Today, over a six hour period I exchanged messages with a fellow who claimed to be a Republican. To put this bizarre exchange in context, it all started with a non-political Tweet.
Then came the first of a remarkable string of attacks leveled at me personally:
“Quiet ya LIB. If you’re not #GOP ONLY then you’re a traitor. BTW your show has HORRIBLE ratings.”
After a few exchanges, it became clear that my Twitter bio apparently offended him.
I describe myself truthfully: “Syndicated columnist, author, poet, GOP-(small ‘l’) libertarian. Freelancer for newspapers, websites etc. Radio correspondent/talk radio.” As an aside, it’s not “my” show; I do a weekly report for The Cindy Graves Show on WBOB 600AM.
His bio on Twitter, among other notes, claimed he was an operative.
Now I’m accustomed to some getting upset with me about that small ‘l’ libertarian note. In truth, the Republican Party’s history has quite a bit of that philosophy, and many of those who vote a GOP ticket would fit that same description. By small ‘l’ libertarian, I mean less regulation, more truly free markets, tax reform, and sensible national security measures among other things. I believe the Constitution should remain a compass for our laws and our government.
I wasn’t prepared for what ensued.
This guy literally told me to get out of the party. He implausibly described me as someone who wants a “theocracy.” He called me names, and he was particularly fond of the pejorative, adolescent term leftwingers use for tea party supporters. He also wrote:
“well Ms. RINO LIBertarian aka Paulbot & traitor, #teaparty aren’t #GOP. They’re an extension of Campaign 4 #Liberty now.”
Explaining that I am not member of a tea party group had no effect. I have certainly defended various attacks on the government reform movement. I value anyone who seeks to put our federal house in order. I routinely defend Republicans of all sorts. After all, it’s my party and I am sticking to it.
He continued to mischaracterize me in various ways. There was a truly insane moment when, apparently having done some opposition research on me although I am not running for office, he included this in another message:
“yur daughter is attractive (gr8t legs), but prob is Libertarians R a 3rd party”
I didn’t even respond to that. I leave my daughters out of my politics talk. I don’t even know which daughter he meant.
In a sequence of weird remarks, he told me to prove I was one of “us,” but I have no idea whom he meant by “us.”
This fellow appeared to have excessive anger towards talk radio hosts, and he mentioned several conservatives in his diatribe. Other than the talksters, former Congressman Allen West was a target too:
“@AllenWest is massive teabagger. I worked @ US House when he was Rep. ALL members hated him. We’re happy he’s gone”
I have no idea, by the way, whose office this person worked for on Capitol Hill, but I am relieved he has apparently left the post. Paying bureaucrats who disrespect everyday Americans is not a comfort to any taxpayer.
The man attacking me on Twitter called NBC/MSNBC news personality Chuck Todd a “buddy.” The fellow also seemed to value publications like Time, National Journal, and others I consider no great friends to the GOP. Republicans have always been gullible about media.
This man urged me to read his bio. I declined, telling him I figured he’d read it enough for both of us.
Then he turned to my career, after calling me all sorts of names:
“hahaha and neither does your shotty bio 🙂 “syndicated columnist”? yeah for rag magazines & nothing reputatble OR national”
Presumably he missed my professional memberships in organizations like the American Society of Journalists and Authors. You get voted in, and it requires substantial publishing credits “mostly from major print or online markets.” I didn’t find it necessary to share with him the textbooks I’m in, the awards I’ve won, or any other successes in my career. What’s the point? I’ve read journal entries from bloggers that read better than the front page of major newspapers.
He seemed eager to impress his power upon me. By now quite a few of my fellows were following the convo. He told me RNC chair Reince Priebus “does know who i am. All too well.” He also said he’s “friends with A LOT of the party leadership, members, former members, govs, & frmr govs.”
President Calvin Coolidge and President Ronald Reagan’s difficult path to the presidency (obstructed by state party leaders the first go-round; we lost to President Jimmy Carter) were topics the operative was unfamiliar with. He wrote, “For me, my fav #GOP POTUS since i’ve been alive has been my boy GWB!!”
His response on Coolidge was astounding: “Wasn’t he the guy that liked to wear the dress?”
I asked for a quote for my column. He wrote, “@AmericaRising is here. #teaparty & Democrats aka BFF are TOAST.”
I have no idea where he works, whether he is connected to America Rising, a new PAC, or what he does when he isn’t launching Twitter tirades.
I could belabor this, but there’s a point I want to make and I hope you will listen.
If this is the strategy we are pursuing, it will alienate voters. One constant theme for me since I began to write about politics is inclusiveness. We should agree on our priorities and create a plan to elect candidates who will address them. We should agree to disagree on some matters. Where there is internecine disagreement, those involved should sit down together and work this out.
I don’t just aim that at my party leadership. I also aim that advice at grassroots groups. This isn’t just about us, or our individual beliefs. Our country is at a tipping point and if something is not done, the future will be bleaker than the present.
Operatives are plentiful these days. Strategists are too. I have observed the last two general elections with skepticism about some of the people who advise our candidates. One thing we must not do: alienate potential voters. Democrats don’t do that, and for the life of me, I cannot understand why my party would.
Since this fellow portrayed himself as a very connected operative, I thought it a good idea to take issue with his vitriol, his rhetoric, and his lack of knowledge about significant influencers in our party history.
In an exchange on Facebook—by now we definitely had an audience for this debacle—he said this: “Just remember @Kay and the rest of you RINOs: WE (establishment).OWN.YOU.”
That is an excellent example of strategy gone askew. If twits disparage loyal Republicans, we will lose.
Hope this letter finds all of you at RNC and in state leadership roles doing well. For the record, I am not going anywhere. I am a Republican and I never changed that even when our party was relentlessly attacked and slandered during President George W. Bush’s time in office.
The latest message from him constituted a childish threat about my remaining a Republican:
“we’ll see if U still do AFTER I start putting in phone calls. Get ready 4 yur membership 2 B canceled LIB”
Somehow I do not think my fellow Republican women will kick me out of the county group, the Republican Women of Duval Federated. In the last note I had from the fellow, he called me a “retired old white woman w nothing 2 do.” He plays perfectly into the Dem narrative that Republicans don’t respect women.
After I told him adios, he and his “buddy” continued to insult me. It doesn’t matter to me, but Republican operatives should be aware the public has access to pages like mine.
See y’all around, and I hope our party comes together before November.
Note: Anyone can read the exchanges on my own Twitter account @TheUSReport, or on the twit’s at RisingRedStorm.
(Commentary by Kay B. Day/Jan. 31, 2014)