Friday, October 28, 2005


Steve Gilliard: "Challenge" Yourself

After the crazy to and fro of the last three days on the now-infamous Michael Steele post, I would have thought the issue closed after the Baltimore and Washington papers weighed in.

Apparently, that's too much to ask for.

Steve Gilliard questions my manhood for somehow recruiting Andrew Sullivan to go after him (as usual, the ever-creative Mr. Gilliard illustrates the post with a nice picture of a "Lapdog and master"):

You know, even though we disagree, I thought you were a man.

I was wrong.

I mean, if you didn't like my illustration of Michael Steele, you could have e-mailed me ( or posted up. I wouldn't have agreed with you, but I would have respected you.

But you didn't. You ran to Andy "Bell Curve" Sullivan. My God man, have you no pride, no dignity. Not only did you need a white man to fight your battles, but a racist one at that.
One who thinks blacks are intellectually inferior. People like you.

You didn't like when I said Deroy Murdock acted like a slave, but Robert, that was a move straight off the plantation: "massa, massa, that negro is getting uppity." When I didn't like what you said, I didn't go to Atrios to post up on it. You should have been man enough to confront me directly.
Steve, I don't know what you are talking about -- and I'm not sure you do either.

I did "confront you directly." I did post on my blog. Where the hell does this "running" to Sullivan come from? Why would I do anything other than post something myself? Check here for a fairly accurate timeline.

Better yet, read my first post (did you even bother? Clearly, you don't read my blog because you would know that, I don't "monitor your site" as I explicitly said here). I specifically said that a Maryland woman (Valerie) tipped me off about the "Sambo" post, the same morning you put it up. I wrote about it on my blog. And, you know what? It may be shocking, but I have a distribution list letting people know when my blog is updated. And, yes, Andrew Sullivan is on it. (As are a couple dozen other people, of varied political stripes. If it will make you feel better, I'll add your e-mail, so you won't be surprised about what I'm writing everyday.)

Sometimes people then read my latest updates and bloggers occasionally link to it. Go check: This is hardly the first time Andrew has noticed this blog. (I'm sure Tom DeLay must have thrown the same tantrum you did when Andrew noted my criticism of the GOP Congress' betrayal of the Contract With America.)

Why you feel the need to personalize everything is beyond me. It's a personal insult that Tim Kaine didn't let you know beforehand that he was pulling his ad. And now I'm somehow at fault because I didn't e-mail you about my disgust with the "Sambo" post? Boo-frickin'-hoo. Why the hell am I obligated to e-mail you when I have my own blog? You don't e-mail me every time you go off on some racially insulting rant of black Republicans (Heck, if you did, I wouldn't have had to find out about this latest disgrace late Friday afternoon. But, don't bother: the high number and frequency of the rants would undoubtedly crash my mailbox). E-mail you? When did you become the only blogger whose public pronouncements are only to be criticized privately?

You conclude with, "Instead of hiding behind a white man, face me directly and defend your politics." Go back to every time I've discussed something you've written: With the notable embarrassing exception of mispelling your name once, I've always treated you respectfully, though vociferously disagreeing with you. You've never done the same. It always begins and ends with snide name-calling: Characteristically, you even praised and promoted your commenter Lower Manhattanite for his even-more-over-the-top rhetoric towards me. But you expect me to "privately" e-mail you when I find something offensive on your site? I think the phrase is, um, "'N-word', please."

This isn't about me. I've demonstrated way too many times that I don't blindly follow either Republican or conservative "talking points." I don't need Sullivan to "stick up" for me. Given our previous exchanges, why would I somehow now need to recruit a third party? Yes, I am a "man" -- which is why I *did* respond directly to what you said.

What your post reveals though -- sadly -- is that you need an "Andrew Sullivan" in the middle of this more than I do. It is much easier for you to believe that I would just send Andrew something "on the Q.T." and he would initiate some "e-mail campaign" against you. You can't be bothered to find out what actually happened -- I denounced your over-the-line statement publicly ON MY OWN blog. Nah, you need to believe that I -- a black Republican who can't possibly think or act on his own-- needs an all-powerful white blogger to do his work for him.

Give me a break.

You have a very good following. But you were given an initial boost as one of Kos' guest bloggers. That exposure helped give you a pretty good jumping-off audience when you started up THE NEWS BLOG. Not begrudging that: Kos is a smart entrepreneur and has created something special. No shame that you can share in that success.

I've built my little space up by myself without piggy-backing on anyone else's creation. Yes, I have a media day-job, but I don't advertise this site there. Yes, its great when a larger blogger links to me and boosts my traffic (happening more frequently of late on Left and Right blogs, given my posts on Katrina, Judith Miller and now this). But that is temporary. I have to continue writing what I believe and hope that my viewpoint is unique enough that people keep coming back.

"Hiding behind the white man?" Not me. If anything, that's what you're doing -- imagining a white bogey man, even if he's not there. Blaming this whole controversy on Andrew Sullivan fits your world-view: "White racists are responsible for every African American misfortune. A white racist must be responsible for the criticism I'm getting -- and a sneaky black GOPer ratted me out to him." Sorry, Steve, this black man isn't letting "the credit" be given to a white guy for calling you on this. It was me. Deal with it.

Once again for the record: Valerie -- a black Maryland woman, self-described independent and not a Michael Steele supporter -- saw your "Sambo" entry within moments of its posting. She e-mailed me and I blogged it (Valerie subsequently even weighed in on the original post's comment thread). Andrew read it and linked to it. Happens everyday in the blog world.

Steve, we are both black men; we both live in New York. We disagree politically and philosophically. If you want to call me a sell-out, race-traitor and Uncle Tom or whatever, go ahead. Disagree with me if you want, but at least respect me enough to actually read what I write (where the hell did this tattling-to-Sullivan crap come from anyway? Being linked by another blog is somehow dirty pool now?). Furthermore, recognize that I neither need someone -- black, white or other -- to tell me my opinions nor broadcast them for me.

Two side points:

1) Are you psychologically incapable of recognizing that some black people just don't accept the liberal Democratic political view? Are you constitutionally unable to engage those people on the issues -- without resorting to racially-charged insult?

2) Take this for what it's worth, but do you realize how destructive your my-way-or-the-highway attitude is to your own political goals? Go look at Kos' site and the nearly 800 divisive comments sparked by your and Kos' denouncing of Kaine. You injected a random element into an extremely tight governor's race. (Don't blame this one on me -- I didn't even know Kaine advertised on your site!) You decided to put the Steele picture and slur up.You then call a rather strong Democratic candidate in a Southern state a "coward" -- are you even aware of how Bush's troubles are hurting Kaine's GOP opponent and do you care? -- just for asking you to remove his ad (which, I believe, he paid for a month in advance)! Kos piles on. The whole affair becomes an embarassing regional issue putting Democrats -- supposedly the party you believe is best for black people -- on the defensive.

A simple exchange between bloggers rippled into a real campaign. Will it have an effect? Who knows? I will candidly admit that various goings-on in Washington may have a greater impact on the Kaine-Kilgore race than this controversy. But in a close race, you never can tell.

So tell me, Steve -- by your own criteria -- if the Gilliard-Kos fit of pique helps contribute to Tim Kaine losing, will you feel responsible for denying the black people of Virginia another four years of a Democrtic administration?

Anyway, that's for your side to work out on your own.

Finally, you want to offer me "a chance for redemption" with a debate challenge? Let's put everything in perspective: Steve Gilliard doesn't read what I post; then misinterprets the sequence of events and spreads false information to his readers; then questions my manhood and integrity (while whining that his very public pronouncements should be responded to privately); and finally accuses me of "hiding behind the white man." But I need redemption? My redemption is in Steve's hands by agreeing to share the stage with him? Putting aside just once my general policy of taking the high road: Have you lost your frickin' mind?

You've told me -- in more ways than one -- that you have no respect for me. Why on earth would I waste my time in a public setting with someone who "holds me in contempt"? How about challenging yourself to take the time to get the facts right before sliming someone and accusing them of dishonorable behavior.?

Enough. Respond on your blog if you want, e-mail me privately or just let the matter drop, whatever. Given the developments of this afternoon, the blogosphere has more important things with which to concern itself.

For that matter, so do I.

Have a good weekend.

UPDATE (10/29/05, 7:00 a.m.): When this post was written Friday evening/night, I was under the impression that Mr. Gilliard was simply confused about the chronology of the various blog postings on the "Sambo" post. Since writing, however, I have read some of his comment threads. This exchange attached to his "challenge" post is quite revealing:

Steve, didn't George post up on this before Sullivan did? Let's be realistic,
Sullivan reading George's blog is not the same as George running to
Sullivan.Steve 10.28.05 - 11:34 am

Please, who reads his blog. He ran to him like a
whipped cur.steve_gilliard
Homepage 10.28.05 - 11:35 am #
So, Steve wrote a post at 9:00 a.m. Friday morning, saying of my criticism two days before, "you could have e-mailed me...or posted up...But you didn't. You ran to Andy "Bell Curve" Sullivan." This statement echoes previous statements on his blog as the controversy spread -- continually blaming Sullivan.

Two and a half hours after Steve's morning post, "reader Steve" correctly notes that I had indeed "posted up" on Gilliard's "Sambo" entry; Sullivan read it and responded.

Suddenly, Gilliard changes tactics. Now, "who reads his blog" is the reaction -- somehow completely ignoring his accusation that I had not posted in the first place.

Mistakes can happen in any circumstances, particularly in the blog world, when it is difficult to keep track of who is posting what and when. However, when a factual error is made, the honorable thing to do is correct it and make note of the mistake.

Leaving an obvious error in place --especially when the fact is known --makes it no longer a "mistake." It is not an oversight; it is a falsehood -- a lie. Steve Gilliard has chosen to perpetuate the lie to more easily portray me as Andrew's "lapdog"(oops -- apparently, "whipped cur" is now the preferred canine reference).

Steve Gilliard's readers don't have to give a rat's ass about me or any other black Republican. They should be concerned that Steve has blatantly misrepresented my behavior -- and knows it. He knows the truth and obviously doesn't care given that he refuses to correct the record.

His readers may continue to agree with him ideologically, but they have absolutely no reason to assume in the future that he is being honest with them.

UPDATE II: A hearty welcome to Instapundit visitors! Thanks for stopping by!

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