the star's rishawn biddle thinks of himself as the "Sensible Libertarian", a role he sometimes plays pretty well—for example, i happen to think he's spot-on about the controversy surrounding pea-shake houses (black-owned illegal gambling operations). but other times, he gets a little too "in character". recently, he's written a series of posts belittling gay activists, insisting repeatedly that he's "on their side" politically, yet because they are just so shrill and whiny, they risk losing the support of Sensible Folks like him. what's particularly annoying about these screeds (other than the wrong-headedness of his arguments) is that he has developed a habit of commenting on other bloggers' posts without linking to them or even naming who wrote them. this reduces his posts to a sort of "inside baseball" which is practically indecipherable if you haven't already read the blogs in question.
in the other corner is gary welsh. like rishawn, gary is highly intelligent and capable of coming up with compelling arguments. also like rishawn, gary can be quite obstinate when he turns out to be wrong. and also like rishawn, gary is a nontraditional conservative. (rishawn claims to be "libertarian", which these days generally means "i'm conservative, but too embarrassed by the religious right to call myself 'republican'." gary is a gay republican, who repeatedly voices his disgust at the religious right, but still thinks it might be possible to save the GOP.)
as a gay man, gary is understandably opposed to SJR-7, the proposed amendment to the indiana constitution that would not only ban gay marriage but would prevent "incidents of marriage" from being granted to "unmarried couples" (which includes unmarried straight couples as well, and would strip away many existing rights that gay and unmarried straight couples currently enjoy, no matter what the amendment's supporters say). rishawn claims to also be opposed to the amendment, yet he seems to spend more time whining about the tactics of gay activists than explaining why the amendment is so atrocious. and he has repeatedly called out gary (perhaps more than anyone else), even while refusing to link to gary's blog or even mention gary by name.
it was always easy to see what this spat was really about. gary, as a gay man, is fighting for his rights, for his livelihood and the lives of many others like him. that's admirable. for rishawn, this feud with the lgbt community has always been about last year's election and the things that were said during that time.
longtime readers will recall that gary got a little out of hand during the election season. in his zeal to oust julia carson from congress, gary went off the deep end on more than one occasion, spewing all sorts of ridiculousness. once upon a time, rishawn seemed to be a big fan of gary's, but rishawn got burned last october, when gary flat-out called him a liar. (the issue was the much-talked-about police report about candidate dickerson's domestic battery arrest. gary insisted, despite all the facts, that julia carson had personally given the report to the star ed board. rishawn, who should know because he's a member of the ed board, repeatedly pointed out that this did not happen, but gary stood by his claim... and for some reason still does.)
gary has mostly recovered his sanity since then (though he has yet to correct or apologize for the many outlandish things he said during the election season), and his blog is almost as good now as it was, say, last spring, before all this nonsense got started. but rishawn remembers being called a liar, and he still holds a grudge.
early this morning, rishawn finally admitted as much in the comments at AI:
Your animus with me goes back to last year's Julia Carson-Eric Dickerson Congressional race, when I criticized your unreasonable rhetoric and called you on the carpet for perpetrating an urban legend that Carson handed a copy of Dickerson's arrest record to this paper. It didn't happen and you were told that by yours truly -- who happened to be at the editorial board meeting in which Carson leveled those allegations -- and was confirmed by the editorial page editor of this paper.
You refused to correct your statement. As a result, I regard you in a territory reserved for two other notable commentattors in town whose lack of class, dearth of civility and unwillingness to deal reasonably: You don't get named whenever cited on Expresso.
of course, in that dispute, rishawn was right. in this one, he's dead wrong. but because gary went too far last fall, he has—perhaps permanently—damaged his reputation in rishawn's eyes. and rishawn isn't just taking it out on gary: he's taking it out on the whole lgbt community. it's a shame.
incidentally, i also want to point out this line: "I regard you in a territory reserved for two other notable commentattors [...] You don't get named whenever cited on Expresso." like a petulant child, rishawn decides to punish those critics he dislikes by talking about them without using their names. rather than just ignore them, as he probably should do if they were really as uncivil and unreasonable as he claims, he passive-aggressively keeps talking smack about them on his blog. of course, the entity most harmed by this is expresso, which is rendered almost unreadable by all the unexplained references to "certain bloggers".
but the real question is, who are the other two "comentattors" that rishawn refuses to ever call by name? i'm pretty sure one of them is steph mineart. but who's the third? i suppose wilson allen is a candidate, but judging from this i'm pretty sure he's actually talking about tdw's jen wagner. ¶