In a round of emails, some friends and I were musing about Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs. As you know, he has become hostile to many on the right whom he once called his friends. Omri Ceren, who blogs at the wonderful Mere Rhetoric noted that, while we may be dismayed by Johnson’s current views, we must always be grateful for his stellar contribution in the war against Islamic fundamentalism (a battle he continues to wage) and, most specifically, for his role in Rathergate. While it’s true that others viewed the alleged “shirker” memo with suspicion, it was Johnson who came up with the perfect visual that proved, beyond doubt, the memo was a recent fake, and it was he who pushed that reality out of the blogosphere and into the mainstream — and damn quickly too. Had he not acted as he did, we could have had a President Kerry in the White House, a thought that still makes me shudder.
In the last election, it was the National Enquirer, going where all other media outlets refused to go, that exposed John Edwards’ philandering habits, thereby destroying his presidential run. As we learn more about him, we have reason to be grateful that he’s not occupying the White House (although it’s hard to imagine him being worse than Obama).
In other words, while some things just fall apart and run out of steam, other things are stopped dead in their tracks by a little thing: a lie or a secret that’s exposed, a stupid remark, a foolishly issued challenge (think Gary Hart), etc. I wondered if you all would like to share with me what you think are the great pebbles in history: the seemingly little things that brought down a great enterprise.