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EDITOR OF REDSTATE

Um . . . Heck Yeah We Are the Latter

The hand wringing continues about the 2012 loss. This time it has moved to “conservative media.” Included in the Buzzfeed article is this:

John Podhoretz, the editor of Commentary and a prolific tweeter, rejected the notion that Obama’s reelection represented a failure of the conservative media. But he said that as the GOP tries to widen its tent in the coming months and years, conservative sites will need to stay out of the way — or better yet, cheer on the effort.

He singled out RedState.com, which has earned credibility on the right, in part, by targeting vulnerable moderates in Republican primaries, and directing grassroots readers to defeat them. Podhoretz warned against the site’s “hunger and desire to establish an ideological party line and draw boundaries around it, and say anyone who’s not in this line should not be elected and should be destroyed.”

A deliberate choice is going to have to be made,” he said. “Is RedState a news and information website, or is it an activist partisan Republican website pushing specific politicians? Regrettably, right now I think it’s more the latter than the former.”

[Editorial note: according to his twitter feed, John Podorhetz says BuzzFeed completely got his context wrong. No one should be surprised by that I suppose. Consequently, I've made adjustments herein to the original and added John Podhoretz's tweets about the context of his quotes.]

Who ever gave John Podhoretz, or anyone else for that matter, the impression we were anything but an activist partisan Republican website? About the only thing he got wrong there is “Republican” when the actual rule of thumb we use here is conservative in primaries and Republican in general elections. John Podhoretz on twitter, noting that BuzzFeed unsurprisingly took him out of context, writes, “Red State is free to do as it wishes; I think the approach is self-defeating, not malign”. He goes on to note that the BuzzFeed author “then quote[s] me suggesting I think Red State is a danger to conservative prospects, which is not fair.”

RedState is probably the most accurate barometer of the conservative movement outside Washington, D.C. We remain one of the few sites on the right where any conservative activist anywhere can create an account, get a diary, and write about what’s on their mind as a conservative in fly over country engaged in the fight for freedom. I think we have two or three of the front page writers who actually live inside the beltway. The rest of us are from all over the country, including me down in Georgia. With few exceptions, all of our front page contributors began as regular readers of RedState who were inspired to start writing as activists on the site.

We certainly provide news and information, but it is news and information conservatives are interested in and relevant to our mission. The mission is pretty damn simple: educate conservative activists by providing news and information relevant to the conservative movement, motivate conservative activists to get involved in the political process, and activate conservative activists within the political battlefield.

And I’m quite happy to take our track record this year. While we gladly supported Richard Mourdock, we did not support Todd Akin until he was the nominee and everyone abandoned him. We did join the NRSC is supporting Josh Mandel, but we early and aggressively supported Ted Cruz when few did and stood with Jeff Flake the whole time.

If you go back to 2010, we stood with the NRSC on Ron Johnson’s race, but we supported Rand Paul, Pat Toomey, Marco Rubio, and Mike Lee in the primaries. We took no position on Christine O’Donnell until towards the end of the primary season and only then did I support her and most of the site did not (she was already ahead 10 points in the polls). We warned against supporting Sharon Angle because of her erratic campaign style, but preferred her over that other lady. And to this day I’m quite happy to have stood with Ken Buck who undoubtedly would have won but for the complete meltdown of the Colorado Republican Party and GOP gubernatorial nominee who dragged down virtually every Republican in the state.

We helped stop SOPA and were probably more effective on that front than most sites on the left. We helped lead opposition to Harriet Miers and the Bush Immigration legislation in 2005. We rallied conservatives to fight for “cut, cap, and balance.” We fought hard for the earmarks moratorium. We’ve continued to push Republicans in Congress to hold their ground on life issues.

More often than not RedState has been shoulder to shoulder with groups like Club for Growth, the Senate Conservatives Fund, Ending Spending, Heritage Action for America, American Majority Action, and the Madison Project. We’re not afraid to be the last conservative group still standing on the ramparts fighting because we’ve seen too often the GOP surrender to their own shadows.

I’m quite proud of RedState’s record.

We were the first national site to champion Marco Rubio as early as February of 2009. We were the first national site to champion Nikki Haley as Governor of South Carolina. We were one of the first sites nationally to support Ken Cuccinelli as AG of Virginia. Also in 2009, we were the first national site to champion Mike Lee as a primary challenger to Bob Bennett in Utah. We were one of the first national sites to support Rand Paul against Trey Grayson. We stood with Pat Toomey even before Arlen Specter bolted to the other side. We’ve supported Ted Cruz as a challenger to the Texas GOP establishment going all the way back to 2009. We were one of the very few sites anywhere to support Rick Scott for Governor in the Florida Republican Primary. Go back to our founding in 2004 and the very first time we weighed in on a political race. The very first year of RedState’s life, in the very first campaign we participated in, we sided with the outsider. His name is Tom Coburn and we went to war for him against the establishment’s pick, Kirk Humphreys.

I’m quite happy with our track record of moving the GOP to the right and I do not view it as “self-defeating”. I make no bones about it. It is a core mission of the site. It always has been. In general elections, RedState will find itself on the side of John Podhoretz and much of the GOP more often than not. But we’re absolutely not afraid to be on the grassroots conservative side in the primaries. It’s who we are.

There’ll be no hand wringing here and there sure as hell won’t be any apologies for fighting for what we believe in.

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