Last week, American Spectator contributor Bill Zeiser wrote a blog item with the unfortunate headline, "Michelle Malkin Is Wrong." The topic of the dispute -- Stephen Colbert's tasteless use of anti-Asian slurs -- is interesting, but ultimately irrelevant to the point I wish to make, for the sake of Mr. Zeiser and anyone else who may read this now or in the future: Michelle Malkin keeps score.
On your short list of "People You Never Want to Go to War Against," be sure to include her name at or near the top, because Michelle Malkin will win that war.
Bill Zeiser is a young fellow, and perhaps did not consider the foolish impropriety of his gesture when he decided to draw attention to himself with such a headline as "Michelle Malkin Is Wrong." It would be most unfortunate if The American Spectator were to become collateral damage as a result.
The topic of the dispute is, as I say, ultimately irrelevant to the nature of the insult. One may disagree without being disrespectful, and if Mr. Zeiser does not think Michelle Malkin deserves respect, then (a) he needs to do some research, and (b) he needs to consult a psychiatrist, because he's crazy.
It should not be necessary to list Mrs. Malkin's accomplishments, and I hesitate to do so for fear that I may omit something. She became a nationally syndicated columnist before she was 30. A pioneer of the conservative blogosphere, she was a blogger before anybody knew what a "blogger" was, and is one of the few New Media entrepreneurs whose names can rightly be mentioned in the same breath as Matt Drudge and the late Andrew Breitbart. Not satisfied with the phenomenal success of her own site, MichelleMalkin.com, she then created the extraordinarily popular HotAir.com and, demonstrating that this was no fluke, later created the innovative Twitter-based site Twitchy.com. Did I mention that she is a bestselling author? Did I mention that she led the online battle against Republican-backed amnesty bills in 2006 and 2007? Did I mention that she was one of the original founders (and arguably the most influential early booster) of the Tea Party movement in 2009?
So numerous are her accomplishments, as I say, that one hesitates to list them for fear of insulting her by omission. And no wise man would ever insult Michelle Malkin. To repeat: She keeps score.
As to the substance of the controversy, Mr. Zeiser believes that Mrs. Malkin was wrong to endorse the Twitter hashtag #CancelColbert after Colbert used his account to transmit this message: "I am willing to show #Asian community I care by introducing the Ching-Chong Ding-Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever." Comparing her to those who have boycotted Rush Limbaugh's radio advertisers, Mr. Zeiser says that "The Boss" (as Mrs. Malkin's employees at HotAir.com years ago dubbed her) has "rhetorically aligned herself with the typical liberal tactic of trying to suppress disagreeable speech."
Good God, man! Next time you get an urge to write something like that, Mr. Zeiser, try to resist the urge, but if you can't resist it, please be so kind as not to utter it anywhere near me. I might get wounded by radioactive debris from the smoldering crater marking the spot where you were standing when you decided to insult The Boss.
"Ching-Chong Ding-Dong"? You want to start a war with Michelle Malkin over "Ching-Chong Ding-Dong"?
Michelle Malkin is certainly capable of fighting her own battles. You can see her lastest column, "Dear Mr. Colbert: Me so stupid. You so funny!" as evidence of that. However, since Bill Zeiser has raised the question of "tactics," let me explain to him a bit of military lore. Combat aircraft are equipped with a device that emits a signal known as "Identification Friend or Foe" (IFF). This is necessary to prevent so-called "friendly fire" incidents. What is true in war is true also in political combat: Nothing is more important than being able to distinguish friend from foe. If you are a conservative, Michelle Malkin is your friend and, given her hard-earned importance in the ranks of the Right's combat forces, her enemies are also your enemies.
Now, let us suppose, as a hypothetical, that Michelle Malkin is mistaken in her target selection, or in her tactics. (Notice that I stipulate this as a strictly hypothetical scenario, for the sake of discussion.) The conservative army is an all-volunteer force. No one is obligated to fight every fight, and a loyal soldier may in good conscience abstain from joining any particular battle. However, the lowly soldier in the ranks who publicly expresses contempt for the commanding officer thereby undermines the intangible prestige that is the basis of the commander's authority, and thus may spread demoralization throughout the army.
Does Bill Zeiser think he can enhance his own reputation by impugning Michelle Malkin's judgment? Has not the accuracy of her judgment been proven over and over again during the course of her long and illustrious career? Even if I did not have cause to be personally grateful to Mrs. Malkin for her many acts of kindness and generosity toward me -- and I certainly am indebted to her -- it would be unseemly for me to let this insult to her pass unnoticed. There is a crucial principle involved, namely the importance of loyalty and respect in successful teamwork.
Kids today (and Mr. Zeiser's relative youth makes him a kid by my reckoning) simply have not been taught to respect their elders, and even young conservatives now frequently exhibit this widespread tendency toward puerile impudence. The conservative cause cannot be advanced by exhibiting disrespect toward those who, like Mrs. Malkin, have devoted their enormous talents to fighting courageously on behalf of the cause. Loyalty is a matter of reciprocal respect among teammates. Public displays of disrespect toward such loyal leaders as Michelle Malkin cannot have any good motive, and if Mr. Zeiser's criticism was well-intentioned, the form in which he presented his criticism was entirely wrong.
Furthermore, we may ask, why is Mr. Zeiser unable to find any liberal targets who deserve his critical attention? Have all the Democrats seeking re-election this fall been thoroughly exposed as shameless stooges for the Obama administration's disastrous agenda? Have we completely vanquished left-wing radicalism from academia? Has liberal bias in the news media ceased to be a problem? That is to say, are things now so hunky-dory for conservatives that we may devote our leisure to nitpicking the "tactics" of Michelle Malkin?
"Identification Friend or Foe," you see, and the signal Mr. Zeiser emitted last week wasn't exactly friendly. If Stephen Colbert thinks "Ching-Chong Ding-Dong" is a harmless joke, and Michelle Malkin takes offense, you don't want to be on the "Ching-Chong Ding-Dong" side of that fight.
Take my word for it, sir: She keeps score.