Andrew Breitbart, an increasingly high-profile conservative commentator best known for his time as an editor at the Drudge Report, has identified the single greatest threat to our republic: Blog commenters or, more specifically, liberals who "invade" the comments sections at right-wing blogs in order to "ensure that President Obama is not subject to the same coordinated, facts-be-damned, multimedia takedown they employed over eight long years to destroy the presidency -- and the humanity -- of George W. Bush."
Breitbart advanced this thesis in an Op-Ed for the Washington Times. The piece is amusing enough to be worthy of reading in full, but here are some of the choicer bits:
Political leftists play for keeps. They are willing to lie, perform deceptive acts in a coordinated fashion and do so in a wicked way -- all in the pursuit of victory. Moral relativism is alive and well in the land of Hope and Change and its Web-savvy youth brigade expresses its "idealism" in a most cynical fashion.
The ends justify the means for them -- now more than ever.
Much of Mr. Obama's vaunted online strategy involved utilizing "Internet trolls" to invade enemy lines under false names and trying to derail discussion. In the real world, that's called "vandalism." But in a political movement that embraces "graffiti" as avant-garde art , that's business as usual. It relishes the ability to destroy other people's property in pursuit of electoral victory...
"This is nothing more than the Internet version of Soviet disinformation," Human Events editor Jed Babbin told me. "MoveOn.org and the little boys from 'Lord of the Flies' who run Media Matters want to make it appear that there's huge dissension within conservative ranks on issues on which we're most united."
Breitbart complains, specifically, about MoveOn.org, then in its early days, urging its members to call in to Rush Limbaugh's show and feign being Republicans opposed to then-President Bill Clinton's impeachment. That may be true, but then if you believe that the normal batch of callers to talk radio -- or callers to television, or people who write letters to the editor -- are just genuinely curious people without any sort of agenda or personal interest in the topic they're discussing, then I have a couple of American car companies I'd like to sell you.
Beyond that, the argument as a whole is, well, sort of ridiculous -- the worst sort of nutpicking, especially as it assumes anyone believes the sorts of efforts Breitbart describe would have any real-world impact. And that's assuming there's even any evidence supporting his assertions, which he didn't provide. The sentence, "Much of Mr. Obama's vaunted online strategy involved utilizing 'Internet trolls' to invade enemy lines under false names and trying to derail discussion" is particularly amazing, as pretty much everyone else in the country had previously assumed the key facet of the Obama campaign's online strategy was the small-donor fundraising.
So, you might ask, why doesn't Breitbart want the right to ape the left's tactics? And why haven't they just done it already? His response:
The answer is obvious. The right, for the most part, embraces basic Judeo-Christian ideals and would not promote nor defend the propaganda techniques that were perfected in godless communist and socialist regimes. The current political and media environment crafted by supposedly idealistic Mr. Obama resembles Hugo Chavez's Venezuela more than John F. Kennedy's America.