Pundit theory vs. activist practice, ACORN edition.
In 2008, I (and most of the rest of the Online Right) engaged in a long and unsuccessful fight against the notorious group ACORN. It was, honestly, a frustrating one: although you could show, time after time after time again, that ACORN was routinely involved in election fraud (including election registration fraud, which was its usual apologists’ prime excuse/primary distraction) we never could get any traction from that. And ACORN knew this, and was insufferably smug about it as they went on their merry way urinating on the election process for the eventual benefit of the Democratic party.
In 2009, I watched Andrew Breitbart and his band of Merry Pranksters casually swat ACORN out of the air like the annoying fly that it was – and they did it by destroying the group’s primary reputation as a community group. Once people associated ACORN with ‘adviser to pimps of underage El Salvadorean brothels,’ the money dried up, the name got radioactive, and the group fell prey to vicious internal backbiting. At this moment, it becomes a story if the successors/fragments of ACORN are found to be involved in any political race in 2010 – which is why any involvement by the remnants will be hidden very, very deeply. In other words, gutting ACORN was a heavy win for conservatives, Republicans, Right-activists, and pretty much anybody who doesn’t like election fraud.
All of the above was necessary for my next comment: Conor Friedersdorf. Culture 11 was an uninteresting idea that was badly executed, and it’s not Breitbart’s fault that he came up with something that succeeded where you failed. You can call him ‘counterproductive’ all you like… but the 2010 elections are going to be missing a group of election fraud specialists largely because of Bretibart’s websites and methods, so (speaking as an Online Right activist) I have to ask: what have you done for the conservative movement lately?
(Via The Other McCain*)
*By the way, I actually agree with Stacy that having to choose between being a conservative and being a journalist is a false choice; you can easily be both. I just don’t think that his point was also Friedersdorf’s, really.
Crossposted to Moe Lane.