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OPINION

Beware Grifters Bearing Purity Demands

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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Maybe this happens on the left – I don’t know because I don’t follow their insane inner workings, focusing instead on their crazy end results – but there are an inordinate number of people on the right who insist they are the only true conservatives in the world and everyone else is impure. If there are corresponding progressives engaging in some kind of kabuki theater about what is really progressive or who isn’t progressive enough, they’ve managed to keep it quiet. But, for some reason, the right it lousy with people insisting their way is the only way, their thoughts are the only thoughts, and they’re generally coupled with wild insecurity and incredibly thin skin.

There are plenty of examples, and you can read any name you want into this and probably be right, but for purposes of this column, I’ll use Bill Kristol. He doesn’t have a TV show, a radio show, or even a column anywhere regularly (though he does have a podcast, which is now like the old joke about opinions and certain body parts – every one of those certain body parts has one), but he was a Fox News contributor for years. That’s why anyone knows who he is. 

The Weekly Standard, which Kristol founded, had its day, but its relevance ended soon after calendars flipped years from 19s to 20s, even though the magazine limped along for many more years. Fox made Bill, not his stint working for Vice President Dan Quayle, because who cares about that? 

While Fox made Bill, it also aided in making him what he is now. By all accounts, and I know quite a few people who either know or knew him back then, he was a decent guy. Think what you will of his politics, and I don’t think much now, but being a decent person in politics is exceedingly rare these days. He’s not anymore.

According to these friends, he’s changed. Donald Trump broke him, to be sure, but the transformation started before then. His contract with Fox ended in 2013, other networks courted him and he signed with ABC. His influence faded. His ego remained hungry, as all these egos do.

When Trump emerged and won, Bill was done. Very little attention for him, no interest in his opinions, so he got louder and louder. Volume is a dead giveaway for when someone knows they’re wrong they think they can make up for it by being louder and hurling insults. 

Bill wanted a third-party candidate to prevent Trump from winning, recruiting a nobody to do it and failing miserably. In the spirit of the Lincoln Project, he started getting even louder, anyone who disagreed with him was an idiot. That’s another dead giveaway – when someone knows they’re wrong, but can’t admit it, everyone who disagrees with them is met with insults. If can’t make a case for something, become Don Rickles and distract, usually in personal terms. Insecurity is a very powerful motivator, and egos are always needing to be fed. Eventually, I suspect, they begin to believe they are what they claim to be, even though deep down they know the truth.

People saw what Bill had become – he started hurling personal insults at former friends, colleagues, and employers. Nothing was a pure as he was, no one as conservative.

Again, this is pretty common among those in the media who become consumed by ego. Not often as pronounced as it is with Bill, though sometimes it is, but it’s always there.  

If you disagreed with him, you weren’t a “real conservative” and were attacked. No case was ever made, he couldn’t; just a declaration. Mindless drones who didn’t see through what was happening went along with him as he started new websites and organizations to raise money. Having dined out on his father’s name his whole life, this was probably the first thing he’d done on his own.

He’s issued ultimatums in the past – follow me or you’re in the wrong and you’ll be my enemy. It’s never smart to issue ultimatums – give me Y or I’ll do X – because, unless you’re really willing to do X, when you don’t get Y, you look like a moron as you scramble to change the terms of Y. 

That’s Bill’s life now – drifting from one grift to another, desperate to maintain any sense of relevance, hoping against hope no one notices the hypocrisies. After endorsing Democrat Terry McAuliffe in Virginia, Bill is now pushing to “Recruit and fund Youngkin-like alternatives for the 2022 Senate primaries in GA, PA, MO, OH…and help them win.”

Bless his heart, he still thinks he’s right, that he can still dictate what constitutes conservatism. And that anyone who matters takes him seriously.

Bill’s story isn’t unique, it isn’t really all that interesting – a pear-shaped lucky sperm with an ego to rival any insisting on himself. No, not unique at all. In fact, all too common. 

But the lessons of Bill Kristol are important: Beware of anyone who proclaims themselves to be the arbiter of conservatism. There’s a lot of money in it, very little accountability, and tons of insecurities and egos. They’re always selling something, usually, it’s themselves. 

Derek Hunter is the host of a free daily podcast (subscribe!), host of a daily radio show on WCBM in Maryland, and author of the book, Outrage, INC., which exposes how liberals use fear and hatred to manipulate the masses. Follow him on Twitter at @DerekAHunter

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