Let Slip the Blogs of War

While the long weekend rolled on, a pro-war web group called the Victory Caucus was attracting thousands of visits and (they claim) pledges to donate money and organization to the defeat of anti-war Republicans.

Amid a mounting campaign in Congress to limit Bush's military options, conservatives led by talk show host Hugh Hewitt have created an advocacy group designed to counter the anti-war MoveOn.org. And its first round of targets will be the 17 GOP lawmakers who voted for last week's Democratic resolution in the House opposing the troop increases.

First in the sights of the new Victory Caucus is Rep. Ric Keller, R-Fla., whose district includes Orlando... Keller is a prime target, organizers say, because of his House speech last week comparing the Iraq war with a neighbor's unkempt lawn. "Imagine that you have a next-door neighbor who refuses to mow his lawn, and the weeds are up to his waist," Keller said. "You mow his lawn for him every single week. The neighbor never says thank you, he hates you and sometimes he takes out a gun and shoots at you. Under these circumstances, would you keep mowing his lawn forever?"

This is a natural (and rapid) evolution of the pro-war blogosphere, which a few weeks ago was merely pledging not to donate to anti-war Republicans. It would be very, very easy to argue that the Victory Caucus is the ultimate in armchair warrior chic, the natural end of warblogging's devolution. But this would be wrong. It's an unalloyed good for people to use the internet to band together and defeat politicians. The Victory Caucus people are the mirror universe version of the netroots supporters of Ned Lamont, so it's obviously within their power to knock off a Republican congressman and terrify the D.C. establishment. (It's also in their power to fall short and piss off their target, producing a Republican or independent congressman who's more anti-war than ever before. Still...)

As far as pro-war coalitions go, this is the opposite of the namby-pamby and pathetic Euston Manifesto. That's just another web petition; this is an insurgency. This'll attract some actual passion and cash.

I assessed the growth of political blogs back in 2006; also, I sang the praises of the anti-GOP establishment Club for Growth.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    I respect his position, but they should oust Ric Keller for using such a lame metaphor.

  • ||

    "[C]onservatives led by talk show host Hugh Hewitt have created an advocacy group designed to counter the anti-war MoveOn.org. ...."

    I hope they call it "slog_on.org."

  • Franklin Harris||

    It's an unalloyed good for people to use the internet to band together and defeat politicians.

    Or it would be if defeating politicians didn't entail electing new ones.

  • clone12||

    It's also in their power to fall short and piss off their target, producing a Republican or independent congressman who's more anti-war than ever before.

    I'm not convinced that Joe Lieberman would be less devoted to the Iraq mess in the absence of Ned Lamont.

    As an aside, when did Libertarians start mocking political insurrections that fall short?

  • ||

    I understand Mr Weigel's enthusiasm for anti-political organizing but, from a purely strategic standpoint, this is not a good thing for the Republican Party. Simply put, it is not easy to unseat a sitting Congressman. Once the giant is slain, however, the field is wide open. Thus the group's self-destructive tactic is to replace a known quantity with who knows what? If even a quarter of the currently safe Republican seats he has targeted are lost to the Democrats in the shuffle, that represents a devastating defeat for the GOP as a whole. Mass turnovers like the 2006 blowout are rare; most majorities are built up slowly, over time. The Republicans, already reeling from 2006, cannot afford this.

    Not that I care, of course. I'd vote for a yellow dog before I'd vote Republican. I really did vote for Harry Browne in 2000. If Hugh Hewitt wants to destroy the Republican Party from within, well, that's just dandy with me. I find interesting, however, his assertion that campaign contributions are essentially unlimited and he need only multiply the number of targets and that much more money will flow in. I think he's mistaken. He is diverting money aimed at anti-war Democrats to attack anti-war Republicans. This is not the final devolution of "warblogging" but the final devolution of the radical right: they are neither Republican nor Democrat. They are the War Party.

  • Jennifer||

    James, I'm sorry, but your argument essentially boils down to: Well, better the evil we know than the one we don't. I can't deal with that any more. If this is what it takes to get some response from the Republicans, so be it. We can't sit backa nd gamble with our security because we're afraid of a few years of higher taxes and more government regulation.

    My only regret is that it didn't happen before the 2006 midterms - too many people were saying that the Republicans would have to sit up and notice because they wouldn't chance letting the midterms slip away.

    Whoops.

    We won't make that mistake again.

  • ||

    I understand that pro-war Republican bloggers would want to unseat these guys, but if successful would result in more Democrats being elected.

    Unless things change dramatically in Iraq before 2008, the electorate will likely be less pro-war than they are now. If they knock off some sitting anti-war Reps in the primaries for more blood-and-guts / take the gloves off types, there will be some Dem pick-ups.

    Victory Caucus is partying like it's 2003.

  • ||

    The early line in D.C. for 2008: Dems win White House; Dems pick up 5 more Senate seats; Dems pick up 20 more House seats. Hold on to your hats. But then the GOP has always been more effective, from a libertarian standpoint, in a minority role.

  • ||

    "We can't sit backa nd gamble with our security"

    I don't see how the war in Iraq is making us more secure. If anything, it is making us less secure by creating more hatred and terrorism directed against Americans.

  • ||

    Unless the Republicans cast off the neoconservatives and get back to their anti-war roots, they will go down in the next election and Bill and Hillary will waltz their way back into the White House. That's a dance I don't want to see.

  • ||

    Jennifer: I think you completely misunderstood the spirit of my comment. I don't really give a damn about the Republican Party one way or another. I was merely pointing out, from a strategy standpoint, that Hewitt's enthusiasm for diverting his bile from antiwar Democrats to antiwar Republicans was bad for the GOP. The GOP will lose seats over it because open seats will split along the current faultlines while incumbent seats are safe.

    Frankly, the Republican Party probably needs a civil war to purge the religious progressives and armchair gladiators from its ranks. If Hewitt provokes one by attacking the tiny number of sensible Republicans, well, so be it. Hewitt and his ilk won't be happy until the Republicans become a class/regional party that controls rural Southern schoolboards and not much else.

    And that's just fine with me. "Socialism or barbarism!" cried Rosa Luxemburg. I never would have thought that was true, but that seems to be what we're stuck with. A vote for the Republicans is a vote for Creationism, for war without reason or reflection, for a prison state, a surveillance state, a theocracy, a checkpoint society. In a word: barbarism. The only real hope is that one of the major parties immolates itself and, right now, the Republican Right are playing with fire. Groovy.

  • ||

    "I assessed the growth of political blogs back in 2006; also, I sang the praises of the anti-GOP establishment Club for Growth."

    So why on earth do you write for Reason?

  • ||

    "As an aside, when did Libertarians start mocking political insurrections that fall short?"

    Reason isn't Libertarian

  • ||

    The anonytrolls are so bold and witty.

  • ||

    It has been said that the GOP needs to move back towards conservatism to win. I tend to agree, however, many republicans seem to disagree since Rudy is their front runner.

    A question for 2008, will republicans show they have little interest in conservative principles and elect a social liberal?

  • ||

    It has been said that the GOP needs to move back towards conservatism to win. I tend to agree, however, many republicans seem to disagree since Rudy is their front runner.

    A question for 2008, will republicans show they have little interest in conservative principles and elect a social liberal?


    Giuliani's ascendancy reinforces what we already know: The modern GOP values authoritarianism above all other principles. Honestly, I think the GOP primary voters can get over their anti-gay and abortion hangups, but only as a means to an end. They want a strongman, someone who will tell them what to do, someone who will give them marching orders. Giuliani fits this bill. Don't be fooled by his social liberalism -- it won't turn off people who actually embrace the label "ditto-heads" (if that isn't a screaming invitation for an authoritarian leader, I don't know what it is).

  • ||

    Let me get this straight: the "victory caucus" consists of Republicans who want to keep staying the course in Iraq. Their strategy to achieve this is by challenging incumbent Congressmen in primaries. The Congressmen they're targetting are Republicans in competetive districts who agree with the majority of the population on Iraq policy. If they succeed, they will be campaigning for newbie Republican candidates who are on the wrong side of the public on Iraq, against Democrats who will presumably be with the majority on that issue. And they are doing all of this in the hope of achieving a pro-Iraq War majority.

    Gee, I wonder why the Iraq War isn't going well.

    "Victory Caucus." Who says irony is dead?

  • ||

    "The anonytrolls are so bold and witty."

    And if I Google "Chris S" will I get your address and phone number?

    One of the disturbing traits of the postersa here is that when someone posts someting they don't agree with, they pull out the troll card.

    If you think the staff at Reason is Libertarian, you are sorely mistaken / missled.

  • ||

    Anonytroll,

    You're not a troll because we don't know your phone number. You're a troll because the only posts associated with your one-time callsigns are one-liners without any explanation or support. Surely you're not trying to start a serious debate, nor are you trying to convince us of anythig or offer any new substantive arguments. You're either venting or shouting for attention, which makes you a troll.

  • ||

    Oh, and I don't care if any of the Reason staff are "Libertarians." Why would I?

  • ||

    You know, not a single one of the worshipful allusions to Drug Warrior extraordinaire Ronald Reagan ever produces even a single accusation that Reason isn't libertarian. It's on the righties who ever take up that particular brand of ref-working.

    The proliferation of such accusations over the last year should open a lot of libertarians' eyes. Congratulations, Reason Magazine. You are now the Liberal Media.

  • ||

    Huh, just checked out the site and here are the "Board of Directors" for the organization:
    Dean Barnett - Blogger/columnist
    Austin Bay - Columnist/Blogger
    Matthew Currier Burden - Former Soldier/Blogger with a chip because Newsweek didn't write about his friend who was KIA.
    Frank Gaffney - Asshat Extrordinare
    Hugh Hewitt - Columnist
    Ed Morrissey - Blogger
    "Publius" - Blogger
    "Joe Gish" - Blogger

    You know, I am not going to call any credentials into question but they are definitely the right-wing answer to MoveOn.org. I hope they endorse McCain and have the same "winning" track record as MoveOn.

  • ||

    Let me expand upon my previous post. I hope that anybody they endorse has the same track record as the candidates endorsed by MoveOn. McCain is the first one that popped into my head.

  • ||

    joe,

    The point is not to achieve a pro-war majority in Congress. The point is to punish "traitorous" Republicans. If doing so causes the Republican party to bleed away all of its seats in Congress, so be it.

    Sort of like we had to punish that Iraqi dictator for being EVIL. It didn't matter that he was doing a swell job checking Iranian influence in the Mideast, he had to go. God will provide a means for us to deal with Iran now...have faith.

  • ||

    crimethink,

    "The point is not to achieve a pro-war majority in Congress. The point is to punish "traitorous" Republicans."

    Then why aren't they called the Revenge Caucus?

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement