The Greg Gianforte body slam spectacular last week got me thinking — why do so-called Top Conservatives On Twitter (#TCOT) rush to condemn our own?
These predominantly young conservatives, most of whom attended elite schools, live comfortably in Washington, D.C., and have little to no connection to middle America, have developed a particularly nasty habit of incessantly attacking Republicans and conservative personalities — to the point where an uninformed observer might think they were liberals.
You see it literally every time a conservative is thrust into an unflattering news cycle:
A Republican Member of Congress says something controversial? “We disavow! They do not represent us! #TCOT”
Sean Hannity investigates a mysterious conspiracy theory? “Media Matters is right, #FireHannity! #TCOT”
Greg Gianforte shoves a reporter? “This is beyond the pale! #NeverGianforte! #TCOT”
Why do they do this? Who, exactly, are these folks trying to impress?
Of course, the answer is obvious. The whole point of virtue signaling — which is what they are doing, whether the TCOT crowd admits it or not — is to appeal to the Left and elites in mainstream media as a so-called conservative “voice of reason”. It is far easier for an aspiring TCOT to get quoted in print or featured on TV if they’re happy to be used as a “conservative voice” attacking fellow conservatives.
These so-called TCOTs often take their talking points from a “conservative” Twitter account, @ReaganBattalion. This account, affiliated with a Super PAC that famously took down Milo Yiannapoulos and aided and abetted the destruction of Bill O’Reilly, is now setting its sights on destroying conservative media figures like Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Jesse Watters, and, yes, President Trump.
TCOTs love @ReaganBattalion. They like and retweet the account all the time. Last week, @ReaganBattalion “led the charge” against Greg Gianforte and provided the talking points for all the virtue signaling TCOTs to justify their hand-wringing.
Ironically, @ReaganBattalion, as The Daily Dot reported in February, is affiliated with the now-defunct Stop Donald Trump PAC. The Treasurer of the Stop Donald Trump PAC was listed on FEC reports as Nathan Lerner, a left-wing activist who is now executive director of the Democratic Coalition Against Trump, a left-wing anti-Trump group.
In other words, TCOTs, you’re being used by the Left. Congratulations on your principles!
The Left doesn’t have a cannibalism problem, of course, because liberals are too committed to the cause. When their politicians slip up — Anthony Wiener comes to mind — they change the subject and immediately go on the attack against conservatives. Was Hillary Clinton asked by her own party to condemn Wiener in the same manner Speaker Paul Ryan was repeatedly asked to condemn Gianforte? Of course not.
The Left recognizes that the stakes are too high to eat their own. Why must we?
The Left knows that we are fighting an ideological cold war for the heart and soul of this country. Why don’t we? Why don’t TCOTs?
In the case of Congressman-elect Greg Gianforte — boy, that feels good to say — he made a mistake. Based on eyewitness reports and an audio recording that sounds worse than it was, Gianforte got frustrated and shoved a reporter without significant provocation. Gianforte later apologized, as he should have.
And if he is convicted of assault, sure, let him step down. Let’s run this special election again. But why was it so important last Thursday to the self-proclaimed Top Conservatives On Twitter that Gianforte lost his race outright to the Democrat?
Did conservatives really want to send another anti-choice-for-the-child, tax-and-spend, resist-until-you-desist Democrat to the House of Representatives?
The TCOT crowd focused far more energy last week on bashing Gianforte, a pro-life conservative, than they did on the release of a new investigative report by the Center for Medical Progress showing video of Planned Parenthood executives bragging about tearing babies apart limb from limb. But the TCOT’ers couldn’t be bothered. They had a Republican to beat!
A friend of mine recently assured me that politics is not war. I find that naive notion to be ridiculous. Politics is absolutely war.
When the Left stands in support of the systematic murder of more than a million babies a year, you better believe it’s war.
When the Left intends to rebrand Christianity as bigotry and end religious freedom as you know it, you better believe it’s war.
When the Left governs with the idea that Islamophobia is a bigger problem than radical Islamic terrorism, you better believe it’s war.
When the Left seeks to increase our taxes, take away our health care options, and strip us of our constitutional right to bear arms, yes, you better believe it’s war.
And if this is war — if we are the rebellion — then the TCOTs are behaving like a cannabalistic version of Benedict Arnold. Stop it. Pick a side, or get off the battlefield. We have work to do.
Jon Schweppe is the communications director at American Principles Project.