Monday, June 25, 2007

Team SWAC's secret agenda?

SWAC is an acronym for Staunton, Waynesboro and Augusta County. In the last year, within the Virginia political blogosphere, and environs, that acronym has come to be associated with a cadre of prolific bloggers who ostensibly share a political philosophy. The publishers of blogs known as SWACgirl, Spankthatdonkey, General Grievous’ Dog and Journal of the Common Man have been the most visible players in that group.

Most recently, the SWACronyms banned together with a few other ultra-conservative bloggers in that part of Virginia to put over a candidate they liked, Scott Sayre, in a Republican primary. Sayre was defeated by the incumbent, Emmett Hanger. Now the verbose losers are choking on the crow set before them on their plates.

In a SLANTblog post on December 30, 2006, I jokingly suggested that maybe there was something in the drinking water out that way, something that was making some people crazy. For background click here to read “Something strange in Staunton's water supply?

The SWAC bloggers, called "SWACsters" by some who have written about their rabid style of pursuing everyday politics, attack anyone/everyone who questions their collective thinking, or sleazy tactics. For a little more background, if you like, the Richmond Democrat has a post on the latest SWAC-driven tempest in the mountains -- click here to read “Staunton, Virginia: Local politics as bloodsport.

Still, I’m not writing these words to support any of the Democrats the SWAC clique has attacked, nor any of the Republicans, or Libertarians, or Dixiecrats, or Whigs, or Frisbee-tarians, etc. Currently they’re after a Republican out their way named Andrew Clem, an insider who has shown the temerity to suggest to other Republicans that maybe Team SWAC's way of doing business is actually not so good for the future of the GOP.


It hit me this morning -- maybe the SWACsters are moles!

Maybe, just maybe, they are in deepest cover -- donkeys to the bone wearing blow-up rubber elephant suits. Maybe their true mission is the destruction of the Republican Party as we know it in Virginia.

Maybe that former Democrat, Rep. Virgil “Foghorn Leghorn” Goode (R-VA5th), is part of their conspiracy. That would be a far better explanation for his recent attention-getting, throwback antics ... better, ah say, than we’ve heard out of him so far.

Yes, I know that’s far-fetched. But when you look at the splendid job Team SWAC has done to tear the Virginia GOP big tent apart at the seams -- and how effective it has been! -- such a conspiracy could explain it.

OK. If I have outed some under-cover Democrats, self-styled secret agents bitter over the stolen election of 2000, or the invasion/occupation of Iraq, or inadequate disaster relief in New Orleans, or whatever, well, I’m glad I’ve done it.

That’s because of this: As much as I will be happy to see the Democrats win back the majority in the General Assembly, and the White House, this is not the way it should happen. This is too much like Karl Rove and Dick Cheney would do it.

On the other hand, if the SWACsters really are sincere about being Republicans, and trying to elect Republican candidtaes, then I have to go back to my theory about the water. It could help them wash down some of that meal 'o' crow, ah say crow, still stuck in their throats.


Josh said...

Nice theory, but unliely...

I've met Chris from Spank that Donkey. He's a good guy; the kind of guy you'd like to hang out with and catch a beer or tailgate a little league baseball game. He is not, however, a Democrat. No way!

Actually, I think he is a textbook example of how politics takes good people and sucks the civility right out of 'em. Neither side has a monopoly on this, but the right is honing it into a real science (it's too ugly to call art).

If it weren't for the gaping abyss we jokingly refer to as political discourse these days, there'd be a lot more good times and a lot less hard feelings. Al Gore is absolutely right, there's very little room for reason in politics today.

F.T. Rea said...


From what I’ve seen the two most nagging problems to do with the virtual world of the Virginia political blogosphere are part of the same thing -- a quirky unwillingness to hold people to the same time-honored common sense rules of good manners and honesty that we know promote civility and problem-solving in the real world.

Problem No. 1: Anonymous blogging/commenting.

Much of the mischief would quickly evaporate from the Virginia blogosphere if there were a gate in play that would only allow real people, who stand behind what they post with their real names, to pass through to participate at the top shelf level of discussion.

There would have a key to the gate. Technically, I don’t know how it would be done, but I suspect it wouldn’t be all that hard to do.

Hey, I’m not saying anonymous contributors have nothing worthwhile to offer the blogosphere. What I am saying is that they should be excluded from what is clearly labeled as the most respected level of discussion, when it comes to political blogging.

At this point I can’t help but think of Conaway Haskins, and his Commonwealth Society of Bloggers concept, from last fall. Haskins just couldn’t bring himself to accept that in order to cobble together a group of ethical bloggers, from both sides of the aisle, IDs would have to be checked at the door.

Without transparency the scheme didn’t hold water.

Problem No. 2: The averted eyes of respectable bloggers.

Too often they have been willing to travel in the close company of absolute low-downs, when it seemed to suit a partisan purpose. Playing team ball, in an all-out blue state/red state sense, has had bloggers consistently ignoring the bad behavior of the aforementioned low-downs.

Beyond that factor, when a blog aggregator, or blog alliance appears to be assigning equal weight and credibility to a long list, such as labeling blogs like Bearing Drift and SWACgirl as merely “conservatives,” or Vivian J. Paige and Not Larry Sabato as “lefties,” it is very misleading.

Such routine labeling plainly overlooks any number of more telling ways of categorizing them -- even though all four generate hits aplenty.

Howling Latina said...

Rea, I've been attacked, especially by SWAC Girl, but my progressive bloggers as well.

And no, I didn't like it. But...everyone has an absolute right to make a perfect a-hole out of themselves. I don't believe in any kind of suppression or banning, unless it's someone filled with four-letter vitriol, or as when Waldo banned the guy who went over the edge.

One person's idea of an over-the-top comment may be someone else' idea of totla restrain.

Who gets to the decider?!?

F.T. Rea said...

Howling Latina,

Some people invite/enjoy attacks. And, you are free to believe whatever you like.

The blogosphere is wide open. While I can't ban anyone from the blogosphere, on my blog I can ban/delete comments from people who cross my line.

And, I can avoid participating in the name-calling games in the comments sections of other people's blogs.

In short, there are bloggers that I have decided are mostly up to no good. They are happy to cause trouble, because they really don't have anything constructive to say.

Consequently, I want nothing to do with them, regardless of which side of the aisle they imagine themselves to be on.

Vivian J. Paige said...

Playing team ball, in an all-out blue state/red state sense, has had bloggers consistently ignoring the bad behavior of the aforementioned low-downs.
Sometimes, I think this is even worse than anonymous blogging.

F.T. Rea said...


It's a tossup. But playing team ball, at the expense of all else, existed a long time before political blogging was set loose on the world.

It's always tough. Like, should good Democrats who want to win the majority in the House support Joe Morrissey, given his record? Or...