An Invitation to Lee Siegel….
As many of you are already aware, Lee Siegel of The Daily Beast recently wrote an interesting column about Redstate titled, “The New Republican War Room”—and that our own Josh Trevino wrote a diary in response to Mr. Siegel’s column. Josh felt the need to correct Mr. Siegel on the error in his column where he stated that Erick Erickson was the original founder or Redstate. (By the way, I thought this too during my first year at Redsate—probably because Erick is such a natural leader.) Josh calmly explained that, although Redstate has definitely expanded under Erick’s excellent leadership, it was he, Mike Krempasky and Ben Domenech who actually founded Redstate. Well, since Lee Siegel also mentioned me in his column, I would like to take the opportunity to respond to him as well, so here goes—
Dear Mr. Siegel,
First of all, I would like to sincerely thank you for giving Redstate so much publicity. You know what “they” say—“There’s no such thing as bad publicity”. Second of all, I would like to thank you for mentioning me at all. You mentioned how “likeable” Erick is (and I agree with you that he’s quite likeable) and how E Pluribus Unum was one of our resident firebrands (we love you EPU ). And, you also mentioned how Tabitha Hale discussed how “beautiful” the weather was at a DC anti-Obamacare rally, and how hogan has a penchant for Latin phrases. You then wrote the following about me in regard to this diary that I wrote about Karl Rove debating David Plouffe on ABC’s “This Week”—
“And over in Redstate’s culture section, “Susannah” posts a video in which Karl Rove debates David Plouffe, concluding that “Rove ate his lunch—and that’s putting it politely.” In fact, Rove rants and raves, waves a clipboard cluttered with statistics that is not visible to the camera, and barely lets Plouffe get a word in edgewise, but Susannah goes on to colorfully say that “Plouffe was basically reduced to a rubble of transparent Obamaisms” and “when all is said and done, pixie dust and unicorn farts are no match for real knowledge, fact, and cojones.” That’s a jarring note on Redstate’s mostly genteel Web site, but Susannah appends to her post a calm, temperate smiley face. “Have a happy Sunday!” she signs off, as if to say that in the Redstate world, guns, a single religious creed, and the marketplace might rule, but not out of anger or bitterness, gosh darn it, and certainly not when the weather is so “beautiful.””
Again, I would like to say a sincere thank you for mentioning me in the same column where you mentioned Erick Erickson, EPU, Tabitha Hale and hogan—those are awesome bloggers and I am extremely flattered to be mentioned in the same article with them.
Second of all, I take it as a compliment that you find my writing to be “colorful”—hey, it’s better than being boring. And, you are completely right that I have a tendency to over-do the smiley faces—I even put them on most of my comments responding to fellow posters (I plead guilty—take me to blogger jail). However, I, like Josh, feel the need to correct a couple of misconceptions that you seem to have (I know, I know, everyone’s a critic).
The following are a few of the paragraphs that I have pasted from your column—
“Politics is, to a great extent, the artful manipulation of the appearance of moral rectitude, and both liberals and conservatives have their styles of virtuous display. Among other things, each style is intended to contradict each ideology’s popular image. Liberals, for example, will prove their moral bona fides by railing against the certified villains of reactionary obstructionism with passionate intensity. The display of outrage and passion is meant to rebut the stereotype of the liberal as an elitist untouched by ordinary problems.
Conservatives have the opposite problem. They have to play down their outrage and passion lest they give the appearance of being driven by anger and bitterness. So the conservative style of virtuous display is at the other end of the spectrum from the liberal style of virtuous display. The conservative out of power can break windows, carry guns to rallies, scream “baby killer” and, in general, satisfy every liberal stereotype of the angry and bitter right-winger. But once in power, the conservative must look rational, even-tempered, and seem steeped in the conventions of an older, more graceful culture.
Despite the fact that Redstate is in the forefront of the newly formed repeal movement and fighting the good fight against every one of Obama’s legislative initiatives, big and small, the main posters’ tone is mostly polite and relaxed.
This vitriol with a human face might summon up unpleasant images from Sinclair Lewis’s Babbitt to Arthur Miller’s Joe Keller—dishonest businessmen who hide their venality behind a broad smile and a vigorous handshake. This is one version of Homo Americanus, who wreaks a havoc of self-interest on the world behind sunny platitudes and respectable appearance.
But the appearance of calm doesn’t have to be a coward’s camouflage. It can also mean a commitment to some kind of shared fate even with your adversaries. This is another version of Homo Americanus, who at his very worst, just wants to be liked. I’d rather confront someone trying to impress me with a Latin phrase than someone trying to intimidate me with an AK-47 any day.”
OK—Please allow me to begin by stating that if liberals are attempting to rebut the stereotype that they are ” elitists untouched by ordinary problems”, a good place to start might be refraining from calling concerned citizens “redneck, racist teabaggers”—it hardly makes one sound like a man or woman of the people (see embed below).
Now, I also noticed that in your column you keep referring to us Redstate bloggers as “calm” and “polite”, but imply that we might be “dishonest businessmen who hide their venality behind a broad smile and a vigorous handshake.” In other words, we are similar to the creatures in the miniseries “V” in that we are hiding behind a facade of “calm temperate smiley faces”, but at any moment, we might pull off our human masks revealing the bitter, AK-47 toting, reptilian alien species underneath (see embed below so it’s not some vague cultural reference).
Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but I don’t even own a gun. Even though I’m a former ballerina, I’m so clumsy that I think that would probably shoot my big toe off (but, I have no problems at all with the second amendment). Second of all, I’m not polite and friendly because I’m trying to pull one over on people in order to convert them to my way of thinking. I’m polite because I’m a southern girl whose Mama told her to always be polite and that, “You can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar.”
Boooooo! That was boring. Now I feel that my “mystique” is all gone. I think I liked it better when I was an AK-47 toting, mask wearing alien, but I digress.
And finally, you made a mistake in the first paragraph of your column where you referred to Chuck DeVore as one of Redstate’s contributors. Chuck DeVore is actually a Republican candidate for the US Senate seat in CA that is currently held by Barbara Boxer. However, to me, this is a minor mistake. I mean, I’m not familiar with all of The Daily Beast’s contributors (I was much more concerned with debunking the whole “Redstaters aren’t as calm as they seem” myth). I’m not mentioning it to be petty, but rather to point out that we have all kinds of people who post at Redstate (and The Minority Report). We have conservative bloggers, politicians, and even liberals who post here (some of the liberal posters at Redstate have been here longer than I have).
Anyway, since you seem to be interested in Redstate (you wrote a column about it after all), I thought that it would be a nice gesture to extend to you an invitation to come here and engage us. Believe it or not, we at Redstate are not like the liberal blogosphere—we welcome dissent. The only two things that we ask is that you don’t be a Moby (a special kind of troll that took his cue from the musician Moby who told liberals to go on conservative websites and pretend to be conservatives and say ridiculous things in order to make conservatives appear crazy), and don’t be boring (i.e., writing one sentence diaries declaring how you’re mad at the world/media or how you are happy that you just got a pedicure).
Well Sir, I recently went on your blog and I can say without a doubt that you are not at all boring. I especially liked your most recent column where you called out Frank Rich and the MSM for their race-baiting. I bet that your inbox is full of lovely emails from Kossacks (and by “lovely”, I mean really vile). Huevos Grandes Amigo for taking on the left (that’s “conservative” for “I appreciate what you did—it probably wasn’t easy”). Granted, I didn’t agree with everything that you wrote in your column. (Like when you called the Tea Party members “the political Keystone Cops”. That was, how would I phrase it, “a jarring note”.) However, I am so happy to have an intellectually honest liberal take on the left’s race-baiting that I’m not going to sweat the small stuff.
So, in conclusion, I look forward to seeing you around here if and when you decide to post on Redstate. I just have one question that I would like answered—out of nothing more than my own curiosity—if you do decide to take me up on my offer. I felt like, in the first column of yours that I linked to, you spent a lot of time trying to figure out why we at Redstate are so “calm”, “polite” and sunny. Well, my question to you is this—
Why in the world is the left so pissed off?
I mean you guys won the last two major elections. Not to mention, you have the presidency, the House and the Senate—and, yet, so many liberals are so darn angry. And I’m not imagining this either. Dana Milbank of The Washington Post wrote a hilarious column where he admits that he gets more hate mail from the left than the right, and that “even under Obama, the anger on the left is, if anything, more personal and vitriolic than on the right. ” (Someone even asked him if tortured cats. Milbank refers to all of this vitriol as “sore-winner phenomenon”.) Furthermore, all you have to do is just venture on to the Daily Kos, where every other word is the F-word, to see what I’m talking about. Anyway, no biggie—I was just wondering what your insights might be.
Again, thanks for showing such interest in Redstate and I hope to see you around.
PS—Have a Happy Easter!!
This diary was originally posted on The Minority Report.