The Inquisitor Becomes the Heretic, Part I

Those unfamiliar with the right-wing blogosphere should understand that its writers and readership regard “elitist” as one of the worst insults one can levy. Favorite targets are “liberal media elites,” “inside-the-beltway elites,” and “effete conservative elites like Peggy Noonan, Ross Douthat and David Frum who sell out the movement so they get invited to Georgetown cocktail parties.”

Ace of Spades HQ is second-to-none in its disdain for elites and elitists. So it was fascinating when that label, so often used by lead blogger Ace as a cudgel, was turned against him by his own readership.

The dust-up began when Ace broke a cardinal rule of hard right blogs: thou shalt not criticize Sarah Palin. When she announced that she’d resign her post as Alaska governor, he wrote, “It’s over. You can’t resign from a governorship and then run for higher office. Barring some strong reason, like needing treatment for cancer.”

Many commenters agreed, but dissent started to bubble up. “Ace is doing his best Peggy Noonan imitation when he says it’s over,” one reader wrote. “Ace, take a sip o valu-rite and think this over,” another advised.

A subsequent post by another blogger at Ace of Spades HQ stirred the pot.

It’s one thing to say that “Sarah Palin can never regain credibility after resigning”, but – and please don’t take this as criticism towards my gracious bloghost Ace – a blogger who jealously guards his anonymity isn’t exactly the right person to tell me about how Sarah Palin should just suck it up and take all the unhinged criticism from cretins like Andrew Sullivan as “part of the job”.

The comments section of that post quickly gets interesting.

The only people who afre pushing this “game over BS” are the same people who were against her to begin with. Either Democraps or squishy Romneyites… If you are professing to be a “conservative” and you find yourself making the same argument the Dems are making you need to question something.

Another sample:

Palin is going to do an end run around all you media idiots and

political insiders…………..She doesn’t need you…..All she has to do is go to the people..normal people…..they will follow her.

Smell the fear.

What blew up this powder keg? Seems like it was Ace jumping into the comments section:

I am really tired of being slammed for being the guy who doesn’t just want to go along with silly fantasies and dreams because they’re pleasant… I’m sick to death of being told that my addiction to reality and aversion to fantasy is somehow cowardly or defeatist or lacking in virtue.

He posted two consecutive follow-up comments too. And then another:  “I just want to be left alone and not by insulted for not having the conservatively-correct level of F A I T H in these things. I am tired of the bullying.”

Curiously, Ace’s oversensitivity suddenly enables him to precisely diagnose flaws in movement conservatism he’s never bothered much about before.

It is childish. Someone offers a contrary opinion in good faith, their reasons for the opinion clearly and unambiguously expressed, and the childish magical thinkers start insulting him and coming up with alternative explanations — the REAL explanations — as to why this LIAR and DEFEATIST is now spreading such obvious untruths.

…People can disagree without resorting to insane nutroots bullying and tossing about the “RINO/DEFEATIST/TRAITOR” shit left and right.

“Aw, ace, maybe you need to develop a thicker skin,” a commenter fired back. “Buck up, there ya go, put on the big girl pants.” Soon after, even lower blows are dealt. “I do not think you are a RINO or a lefty stooge or traitor or any of that other stuff,” reads comment #288. “But, I do think you are too enamored of the Belt Way mode of thinking.”

Commenter #294: “Jesus, when did this place (and many like it) become friggin’ HuffPo and DU?”

Comment #310 even demands propaganda: “if Ace gets a little testy after taking some flak from his own readers, I wonder how he’d feel after being ass-raped with a hot poker 24/7 for 10 months by the national media and our cultural elites. Ace, would it kill you to at least attempt engaging in a little positive spin on Palin’s actions?”

By then, Ace has had enough. In comments #311, #312, and #313, he threatens to put himself in timeout:

Whatever. I can’t deal with you people. I’m taking the week off. Yeah: Here’s the positive spin. I’m not blogging for a week. You can fill up the threads with positive spin. Remember, if you can just drive out all opinions contrary to yours, you can change reality! So I’ll give you a week to test your theory. Only positive spin comments allowed (and no posting for me; like Palin, I’ve fucking had enough). After a week we can see if you’ve changed reality just by bullying those who disagree with you into parroting your opinion.”

He’s back soon enough:

I do not mind being called wrong. I do, however, greatly mind being called a traitor, of harboring a secret agenda I hide from you in order to advance the MSM’s interests, etc., and all the rest of this insane bullshit. Someone can be wrong HONESTLY, without the need of claiming he’s wrong dishonestly, wrong because he’s actively intending to subvert the cause (so he can of course get invited to these famous DC dinner parties, etc.).

It’s worth reading one more of Ace’s comments at length. Also interesting if you haven’t had enough!

So does Ace take the week off? Do commenters continue to pillory him? Does he continue to overreact even though the bulk of commenters aren’t attacking him at all?

Stay tuned!

All will be revealed in my next post

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3 Responses to “The Inquisitor Becomes the Heretic, Part I”

  1. Conor Friedersdorf - Metablog - The Inquisitor Becomes the Heretic, Part II - True/Slant Says:

    […] a prior post, I explained what happened when Ace, a hard right blogger, dared to suggest Sarah Palin hurt her future political prospects by […]

  2. Conor Friedersdorf - Metablog - Ace Explains the Pathologies of His Readers - True/Slant Says:

    […] reading parts one and two of my Ace of Spades HQ coverage, a reader forwarded me an interesting exchange that […]

  3. TBogg » A Cannibal King with a big nose ring Fell out of love with a dusty maiden Says:

    […] then they turn on each other. “Aw, ace, maybe you need to develop a thicker skin,” a commenter fired back. “Buck up, […]

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