YAF Fired Michelle Malkin. What About the Others?
I, um, don’t.
How about Buzz Patterson? Who is Buzz Patterson? He’s a Republican politician running in California’s 7th District. He’s also a guy who came to Roseanne Barr’s defense when she called former Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett an “ape.”
Patterson’s support for Barr included this very thought-provoking slippery slope argument:
Where does this stop? Do we close all of the zoos now because there are gorillas in zoos? Do we take down gorilla statues that are in and around zoos and schools and parks? I mean, what is the logical next step here?
Is this the level of thinking with which YAF wants to be associated?
YAF also promotes the right-wing pundit Bill Whittle. Who is he? He’s an “investigator” who looks into things like “radical Islam’s influence over our government and access to our national security secrets.”
Just for good measure, let’s throw in his video interview with the IQ-and-race-obsessed Stefan Molyneux. Toward the beginning, Whittle registered his agreement with the host’s assessment that blacks are cognitively inferior to other races.
What do you think, YAF?
Remember George Allen? The former Republican governor of, and later U.S. senator for, Virginia? The guy who was a rising star in the party? The guy who was going to be a contender in the 2008 presidential race? The guy whose career in politics ended after he referred to a dark-skinned tracker as “macaca,” the Portuguese word for monkey?
Yes, that George Allen. He’s present on the list.
Monica Crowley is the current Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs for the U.S. Treasury Department. Years ago, under a different president, Crowley was a political commentator.
What sorts of things did she write about? In addition to dabbling in Obama birtherism, here’s another take she had about the former president:
During the 2008 campaign, Obama even slipped and claimed that the United States has “57” states, instead of 50. The number of Muslim states in the Organization of the Islamic Conference is 57.
According to Crowley, “the question is: can he be both loyal to Islam and loyal to the United States?”
It was bad enough for Crowley to suggest that Obama — who was raised without religion and became a Christian — was secretly a Muslim. But she took it a step further and suggested he might be the kind of Muslim driven by the motivation to establish a dominant Islamic political order.
Is this conservatism?
What about former Florida Congressman Allen West? One of his lovable trademarks on Fox News, where he was a frequent commentator during the Obama years, was emphasizing that Barack Obama has a middle name and that it is “Hussein.”
Stephen Moore is next on the list. Moore is an economist, or, rather, a caricature of one. To get a feel for the seriousness of his analysis, back in 2002, Moore offered some rule changes to the NCAA.
No more women refs, no women announcers, no women beer venders, no women anything. There is, of course, an exception to this rule. Women are permitted to participate, if and only if, they look like Bonnie Bernstein. The fact that Bonnie knows nothing about basketball is entirely irrelevant.
Bonnie Bernstein should wear a halter top. This is a no-brainer, CBS. What in the world are you waiting for? To quote the immortal Wayne of Wayne’s World, “If Bonnie were president of the United States, she’d be Babe-raham Lincoln.”
But that was 17 years ago—a different world, his supporters will say. Here’s Moore in 2016:
By the way, did you see, there’s that great cartoon going along? A New York Times headline: “First Thing Donald Trump Does As President Is Kick a Black Family Out of Public Housing,” and it has Obama leaving the White House. I mean, I just love that one. Just a great one.
Not enough in these to make YAF spring for less inflammatory economists? What about the fact that, as reported in The Bulwark, Moore seems to have associated himself with alt-right organizations and figures?
Star Parker is a writer for Townhall and an unsuccessful congressional candidate from California. She is also the founder and president of Coalition on Urban Renewal and Education. Why is she on this list?
She was a strong critic of the “Ground Zero Mosque” project in the wake of 9/11. Feisal Abdul Rauf, a Sufi Muslim imam, started a project to build a mosque near the World Trade Center to demonstrate that Muslim Americans reject the infamous terror attacks in New York City. That’s a noble cause. Conservatives, such as former U.S. Solicitor General Ted Olson (whose wife was killed during the attacks), Mark McKinnon, and Michael Gerson, cheerfully supported the cause. But Parker objected on the grounds that the money would have been better spent advancing freedom in Muslim-majority countries.
I have a long record of advocating for that very cause. But it is not a binary choice. Muslims have a right to spend their resources on making a better image for themselves as Americans and to advance freedom in Muslim-majority countries. In fact, the two go hand in hand.
Parker’s position would have been somewhat understandable if it were an isolated incident. But it isn’t. She has also endorsed Ben Carson’s position that a Muslim should not be elected to the presidency, and that Islam is not compatible with American values.
In 2008, she attacked John McCain for rejecting the endorsement of a pastor because the pastor had called Islam “an anti-Christ religion that intends through violence to conquer the world.” The pastor was right, she argued.
She also has some colorful views on homosexuality, most infamously calling the Rainbow Flag “the exact same thing” as the Confederate Flag. During the same segment, she followed in her president’s footsteps and claimed the Charlottesville counterprotestors were just as bad as Nazis.
I feel like I need to stop here. The list of poor representatives for conservatism on YAF’s roster goes on and on. I didn’t even mention names like Herman Cain, Stacey Dash, Michael Knowles, Jeanine Pirro, Dennis Prager, Matt Walsh, and Jesse Watters.
What could someone possibly gain from listening to people who, rather than advance conservatism, spend much of their public efforts promoting their own brand of mindless anti-left ragemongering?
Nonie Darwish an American who grew up in Egypt and converted from Islam to Christianity. All well and good. As tends to be the case for converts who then enter the arena of political commentary: Darwish has had forceful things to say about the problems with Islam.
This topic is personal for me. I grew up in Iran, an Islamic theocracy, and I, too, have come to reject Islam. But for my own reasons. With that said, can it really be that conservatism has an open door policy for individuals whose entire public output is devoted to attacking a faith many Americans hold dear? Don’t we want Muslims in the conservative movement?
But I want to cut Darwish some slack. She’s reacting to the sufferings of her past.
For me, Steven Crowder belongs on this tier. Crowder became famous for the circumstances surrounding his firing from Fox News. The story is that he attacked a union guy in a rally and was punched back. But he posted an edited video that cut out the part showing that he was the original aggressor. After the truth came out, he was fired.
Ever since, Crowder has completely leaned into the role of right-wing provocateur devoted to “owning the libs.” Watching his videos, one gets the sense that he’s responding to genuine concerns conservatives have about certain cultural changes—his “Change My Mind” videos, for example, take on important subjects like gun rights, socialism, and gender norms. But that’s not to say Crowder’s way of confronting those changes is the most constructive approach conservatives ought to take. Often times, the opposite is true.
When it comes to gun rights, I am to the right of most Americans. As a guy who grew up in Iran, I appreciate how an armed citizenry can be a bulwark against governmental tyranny—which is the argument James Madison also gave for the Second Amendment.
That said, what Madison didn’t offer as a reason for gun ownership was the right to wage civil war against fellow Americans.
Enter: Dana Loesch. Earlier this year, the former National Rifle Association spokesperson participated in a recruitment advertisement in which she encouraged Americans to join the NRA in opposition against fellow Americans. To be fair, she was referring to a sometimes-violent minority, but it didn’t help that in the end her message amounted to Arm Yourselves Against These Other Americans.
Loesch is often the target of unreasonable outrage. She’s a conservative woman whose perspective is informed by those same values, and the NRA shilling notwithstanding, there are valuable points she makes about protecting those values.
Sean Spicer is not a overt racist or a sexist bigot. (It is a testament to how bad the movement has gotten that this, by itself, represents some sort of achievement.) Neither is Spicer a student of conservatism. He is a partisan hack. Nothing more, nothing less.
While partisan hacks may be useful toward political ends, they are useless toward intellectual ones. What qualifies Spicer to be a mouthpiece for conservatism? YAF stands for Young America’s Foundation. It is a conservative organization. “Republican” is not in the name.
The best that can be said about Spicer is that he has not been the worst White House press secretary in history. That honor goes to one of his successors. But just barely. Recall Spicer’s shameful debut in which he told an egregious lie about Trump’s inauguration bringing out a bigger crowd than Obama’s.
Okay, so, he’s not a bigot. Is that the minimum requirements threshold one must clear to be a YAF speaker these days?
You might remember Byron York as a standard-fare conservative journalist.
You should also remember him as the guy who thought Obama had no one but himself to blame for the Obama Is A Secret Muslim conspiracy theories. Why did York think this? Because, you see, Obama was forthcoming about his Muslim ancestry in his autobiography. So, in York’s mind, that means Obama is responsible for the conspiracy theories. What you’ve witnessed here is logic.
Nowadays, his work has been preoccupied with discrediting the Russia and Ukraine probes. What were we expecting, though? York is a Republican communications specialist, which would have been fine if the YAF’s mission was to advance the interest of the Republican Party rather than conservative values. But it’s not. So, why is York needed?
Credit where credit is due: There are a bunch of good individuals on YAF’s list of speakers.
I’m a big fan of S. E. Cupp. She’s feisty, funny, and brilliant. Carly Fiorina is a female conservative whom young conservative women can look up to. Steve Forbes has been a thought leader in the conservative intelligentsia who has shaped the views of conservatives for many decades, whose character William F. Buckley once cited in endorsement to draw contrast to the character of Donald Trump.
Jonah Goldberg is another quality conservative. His new media project, The Dispatch, is worth following and reading. Plus, his recent Suicide of the West is a must-read. Daniel Hannan is a pro-Brexit member of the European Parliament and author of several great books and a serious intellectual. Mia Love is another former member of Congress who is a former member not because of character flaws but actually because of her integrity and virtues. Michael Medved and David French are religious conservatives, one Jewish and the other evangelical Christian, who also are of stellar integrity. They are also serious thinkers and writers.
Jonathan Schanzer is an actual Middle East expert with a lot to offer (full disclosure: I interned for him, but he likely won’t remember me). Christina Hoff Sommers is another excellent member on the list. In fact, she is a moderate and not a conservative, but she offers a lot of thoughtful criticism of modern feminism without vilifying women. (Full disclosure: Christina and I are personal friends.) Last and best: There’s Harvey Mansfield, whose thought and scholarship have meaningfully improved this country.
So why have I done all this? Just to be nitpicky?
Not at all.
My post springs from a love for conservatism and a desire to see it shaped by thinkers and authors and speakers worthy of the name. YAF’s current speaker lineup does not reflect a respect for the conservative framework; instead, it lends the tradition to mockery.
YAF must do a lot to rehabilitate itself. But there is a ray of hope.
More Goldbergs and fewer Nugents, please.