Here is the email I received from Douglas V. Gibbs, my long-time blogging and broadcast partner and friend, at 10:40 PM last night:
We have a big problem developing. As a journalist I try to be as objective as I can be, with my opinion inserted in a manner that is not necessarily intrusive, but present nonetheless. When it comes to Trump, though I don’t fully trust him, I have taken a tact that is as objective as I can be. I have essentially said that though I don’t fully trust him, I believe Hillary is something worse, so he is going to get my vote. A majority of folks I have spoken to about it are pretty much in my corner.
Over the last few months, and particularly the last few weeks, my constitution classes have been dwindling in numbers. The Temecula Class has gone from a routine 25-30 people to about five. Corona has dropped to about half its normal size from a dozen to 6 or 7, as has Lake Elsinore (9 to about 4 or 5). The loss of money has been significant. When I finally, this week, began to contact the people who haven’t been showing up to the classes, to find out why, I was figuring family vacations, other clubs or activities, or that they just don’t have the time right now. The response that was of the overwhelming majority, however, was a big surprise. . . yet it was not. The response has been almost the same with almost each and every one of them. “YOUR Trump Bashing on your Facebook” or “YOUR Trump Bashing on your blog”. They, apparently, aren’t noticing it’s not me writing them, or they do but it’s my site so I am responsible. “The hate,” I was told by one, “sounds like how leftists attack the right”. “Same tactics as Democrats.” “Misleading links”. “Misleading post titles.” One today told me “As if you are blindly trying to destroy Trump by yourself in an obsessed manner – I just can’t handle anymore.”
Though I have voiced my disagreement with you about your stance on Trump, I have not even considered limiting your written opinion. Your opinion belongs to you, and if the opposing view regarding Trump needs to be present, that is my job. However, the “Trump Bashing” is beginning to cost me money in my classes and speaking engagements. The monetary loss from my classes alone in May is over a hundred dollars less than it was last month at this point, and last month was a bit under the month before. Therefore, I regretfully have to ask you to tone it down, write in a more journalistic manner that comes across more objective, or cease the Trump posts altogether. I do not like having to write this (I’d have called you, but while this was fresh in my mind I figured you were already asleep), and I have never even considered “reeling in” any of my writers, or censoring any posts by those who write for the site. You do a lot of work, and put a lot of content on the site, and I truly appreciate it. But, your posts are a reflection on me as the owner of the site, and it is literally killing my constitution classes and I was told today by a group I was going to speak at that they’ve changed their mind having me come out. Events like that normally make me about $250. The posts, I am getting from people, are considered over the top, and I don’t know what else to say or do other than to ask you to tone it down, or abandon writing about Trump.
I trust you will know what to do.
Here is the reply I fired off at 8:56AM this morning:
Yes, I do know what to do. Or would, but you already seem to have done it to me, just like Sadru Kabani and Bill Zimmerman [my last two bosses in the accounting profession] before you.
Let us begin with the business side of this.
Political Pistachio is your blog. You’re the “owner” and, in journalistic terms, the publisher/managing editor. You’re the “boss” and I cannot and do not insist on pundit carte blanche with and on someone else’s site. #NoneOfTheAbove is the only true, honest, ethical position for a constitutional conservative to hold, but its expression on a particular media outlet is not a civil right.
I therefore interpret the message below as my pink slip. Certainly not the first time my ass has been fired, LORD knows, but never for quite this reason….or maybe that isn’t true after all, as when my day job was taken away from me almost three years ago, that was over a matter of office/corporate politics, and this time it’s over a matter of presidential politics. Tomato, tomahto, let’s call the whole thing off. The slap across the face (kind of like Ironman backhanding Captain America in Siberia – I told you that was symbolic) feels the same, minus the presence of any income generation for me from what has otherwise effectively been a full-time job – and hence, a full time favor. Almost makes me wish the revenue you say you’ve lost had at least wound up in my pocket, as that would have provided you with a more legitimate reason for telling me that my services are no longer required.
It might as well be a pink slip, because as I’ve told you on numerous occasions over the past few months, I cannot, do not, and will not pander to my readers or audience on anything. I write and say what I believe, in the way I believe it. Have for the twenty-four years I’ve been online, from the old CompuServe Information Service message boards to the staff of RepublicanForum.com to hardstarboardblog.com to Political Pistachio.
In other words, I have not changed, Doug – but you have.
I stand with National Review and Red State: Donald Trump is a disaster. He is the end of the constitutional conservative movement as a viable, effective, and competitive national force in this country by taking away the GOP as the national vehicle that our Goldwater/Reagan-era forebears captured, the latter of which is something I always thought you supported, and which has made precisely your feigned (in one direction or the other) “objectivity” so bitterly disappointing. Although perhaps that should not be seen as all that surprising, since by your own chronic Tea Party-esque attacks on the so-called GOP “establishment” over the past few years as part of the GOP civil war that culminated in Trumpmania, you have at least been an accessory, wittingly or unwittingly, to the Trumpocalypse. This step is simply a continuance of that.
Put another way, Trump is the Europeanization of the Right that you yourself have long decried. And anybody that can support that by supporting him to the slightest degree, on whatever rationalization, is either a betrayer or a fool. That is what I believe, and that is what I say. I can no more “tone that down” or “stop writing about Trump” than I could stop breathing. Go back to what I was writing about Trump last summer and trace it through to today – the take and content and tone have never changed. I have been and remain, in the words of General Chang, “constant as the northern star”. It’s all the people from your Constitution classes and other endeavors that have changed, and are now changing you. Following that terrible example would be a forfeiture of my personal and advocacy-journalistic integrity tantamount to surrendering and knuckling under to Trump himself. I trust you know that I cannot and will never do that.
Ergo, if you’re not firing me, you are giving me an ultimatum, one that I cannot accept. So you have my resignation.
Just be aware that three-quarters of the content of Political Pistachio, and the same proportion of content for the “Big Stories” portion of Constitution Radio will disappear through the same trap door in the ol’ gibbet platform. I am, to be blunt, the only reason that Political Pistachio isn’t an abandoned Blogger site, for all intents and purposes. I’ve kept the lights on there when you no longer could. Which means several things: You’re going to have to find an additional six to eight hours a day in which to personally replace my content (since that’s the time I’ve been putting in); or you’re going to have to headhunt either several additional staff writers or one who can, like I’ve been, make it his/her sole focus, and that’s also going to take time that you do not possess. I can’t assess the revenue loss, if any, that my departure might inflict upon your endeavors and whether it would negate whatever revenue enhancement, if any, that the elimination of my editorial viewpoint would produce. But it’s something you’d be well-advised to think about going forward.
In the same way, you need to understand that this means I have to bid hail and farewell to our seven-year broadcasting partnership as well, as they are a package deal. And that means that you are effectively terminating me from Constitution Radio and I am terminating you from American Daily Review. The latter of which I only started up as a(nother) favor to you and John Barnhart in 2009 in the context of the ADR website, and have only kept it going (to the total of almost a thousand dollars after my career and income were destroyed – if I thought you had the cash on hand, I would bill you for it) as part of our collaboration on Constitution Radio (“The pre-game show, the tailgate party….”) in the hopes that it would take off and actually become a paying proposition one day, the second dream career that I used to believe would come, like Morpheus did in Neo.
But it never has. And frankly, I’ve long since stopped deluding myself that it, or any of your endeavors, ever will. They’re local-level operations that are generating you enough cash to get by, and that’s great (and by blowing out our “professional” collaboration and friendship along with it, your income will, by your account, increase. Good for you, I guess), but they are highly unlikely to ever produce the boat-lifting tide about which you first aspired to me four years ago. I haven’t said anything because (1) I had no reason to do so, (2) I did not want to discourage you in any way, (3) I believe in your endeavors, and (4) like the naked guy who wears that hat because somebody might pay attention to him, Constitution Radio might take off…someday. But if it does, it will apparently do so in a form significantly different than it sports now. Kind of a quasi-Trumpist echo chamber ill-concealed behind a Hillaryesque pink pantsuited scarecrow, judging by the past few episodes.
This editorial difference had frankly had me wondering how the next six months were going to unfold, but more pertaining to the radio show. It’s not gone unnoticed up here on the other end of the West Coast how you’ve “toned me down” in omitting the bulk of my Trump commentary in compiling the Big Stories each week, but I reconciled myself to that because I could still get my views out on Political Pistachio. Now you are pulling the plug on that as well. Since I can take a hint and recognize when and where I am not wanted, you now see my back, and the past seven years, receding in your rear-view mirror. And Donald Trump can rack up one more intra-Republican schism notch on his YUUUUUUGE belt, however tiny.
But this, ultimately, is your choice, Mr. Gibbs.
Which brings us to the personal side.
The Internet is an amazing thing. I’ve made friends that are hundreds or thousands of miles away that I have never met in person but are among the best friends I have ever had. You have topped that list…until today. I don’t want to say that, or even believe it; we’ve been like Butch & Sundance or Jim West & Artemis Gordon (the Will Smith/Kevin Kline version) taking on the bad guys, and sometimes each other, in our respective inimitable ways, but sticking together throughout it all….until today. Because today, you have opted to (fully) join the “doggie treat salesmen” ranks alongside Limbaugh, Hannity, Laura Ingraham, et al, whether or not your realize it, and put money ahead of constitutionalism, conservatism, and our professional partnership and personal friendship.
But hey, I know that sentiment doesn’t pay the bills. Nobody knows that better than me.
Still, as the Vulcans say, regrets are illogical. So I will say that it is unfortunate that you and I never got the chance to meet in person, and it has been my unparalleled honor and privilege to know you and call you “brother from another mother”.
Just let the record show that it was not I who tugged on the fateful loose end that unraveled that beautiful tapestry.
And now y’all know why I’ll be hanging out ’round here going forward.