Apologia Pro Waldo Jaquith

There are so many avenues to this it’s tough to get started. Waldo removes a blog from his aggregator for posting the aftermath of an act of terrorism, calling it “political pornography” and booting the blog.

Now General Greivious’ Dog isn’t the only photoshop blog out there. In fact, it was predated by Perseverando, the author of which is currenly being considered to replace the outgoing Tucker Watkins as a representative for Virginia’s U.S. Senate seat transitioning from Allen to Webb.

I will leave aside the obvious dichotomy between allowing the liberal photoshoppers and excluding the conservative ones. I will also leave aside the propriety of removing GGD for posting an un-photoshopped and factual occurence. Free speech isn’t always pretty, but warts and all it has it’s place.

Let’s step back for a moment to the very first Sorenson Institute Blog Summit. A verifyable success IMO, and it was due to one individual: Waldo Jaquith.

The second Sorenson Blog Summit was an even greater success than the first. Credit can be given to one man: Waldo Jaquith.

The Virginia Polticial Blogs aggregator was a “gift” to the Virgina blogosphere to help the smaller blogs enter the mainstream. This was a tremendous boon to those blogs who didn’t have the clout that a Commonwealth Conservative or Bearing Drift have, yet at the expense of his own readership one man took the time to do this: Waldo Jaquith.

Given the opportunity to use his skills to coarsen the Virginia blogosphere, one guy actually did his best to widen the scope and create opportunities for people to take advantage of the new media: Waldo Jaqith.

Folks, I’m not arguing that I agreed with the removal of GGD. Mr Jaquith is an unabashed, socialist, commie-pinko, leftist, tree-hugging, socialist (for good measure) Democrat. So now that my conservative credentials are firmly re-established….

Waldo is a rare example of how a partisan can still be objective and altruistic for the good of his neighbor. Considering how Waldo Jaquith could have very well been otherwise, taking the tack of his erstwhile colleagues on the left, blogs should be grateful for an even playing field.

Now I realize there are growing pains in the blogosphere — aggregators could very well be the next big thing and may very well become partisan in the same way independent blogs have been snapped up and influenced by campaigns. Heck, aggregators could very well re-align that paradigm, because who the hell wants to read 15 posts on one site saying the same thing? Death of the echo-chamber? Perhaps…

I have to touch on the War on Terrorism and the graphics produced from this policy. Firstly, I don’t view the “War on Terrorism” as a true war. Like a “War on Poverty”, an anti-terrorist stance is a policy of the United States. It will take years to root it out as an acceptable method of political communication. It will take farsightedness to effect the Renaissance upon those nations who have never expereienced an Age of Reason.

Now there are images that will undoubtedly offend. They are designed to offend, but they are also a window into the souls of those impacting the violence. Terrorists such as these deserve to be rooted out and destroyed, and as a public we should be made to understand the seriousness of the threat of terrorism.

Covering up the pictures, “political pornography” as it may seem, doesn’t do anyone justice.

Now I’ve taken a bit of flack for not revealing sources with regards to the files kept by the Jim Webb campaign (specifically Vanden Berg) on Virginia bloggers on the left and the right, and for good reason. I believe the practice to be particularly “Nixonian” (as it was described to me), something that would never occur to a MSM reporter.

Ironically, for as concerned as Republicans were about such vindictiveness, I can’t help but compare the spectre of files on bloggers to the “VandenBerging” of Waldo Jaquith.

Of course, the tables got turned quickly with the VandenBerging of John Maxwell, a 16-year old named Alex who posted pseudonymously as an attorney in the Valley. Oops… but one more reason why pseudonymous blogs are not to be trusted.

Still, the entire episode of bloggers breaking stories (e.g. Waldo with Goode, Hoeft with Kellam, or myself with the anti-Miller flyer) only for those stories to ultimately break the blogger is appalling. Some have argued that by blogging about politics, you have opened yourself up as a public figure to be scrutinized. Others have insisted that as no MSM reporter would be challenged, neither should a blogger. I argue somewhere in the middle, that MSM reporters really report under the aegis of a larger organization, while bloggers are soapboxes for individuals.

It doesn’t mean you get the inner details of your life posted, but neither does that mean you get a free pass, either.

Back to Waldo Jaquith, it’s his damn aggregator. Let him have it, and let him be. Life does in fact move along.

For Republicans who typically argue in favor of property rights (I tend to be the guy that says you have property right up to the point that it affects my own property rights), this is an open/shut case.

For a moment, I don’t beleive Waldo was being malicious in removing the post with the butchered American.


Waldo Jaquith’s prime metaconcern has always been with the tone of the blogosphere. He isn’t alone. Chad Dotson, Norm Leahy, Cory Chandler, myself, Jon Henke, the gang at SST, Jim Bacon, and much of the “Old Guard” that consist of the larger and longer existing blogs have been keen enough to understand what might happen if things got out of hand.

Most of us would agree: Sorenson I and II, VaPoliticalBlogs, and many of the constructive items that have benefited the Virginia blogosphere (both in tone and technology) have happened because of the altruism of Waldo Jaquith.

Waldo is a Democrat, I am a Republican. I would like to think that there are parallels between the left and right when it comes to blogs. We have Commonwealth Conservative, they have Raising Kaine. We have Bearing Drift, they have Not Larry Sabato. We have GGD, they have Perseverando.

Now I’m not saying I’m the parallel to Jaquith, but I’d like to think that someone else thinks so. He’s a smart guy, he’s well respected on both sides. I’ll take that.

Now I know there are critics of every stripe. Democrats will undoubtedly read this as vindication or scoff with insincerity. It’s neither. Some Republicans may read this as being “squishy” on the issue. If so, you would count yourself as the fifth person in the world to charge me with leftism or moderation.

There is an old Napoleonic dictum: “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.” These same critics (to their glee or head-shaking confoundment) will readily add that no Democrat would ever come to my defense on such an issue. Perhaps so.

I disagree with the man’s politics, but I think Waldo is a fine individual who doesn’t deserve many of the personal insults he’s had to endure.

So here it goes:

I will add the following: I am very glad to see the ODBA cut its teeth, step up, and defend GGD’s post regarding Islamic terrorism. That is an issue we cannot ignore and must discuss as a society. It’s real, and it should be discussed in an open forum. Unfortunately, some forums are more open than others.

That having been said, Waldo Jaquith is a good man who made a decision with which I disagree. It wasn’t the first, it won’t be the last. But we can be grown-ups and disagree without being disagreeable. Not everyone lives up to it, but those who realize it first get the better of everyone else.

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19 Responses to Apologia Pro Waldo Jaquith

  1. F.T. Rea says:


    Thanks for the heads-up. I’ve been hoping/waiting to see a post from you on this matter.

    Now, I have just two words to say about your comments in this post — well done.

    — Terry

  2. Charlie Fugate says:


    I’m just now getting around to reading this post. Nice job. Don’t agree with everything that was said or done in this ordeal, but that’s the nature of the beast.

  3. Bob Gibson says:


    Civility waxes and wanes on the political commons, but the dialogue on the commons remains important to many. Thanks to you and Waldo and many others for preserving the ability to shout, whisper, argue or agree in a robust forum among people who care about the commonwealth. Happy New Year all!

    — Bob Gibson

  4. Chad says:

    For what it’s worth, Shaun, I don’t much care for the characterization of CC as the right’s Raising Kaine. 🙂 Surely I was more civil than that site.

  5. James Young says:

    I have to endorse Chad’s comments. Comparing CC to Raising Kaine is akin to comparing the ethics of the Pope to those of Bill Clinton.

  6. Charles says:

    I’ve defended Waldo when he was unfairly attacked, but the rare posts I take notice of from him (and maybe that is the problem, I only see a few) are all screed that brings me no desire to treat him with respect. Sorry, but respect doesn’t come from altruistic acts, it comes from honorable speech and character. And while I don’t know Waldo, I know that the few things I read are not indicative of a good character, but rather a base political actor with an “end justifies the means” attitude.

    Probably not a fair account of his body of work, but it only takes one or two things to paint a picture (“macaca” anyone?).

    Ben is on that list for me as well, I know you “old-timers” have this nostalgia for the good old days but the good old days didn’t exist, and they certainly aren’t here now.

    While you are playing nice, the democrats, and the liberal bloggers, have taken the good will they built up and are using it to destroy good people and “take back” this country to a place we don’t want to go.

    Will Vehrs deserved the bipartisan outpouring of support when he was attacked from without by a man with no understanding, in a way that threatened him in the real world.

    Waldo is simply suffering the rhetorical slings and arrows that come with the territory of being the political hachet man for a failed political philosophy.

  7. Charles says:

    BTW, Waldo is hardly a “rare breed” who can be altruistic — unless you mean for a democrat.

    I’ve yet to see a conservative who wouldn’t rise to the aid of his fellow man regardless of political affiliation, and this dust-up shows that clearly, as the right-wing bloggers are rushing to Waldo’s aid.

    I will note that I haven’t been involved in this current argument, nor do I care about the specifics of something that apparently led to the destruction of a political blog and a young blogger — how Waldo becomes the “aggrieved” party in this I’m not sure, but I’m sure there’s something I missed because I had better things to do with my time than read this stuff.

    But did it ever occur to you that the left has a long-term plan for the internet, that an aggregator plays into that plan, and that involves getting a new avenue for

  8. SWAC Girl says:

    As one of the new “rabble-rousers” in the conservative blogosphere, I want to say thank you to the “Old Guard” who have gotten us this far.

    However … civility only works when both sides play by the rules.

    Last fall during the Allen campaign we got our clocks cleaned because we were civil while they were vicious. While I don’t believe in the way they do business, it’s a reality that needs to be met.

    Most of the democrats I deal with at the grassroots level are hate-filled toward anyone conservative just because we’re conservative. I don’t consider that civil.

  9. Shaun Kenney says:


    (D)id it ever occur to you that the left has a long-term plan for the internet, that an aggregator plays into that plan, and that involves getting a new avenue for

    If it had occured to others who hated Waldo so much, then I would ask why hey would rely on such a person’s aggregator in the first place?

    It takes half a day to set up an aggregator. It’s nothing anyone on the right couldn’t do in an evening.


    Most of the democrats I deal with at the grassroots level are hate-filled toward anyone conservative just because we’re conservative. I don’t consider that civil.

    Agreed! But that doesn’t mean I’m going to act like them to get my message across.

    All this having been said, GGD was a great blog when it stayed on message. Unfortunately, when it panned out that he wasn’t who he said he was…. well, I’d burn the left on that too.

  10. Shaun Kenney says:


    CC is not RK. I only meant it from a “prestige” standpoint (and there are many forms of prestige).

    Okay, so it’s a poor analogy. But when a conservative wakes up in the morning, they go to CC first. For a Dem, it’s RK. Yada yada…

  11. The Squeaky Wheel says:

    I am torn. On one hand I agree with Shaun. His points are well thought out and almost perfectly on point (I do disagree to the likeness of RK to CC but get what you were saying about the level of prestige/readership/etc).

    I do, however agree with SWAC Girl. Too, too often the left is angry and attacks with such force on everything and when anyone from the right does anything akin to that we are stereotyped as angry people on everything.

    Many say not to stoop to their level and to ignore the vitriol and it will stop, but it doesn’t.

    When a bully is popped right in the nose, they stop bullying. When nothing is said or done, they see it as a free pass and it is effective for them.

    There is balance to be had. What I DO NOT want to see is some sort of restrictions and uber rules set by the loudest voice that we all MUST abide by or we are banished. That is exactly what blogs are NOT about.

    But the big picture I hear Shaun saying is that we must be civil and realistic. I agree and once again, it is a Conservative who calls for civility and a Conservative that is willing to call foul where appropriate on fellow conservatives. What I hear SWAC Girl say (And she is right) is that the lefties never do the same. We will see.

    Also, in regards to the comment “… one more reason why pseudonymous blogs are not to be trusted.” I realize I am one of those guys.

    I do this not to hide, but to keep those on the left from attacking me personally at work, my wife’s work and my kids. I love the blogs, but do not trust the lefties who have proven time and time again that they will do anything to win and be right and when they are not, they personally attack those on the Right and love to ‘out’ bloggers to employers, organizations, etc and even go after families on the blogs. As much as I love being a part of a great blog like Bearing Drift, I don’t love it more than having a job and certainly not more than I love my family. If the left was not so angry and vitriol, I would not feel the need to write under a goofy name, but history has shown otherwise.

    In my defense, that is why you never see me “break” news. I simply make comments, or pontificate opinions. The times that Bearing Drift has broken news or anything of substance, Jim has done it (Mainly because he is the smart one anyway, but also for the credibility of a name attached to it).

    I hold Shaun in high respect so if he is calling for calm, I respect his offering. I will say, however, that I think the left will burn him on it and use his own words and twist them to make a case that all Conservatives are wrong and evil. They will exclaim “Ah-ha! Told you so!” because that is their idea of substance and debate.

    The issue is over. Waldo has done great things for the blogosphere and yes, he is a lefty nut case. But as has been said many times, it is HIS site. I am pleased that Bearing Drift is on that list. Politically, I do not like Waldo, but blogging wise and talent wise I do.

    I will say this: I was annoyed that Waldo ‘banned’ a blog because of a factual post of a factual event, but I have to be honest; I am now even more annoyed that I defended a blog (The Dog) and his ‘lawyer’ only to find out that these people were not who they said they were… Not even close. I am still waiting for my apology. In defending free speech, we were made fools of. Of course the left enjoyed ‘outing’ these bloggers and are reveling in the fact that we were duped by a 16-year-old because it distracted from the real issue of their desire to ignore terrorism, but the fact does not change that good posts were being put up by bad people.

    This is an issue that has really made me rethink the value of putting so much time, effort and dedication into blogging. It has simply become a gotcha game of winners and losers, and lately the only losers are all of us looking like high schoolers wrapped in D&D conventions and deep fried in nerd sauce… and no one outside of the blogosphere is reading nor do they care. So when you 'win', what is the gain? Not votes, not policy change, not any real impact.

    Some days I feel like the blogoshpere has become a giant game of the Sims. It’s not real and has no impact on the real world. The problem is when some people feel like they are losing, they attack others in the real world. Hardly worth it.

    Sorry this was so long. Would post it on Bearing Drift, but it applies to Shaun’s post best.

  12. Shaun Kenney says:

    I will say this: I was annoyed that Waldo ‘banned’ a blog because of a factual post of a factual event, but I have to be honest; I am now even more annoyed that I defended a blog (The Dog) and his ‘lawyer’ only to find out that these people were not who they said they were… Not even close. I am still waiting for my apology. In defending free speech, we were made fools of. Of course the left enjoyed ‘outing’ these bloggers and are reveling in the fact that we were duped by a 16-year-old because it distracted from the real issue of their desire to ignore terrorism, but the fact does not change that good posts were being put up by bad people.

    I think that has me burned up as well. We win on the issue of Islamic terrorism. We lose when we aren’t up front.

    The libs are always going to get away with dirty tricks. You live with it and move on. OTOH, conservatives always win with a “steamroller” effect. We’re great at setting the tone and driving the debate (especially when we are in the minority).

    Right issue, but wrong way to go about things.

  13. Spank That Donkey says:

    Do ya’ll have phones? Email? Maybe talking to your fellow Conservatives might clear up a lot of misunderstanding…

    Why are ya’ll relying on ‘news’ put out by Left of Center spy machines?

  14. Shaun Kenney says:

    Those phones and e-mails you are talking about work both ways.

    No reason 20 people should be calling one person… better for one to reach out to the 20 Republicans with questions, eh?

  15. lontlont says:

    It truly is amazing that a few people here are claiming that the left has some monopoly on incivility, nasty attacks, and the rest. The reality is that people on both sides feel that way about the other, often with lots of good justification. The right has nothing to pat itself on the back about in terms of being civil, and the image of lefty hordes trampling all over your nice civil lawns is simply ridiculous.

    Waldo’s blogging has been, frankly, a lot more civil and thoughtful than those who all chortle and nod their heads about him being a “lefty nutcase,” especially a certain squeaky wheel. Frankly, I’ve seen precious little of any debate over his ideas and posts and instead a lot of knee jerk labeled by people who rarely if ever bothered to engage him in a discussion.

  16. Shaun Kenney says:

    Says an anonymous pos(t)er using a pseudonym to post here to offer insightful, intelligent commentary of their own….


  17. Charles says:

    I learn more and more. Apparently some of the problem here is that people were willing to put their own honor on the line defending the “information” about a person who they never met and who hid behind a cloak of anonymity.

    And having therefore acted like, frankly, fools, they feel burned when it turns out that they were taken for the fools they were.

    I’m sorry, I really don’t mean to be harsh, I’m giggling as I write that, but when you do something really stupid and then learn that you did so, it’s just better for the soul to look at yourself and say “d*mn, that was stupid of me”, rather than get all indignant over how you were “taken”.

    I save such indignation for when people I personally know, and therefore trust for a REASON, abuse that trust. If I make the mistake of putting that kind of trust in a mirage, I just chalk that up to plan lack of sense.

    I didn’t realise that bloggers were defending an anonymous blogger on the basis of things he said were true about himself, rather than on the issues involved.

    Shaun is right — we shouldn’t defend anonymous bloggers, or the personal information from people who we don’t know.

    We should be defending ideas, like the idea that terrorism is real, and that beheading people is not something confined to false muslim terrorists, but is a feature of mainstream islam as practiced in the middle east. Christians are shot in China, they are beheaded in Pakistan, not by terrorists, but by leaders and in accordance to the laws.

    It is not bigoted to keep people from that culture from coming to our country and becoming citizens, when they have no desire to be like us, but rather want to change our laws to make our country like theirs.

    Ellison has made comments about Muslims rising up in this country that are remarkable similar to statements made by Osama Bin Laden.

    And if we don’t fix our immigration laws, we will end up with a majority of voters in southwestern states who want to take the land back for Mexico, and will end up with muslim leaders who want to put their ideas of justice as the laws of our land.

  18. The Squeaky Wheel says:

    Lets be cler about something… I do not feel ‘fooled’ defending the post showing the beheading. I still stand by that this is not porn, it is historical reality.

    What I am pissed about is someone going around calling themselves a lawyer after we stood up for him. I defended the post, not the blogger.

    But as predicted, the lefties are “giggling” and enjoying this.

    I never said the Right had a monopoly on civilaty. Jeez… We read what we want to read, don’t we.

    The problem is, the lefty bloggers will personally attack bloggers and their families (and have, even those on Bearing Drift) and when ANY comment is made by a righty, the get all mightier than thou. What a joke.

    Fact is, this debate is more like a show of who can be more of a psuedo-mature geek.

  19. Spank That Donkey says:

    Here is the bottom line post on ‘attacking’ Waldo.


    Reality is, it never happened, and Jonathan Maxfield deserves an apology. A fictious dog, a fictious lawyer, and a fictious trial.

    A real test as to who will stand up against left wing bias to censor facts from Conservative bloggers, and who will stand with them..

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