Rightbloggers (Some Of Them, Anyway) Pay Tribute to Their New Friend, Dead Nelson Mandela
When Nelson Mandela died last week, the internet had its own sort of Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which went rather less well than South Africa's.
As Mandela is a well-loved world figure, it's only natural that even his former enemies would want to act like they liked him when he passed; and when they did, several leftbloggers took the opportunity to remind conservatives who were sending tributes where they'd been when Mandela needed them.
But this sort of hypocrisy is only of mild interest to us -- after all, we cover rightbloggers, and noticing hypocrisy in them is like noticing they have two eyes and a nose. We're more interested in the grand, more exotic forms of absurdity they come up with. And, boy, did we find plenty.
Now, not all of them were like that. A very few former adversaries owned that they had misjudged Mandela. Good on Deroy Murdock, for instance, who at National Review came right out and said that on this subject he had been wrong, in boldface capital letters. "Like many other anti-Communists and Cold Warriors," he said, "I feared that releasing Nelson Mandela from jail, especially amid the collapse of South Africa's apartheid government, would create a Cuba on the Cape of Good Hope at best and an African Cambodia at worst," and that Mandela was "just another Fidel Castro or a Pol Pot."
Some observers didn't think much of Murdock's admission, but at least it was, forthrightly, an admission and, as we shall see, more than could be expected from most of the brethren.
It's not entirely true that Mandela didn't have any Republican buddies before last week.
Speaking of integrity, there were many rightbloggers who didn't like Mandela back in the day and don't like him now, and weren't ashamed to say so.
The American Renaissance website, for example, has always taken a hard line on Mandela -- after the 2008 election, for example, correspondent Jared Taylor wrote, "of course, our election is different from the South African referendum but the effect is the same: Whites are placing their destinies in the hands of others. The South Africans did it suddenly; we are doing it gradually." Last week their Gregory Hood observed Mandela's passing with an essay called "Mandela: White Genocide with a Whimper," in which he speculated on a wave of black violence he expected would ensue in South Africa, and saw in that dark dream a silver lining: "If anything, a sudden outbreak of anti-white violence upon Mandela's death would be a good thing. It would give the Afrikaners -- a warrior people if there ever was one -- a reason to fight back... We should mourn the old terrorist's death only because he didn't live to see his destructive work undone on the day when the Boers -- and the rest of us -- are once again free."
Hood did not neglect to mention the role in South Africa's downfall of the Treason of the de Klerks: "Mandela won praise for letting 'Afrikaner leaders' such as F.W. De Klerk serve in his government, but this was nothing more than continuing his working relationship with collaborators."
"Western liberals like simplistic stories and Mandela was their happy ending," said Daniel Greenfield at FrontPageMag. But there's appalling crime "in post-apartheid South Africa where the violence unleashed still haunts the townships" -- as there is in other countries, though Greenfield makes South Africa's more vivid with horror stories. (Others traded gruesome African rape-slaughter tales as well and tsked over the dusky hordes Mandela had led. "It's not about 'education,'" spat Kathy Shaidle, "it's about basic morality, and being able to control one's own savage impulses -- something too many Africans seem unable or unwilling to do.")
While Greenfield didn't blame South African crime directly on Mandela, he seemed to think the nation would have been better off with apartheid, at least the white-over-black kind: "South Africa is just as divided by race as it was when Mandela was in prison... In the new apartheid, the black government represses a white minority... there is a new apartheid defined not by law, but by hate."
Also to blame, per Greenfield, were American liberals: "The more liberals wanted South Africa to escape from its own history," Greenfield wrote, "the more it became trapped in real problems with no easy solutions... They may show up to the theater if Denzel Washington or Jamie Foxx decide to play Nelson Mandela. Otherwise they will comfortably banish the entire country to the dusty attic of forgotten history." If only one of Hollywood's conservatives, maybe Bruce Willis, could get a D.F. Malan biopic greenlit! Then the world would know who the real hero of South Africa was.
"Yeah, apartheid was bad," shrugged The Lonely Conservative. "So was the Wiemar Republic." "Communist Icon Nelson Mandela Dead at 95," celebrated Dave Swindle at PJ Media. "If people want to hail Mandela as a hero, I won't waste energy arguing with them," pffffted Patterico. "The guy was a scumbag, no better than the people he was fighting against," said those lovable libertarians at The Daily Paul, which surprised us -- we thought for sure they'd consider the people fighting Mandela much better.
Speaking of libertarians, David Henderson of EconLog quoted from movement gospel that apartheid was actually "socialism with a racist face" because South Africa had unions, a sentiment echoed by Power Line's Steven Hayward and Reason's Nick Gillespie. Of course in true capitalist societies, such as America before the Civil War, such things don't happen.
"Gone is Fidel's greatest admirer," hissed Carlos Eire at Babalu. "...While he dedicated himself to a noble and righteous cause -- ending discrimination against black Africans in South Africa -- Mandela was not at all opposed to employing violence as a means for his cause." The nerve!
"Hopefully, Castro's toes will turn skyward soon and he will join his comrade so they can both get what they deserve," eulogized "Don Boys, Ph.D." Bill Muehlenberg of Culture Watch quoted a fellow Christian: Mandela "pushed for the legalization of abortion, pornography [and] homosexual relationships. ... [He was] trying to legalize prostitution. He's a radical liberal." Worse than a communist!
We have to hand it to these cowboys: They ain't pretending to be what they're not. Other rightbloggers affected to praise Mandela, but were not convincing about it, which the more cynical among us might lay to their being full of shit.
While the Wall Street Journal couldn't quite bring itself to compare Mandela to Reagan, they did call him "Africa's Vaclav Havel," because Havel was anti-communist and Mandela had "transcended his party's history of Marxism." The Journal noted Mandela "stood by his friend Moammar Gadhafi, saying the Libyan dictator had stood by the ANC," but didn't mention that he also stood by Fidel Castro for similar reasons, probably because that would have harshed the whole post-Marxist vibe.
In Britain, Paul Goodman of Conservative Home said though "[British Conservative PM David] Cameron is not Mandela," there are "resemblances." For one, "like Cameron, Mandela was a 'Posh Boy'" -- Mandela's dad was a tribal leader, see, and Cameron went to Eton. Also, the Tories could learn something from the ANC: "Victory eludes the Conservative Party because it has not learnt to think as the other guy thinks," and Mandela was good at that; thus "Nelson Mandela still has lessons to teach the Tory Party." Considering that Britain's Federation of Conservative Students used to put up "hang Mandela" signs, we'd say they had more to teach them than they'd like to learn.
Haw haw, Nobama didn't get a meet and greet.
The editors of National Review -- a publication whose writers opposed "one-man-one-vote" in South Africa and accused Mandela in 2003 of "vicious anti-Americanism" and "moral stupidity" for failing to support the Iraq War -- emitted valedictory glurge, but showed their roots by denouncing Mandela's traffic with commies: "It was only natural for Mandela to appreciate support wherever it came from," they generously allowed. "But it should also have been natural, especially after his release, to recognize that his supporters had their own political prisoners. And these prisoners were kept in infinitely worse conditions than his." This is the ultimate example of "You think you had it rough."
Some of the boys were a bit less cagey about walking the line. Da Tech Guy, for example, affected to admire Mandela, but when someone brought up Mandela's commie buddies responded, come on, you have to consider "how easy it would have been for them to open up their files on him to the world."
Da Tech Guy did not then share whatever blockbuster information he had from those files (some news judgement these folks have!), but he did give us a helluva non-sequitur: "If South Africa had played ball with the Soviets in the 60′s-80′s and join their side you would have seen the left turn on a time and defend both South Africa & Apartheid just as they defended Hitler right up until the day he turned on the Soviets." Similarly, if Obama were Hitler they'd love Hitler. Wait a minute, Obama is Hitler! Q.E.D.
Speaking of which, many rightbloggers whose primitive instincts allow them no other option used Mandela's death, as they do everything, to razz Obama.
For example, because Obama had the nerve to make a statement on Mandela's passing, Teri O'Brien ("America's Original Conservative Warrior Princess"), howled, "For Obama, Like Everything Else The Passing Mandela is All About Him... Obama praised Mandela's journey from a prisoner to a president. Now, if we could only Obama make the journey from a president to a prisoner, that would be my ideal Christmas gift."
"In touching tribute to Mandela, Obama posts photo of himself watching TV," sneered Andrew Malcolm at Investors Business Daily. Malcolm said that Obama had previously hoped for a picture with Mandela in the latter's old prison cell but didn't get to because "Mandela's family suggested that wasn't going to happen" -- boo-yah, in your face Obama! After yapping about the TV photo awhile, Malcolm just vamped slurs like, "For reasons having to do with the truth, Obama has a reputation for seeking the spotlight..."
"It's ALL about Barack, the man-child sees nothing else but himself," whined An Angelino's View. "Obama continues to slavishly rewrite history, injecting himself into world events." ("Slavishly re-write"... oh, fuck it, we'd be here all day.) "Obama Highlights His Own Anti-Apartheid Protest in Mandela Remembrance," headlined Bridget Johnson at PJ Media. How uppity -- er, haughty of him! Others bitched that Obama had the chutzpah to plan to attend Mandela's funeral, but didn't attend St. Margaret Thatcher's. (New Jersey Patriot knew why: "Thatcher was white and Mandela was not." Who's the racist now, libtards?)
Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaid, on the other hand, said sure, Obama and Mandela had something in common -- communism! "Clearly, Mandela was not honest with the public about his deep involvement with communism, including membership in the South African Communist Party," scary-whispered Kincaid. "Then again, Obama was never honest with the American people about his mentor, Communist Party operative Frank Marshall Davis, a member of the Soviet espionage apparatus in Hawaii." We bet Kincaid noticed long ago that both Mandela and Obama are black.
Perhaps the most interesting case was that of Joel Pollak, Breitbart.com apparatchik and former South Africa resident.
Pollak started with a more or less straight encomium to Mandela, and his comments section quickly filled up with vicious anti-Mandela gibberish, e.g. "because of him there is the ongoing genocide of White South Africans," "he was a communist terrorist, white -hater that would make obama look like an american patriot," "Ok, so I'm a racist. I'm still waiting for your point retard," etc. (Normally we leave rightblogger comments sections alone, as they are notoriously effluent-intensive, but the contrast between some of the Mandela eulogy posts and the shitbombs in their comments is too comically stark to ignore.)
This may have convinced Pollak to go in a more crowd-pleasing direction with an essay called "TOP 5 WAYS BARACK OBAMA IS NO NELSON MANDELA." For example, Pollak said, "Mandela was fiscally responsible, Obama is profligate. Mandela's administration adopted a policy of macroeconomic stability in 1995, putting sound budgets and economic growth before redistribution..." The results of Mandela's proto-austerity economic policies actually weren't very good, but at least South Africa is no America, where Barack Obama's socialism has mired the DJIA at 16,000!
Also, "Mandela reached out to the opposition, Obama ignores them" -- Obama should only be so lucky to have his opposition in the position Mandela's occupied in 1994 -- and finally, "Mandela was humble, Obama is arrogant," because "Obama is arrogant" is wingnut catechism. Pollak did admit some similarities, e.g., "Like Obama, Mandela had a soft spot for the tyrants of the world, including Fidel Castro and Yasser Arafat, who had supported Mandela's banned movement in exile." But Obama doesn't even have an excuse!
Pollak was also interviewed by radio shouter Mark Levin and, a summary by Breitbart.com's Tony Lee reveals, compared Obama to Mandela's successor, AIDS denialist Thabo Mbeki: "Mbeki also did not think a virus caused AIDS and denied the vaccine to South Africans because he unilaterally believed that government knows best and has intellectual and political authority," wrote Lee (without telling us where the "vaccine" could be found). "Pollak said Obama also has that tendency, thinking he can tell Americans 'what reality is and what reality isn't.'" Why Pollak didn't also compare Obama to anti-Copernicans on the same grounds is beyond us, unless it's because many of his readers believe the sun revolves around the earth.
Still his readers left droppings like "The real Mandela - Communist, Terrorist, Liar" in the combox, so Pollak offered his last appeal: "Left Exploiting Mandela's Death to Attack Conservatives -- and Excuse Communism."
True, Pollak's rightwing heroes opposed sanctions against the apartheid government and wanted Mandela kept in prison, but those are "cherry-picked facts," he said, which the left was cunningly using "to reinforce their desperate attempt to label conservatives in general and Republicans in particular as racists." Plus Mandela was mobbed up with commies. "That does not mean Mandela ought to be saddled with all the evils of the Soviet empire," Pollak nervously interjected. "He kept communism at arm's length and tried to argue that his partnership with the USSR was a means to an end..." Anyway, Reagan killed communism and "it was the collapse of the Soviet Union that led most directly to his freedom," and so, "the left's attempt to exploit Mandela's death is an attempt to revise the history of communism and Democrats' softness towards it." You guys hate the left, too, right?
For his closing, Pollak pulled out a Ouija board: "The left has never quite forgiven Reagan and Thatcher for that crucial victory, even though Mandela almost certainly did."
This seems to have worked; while some of the commenters still raged against Mandela, most shifted their focus to living liberals. "I'd take Mandela over O'bama," gurgled one." I'll take half a Mandela over the Kenyan O'bama..."
And so the great work continues. Eventually Nelson Mandela will get his place in the rightblogger pantheon, colored section, alongside Martin Luther King Jr. Like King, he will still have detractors who won't know why the hatred they were once supposed to have for him is no longer fashionable among their colleagues; but most of the brethren will have coalesced around the hard truth that Mandela was a conservative who favored free markets and a go-slow approach to racial equality, and who would be ashamed of today's blacks and liberals (not to mention socialists and commies) were he alive to hang out with, say, Peggy Noonan.
Though this too may change, particularly if Democrats get another black person elected President.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter