Monday, October 22, 2012

The Loneliness of the Conservative Blogger (An Open Letter to Instapundit)

• Every day, for the past two weeks, Instapundit was mentioned twice on a French TV web channel in an in-depth one-hour debate between a conservative and a liberal blogger re-broadcast daily at 6 pm. (Right before the end, in the conservative's closing remarks, and some 20 minutes prior to that, the French audience was told "If you want to get a non-caricatured view of American conservatives, you should read the Instapundit blog from time to time".) Is this not worth mentioning on said Instapundit blog?

• Last week, a conservative blogger live-blogged the second presidential debate and the week before that, he live-blogged the vice-presidential debate. (Tonight, he expects to be live-blogging the third debate.) At all times, since he lives in Paris, these took place from 3 am to 4:30 in the middle of the night French time. Were those events not worth mentioning? (Related: What Mitt Romney Must Say at the Third Debate.)

• Last summer, a conservative blogger went on television and had an in-depth debate with a member of the mainstream media, giving as good as he could. May I reiterate that — all the while adding an exclamation mark? A conservative blogger — one of a valiant band of brothers united in fighting against the mainstream medias of countries of the world and the leftist élites in power throughout the west — participated in a televised debate on France 24 television (on its English-language channel) against a member of the mainstream media (Newsweek's Paris chief) and did his best to hit back at the MSM arguments — twice as hard, natch! Was that not worth a link? (If I am looking slightly dishevelled, it's because I had to cut short my vacation after being called up by the TV station the same day around noon and catch a high-speed train 800 km to Paris, where my only way of getting to the television studio in time was to speed from the Gare de Lyon train station on a motorcycle taxi…)

Full disclosure: The conservative blogger in all three paragraphs above was — is — myself.
And before I go on, let me make clear that I am not speaking for the whole blog, as not all my co-bloggers agree with this post, one of them saying that Instapundit will never link us again, plus they point out that nobody has a duty whatsoever to link to anybody you don't want — all of which, needless to say, I am in full agreement with.

And my fellow bloggers have talked me out of posting a version of this post in the past, but I have never been as nervous as now, two weeks before the election, what with the Democrats promising they are going to win the election (and knowing what kind of dirty tricks they are up to), and in these nail-biting times, I need to give some air to a number of arguments I have made over the past few years.

And even should Glenn Reynolds refuse to ever link us again (for which I will have to apologize to my co-bloggers), I will continue reading Instapundit avidly every day; continue suggesting to people I overhear dissing Romney or praising Obama to check out a couple of blogs including Instapundit; and continue linking post after post of his in discussion forums around the web (both in English and in French, on the blog of Le Monde's Washington correspondent, for instance). For the fight against liberalism, and for a beacon of liberty, one named America, is more important than any personal issues…

(Note: when mentioning that I quote Instapundit on discussion threads or quote Instapundit on our blog or will do such things as suggest Instapundit as a blog to read, whether in daily life or on TV, I am in no way saying, or suggesting, that Glenn Reynolds owes me anything or that he should even feel grateful. In fact, it is in no way a favor to him, it is a favor to myself, as copying and pasting an Instapundit post makes, if anything, commenting quicker and easier, while at the same time giving me not one outside authority to refer to, but two — Instapundit and the source the professor is quoting… Plus spreading conservative values, having more people (whether in America or abroad) understand them, and believe in them, through reading a blog like Glenn Reynolds', can only up the chances of bringing about the society conservatives like me dream of… Likewise, when I mention Instapundit on television, it's not gratuitous, to flatter him. I wouldn't mention Glenn Reynolds's blog on a show dealing with graphic novels or with the Danish royal family. And if on a political show I say, "If you want to get a non-caricatured view of American conservatives, you should read the Instapundit blog from time to time", it's because I truly mean it…)

Let me add that, believe it or not, I am not particularly interested in pageviews and stats — per se. A high number always rewarding, naturally, but what I am more interested in is fighting the good fight, and being praised by my fellow conservatives (when and if appropriate) and told whether the job I did was good or not and whether I have reason to feel some pride for a given post.

Because it's true, Professeur Reynolds, you have explained why in the past — that you are a limited resource (without interns). What's more, noone can deny that you have indeed linked No Pasarán in the past!!

But on the other hand, from a reader's perspective, it is hard to get away from the idea that Glenn Reynolds is an extraordinarily open and gentle soul, one who goes out of his way to quote readers and read liberally through a post's comments. "A reader writes such-and-such, reader So-and-So writes bla-bla-bla, Update: reader John Doe adds a link to such-and-such a website. Reader points to the article in such-and-such a magazine." Plus all the "From the comments" add-ons and update after update…

The thing is, I am all for quoting readers myself (whether they are known to me or not); they often deliver a deadly zinger that "says it all" (also known as a Heh™) or uncover an aspect of an issue that not many people have picked up upon (one recent example: Obama Comments on Diplomats Reveal a Lot About His Responsibilities, His Oath, and His View of the Presidency).

The other thing is, we at No Pasarán know perfectly well that we are not the Other McCain or Ann Althouse. One digs up unpublished scoops, gets into danger for his life, while the other is a fellow law professor. In fact, I am quite happy to admit that most of what we send you is destined to nothing else as appendages (updates) to existing Instapundit posts and rarely deserve original stand-alone status. Indeed, I would be perfectly happy never to see us quoted, appearing only — once in a while — as a More Here item.

But on the other hand, I do think we have interesting things to add once in a while, and if you will bear with me, I have added just a couple of examples over the years below (you can easily read it faster by focusing solely on the bold text).

Because at times it feels like being in a football team during a the Fall season, where the same players are called up again and again, while you stay mostly sitting on the side, twiddling your thumbs.

Perhaps a better illustration (for someone who has written An Army of Davids) is a war scenario.

I once wrote a post saying that
In the Army of Davids, you are Dwight (David) Eisenhower — the general-in-chief overseeing the fight against those who hate America, liberty, and the rights of the common citizen.
In a Pearl Harbour illustration, it is slightly different, while Honolulu is being machine-gunned — by the mainstream media and the various élites — you are the one firing back, and there are a bunch of us eager to hand the ammunition to you. And we go, excellent, that person next to us just handed him a handful of bullets, keep shootin'. That other guy is handing him some shells — good for him. And you hand him an ammunition magazine, and… most of the time you are ignored. Alright, no problem. Another man's bullets are gratefully accepted. Another man's ammo belt is eagerly taken. Again, you hand up your ammo magazine, and almost every time… nothing happens. When it happens again and again, you start wondering, What the…?! What am I doing here? What's the hell's wrong with my stuff?! Because of course we have no way of knowing what you turn down on a daily basis. (Like I said, it seems like you are open to accepting all sorts of readers and comments etc…)

And the worst thing is scratching one's head and wondering why the heck is the Blogfather turning our posts or our comments down?! Are my emails even reaching the Blogfather?
Or are they going into the professor's spam box?
If not, is he even opening them?
Does he trash them out when he sees who they're from?
Does the Blogfather think that I am sending him too much stuff?
Am I sending him not enough stuff? Would he prefer that I send only one post per email per day?
Would he prefer that I wait until the end of the week to send one email with designated posts (the best of) from that week grouped together? (No no, I do not send all, or even most, No Pasarán posts in; relatively few, I would say.)
Do I write too much in my introduction to the post?
Do I write not enough in my introduction to the post ?
Am I coming across as too formal?
Or am I assuming too much and acting too chummy?
Did someone start a malicious rumor behind my back? (nah, conservatives don't do dat sh•t…)
Is the Blogfather angry that I wrote InstaPundit with a capital P, instead of Instapundit with a lower-case p?
Maybe the Blogfather doesn't want emails at all, and he'll go visit a blog from time to time?!
(Except The Other McCain says he does, if not want, at least accept them…)
Should I have sent a special email to thank him when he does link a post?
Or will that just add to the bucketload, and would he rather I not?
Was I discourteous to one of the Blogfather's friends or fellow bloggers at CPAC once?
Maybe the Blogfather thinks that the No Pasarán blog is trash?
Maybe — oh, Lord! — the No Pasarán blog really is trash?!?!
Are we so bad that we deserve fewer links?
Is No Pasarán past its prime? Has it run its course? Should it shut down, once and for all?
Have I messed up while trying to order books from Amazon through Instapundit?
Did I forget to go through Instapundit the last time I ordered from Amazon (and can the Blogfather even find out about such things)?!

See all that worrying and hand-wringing, Monsieur Reynolds?!
You are turning me… into a liberal!!

The Dea(r)th of Foreign Blogs

In a sense, it is entirely understandable that foreign blogs should have waned in this day and age, given that Dubya and "his" war in Iraq are (was) no longer at the forefront of events and of the headlines — superceded, indeed, by what is easily a far greater danger — America's liberties eroded (deliberately eroded) from within, by "a little intellectual élite" of "do-gooders", elected or otherwise, "in a far-distant capital [who allegedly] can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves." (As Ronald Reagan also said in 1964, paraphrasing the testimony of a political refuge who had escaped from Castro's Cuba, "If we lose freedom here [in the United States], there is no place to escape to [link to photo of mine taken at the last McCain campaign event from 2008, right before election day in Miami, of a Cuban-American poster saying, appropriately enough, almost exactly the same thing as the political refuge quoted by the Gipper in 1964].  This is the last stand on earth." And Reagan added: "This is the issue of this election!")

(No Pasarán's German equivalent, Davids Medienkritik, has seemed to die a slow death, posting only seven posts in the past 12 months, only one single one of which appeared (so far) in all of 2012. No Pasarán tackled France while Davids Medienkritik tackled Germany, and we were both among the three finalists in the Weblog awards (Europe section) — twice — which you also won (deservingly) or were a runner-up to numerous times.)

But still. Us foreign blogs can have some interesting perspectives to share too, whether they come from a foreign, or from an international, perspective, or simply because we are fellow conservative bloggers, no matter what countries we are citizens of and no matter where we may be based, with interesting and sometimes thought-provoking things to say. (And we like getting quoted too…)

Notably, foreign policy.

And social and health services.

No Pasarán has amassed a wealth of links to fact-filled stories that contradict Obama's claims (and the Europeans' own boasts) about Europe's universal health care.

One Infamous Foreign Contributor 
of Obama's Campaign Identified?

Regarding all the newly-discussed rumors of the Obama campaign accepting foreign web donations: A year and a half ago, No Pasarán wrote to you about this, linking an E-Nough post identifying pretty specifically where part of the money seemed to come from. And if E-Nough was correct, it came not from just some anonymous joe. One of the foreign Obama campaign contributors seems to have been none other than Muammar Gaddafi! Remember: in March 2011, you wrote a post announcing that Gaddafi's son had revealed that the colonel had helped fund the campaign not of Obama but of another Western president, France's Nicolas Sarkozy. I emailed you a No Pasarán post linking the E-Nough post quoting a Gaddafi speech, in which the Brotherly Guide of the First of September Great Revolution of the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya does not state outright, but he does hint rather strongly, that he, along with
the people in the Arab and Islamic world and in Africa … may have even been involved in legitimate contribution campaigns to enable him [Obama] to win the American presidency.
Granted, wacky Gaddafi is or was hardly an authority on much, but the content of his speech, on the other hand, is hardly surprising.

Speaking of the Gipper, I think the honors to Ronald Reagan in Europe (notably Eastern Europe and mainly statues of the man) deserve to be mentioned — one in Prague, a statue in Budapest, and not one, but two statues, in Poland — with Lech Walesa (did we mention that like Obama he is the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize?) quipping that "Reagan should have a monument in every city"!

Three Stories I Considered "Gold" at the Time (And Still Do)

Before I bring this post to an end, I will recount three stories over the past two years or so with a foreign, or European, perspective where in particular I was thinking "these details are little known and unreported by the MSM, this is gold! this information deserves to get shared!"

• Do you remember the HBO "documentary" done by Nancy Pelosi's daughter in the South? The one from March 2012 which was shown on the Bill Maher show in which the comedian waxes thusly:
When I see the toothless guy, as a liberal, what I say is, "I want to help you get teeth!" Why does that make me an asshole?! (laughter) I don't understand why — "You damn Yankee, tryin' to get me teeth!" (laughter)
Meaning, of course, that clueless Americans should see the light, join the liberal club, and… introduce a system in America of free universal health care like those superb ones that are found in Europe.   A lot of conservative blogs in America hit back. But No Pasarán brought a perspective from Europe:  a couple of weeks prior to Alexandra Pelosi's second appearance on the Maher show, we had blogged about France's newspaper of record, Le Monde, publishing a report saying that dental costs are hardly covered by la Sécurité Sociale at all and, indeed, have never been so expensive. When you wrote about the Alexandra Pelosi/Bill Maher duet, I immediately wrote out a new post quoting Laetitia Clavreul's Le Monde articles; from the Frenchman who opted not to get five (!) teeth replaced and the French maid who had to settle for a botched-up job for her broken front tooth to the 49-year-old woman who no longer has any teeth at all and to the French teacher who would rather have holes in his mouth than wear a (humiliating) set of false teeth. I was going nuts that week. Link the story, Glenn! Link it! This is hitting back twice as hard! This finishes destroying Maher's argument! This is the final nail in his coffin! For the love of Christ, link it! Or so I went…

• Unless I am mistaken, I do not think that any American newspaper or blog has written anything of consequence about what amounts to as a massive transfer of sensitive military technology by a NATO ally to the Kremlin on Obama's watchFrance having decided to sell Russia its ultramodern helicopter transportation ship (to the horror of, among others, Georgia). I sent you story after story about the Mistral — many of them written by the most conservative pundit in the entire New York Times organization (far more so than David Brooks), the International Herald Tribune's Paris-based John Vinocur — and I think one single link would have been more than useful for Americans to understand to what degree the idealistic Obama White House has been deficient (or appeasing) in its relations with the Russian bear. The money quote comes in the French defense minister's excuse:
In Lisbon, I heard Barack Obama tell Dmitry Medvedev: "You're not just a partner but a friend." You can not blame France for delivering boats to a friend.
There you have it: that says all about Obama's idealistic foreign policy in a nutshell, doesn't it?!

When Frances Fox Piven was defended by sociologists and the mainstream media for being a target of the evil Glenn Beck in early 2011 (as someone doing nothing more than "calling for Gandhi-like nonviolent resistance"), you — rightly — hammered home, again and again and again, what those Greek riots that FPG wanted to see emulated in America were actually like:
… tens of thousands of protesters marched through Athens in the largest and most violent protests since the country’s budget crisis began last fall. Angry youths rampaged through the center of Athens, torching several businesses and vehicles and smashing shop windows. Protesters and police clashed in front of parliament and fought running street battles around the city.
Witnesses said hooded protesters smashed the front window of Marfin Bank in central Athens and hurled a Molotov cocktail inside. The three victims died from asphyxiation from smoke inhalation, the Athens coroner’s office said. Four others were seriously injured there, fire department officials said.
(Remember: this is even more noteworthy in retrospective, when one realizes that Piven's calls for "protests and riots" occurred before the advent of the Occupy Wall Street moment.) I felt the Wall Street Journal excerpt was outstanding, as well as Glenn's constant repetition of it, and it so happened that one day here while reading a European newspaper, I found material to illustrate the article: two photos of policemen engulfed in flames after being hit by a firebomb. Later, I found the video of one of the policemen, who turned out to be a motorcycle cop skidding down the street at full speed, getting struck by a club-wielding thug as he comes to a stop, before being hit by the molotov cocktail in an eruption of flames — almost as "exciting" as a scene from a Hollywood blockbuster. Keep spreading one of the photos and the video along with every repetition of the Wall Street Journal report, I figured, and Frances Fox Piven is finished.

In-Depth Posts of Dispassionate Analysis

I have already spent too much time on this, as I have not the slightest doubt you will agree, so I will be brief and finish up quickly.

At times, I have wanted to do to try and get to the bottom — to the very bottom — of an issue, just like an Abraham Lincoln or a Harry Jaffa. Using long research coupled with in-depth and dispassionate analysis, we have written a small handful of extra-length posts over the years, from a thorough dissection of the left's chickenhawk charge to the Why We Blog series (the "we" in Why We Blog applying to all conservatives). And one or two of the posts below are some I admit I wouldn't have minded being linked by the intellectual DJ of the blogosphere.

The JournoList Issue No One Is Bringing Up
One is the birther issue. (Out of a total of over 11,000 posts, No Pasarán has only mentioned the birther issue five times, so I feel confident in stating that none of us counts among any crazies.) I spent weeks on end on this post and I feel that, even though it came out before Obama finally released his birth certificate, it still holds up (with the addition of a couple of updates) very well. I don't believe anyone has linked the birther issue as much to the JourOlist scandal as we have, while comparing the Birthers with the Truthers and while taking the pivotal decision of contrasting the 2008 election with the campaigns of 1984 and 1988

To Understand Liberal Issues Like Gay Marriage Correctly, It Is Vital to Get the Basic Premises Right
Another issue is gay marriage. Again, I believe, rightly or wrongly, that we raise points raised nowhere else, notably pointing out exactly what had to happen beforehand for homosexuals to want to get married in the first place. And unless I am mistaken, our post is among the few who have called on a key constitutional scholar and on his books (none of which bother to address the issue of homosexuality outright, to the best of my recollection) to support our theses. (I will add that I believe that Harry Jaffa's A New Birth of Freedom should be required reading for all college students wishing to graduate — Just like W Cleon Skousen's 5000 Year Leap ought to be required reading for high school students to get their degree.)

• Some Thoughts on American Patriotism

Finally, No Pasarán has some "basic" posts where we keep adding (not least thanks to… Instapundit) new links so that the post in question forms one bountiful source of information.

Those "basic-themed' posts include:

The feminist war on men (with the bottom of the post featuring a dozen updates so far) and

What hides behind the adulation of European health care (it's the same post as the above-mentioned Bill Maher post, with new links added periodically at the bottom of the item). These link to thoroughly-written articles and posts laden with facts and figures — penned by Americans as well as by foreigners (French or Eastern European or other) — that pretty much unravel, if not destroy completely, the leftist argument that Europe's social services (and in particular France's) are the nirvana while America's health system has been (until Obama) little but a hellhole filled with wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Update: Thanks to…  (dramatic pause) Instapundit (!) for linking this post…