Returning from a few days away, I find several emails alerting me to a recent pronouncement by David Horowitz on his supposed rift with Ronald Radosh.
Truth be told, every time I happen to write either of those two names, I stop, halted by misgivings over wasted time and thought. Why throw any more of either at these two longtime prevaricators now pretending to be at odds?
It's just a notion, but I think it has some appeal. If only to avoid thinking about the midterm elections now in progress (Vote GOP!), I'll tease it out for a bit. Maybe there's something there.
Background (there's always background): On August 18, 2017, FP appeared to cast Radosh out of its orbit in a curious article by Daniel Greenfield. The headline, likely by Horowitz, was: "NEVER TRUMP DRIVES A FORMER COMMUNIST BACK TO HIS ROOTS: What happens when you lose every principle except hating Trump."
The average reader surely expects that the "roots" to which "former Communist" Radosh is alleged to be returning are Communism. What else? Reading the headline and then skimming the article the first time around, I remember getting the feeling the piece came up short. Forcing myself through a second time, I find the "roots" Radosh is "returning" to are "McCarthyism accusations."
Guess what, gang? Radosh never left those roots. I know. In 2013, at FP, Radosh dubbed me "McCarthy's heiress," and Horowitz called American Betrayal "McCarthyism on Steroids." (Quote Horowitz: "She should not have written that book.")
So, who are they trying to kid? You. Everyone. They return to "McCarthyism" when it suits them, ho hum, and then pretend it's a big deal to return to "McCarthyism" when it suits them, woo woo.
Thus, to underscore, the 2017 FP piece does not accuse Radosh of returning to Communism -- or even to the Left. The point Greenfield makes is that Radosh, as a "Never Trumper," has no beliefs, just spite and malice against Trump.
In FP's telling, then, it is just as if Donald Trump were not the counter-revolutionary figure that he is, and that Never Trump and its allies in the so-called Resistance were not attempting to save the Revolution from his mighty, providential assault.
Radosh’s behavior though is emblematic of Never Trumpers who hate Trump more than the left.
What does Radosh believe in except the evils of Trump? It’s hard to say.
Radosh no longer believes in anything except the privileges of that class.
Personal anger has a logic that transcends politics.
In other words, Radosh is super-mad. Big deal. No ideological rift. To the contrary, Greenfield argues that Radosh, having predicted a Clinton landslide against Trump, just can't accept "the fact that he was wrong and that his certainty of how the world worked proved to be as illusory as it was during his Communist days." Notably, Greenfield harkens back to Radosh's "courage" on his accepting the long-proven guilt of the Rosenbergs (that dry morsel he has dined out on for 35 years), concluding: "The difference between conviction and fanaticism is that the ability to admit that you were wrong. It takes great courage to be able to do it once. It would take even greater courage to do it twice."
If this is a breach, it's pretty well padded.
It so happens that August 18, 2017 was also the day we learned Donald Trump cast Steve Bannon out of the White House.
What followed next at Frontpage was so bizarre it seems improbable now. Horowitz and Sebastian Gorka, Bannon's erstwhile White House lieutenant, threw themselves into a concerted build-up of Steve Bannon as the Next Big Thing, the most important man, the most powerful man in all of America -- except for maybe and not necessarily the president himself. Why, Bannon was just like "Obi Wan Kenobi," said geostrategist Gorka. Bannon had already won the 2016 David Horowitz Freedom Center's Man of the Year Award. What next -- Steve Bannon 2020?
Whether Bannon ever could have caught political fire, Michael Wolff's Fire and Fury sure did. When the thermonuclear explosions were over, all that was left of "President Bannon" was some cold toast. That, as far as Frontpage, Horowitz and Gorka were concerned, was that.
I wrote about the whole weird episode here.
More background. Radosh spent the twelve months prior to be being allegedly cast out at FP in August 2017 repeatedly peddling a story that Bannon had proclaimed himself a "Leninist" while chatting with Radosh at David Horowitz's book party in 2013. Radosh first jump-started this tale just days after Bannon became chairman of the Trump campaign in August 2016. In all the time since, by the way, Horowitz has said nothing about it.
I know a little about this party. Shortly after it took place, Bannon told me about an exchange he had had with Radosh. Bannon said he didn't recognize the "old guy" hanging around as the party wound down until he heard him ranting about me and American Betrayal. (As Breitbart editor, Bannon had comprehesively covered the FP-led war on American Betrayal, including publishing my 22K word rebuttal, as well as essays by Vladimir Bukovsky and M. Stanton Evans.) Aha! Radosh. "What are you complaining about?" Bannon told me he said to Radosh. "She's the only reason you're relevant."
Certainly, if ex-Trump aide Bannon (pre-Fire and Fury) was ever to become the David Horowitz Freedom Center's Great Populist Hope (and fund-raising lure?), Horowitz probably had to put some distance between himself and his lifefong comrade Radosh, no? Especially if regular old American populists (Deplorables), the people who still loathe "Reds" and "Pinkos" (or whose parents did), were ever going to take any of "ex-Commie" Horowitz's machinations seriously. Casting out American Betrayal "take-down" artist cum Never Trumper Radosh might also help Horowitz restore his reputation among those conservatives still shaken by his appalling behavior vis a vis AB.
As for Radosh -- surely being cut off by Horowitz, Mr. Mega-#MAGA, would serve him well in his ministrations to Never-Trump and "Resistance" journalistas.
Which brings us to what might be another #FakeSmackdown between the pair.
During a recent Florida gubanatorial debate, GOP candidiate Ron DeSantis (Vote DeSantis!) gave an impromptu demonstration of the dangers rife in believing #FakeHistory about Joseph McCarthy. Instead of calling "Foul," DeSantis called "McCarthyite" an attempt by the debate moderator to link DeSantis to David Horowitz (four speaking engagements, statement of support), specifically regarding Horowitz statements on race issues the moderator breathelessly presented as sensational. Rejecting the moderator's line of questioning generally, DeSantis said he would not bow down before the altar of political correctness, after first asking: "How am I supposed to know every single statement somebody makes?"
In a Daily Beast story headlined, "Association With Extremist David Horowitz Catches Up With Ron DeSantis," Radosh wrote:
Forget about “every statement”—DeSantis could have listened to just about any statement Horowitz has made in the last few years.
I have known David Horowitz for about 50 years. He is not, and never has been, a racist, and has defended himself ably from that charge.
But, Radosh continued, he did support "the overt racist Roy Moore" because, as Horowitz told him, "Trump needed every vote he could get in the Senate."
That’s typical of how Horowitz has gone off the deep end in recent years and in his support of Trump.
Horowitz followed this up at FP with a piece called "A FLORIDA LYNCHING & A BROKEN FRIENDSHIP." Note the subtitle: "When a vote for Trump provides a license to destroy a man’s character and credibility by any means necessary." That would be Horowitz's "vote for Trump."
We'll pick Horowitz up addressing the Radosh piece here:
In other words, to save the failing racist narrative [about Horowitz], Radosh was adding another character assassination -“extremist” - to the implausible “white supremacist.”
Wait -- is he writing about the same piece?
Radosh did have the decency to write: “I have known David Horowitz for about 50 years. He is not, and never has been, a racist, and has defended himself ably from that charge.”
Back to the sturm und drang.
Unfortunately – and incomprehensibly - Radosh chose to preface that honest character witness with a reckless jibe at DeSantis for asking how he could be held responsible for everything I have said: “Forget about ‘every statement,’” Radosh wrote, “DeSantis could have listened to just about any statement Horowitz has made in the last few years.”
Whoa -- he said ... that??????
In other words, any statement would demonstrate that I am an unhinged extremist. This is what you might call throwing mud at the wall – in this case me – and hoping something will stick.
Trust me. When these guys throw mud, they throw mud. They don't say: DeSantis could have listened to just about any statement Horowitz has made kootchy koo ...
I dunno. Maybe I'm being a little cynical, but somehow this just doesn't pulse with genuine emotion, and especially not when we consider the source, Horowitz, came out as a conservative following Reagan's re-election landslide after an earlier life as a hardened Marxist operative, not a tiny glass animal. In sum, I'm still not buying. In fact, drawing on my personal experience and study, I have even more questions. What sort of serious "anti-Communist" initiates a toxic disinformation war against the partly restored pantheon of bona fide anti-Communuist patriots, long forgotten or reviled by "court historians," as presented in American Betrayal? What sort of serious anti-Communist resorts to lies and distortions to try to denigrate a more complete accounting of the impact of Communist influence on this nation? What sort of serious anti-Communist seeks, overall, to perpetuate the Communist calumnies against the great Joseph McCarthy, and related misunderstandings of "McCarthyism"?
Horowitz even has to drag in McCarthy in to frame Radosh.
"What inspires Radosh’s reckless attacks on me is that I voted for Trump," Horowitz writes -- sticking with the emotional, determinedly non-ideological explanation. He describes the bestselling book he wrote about Trump, Big Agenda: Trump’s Plan to Save America.” The book "received a favorable notice from Huffington Post," Horowitz explains. The review concludes: “Horowitz’s book will be an epiphany for those who haven’t been paying attention to the political landscape over the last ten years, but it is common sense for the rest of us.”
The theme of the 2017 Greenfield piece now recurs. Radosh is simply not paying attention and/or refuses to face facts. No ideological break. Now I see why, their lifelong friendship supposedly "broken" over the 2016 election, Horowitz was still trolling FP commenters as late as the Greenfield piece in August 2017 to defend Radosh and scold FP's own readers for calling Radosh a recidivist Communist or Marxist. Nope, Radosh was just "returning" to "McCarthyism accustions."
Does any of this really pass for serious debate? It kinda seems pretty dumb to me -- and ginned-up above all.
H. sums up:
But not [common sense] for Radosh, a Never Trumper who has gone over to the other side of the political divide to join a disgraceful lynch party in its attempt to destroy a decent and good man in Ron DeSantis. For Radosh, the ends now apparently justify the means. Once known as a critic of Joseph McCarthy, Radosh’s hatred of Trump has caused him to join a witch-hunt that dwarfs anything McCarthy ever attempted.
On second thought, it's worse than dumb. Implicit in Horowitz's culiminating statement is the age-old calumny: that McCarthy engaged in a "witch-hunt" -- a hunt for something that was not there, when, in fact, Communists were there by the score, if not by the hundred, or more. Certainly now, more than a decade after the publication of Blacklisted by History, M. Stanton Evans' masterful, revisionist biography of McCarthy, how can a serious anti-Communists still view such agit prop as anything but the 1950s fulcrum of the Communist Left's original will to power? Destroy, demoralize, isolate the anti-Communist opposition, and the Revolution will triumph.
Does David Horowitz not realize this? Perhaps you'd like to buy a bridge?
To be continued, sometime.