Local greens' initial reaction was to ignore me. One anonymous commenter popped on my blog and huffed, "Lay off Greta Browne. ... You know what $200 buys you in a Congressional race? A mention in a blog." And local Green activist Peter Crownfield condescendingly snorted, "sometimes responding to charges like this emphasizes their importance relative to other issues."
This was a mistake. Local greens underestimated the power of the blogosphere, a democratic and authentic media where anyone with an interesting message will be heard. It's a meritocracy of ideas.
Fortunately, my original post spread quickly through cyberspace, but not because of me. Will Bunch, a Philadelphia Daily News columnist, improved on my sketchy essay and reported that $10,000 of this GOP money came from the founders of Blackwater USA, a company that regularly supplies the CIA with mercenaries. From there, the story quickly traveled to Phawker, Nam Guardian Angel, Another Monkey, MLM Liberal, No Capital, Michigan Liberal , MParent7777, TPMMuckraker and even the DailyKos. On Friday, The Morning Call reported this GOP bankroll had tainted Green Party hopefuls.
As gratified as I was to see these stories, what I appreciated most was Bill White's Saturday column. He compared these odd Green-Republican bedfellows to Martha Stewart shacking up with Mongo. But what I liked most were his encouraging words to bloggers, which came at a time when encouragement was definitely apprciated. When a brilliant and wickedly funny columnist like Bill White notices a simple blog by a "nitwit ranting in his underwear," he gives citizen bloggers some credibility.
Either that, or he has no taste. Maybe he had me mixed up with LVDem.
Reacting to these numerous reports in the print media and blogosphere, Congressional candidate Greta Browne has now reversed her original reluctance to comment publicly. She promises a full explanation on her site. This is as it should be. Greens whine that major parties "have increasingly become parties driven by big money, not by the grassroots." So they better explain what the hell they were doing. While they're at it, they'd better justify their decision to pay people by the signature in petition drives, which has a big potential for abuse. The Green's ten key values include a pledge "to ensure that our public representatives are fully accountable to the people who elect them." So it's time to account.
Despite these promises, I doubt there will be any real explanation. Greens are just too damn intolerant. Sure, they pay lip service to the principle of respecting diverse viewpoints, but really resent criticism directed at them. I've already been accused of "right wing attack tactics" and acting like Rush Limbaugh. Congressional candidate Derf Maitland: told me [campaign finance] "is none of your business." That ought to get him elected.
But the prize for intolerance goes to local green blogger Pat Rogers, who unloaded on me. Get a load of these messages from the party of peace:
"You are a typical fascist predator Bernie. You offer nothing of substance. Just wild accusations." * * * "You are a typically arrogant and proud fascist." * * * "I would not read your right wing fascist sludge if it were the only blog on the Internet." * * * "Authoritarian thug." * * * "Bernie O'Hare, Bill White and the other Democrat and Republican party hack propagandists are murdering American democracy for their right wing hegemony over America."
Pat Rogers'comments come from The Morning Call community forum, a truly scary place.
I just asked Pat to add me to his blogroll. Now excuse me while I shine my boots and see where I left my swastika.