The Election Made Me Do it


Not at all to pick on self-made political commentator, web entrepreneur, and alleged global warming flip-flopper Charles Johnson, but a recent interview he gave explaining his dramatic I-break-with-thee letter to the Right contained as neat an explanation I've seen for why you shouldn't trust any partisans in the heat of an election:

I know you voted for John McCain, and after the election, I think either your first or second post you noted that the Muslim Brotherhood was pleased.

Well that was true.

But what does the Muslim Brotherhood think of Sarah Palin? HUH???

There's not a part of you that cringes when you hear that post?

No, I think it's important for people to know these things. Because it's true that the Muslim Brotherhood was pleased when Obama was elected. But I don't think they're quite as pleased now. He's pretty much kept a lot of the foreign policies of the Bush administration intact.

How do you think Obama's doing so far?

I've actually changed my mind quite a bit about Barack Obama. You know how things are during an election, everybody gets hyper-partisan, and I guess I was guilty of that as much as anyone. But I've seen him be a lot more centrist than I ever expected during the election, based on his background, and the people that he got his political start with, you know, Bill Ayeres [sic], Reverend Wright. If I had to go back, knowing what I do now, I probably would have voted for him.


Also, I've become extremely negative toward Sarah Palin.

Didn't you feel that way in the beginning?

I was skeptical of her, but I was ready to defend her, because it was hyper-partisan time.

Link via L.A. Observed.

NEXT: What Does the Congressional Budget Office Say About Health Care Reform?

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  1. The reason for his flip flop was pretty simple, his readership was down. He had picked various fights with people and gradually people on the Right stopped reading LGF or were banned for disagreeing with him. So, he just flipped to the other side.

    Both sides love it when someone from the otherside flips. They can then point to that person and say “you guys are so crazy even so and so can’t stand you anymore”. Flipping to the other side is a pretty cheap way for a pundit to revive his career or a blogger to revive his readership. By flipping left, Johnson went from increasingly strange, bitter and irrellevent rightwing blogger to gettting mentioned on Rachel Maddow’s show. If your only interest is getting attention and readership, it was a pretty smart move.

    1. By flipping left, Johnson went from increasingly strange, bitter and irrelevant right-wing blogger to an increasingly strange, bitter and irrelevant left-wing blogger.

  2. Left wing, right wing — a plague on both their damned houses. The only remaining difference between the two is what excuses they’ll use to take your freedom away.

    1. I’m glad you didn’t feel that way on election day Jennifer.Thanks again for your vote.

      1. Oh snap.

    2. A plague on your damned house, you centrist bitch! The only difference between you and them is that they’ve got some idea what they really believe.

      1. That might almost make sense if she were a centrist.

        But you just wanted an excuse to call a woman a bitch, so making sense is secondary.

  3. So it’s now ‘centrist’ to run up trillion dollar deficits?

    Fuck that shit. Centrist = evil.

  4. CJ has never impressed me, even when I agree with him on some issues. Very Hateful, not matter what side of the fense he’s one. And many of his reasons for flipping seem to boil down to “the right winger bloggers are mean.” Well, he should know. Besides, I don’t like many bloggers on either side – but that fact doesn’t influence my convictions.

  5. What does “parting ways with the right” even mean? Has this guy changed his philosophical beliefs, or is it just he no longer like the most famous people who espouse his beliefs?

    1. CJ always was on the left, but he was “mugged by 9/11,” as they say. It happened to a few liberals that I know. Doesn’t mean that he changed views on very many issues. It just means that he was in broad agreement with the right on the most significant issue of the first half of the decade.

      As the perception of the threat of another 9/11 waned, and as the tensions between the west and the Muslim world lessened, the latent fissures between CJ and the right appeared.

      It’s not that remarkable of a turn. You can’t even call it an Andrew Sullivan move because unlike Mr. Loads, CJ never claimed to be a conservative. What is a bit astonishing is that CJ spent years chronicling every deranged statement made on Palestinian cable access shows, as proof that the whole culture was rotten to its core and violent. Now, of course, attending a speech by an author who once had lunch with a low-level member of a European nationalist party makes you an Islamophobe and a racist according to CJ.

  6. Say Kids, can you say ‘Shameless Opportunist’? Yes, I thought you could.

  7. ‘Doesn’t mean that he changed views on very many issues. It just means that he was in broad agreement with the right on the most significant issue of the first half of the decade.’

    That’s how it often works, not just on the ‘War on Terror,’ either.

    A guy can be going along merrily, a contented liberal, accepted as such by his associates, endorsing the welfare/warfare state, fretting that the people aren’t patriotic enough to accept higher taxes, fantasizing about new federal welfare programs . . . and then, suddenly, on one issue, he starts feeling uncomfortable with the liberal position du jour. Sometimes that simply means that there’s a Hot New Liberal Cause that liberals only just latched onto, whose importance they have just discovered, and the poor guy doesn’t switch over to the new cause fast enough. Indeed, he actually voices some criticism of the new cause. To be sure, he surrounds his criticism with plenty of reservations – ‘I’m no right-wing fanatic, but I’m skeptical about this new idea of selling stem cells to Dubai to pay for gay marriage.’ At first, he will insist that he’s Still A Liberal, Acting in the Best Liberal Tradition: ‘I’m still for a federal welfare state and mandatory sensitivity training for all white male employees of large companies, so you can’t doubt by liberal bona fides just because of this one issue, right?’ Then it turns out that his liberal bona fides *can* be doubted, and he starts getting denounced as a renegade by other liberals. Then the conservatives come in to praise his courage and offer their support. Next thing he knows, he’s more comfortable around the conservatives than the liberals, he’s invited to conservative events and stops getting invitations to liberal ones, and the transformation is complete!

    But he remains a liberal at heart, and sometimes he can’t take it anymore and makes some formal declaration that he’s Breaking With the Right – a gesture which makes liberals willing to welcome him back into their ranks despite his heresies.

    1. Yep, pretty much. Except that you only get to pull this sort of switcheroo once and maintain your credibility. I’m sure that many on the left are delighted to have the guy who made his name with Rathergate, but anyone with a brain on the left has to be skeptical now that CJ has shown himself to be mercurial.

      Sullivan has only pulled the switcheroo once, so there’s reason to believe that his shift leftward may be permanent. If he switches again, no thinking person on the right should welcome him back.

      Incidentally, I think the odds are pretty good that Sullivan will lurch back rightward, at least sorta. Obama’s going to sell him out on gay rights. The handwriting is going to be on the wall by this summer. Obama and the Democrats aren’t going to attempt a repeal of DADT or DoMA close to the mid-terms, and after the GOP gains seats it’s going to be a non-starter, so if Obama doesn’t tackle it right away in 2010, it’s not going to happen. As soon as Sullivan figures that out, the Obama thrill will be gone. All it will take is an appealing libertarian/liberal Republican to cause Sullivan to swoon.

  8. I’ve seen him [Obama] be a lot more centrist than I ever expected during the election

    If the past year has been centrist, I hate to imagine what Charlie’s expectations were.

    1. He just wanted the chocolate ration to go up to 20 grammes.

  9. I always figured he was angling for a job at MSNBC.

  10. So when we hear that techno beat, with Charles Johnson’s voice repeating “It’s hyper-partisan time” we know not to trust anything coming out of his mouth. Check.

  11. Shorter Charles Johnson :

    Anything I say should be disregarded.

    1. “I didn’t really say all that stuff I said.”

  12. “I’ve become extremely negative toward Sarah Palin.”

    Well, thank god someone has finally decided to write something negative about her. I was wondering if someone as important Charles Johnson would finally take on the might Sarah Palin and slay her like a dragon, since she’s such a threat to……um……..ah..well, she really is stupid, right? Let’s BURN HER!!

  13. His logic is similar to somebody saying they don’t watch football anymore because OJ murdered his wife.

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