Political Animal


December 03, 2012 1:25 PM Stepping Onto the Right’s Shining Path

By Ed Kilgore

In case anyone is keeping score, it’s now nearly a month since the 2012 elections took place, and signs of a “struggle for the soul of the Republican Party” remain faint and marginal. Sure, there’s lots of talk about better messaging and fresh leadership and “outreach” to this or that constituency, but with the exception of a mild shift by some conservatives on immigration reform and a grossly overstated “rebellion” by an even smaller group against Grover Norquist, there’s not much there there.

But if we’re all being encouraged to shoot fireworks in the air every time a Republican admits that conservative ideology might not be infallible, we should pay some attention to those on the Right who are moving in the opposite direction, viz. a personal manifesto from Daily Caller reporter Matthew Boyle who has publicly gone guerilla by joining the Breitbart Shining Path. A small sample from a large rant:

The political class in Washington has degraded America. Republicans and Democrats blame each other, and nothing gets done. The media exacerbates the problem, fans the flames and encourages false notions of “civility” and “objectivity” while pushing “bipartisanship” that doesn’t actually solve problems.
While this charade perpetuates indefinitely, America grows weaker. She’s digging herself deeper into debt and isn’t even searching for solutions to her problems. Entitlements and government overspending gets worse every day while laws go unenforced and Americans are murdered in terrorist attacks. Nobody in Washington seems to care.
The institutional left thrives in this declining environment. Record numbers of people are on the government dole instead of being excited to work and succeed. So-called “social justice” is implemented in place of real justice. Kids across the country are fed “Occupy” propaganda in school after their teachers take away their home-made lunches in place of “cafeteria nuggets.”
Many political consultants and career politicians on both the left and the right think this is a game. It’s not.
The journalists at Breitbart News know that. And they show it day in and day out. That’s why I’m joining them.

Now and then in this tirade Boyle refers to the determination of his and his new colleagues in “Andrew Breitbart’s army” to go after “corruption” among Republicans as well as Democrats. Best I can tell, “Republican corruption” refers to GOPers who haven’t joined Breitbart’s Army. He never comes right out and associates his former employers at The Daily Caller with this pestiferous RINOism, but the self-dramatization of his job change certainly implies so—which is interesting, since the DC has fished in the very same scandal-mongering and conspiracy-theorizing as the netizens of the Breitbartian Shining Path.

Betsy Rothstein of MediaBistro has great sport with Boyle’s cri de couer:

Matthew, please step away from the computer and put the metaphor down. You’re sounding like a cleaning service on drugs. Cult deprogrammers please take note. We’re getting into the weeds here of all that’s going to be needed to brainwashing Boyle back to his true self. You have a tough job ahead of you

But if you can find a better example of what James Vega, J.P. Green and I called “the politics of warfare” in a Democratic Strategist piece a little over a year ago, I’d probably pay money to be spared reading it. Yeah, Boyle (who is 25 years old) sounds a lot like an overgrown sophomore who just discovered Che Guevara, but the last thing the Daily Caller needs is a data point suggesting it’s insufficiently militant in its service to The Cause.

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.


  • TCinLA on December 03, 2012 1:45 PM:

    Matthew Boyle - Generation y-bother.

  • BillFromPA on December 03, 2012 1:46 PM:

    Actually I'm not interested in seeing the GOP come to their senses, leave the bubble, face reality or whatever the pundits say they should do. I'm happy to see that the overarching reaction by the repugs is that they didn't nominate a 'True Conservative' and that there will be more bat$hit craziness in 2016. I'm amazed when someone on our side proclaims that we NEED a sane, reality based GOP. No we don't. Eff them, let the 'baggers sink the whole party or at least confine them to the Slave States where their attitudes are the rule, not the exception.

  • martin on December 03, 2012 1:59 PM:

    I can't wait to read what he writes when Mom kicks him out of the basement.

  • g on December 03, 2012 2:00 PM:

    The difference between Breitbart and The Daily Caller is like the difference between the People's Front of Judea and the Judean Peoples' Front.

    I would imagine that Matthew left in a snit over someone taking his lunch from the office fridge, or was pushed out for doing the same.

  • T2 on December 03, 2012 2:05 PM:

    you think they are crazy now? Just wait until 2016 when Hillary is inaugurated.

  • T2 on December 03, 2012 2:06 PM:

    well, technically, 2017.

  • boatboy_srq on December 03, 2012 3:12 PM:

    @T2: Spot on.

    The implosion will be too, too fun. Everyone stock up on popcorn. And I'd bet we'll see the first signs in 2015 when she starts talking about a possible announcement.

    Captcha: Terrifyi OPEN. To the GOTea, I'm sure it will be.

  • exlibra on December 03, 2012 3:48 PM:

    martin, @1:59 PM

    [...]his mom kicks him out of her basement, and the dreadful ACA yanks the health insurance she's been supplying him with...

  • trex on December 03, 2012 5:02 PM:

    Man I sure hope this post gets linked to some idiotic right-wing echo chamber so we can have some sport with the hyperventilating mouth-breathers who show up wearing their "Wolverines!" cotton tees and shaking their little plastic swords. Nothing says "mired in puerile fantasy" like half-wit blog denizens solemnly pronouncing themselves an "army" or "strike force" against the forces of modest taxation, social programs, and education. In mental health circles the shorthand for this behavior is called "Peter Pan Syndrome" but I don't know the technical name for it.

  • Peter C on December 03, 2012 5:16 PM:

    Conservatives sure do love their 'cults of personality'. Breitbart's only real innovation was to capitalize on the opportunities for hucksterism created when journalism is divorced from ethics. It's sad that this qualifies him for cannonization among Republicans, but not surprising, I guess.

  • Andy Olsen on December 03, 2012 5:34 PM:

    Republicans are the new Maoists.

    * Ideologically driven, rigid and "pure." Check.
    * Conduct purges of the ideologically impure. Check.
    * Construct their own alternative ideological reality. Check.
    * Angrily denounce anyone who does not agree with them. Check.

    Steal this meme.

  • Epicurus on December 04, 2012 2:50 PM:

    "You keep using this word 'journalists'; I do not think this word means what you THINK it means." "Journalism" is not what is practiced at Dead White Guy's web site. Not even close...good luck, Matthew; you're going to need it.