Political Animal


August 07, 2012 10:31 AM “Far” Right and Left

By Ed Kilgore

Should have figured: at least one conservative gabber (Media Research Center’s Matt Hadro) is objecting to the MSM’s characterization of Wisconsin temple massacre perpetrator Wade Michael Page as a member of the political “far right,” calling it a “smear” of the “political right.”

Hadro seems to consider the justice of his complaint self-evident, so I don’t know if he’s one of those libertarians who insists that anyone favoring a strong state is of “the left,” against the universal practice of historians and political scientists. Yes, I know, we are not sitting in the French Parliament, so the whole left/right framework is somewhat artificial, but the purpose of these words is not to assign virtue or vice but to provide information on whether someone is likely to favor a nationalist, culturally exclusivist/ traditionalist, and corporatist (in the sense of a hierarchical organization of the economy) perspective or one that is (relatively) more universalistic, egalitarian, secularist, and redistributist. I certainly object to communists, probably as much as Hadro objects to neo-Nazis, but have no objection to communists being referred to as the “far left.”

This is one “smear” that conservatives will just have to learn to deal with.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Hedda Peraz on August 07, 2012 10:48 AM:

    One man's "Liberal" is another man's godless communist, bent on destroying America.
    And, one man's "Conservative" is another man's evangelical fascist, bent on destroying america.
    Working together, they are well on their way to destroying america.

  • Peter C on August 07, 2012 10:48 AM:

    With the Republican Party having moved so far to the right, perhaps he'd prefer "mainstream" instead???

  • Mudge on August 07, 2012 10:53 AM:

    Keep in mind these are the people who use "liberal" as a perjorative, lavishly throw around "socialism" and write, in their serious prose, about Liberal Fascism.

    I say we call Page a Tea Party accolyte and let them howl about it.

  • golack on August 07, 2012 10:54 AM:

    Should we just quote all those radical righties suggesting a Muslim Brotherhood take over of the US as a counter point?

  • Anonymous on August 07, 2012 11:06 AM:

    A conservative objecting to empirical reality?!? That's unpossible!

  • bluestatedon on August 07, 2012 11:19 AM:

    "One man's "Liberal" is another man's godless communist, bent on destroying America."

    Who, for example?

  • beejeez on August 07, 2012 11:38 AM:

    What's that, bluestatedon? You haven't heard about the epidemic of mass shootings by godless communists in America?

  • exlibra on August 07, 2012 11:56 AM:

    Hedda is actually right...um...correct. It's all in one's perspective. For example: I've always considered myself to be a moderate, liberal pragmatist. But, in (socialist) Poland of my youth I was told I was a "rightist reactionary", while, once I arrived here, my husband often remarked that I'm a "flaming commie".

  • jjm on August 07, 2012 12:31 PM:

    I'm going to suggest that we call such despicable characters members of the "Far White." And then it can apply to ALL of the GOP, the Tea Party etc.

  • boatboy_srq on August 07, 2012 1:04 PM:

    jjm FTW.

    At the same time, Hadro is correct. People like Page have moved from the Conservatist fringe into the mainstream of GOTea politics: describing Page as "far right" is no longer applicable - but not because "far right" is a smear, but because "far right" has moved far enough for people like Page to become the center of the GOTea.

    Mind you, making Page more of a mainstream figure does not in any way make what we know of him appear any less of a flaming a@@hole - it just makes flaming a@@holery a far more prevalent attitude than is healthy.

  • c u n d gulag on August 07, 2012 1:26 PM:

    Let's see:
    Dude had every white-power tattoo known to man.
    He was a member of Nazi White Seperatist groups.
    Those groups hate Jews, all non-whites, most religions that are not Protestant and Christian, and Liberals.
    Dude was a member of several White Power "rock" bands.
    Those "rock" bands didn't record one singe version of "Kumbaya."

    Yup, he was obviously a flaming Liberal, and NOT a hard-core right-winger.

    Have Jonah Goldberg add a chapter to his book "Comservative Intellectuals."

    Oops, make that a different contradiction in terms - "Liberal Fascism."

  • Daddy Love on August 07, 2012 1:57 PM:

    Of course, Matt Hadro's objection has nothing to do with the accuracy of any sort of ontological categorization in this regard. His job is just to scream nonstop that right-wing terrorists are not right wing at all, and basically that no right wing terrorism exists. So, you know, Tim McVeigh, the Huttaree, the militia movement, Eric Rudolph, Christian identity, and so on have nothing to do with conservative political thinking, are not ever favored by conservative private citizens or politicians, and are not affected by racial or other animus encouraged by conservative politicians and political rhetoric.