Jon Henke, a blogger at the Next Right, is attempting to organize a boycott of
Wingnut WorldNetDaily, the scandal-mongering, tinfoil-hat tabloid of the right. No doubt he was provoked for a while, but most recently by a piece which claimed Congress is considering legislation that "appears designed to create the type of detention center that those concerned about use of the military in domestic affairs fear could be used as concentration camps for political dissidents, such as occurred in Nazi Germany."
For Henke, a conservative whose site is billed as "the place for wired activists to build a new Republican Party and conservative movement," WND is an embarrassment. "The Birthers are the Birchers of our time," he wrote, "and WorldNetDaily is their pamphlet."
He's right, of course, WND is a horror show. But he seems to regard WND as the weirdo fringe that respectable conservatives have sidelined as they pursued their own noble causes. But WND's conspiratorial attacks on political enemies in fact drive an electorally indispensable segment of the Republican Party -- and even mainstream political news coverage. Henke added, "The Right has mostly ignored these embarrassing people and organizations, but some people and organizations inexplicably choose to support WND through advertising and email list rental or other collaboration." The right hasn't ignored them, though; it has capitalized on them.
Henke was fixated on getting the Republican National Committee to stop renting WND's mailing list -- but it won't, and why should it? Hasn't the Obama-is-a-scary-genocidal-socialist-Nazi-dictator served it well in re-creating its attack machine it mobilized to destroy the Clinton presidency? Even though WND is fringe in content, the narratives pushed by its correspondents often find their way into supposedly more respectable outlets and drive breathless cable TV "news" that raise "questions" about Obama's place of birth, and whether he's a Muslim, a terrorist sympathizer, or a closet socialist.
That stuff is the bread and butter of conservative gatherings. The author of the piece Henke objected to was Jerome Corsi, the Swiftboater long known for his fact-free, uh, "reporting" at WND, and more recently the author of The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and the Cult of Personality. I was handed copy of that book at this year's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the flagship annual gathering of conservatives, where charges that Obama was an anti-American socialist were flying not just from the mouths of the conference's most rabid soapboxers but from elected officials and presidential aspirants as well.
At the Values Voters Summit -- coming up in a few weeks -- where elected officials and presidential aspirants go to kiss the ring of the religious right, it's more of the same, with a religious gloss. This year's agenda includes workshops on how to get involved with the tea party movement, how global warming "hysterics" are pushing a "pro-death agenda" that includes a "final solution;" how to fight the liberal "thugocracy;" and how "Obamacare" will "ration your life away."
Eagle Forum founder and anti-feminist crusader Phyllis Schlafly will be honored at the Values Voters gala dinner with the James C. Dobson Vision and Leadership Award -- just one week before Eagle Forum sponsors the How to Take Back America conference in St. Louis. Guess who serves on the host committee for that conference? None other than Joseph Farah, WND's editor. And Schlafly's co-chair is Janet Porter of the decidedly tinfoil Faith2Action (and a frequent contributor to WND), who recently hosted a guest on her radio program who claims that a secret group of international bankers who control the Federal Reserve, the World Health Organization, and the U.N. are conspiring with the Obama administration to cause a "mass genocide" through the H1N1 flu vaccine.
Other "How to Take Back America" co-hosts include the Home Schooling Legal Defense Association (where would the GOP be without them?) and the "Christian nation" demagogues at WallBuilders (ditto)? Noted speakers include Michele Bachmann and Mike Huckabee, and workshops include topics like "How to recognize living under Nazis & Communists."
I last encountered Janet Porter at the Council for National Policy meeting in November -- the CNP is the exclusive, influential brain trust of the conservative movement's elites -- where she was distributing birther literature and chewing the ear of anyone who would listen. Schlafly was also there -- and she gave a speech to the CNP's Youth Council on "How to Find Your Place in the Conservative Movement."
So, good luck to Henke. If he can steer the conservative movement in a more constructive direction, more power to him. But I'm not holding my breath.