David Horowitz’s Own Unholy Alliances

July 10th, 2010 at 8:55 am David Frum | 53 Comments |

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Alex Knepper tells an amazing story on the site today: a story that is at once shocking and also sadly a sign of the conservative times.

Knepper is an undergraduate at American University and an increasingly prominent voice on the libertarian-right blogosphere.

For the past few months he has been posting not only here at FrumForum.com but also at David Horowitz’s NewsReal blog. Abruptly this week, NewsReal ended its relationship with Knepper. Knepper’s offense? Sending NewsReal an expanded version of a blogpost here at FrumForum criticizing Ann Coulter’s about-face on the war in Afghanistan.

(Knepper gives the full story in today’s featured blogpost.)

Now here’s the remarkable thing.

David Horowitz has been a fierce – ferocious! – critic of Western leftists who opposed the wars in Afghanstan and Iraq. In 2004, Horowitz published a whole book accusing the left of being joined to the Islamist cause. He dedicated the book “To the brave young men and women risking their lives in Afghanistan and Iraq for ours.”

And when some voices on the right began to join those left-wing critics of the war, Horowitz  denounced those far-right isolationists as well. In a 2007 interview he called Congressman Ron Paul a “disgrace” and in the years since the two men and their admirers have exchanged heated words.

But in recent months, the ideas of the Ron Paul movement have begun to percolate through the more mainstream conservative world. Ron Paul has become a favored guest on the Glenn Beck program. And now Coulter too is giving voice to Paul-ist themes.

This trend has presented Horowitz with a problem. Beck and Coulter are also important allies and supporters of his. Horowitz is a frequent guest on the Beck program. Coulter attends and speaks at Horowitz’s “Restoration Weekends” in Palm Beach, a crucial event in the annual calendar of the David Horowitz Freedom Center.

What to do as these two crucial Horowitz allies turn in exactly the direction Horowitz has so passionately condemned?

Answer: blast anybody who criticizes Horowitz’s crucial allies.

In 2009, I complained about Glenn Beck’s promotion of Ron Paul. Horowitz accused me of “psychosis,” prompting a debate you can read here.

When Matthew Continetti last month offered a gentle remonstrance against Glenn Beck’s conspiracy theories in the Weekly Standard, Horowitz’s NewsReal blog denounced him as an “alleged conservative” and a “cocktail conservative.”

Now Knepper’s criticism of Ann Coulter – in exactly the same terms as David Horowitz himself was using only a few months ago – has got Knepper bounced from Horowitz’s NewsReal blog altogether.

There’s beginning to be a pattern here.

When we on the center-right criticize extremist voices on the right, we are sometimes accused of opportunism, of betraying our principles to kiss up to powerful media personalities.

I’ve often wondered whether this was not an example of what the psychologists called “projection” – of attributing to others the motives that actually impel oneself. These days, I’m much more than wondering.

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