When Lou Dobbs stepped onto the stage as the closing keynote speaker of the Virginia Tea Party Patriot’s Convention in Richmond on Saturday, he was greeted by exuberant screams, the waving of American flags and declarations of love.
“I love you too,” Dobbs said, his voice reverberating over whistles and cheers. “And I want to apologize to you for my voice quality—I’ve been talking too much, if you can imagine such a thing.”
Following Isabel Macdonald’s investigative piece published last week in The Nation, outing the conservative pundit and political hopeful for relying on undocumented workers to maintain his estate and show jumping horses, Dobbs has certainly been doing a lot of talking. In the two days leading up to his appearance at the “Constitution Still Matters” themed convention, Dobbs has been defending himself against what he characterized as a “smear campaign” on his radio show, MSNBC and Good Morning America.
The conservative-leaning Richmond Times Dispatch published an editorial Thursday saying “the presence of Lou Dobbs will sully the proceedings,” with hopes that the convention could take him off the roster.
A second editorial was published Friday, commenting that an atmosphere of hypocrisy would besmirch the event not because it was held in a convention center paid for by taxes, but rather because Dobbs would be a headliner.
“That’s a classic liberal media tactic on the Tea Party movement: they’re too dumb to get it the first time, so they’re gonna repeat themselves real slowly the second,” said filmmaker Steve Bannon in his introduction of Dobbs. “Well, to the editorial board of the Times Dispatch, I think they learned a lesson that the British learned 235 years ago: patriots know how to return fire.”
Bannon, whose Tea Party Trilogy films played throughout the convention, said that The Nation “did not attack Lou Dobbs, they attacked you – they want to suppress your voice.” He then accused The Nation’s former editor, I.F. Stone, of having been a KGB agent. (Stone was the Washington editor of the magazine from 1940 to 1946, and there is no evidence that he was a KGB agent.)
Dobbs agreed with Bannon regarding the alleged motives of the exposé and continued that the “very same reporter who wrote the article admitted that I never did hire illegal immigrants or that the companies I owned hired illegal immigrants.”
While Dobbs has repeated this statement in his tweets and on television, MacDonald clarified this “admission” to Dobbs directly on “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” Thursday evening. “I don’t have evidence that you directly knowingly employed any undocumented worker,” Macdonald said. “All I’m saying is that they labored on your properties.”