Tuesday afternoon, Matt Drudge, the notorious paleoconservative fire-eater and former mentor to Andrew Breitbart, tweeted, “It’s now Authoritarian vs. Libertarian. Since Democrats vs. Republicans has been obliterated, no real difference between parties…” He rapidly followed it up by tweeting, “Why would anyone vote Republican? Please give reason. Raised taxes; marching us off to war again; approved more NSA snooping. WHO ARE THEY?!”
Since the late 1990s, The Drudge Report has been the go-to news destination for the Republican Party and the conservative movement, not to mention some of the more hackish members of the news media. While Fox News Channel was still in its infancy, Drudge was already the standard-bearer for a blossoming right-wing answer to the so-called “liberal news media.” He was one of the primary cheerleaders for the invasion of Iraq, as well as an apologist for every bungled scheme and trespass of the Bush administration, including such issue areas as waterboarding, warrantless eavesdropping, climate crisis debunking and so forth. For Drudge to so publicly and resoundingly reject the Republican Party, and to do so in a way that sounded eerily similar to something Glenn Greenwald or David Sirota would blurt (minus the “raised taxes” gripe of course) was shocking to observe.
It should be clear by now exactly what’s going on.
As the far-right and the far-left grow increasingly pissy about their respective stations, and, more importantly, the fact that the two major parties are rightfully taking them less seriously by the day, these two seemingly disparate factions are converging under the banner of libertarianism. Strange given how libertarianism has been historically associated with the far-right, but these groups, having moved so far to the extremities of the political spectrum, have clearly found enough common ground to join forces.
Not too long ago, Wikileaks founder, Snowden-booster and radical transparency hero Julian Assange, whose self-beclowning continues unabated by the way, effusively complimented Drudge, Rand Paul and Ron Paul.
Regarding Drudge, Assange said:
“Matt Drudge is a news media innovator. And he took off about eight years ago in response to the Monica Lewinsky scandal.”
Assange claimed that Drudge made his name by “publishing information that the establishment media would not. It is as a result of the self-censorship of the establishment press in the United States that gave Matt Drudge such a platform and so of course he should be applauded for breaking a lot of that censorship.”
A few things on this before we get to the Paul quote. First, the Lewinsky scandal was in 1998 — not “eight years ago.” But I nitpick. Assange also seems to be mistaking the posting of misleading headlines and all-caps blurbs for “breaking a lot of that censorship” using information “the establishment media” won’t print. Well, given how The Drudge Report is mostly composed of a jumble of links to websites owned by “the establishment media,” I don’t know what the hell Assange is talking about.
When asked about libertarian evangelists Ron and Rand Paul, Assange said: “The only hope as far as electoral politics presently, is the Libertarian section of the Republican party. [I] am a big admirer of Ron Paul and Rand Paul for their very principled positions in the U.S. Congress on a number of issues.”
Assange isn’t alone in his admiration for the Pauls. As we’ve documented before, far-left activists have been repeatedly suckered into Rand Paul’s camp whether in the context of “standing with Rand” on his self-proclaimed opposition to the use of predator drones in the war on terror (he’s actually not as against them as his infamous filibuster led many to believe) and his angst about NSA surveillance. (Incidentally, the other day Greenwald praised a “Left-Libertarian” alliance, involving the support of Rand Paul, to defeat the Authorization for Use of Military Force in Syria.)
It’s primarily these national security issues, along with a seething hatred of President Obama, that are congealing these various groups into a fledgling coalition.
This leads us right back to Drudge’s eye-popping tweets about upending the two party system in the name of libertarianism and so on. Remarkably, with fewer than 280 characters, he managed to pull everything into critical focus. Similarly, as Greenwald and others have stated, the libertarian left’s primary goal is the disintegration of the two party system by pursuing a long-term effort to undermine the Democratic Party, even if it means the election of more Republicans and the enacting of conservative policies like voter ID, corporate deregulation and the further erosion of reproductive rights. On the Greenwald front, the mission is to destroy the Democratic Party. On the Drudge side, it’s the Republican Party. And the common denominator? Libertarianism.
Rather than influencing the debate, this emerging coalition is in the process of exiling itself from the two party paradigm and thus from being taken seriously as it summarily rejects anyone who acknowledges the necessity for compromise, for a rational fact-based debate and intellectual honesty. Good riddance. The sooner the fringe crackpots fully marginalize themselves from participating in the national discussion, the sooner the grown-ups will be able to effectively govern again — something that hasn’t really occurred in years due in part to cacophonous screeching about war crimes, drones and death panels.
While Greenwald, Assange, Drudge and the Pauls are busily shouting at invisible enemies about everything from the vast and pernicious NSA security state to conspiracy theories about the possible assassination of Snowden by the U.S. government, the rest of us will finally be able carry on with a serious, rational discussion about running the country.