If the catch-phrases in the headline mean nothing to you, then 9/11 really didn't change anything (and you should read Johnson's Wikipedia page to catch up). A super-condensed version of the 150-minute movie: Soft-spoken professional musician-slash-software guy politically of the center-left who had long been wary of jihadism catapults to post-9/11 Internet fame in Act I, is denounced as an anti-Muslim hatemonger (and praised as a steely-eyed War on Terror supporter) in Act II; then, with Dan Rather's crusty scalp in one hand and the shed skin of a ballyhooed media startup in the other, unleashes a suprise Act III twist upon Barack Obama's America–"Why I Parted Ways With the Right." I'll give the viewers just joining us a moment to catch their breath.
Excerpt from Johnson's 10-point "I Break With Thee" brief:
2. Support for bigotry, hatred, and white supremacism (see: Pat Buchanan, Ann Coulter, Robert Stacy McCain, Lew Rockwell, etc.) […]
6. Support for anti-government lunacy (see: tea parties, militias, Fox News, Glenn Beck, etc.)
7. Support for conspiracy theories and hate speech (see: Alex Jones, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Birthers, creationists, climate deniers, etc.)
8. A right-wing blogosphere that is almost universally dominated by raging hate speech (see: Hot Air, Free Republic, Ace of Spades, etc.) […]
10. Hatred for President Obama that goes far beyond simply criticizing his policies, into racism, hate speech, and bizarre conspiracy theories (see: witch doctor pictures, tea parties, Birthers, Michelle Malkin, Fox News, World Net Daily, Newsmax, and every other right wing source)
Johnson's goodbye-to-all-that provoked a similar response from another warblogger-turned Obama-era right-basher, Andrew Sullivan. Excerpt from that:
I cannot support a movement which has no real respect for the institutions of government and is prepared to use any tactic and any means to fight political warfare rather than conduct a political conversation.
I cannot support a movement that sees permanent war as compatible with liberal democratic norms and limited government.
I cannot support a movement that criminalizes private behavior in the war on drugs.
I cannot support a movement that would back a vice-presidential candidate manifestly unqualified and duplicitous because of identity politics and electoral cynicism.
I cannot support a movement that regards gay people as threats to their own families.
I cannot support a movement that does not accept evolution as a fact.
I cannot support a movement that sees climate change as a hoax and offers domestic oil exploration as the core plank of an energy policy.
I cannot support a movement that refuses ever to raise taxes, while proposing no meaningful reductions in government spending.
I cannot support a movement that refuses to distance itself from a demagogue like Rush Limbaugh or a nutjob like Glenn Beck.
As author of my own Farewell to Warblogging (and a committed fan of the freely flown freak flag) I hesitate to throw stones at complaints that certainly overlap with my own, other than to observe more generally that A) there was roughly nothing that we did know about George W. Bush's awful presidenting by 2004 and before, during which time many of his biggest 2009 critics were still focusing their ire on the moonbats who did not hold power, and B) Republicans right now do not hold power in Washington.
Doesn't mean that they should get a pass, nor that we shouldn't all be egging on whatever ideological civil war comes next (hopefully–though very doubtfully–one that produces a party that presents a legitimate limited-government alternative). But it does perhaps suggest that the heat of with-us-or-against-us polemicizing tends to careen people from one pole to the next, requiring ever-more dramatic (and entertaining!) stories of broken allegiances, party-left-me laments, and fresh rounds of shrill condemnations of Americans with whom you disagree. I'm all for throwing dog poop on shoes; here's hoping Johnson and Sullivan also point their considerable energies and withering skepticism at the people who actually run the country.