Few would disagree that it'd be a fine thing for everyone involved in the national discourse to act in a manner that, if not necessarily pleasant or in accordance with anyone's religious beliefs, abstains at least from goofy Internet threats. Let it be asserted and subsequently proven, then, that (a) Robert Stacy McCain has fallen short of the standard that I just sort of pulled out of thin air, that (b) he is nonetheless almost certainly a white supremacist, as has recently been alleged by the Charleston Gazette, that (c) he is perhaps the worst-behaved mainstream pundit in operation at this time, as evidenced by his threats towards the Gazette and his colorful comments regarding myself and an organization with which I serve, and that (d) the fact that this fellow has been successful within the confines of the modern conservative movement is as indicative as anything that the modern conservative movement operates under a more ridiculous totality of influence than even the sort of people who give you "365 Dumb Bush Quotes" calendars for your birthday would probably have guessed.
As noted, McCain is a mainstream figure. He did a stint as a features editor of The Washington Times and is co-author of Donkey Cons: Sex, Crime, and Corruption in the Democratic Party, which he wrote with partner Lynn Vincent, who herself just ghosted Palin's Going Rogue. He has meanwhile developed into a popular conservative blogger known for the relative cleverness of his turns of phrase as well as his, uh, pugnacity.
Which brings me to his pugnacity. Stacy McCain is a pugnacious fellow. He's threatened several times to actually drive over to the offices of the Gazette and do some sort of thing. And upon learning that I myself had pointed to his evident racism a few weeks back, he subsequently wrote: "Barrett Brown -- he'll get his in turn." Can you imagine Mickey Kaus or Matthew Yglesias doing something like that? Who does that? Stacy McCain does. An hour or so later, the fellow found that I serve as director of communications for a secularist political action committee called Enlighten the Vote and linked to our website with the following bizarre toy fascist incantation: "Thanks for this helpful information, sir. How many Philistines did Samson slay with less?" What the fuck? Sometimes a person will pretend not to understand what someone else means in order to convey that that someone is incomprehensibly foolish. That's not what I'm doing. I've actually thought about this for a long time and I have no idea what he's saying other than that it involves violence.
Incidentally, McCain has been accused of racism from so many directions largely because the totality of the facts clearly indicate that McCain is not only a racist but also not very good at concealing his racism. As I recently noted, he expresses concern over reports of teenage pregnancies among minorities while elsewhere laughing off reports of teen pregnancies in general. He's a member of the League of the South, which advocates for the legal secession of the southern states and otherwise celebrates the virtues of the Confederacy. This doesn't necessarily mean that he's sympathetic to racism. He could be really revved up about southern succession for reasons of something else. Other reasons. An eccentric taste for agriculture, perhaps. Incidentally, the president of that organization recently referred to this nation's sitting and former presidents as "domestic terrorists" and to our federal government as an "organized criminal enterprise."
A fellow editor at the Washington Times once characterized McCain as "an ill-tempered racist who sat on the other side of my desk for many years and carried on loud telephone conversations almost every day full of racist and ultra-right comments, and often got into loud verbal fights with both reporters and editors in the newsroom." McCain admits to having in the past carried on a long association with William White, the neo-Nazi writer and activist who threatened blogger Charles Johnson and harassed columnist William Pitts -- and whose articles have appeared in The Washington Times. Indeed, to be singled out at the Times for being a racist is a hell of a thing; even the former managing editor's wife has gone public with her assertions that blacks are born with collectively lower IQs than whites, and is otherwise tied to a variety of white supremacist organizations and outlets. All in all, McCain is simply more apt to find himself tied in some way to any given racist than is the average Joe except in such case as the average Joe is a racist like Robert Stacy McCain.
Even then, the problem with McCain and those who have joined him in stripping the conservative movement bare of dignity is not one of racism, but of incompetence. A political movement can survive the deserved enmity of a few ethnic groups; it cannot survive more than a couple guys running around threatening newspapermen to duels or whatever the fuck is going on these days.
Further updates available here.
HuffPost Politics brings you the top political stories three days a week. Learn more