…and we all lived happily ever after!

MyDD’s Matt Stoller weighs in with The Moral of Box Turtle Ben: Don't Appease the Right-wing.

So Ben's resigned. What is the moral of the story? …

Journalists and editors should no longer appease the right-wing. It doesn't matter if it's hiring Ben Domenech or listening as Bush tries to convince you of the link between 9/11 and Al Qaeda or that Iraq is now named 'flowers and candy land', journalists should no longer listen to the right-wing. Ken Mehlman's statements about Russ Feingold wanting to surrender to terrorists are no longer part of your story. Period. The idea that the media is hiding the good news in Iraq is not a story. Period.

Do not appease the right-wing. When you do, and when you treat the conservative movement as if they are a legitimate source of information, you end up with WMDs in Iraq, 9/11 linked to Saddam, or on a small scale, an unethical racist trashing the brand of the Washington Post and the career of Jim Brady.

Stop appeasing the right-wing. It's bad for you.
And, ya know, for the rest of us.

This, my friends, this story of the youngest Bush appointee ever, son a Bush appointee, co-founder of blog-cum-527 RedState.com, a home-schooled and self-identified fundamentalist Christian conservative…

…this story of a man whose intolerance (and overt racism) as a blogger did not preclude his being revered as a carrier of the conservative torch…

…this story of his rise to infamy as a conservative blogger at the paper that (sigh) exposed Watergate, only to be revealed as a plagiarist…

…this story of his eventual, far-too-slow resignation, making his feckless (and, apparently, catastrophically disinterred in vetting) WaPo editors and foolish compatriots at RedState look like utter tools…

…this story, Shakers, is the story which answers the question: How many times does a movement conservative have to stumble spectacularly into an inexorable freefall of disrepute before we no longer have to issue the caveat that not all movement conservatives are bad?

The answer is: No more. Not one more bloody time.

Before I continue, let me carefully note I am speaking of movement conservatives—those in either political or religious leadership positions who craft the message and lead the way from a position of unfettered access to power and funding, along with their shills in the media who disseminate the message uncritically, weathering the inevitable (and accurate) accusations of hypocrisy, avarice, and malfeasance that adherence to the message necessitates. I’m not speaking, specifically, of their legions of voters; to be sure, many of them are just as corrupt and abhorrent for the same reasons, but many of them are just ignorant or daft but generally decent, if misguided, people. I’m talking about the ringleaders of this three-ring circus, and I’m absolutely, positively done with pretending there’s a good man or woman among them. Not a single soul has to fall into yet another ethical quagmire of his or her own making to convince me that they are thoroughly contemptible, every last one.

I have watched, with horrified awe, as they rush to defend the likes of Ben Domenech as long as he is only a racist prick on a leading blog, then finally, unhurriedly, denounce him when he has breached an ethical barrier that even Karl Rove couldn’t spin. The sickening irony is that plagiarism is, perhaps, the least grievous of his transgressions.

All of them—from their president to the screeching harpy Coulter to the least-trafficked of their blogosphere representatives—claims loud and wide to be a standard-bearer for moral values in America. They are devoutly religious, they tell us, and they cloak the most heinous, vicious intolerance in that Dali-drawn surrealist version of any religion found in the holy books they judiciously but selectively quote, while simultaneously hiding their aspirations of empire behind a flag over which they claim exclusive province. Yet, time after time after time, they reveal themselves to be liars, cheats, thieves—execrable excuses for leaders of any sort, no less the moral leaders they have anointed themselves and repeatedly assert to be. And those who have not been cast into the cushy conservative exile of a six-figure think tank job after a spiral from grace have vociferously defended each and every last one of them, unless and until their best efforts at casting liberals as overreacting and overreaching have failed, and their actions are, at last, indefensible.

Amongst these defenses come the cry that there are good conservatives in their ranks, and yet I suspect if I plumbed the depths of RedState, I’d find Ben Domenech defending erstwhile administration hack and waterboy Scooter Libby. Defender one day; in need of defense the next. Like dominoes, they fall, fall to their knees in shameful disgrace, willing victims of the greed, the corruption, the endemic lust for unlimited power that are all indelible marks of their movement. If they can claim they’ve never done something wrong, it’s probably just because they haven’t been caught, goes the old joke—but I’m bored with the requirement to make some dubious distinction between corrupt little pissants and those who unconditionally defend the same.

From the top to the bottom and back again, they are wholly irredeemable, and near-impossibly indistinguishable, at that. The only difference between Ben Domenech and George Bush is the ability to retroactively classify anything that might be embarrassing, might reveal their crooked, sordid deeds to the rest of the world. Unlucky Ben—his dirty little secrets are put on display. Lucky George—his are buried in folders and files in the back cabinets of dark rooms, sealed away from public consumption with a stamp that reads: Classified.

In treating the conservative movement as if they are legitimate, we have not only ended up with “WMDs in Iraq, 9/11 linked to Saddam, or on a small scale, an unethical racist trashing the brand of the Washington Post and the career of Jim Brady,” we have also ended up with the largest organized crime syndicate this country has ever seen—and they’re running everything. They are a mob of unethical swine, who almost imperceptibly vary between those willing to commit crimes and those willing to defend the criminal behavior. You don’t have to have blood on your hands for them to be dirty.

So out with all of them. They have repeatedly discredited themselves, repeatedly shown themselves to be vile miscreants with absolutely nothing of value to offer America or the American people. I’m done pretending there’s anything, even the smallest microscopic particle of substance, worth saving. There’s no baby in this bathwater. Dump it, so we can finally, at long last, start moving toward the end of this abysmal chapter and get a little bit closer to happily ever after.

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