFFTODIEFOROILINIRAQ!!!!!!! or something. Then, the correct response is the old movie cliche’ — “it’s quiet. Too quiet.” Or, in his own hysterical words: “My theory is that with reduced funding they are just holding their fire until we get closer to the election and diligence needs to be maintained.”
It gets even more entertaining in the comments. (Which, remarkably, haven’t been deleted or gotten any commenters banned — at least, as far as I can tell. That’s yet another area where the brackish backwater that is Blue and here on the main page differs, and I’m very proud of my role in holding up part of that distinction.) Mr. Ward’s… well, nuttiness can’t be contained. General David Petraeus was not smeared, he was “criticized” because “he is a pillow-biting Republican hand-licker.”
I’m trying to imagine anyone — let alone someone of General Petraeus’ dignity — being able to simultaneously bite a pillow and lick a hand, and I’m just not seeing it. If you’re biting something, then then it’s physically impossible for one’s tongue to lick anything outside your mouth. Go ahead and try it — you don’t even have to use a pillow.
And that’s not even touching upon the homophobic slur of “pillow-biter.” (Thank you, Google, for helping me find a moderately safe definition.
Finally, we have The Ward Political Dictionary in action: attacking conservatives is “criticism.” attacking liberals is “smearing.”
As far as I can tell (and I really make an effort to avoid Blue, but I feel I have to keep an eye on things over there to make sure Mr. Ward doesn’t launch another libelous, legally-actionable attack on me (thanks, Kevin, for responding so quickly that time he did just that — sorry I threatened to get a lawyer involved), Mr. Ward has two modes of writing: batshit crazy attack, and psycho batshit crazy attack. He spent much of the Democratic primary season attacking Obama (that was his way of supporting Hillary Clinton), but that game’s over. So now he has to support Obama, the target of so many of his spews, and the best way he knows how is to go after McCain and those who dare do what he spent so many months doing — slamming Obama.
Those were the Old Rules, though — now that Obama has the nomination in his pocket (in all but fact), the New Rules apply.
As I said, I really, really, really try to avoid Blue whenever possible. But when Mr. Ward decides to vent his spleen (a more accurate bodily function metaphor came to mind first, but I’m trying to be somewhat genteel here) over a subject that I’ve just spent considerable effort to research (especially after I published my first piece, and made a rather embarrassing error, and went back to double-check several other things) and gets it completely, utterly, and unmitigatedly WRONG (but entirely consistent with his exceptionally perverse worldview), I set aside my “don’t pick on the terminally clueless” and “don’t wrestle with pigs” principles, ignore the wisdom of “don’t get into arguments with idiots — they drag you down to their level and then beat you through experience,” and shoot my fool mouth off.
I think I already regret this.
But I also know the wisdom of the old saying that in life, the biggest regrets you’ll have are not for the things you do, but the things you never do. (Damn, why didn’t I ever ask out Sheri back in college? What the hell did I have to lose?)
So, in honor of that long-lost opportunity, of a certain willowy, soft-spoken brunette with a scar that made her so self-conscious, I’m publishing this piece.
And I’ll even go out on a limb, and say that — should Mr. Ward choose to reply — his response will be full of empty rhetoric, imprecations and invective, wild revisions of history, personal attacks and generic insults — but not one mention of the actual facts concerning 527 groups, and how the vast majority of them (and their money) will be going to support the candidate he spent months tearing down, and only a small percentage will put forth efforts to continue the project he so recently abandoned.
Can’t have that, can we?
UPDATE: Mr. Ward is reverting to type. At first, he starts off all civil and polite, but as soon as someone (in this case, Clay) dares challenge him, he goes frothing crazy and bans him for his impertinence.
Oh, and Lee, I know you’d rather keep refighting the 2004 elections, because it gets you off the hook for the current situation, but 1) you and your guy LOST and 2) Kerry never signed Form 180 the way he promised. He said he’d make his records public; instead, he gave permission only to three specific reporters, including one guy who wrote his fawning biography. The general public has NEVER had access to Kerry’s full military record, which would fill in some blanks, such as the date of his formal discharge — there are enough discrepancies to suggest (I said SUGGEST) that Kerry was initially given a less-than-honorable discharge at first, and later had it upgraded.
So keep spinning your web of denial, Lee, that it’s the big, scary Republican 527s that are the REAL threat to this election. Keep ignoring the FACTS that the Democratic groups have far, far outraised the Republicans, and the only real “smearing” going on has been by Democratic groups — I refer, again, specifically, to MoveOn.org and their gross insult to General Petraeus (subsidized by the New York Times) and their “John McCain’s going to draft my infant!” ad.
Unless, of course, you’ve redefined your “reality” to pretend that MoveOn doesn’t exist, or at least doesn’t count. Which would not surprise me in the least.