I’m not sure when the elusive provocateur with the ubiquitous presence whom we call @Diggrbiii burst onto the Twitter scene. He was impossible to ignore or underestimate, due to the reckless abandon with which he pursued the perennial offenders on the Left, such as Eric Boehlert and Oliver Willis of Media Matters for America. His zeal to take the fight to their ilk was so immense it couldn’t fail to impress and galvanize others.
You’ll notice right away that in contrast to the typical “10 Questions” feature, there are no photos this time around. I don’t even know @Diggrbiii’s last name. He has well-founded reasons for the secretive nature of his identity, which are enumerated below. But @Diggrbiii is definitely the social type, and if you talk to him on Twitter, chances are he’ll dash off a reply. So if you want to know all the pertinent info on him that he keeps obscured, start getting acquainted now.
The characteristic that I appreciate most about @Diggrbiii is that he trains his rhetorical powder where it is most effective: on progressives and their deeply flawed ideology. He doesn’t waste resources on the circular firing squad that, at times, paralyzes the Right. Also, as gifted as he is at scornful rejoinders, props are due @Diggrbiii for his ability to marshal scholarly sources when needed in defense of his arguments. One need only peruse his regular Big Journalism contributions in order to discern that he not only comedically, but capably skewers the Left.
There are many with whom I enjoy interacting on Twitter, but only a handful I would characterize as “must follows.” @Diggrbiii is on that list.
10 Questions for Rafe _______ (@Diggrbiii)
1. You have made a name for yourself on Twitter by absolutely taking it to the liberals, relentlessly skewering their lack of logic. Has this bold, in-your-face approach always characterized your general demeanor?
You might be surprised by this, but in “real life,” I’m very laid back and while I’m definitely opinionated, I’m not very confrontational. I will usually only talk politics with people I know are conservatives because I’d rather not make my friends who aren’t conservatives feel stupid. I do have a couple of friends who are Democrats (no raging liberals, mind you – they’re moderates) whom I tease about their awful decision to vote for Obama, but for the most part, I steer clear of getting in their faces about it – it’s really hard sometimes, too. I’m pretty sure they regret it now. Everyone who knows me knows I’m a Republican. They also know I’m a no-nonsense kind of guy so there’s an unwritten rule that if you don’t want to get an earful, don’t bring Lefty talking points to the table because I know them already.
So the short answer is no. My “bold, in-your-face approach” does not characterize my general demeanor.
2. Many may not know this, but you’re an American of Hispanic descent. As conservatives, we don’t go out of our way to highlight ethnicity, but we do celebrate the diversity within our ranks. Does your heritage impact your ideology?
Big time. But it isn’t my heritage in the sense that I’m Hispanic. It’s my specific background and where my parents are from. Both my parents were born in the Dominican Republic and lived there until their early teens. They didn’t meet until after they came here to the United States. If you know about the DR, you know that back in the fifties, it was ruled by a dictator (Rafael Trujillo). My parents were both young children when he was assassinated (by a group that included a member of a family one of my aunts on my mother’s side married into, by the way). Trujillo left that country devastated and that’s why my parents’ families left to come to the US. Even though the dictator was gone, the corruption in the government remained and the situation was very unstable – still is, to a certain extent.
I was told of the horrors of the regime at an early age. Because of that, my parents unknowingly instilled in me a healthy skepticism of big, intrusive government. This is why I said that it wasn’t my ethnic heritage that impacted my ideology. I think I would have been the same if my parents were from some old Soviet bloc country instead of the Dominican Republic.
Also, while my parents definitely cherished their country of origin and the culture of their youth, they came to the US and became Americans. Not hyphenated American, just Americans. There were never any conflicting loyalties in my house. We were Americans living in the greatest country in the history of mankind. So as a kid, when I coupled the thought of what my parents lived through with my being born here in the US, my sense of patriotism (and good fortune) was very strong and my belief in limited government and individual freedom defined me. I felt lucky to be born here. I never took it for granted.
3. Where do you hail from now and where did you spend your growing up years?
I currently live in Northern Virginia, but I was born and raised in New York City. I was born in Manhattan (Spanish Harlem, natch), we moved to the Bronx briefly and when I was school aged we moved to Queens. We moved around a lot because the cheapest places to live were also high crime areas. Each move was a step towards a better neighborhood as my father moved up in his career and eventually started his own company.
I spent the longest stretch of time in Jamaica, Queens, living there from 2nd grade to 8th grade – private Catholic school, too. It was an interesting childhood. We did all the normal things city kids do. We played stickball and touch football in the streets and basketball at the park. We’d go on subway rides for no reason, and we got into graffiti and breaking (we never called it “break dancing”). We’d have egg wars with other blocks in the neighborhood on Halloween, and we’d ransack abandoned cars that car thieves would dump at the park up the street. The usual stuff. Then there were the occasional quarter-mile sprints I would do while running away from older kids trying to steal the McDonald’s dinner I was sent to get. Or the all too frequent trips around the neighborhood with my father to get the bike that some thug knocked me off of and rode away with. Good times. All joking aside, it wasn’t that bad. This was back in the days
when fights were settled with fists primarily. Guns and knives didn’t start to become the norm until I was in high school and we were already living in a
better neighborhood –Woodside. Then it was smooth sailing (said partially in jest – those who know Woodside know what I’m talking about). High school –also Catholic – was four years of me staying out of major trouble, playing baseball, soccer and volleyball, and getting accepted to college (Penn State) in another state so I could break free of the NYC trap. Too many older kids I knew had never even left the city and it showed. I wasn’t going to be one of those guys.
I chuckle now, thinking back on those days and seeing the wannabe thugs out here in suburbia. They wouldn’t last a week where I grew up.
4. Have you always been a conservative and how would you define the word?
I’ll answer the second part first. Conservatism, to me, is the belief in the concept of limited government and free enterprise. The belief in the civil society where the government exists to keep things orderly, not to run people’s lives. Conservatism is the belief that individuals are born with rights which
are not granted by government. Okay, I’ll spare you the recitation of the Declaration of Independence. It basically boils down to this: Government is a
creation of man and therefore imperfect. A good government is one that is limited to a defined set of duties to advance the cause of individual liberty,
protect individual God-given rights, and protect individual property (the fruits of one’s labor). Those aren’t necessarily three different concepts. I just wanted to make sure there were no assumptions if I just said “individual liberty.”
And yes, I have always been a conservative.
5. I know you’re a bit reticent about aspects of your identity for very understandable reasons. But I’ve heard you are a family man and I know that has to be important to you. What can you tell us about them?
Let’s get the anonymity thing out of the way first since I’m sure everyone is dying to know (heh): The reason I’m anonymous online is primarily because of the industry I work in and what I do (which I’ll explain in greater detail in question 8). I’ve actually had people try to figure out who I am so they could “out” me and while I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t get fired, I’d rather not take the risk. Why? Because of my family. (Nice segue, huh?)
I’ve been married for 10 (11 in September) years to a wonderful, loving, beautiful (literally, she’s hot) woman who is a pediatric nurse practitioner. Yes, it was love at first sight. We’ve been together for a little over 13 years. I thank God daily for the circumstances that brought me to Northern Virginia by way of Penn State. It meant dealing with a very bad relationship for a few years, but the end result has been a blessing.
We have four incredibly smart, incredibly stubborn, and incredibly beautiful (they take after their mom) children. Three girls, aged 9,7, and 5. And my son who just turned 3. Yes, I’m fully aware that I will have three girls in high school at the same time for a year. I’m blocking that out from my mind as much as possible. Also, shopping for a shotgun.
They keep us busy. Really busy.
6. You write quite regularly for Big Journalism, one of Andrew Breitbart’s online publications. I think the Bigs and Andrew Breitbart specifically are the new media sensation of this decade. How do you feel about being involved with this enterprise?
It’s an honor to be able to contribute to the Bigs. I’m a huge fan of Andrew Breitbart because of his no-holds-barred approach to taking on the institutional Left. I’m also a huge fan of Dana Loesch (editor of BigJournalism), who also has the same approach to dealing with the Left. It is a thrill to be able to fight along with them in whatever way I can.
I’ve been observing and commenting on bias in the “mainstream” media for a long time. It’s a part of what I call the Left’s Ideological Iron Curtain. In short, the Left has dominated the media (including Hollywood) and academia for so long that they have this apparatus in place to basically drown out any opposition to Progressivism. Anyone who goes against the dogma has to deal with a Left-leaning press, alleged “experts” who are statist Progressives but have credibility because they’re from prestigious universities, and places like Media Matters and ThinkProgress who are nothing more than smear merchants who use all the “research” from Progressive think tanks and other biased sources to push narratives that are not based on reality. It has been frustrating to see it operate. When Breitbart launched BigHollywood and then BigGovernment, it was like someone finally got it. And then BigJournalism launched and I literally did a Tiger Woods fist pump. It was game time.
Now, don’t get me wrong; places like the Media Research Center have been at this fight for a long time. They do incredible work. They built the foundation of scholarly research proving the bias in the media. They still crank out tons of content on a daily basis and everything they do is invaluable. You really can’t overstate how much they’ve done to change the narrative and to even the playing field. Breitbart just kicked it up a few notches by getting in the Left’s face and calling them liars point-blank. The MRC, unlike Media Matters, adheres to the rules governing tax-exempt organizations. Breitbart doesn’t have those restraints. It really is an exciting time to be involved in the fight against Leftist smear merchants and narrative-shapers.
I would also be remiss if I didn’t thank Brandon Kiser for building TheRightSphere.com and letting me contribute there. That’s really where I was able to hone my blogging skills and gain some attention (some might call it notoriety). The young man has a very bright future ahead of him.
7. I think there are a lot of readers who will be curious to learn more about what you enjoy in life, so tell us about some of your favorites (and why they are) in the following categories: Books, Movies, Foods, Musical Artists, Sports Players…whatever else you want to toss in here.
Books: I’m a big fan of fiction. I read so much news daily I like to take a break from the real world when I sit down with a book. Anything by Dean Koontz. I like Stephen King. David Baldacci’s stuff is great. Tolkien. You get the picture.
Movies: Favorite Movie of all time: Godfather II
Food: I’m from New York. Pizza! Duh. Seriously, I love Italian food. Wait. What am I thinking? My wife’s cooking!Whew! Dodged a bullet there. She really
is a great cook.
Music: I like everything from classical to hip hop. I’m not kidding. About the only thing I won’t willfully choose to listen to is death metal. I’ve listened to the Mumford & Sons album about 1000 times.
Sports: Football, Baseball, Basketball and Volleyball.
Teams: Giants, Yankees, Knicks, and Misty May Treaner / Kerri Walsh
8. What do you do to earn a living in your “other life?”
As I mentioned in an earlier answer, the main reason why I maintain anonymity in the “online” world is because of where I work and what I do. I’m in sales. I sell a product / service that is 100% online so I don’t have to travel (even locally) very often. The entire sales process is easily done online and over the phone which is how I can be on Twitter and blogging during the day. Multitasking FTW!
My customers / prospects are all government contractors. They obviously want to play both sides of the aisle so they tend to be very non-partisan when it comes to their public statements. Because of this, my company also urges its employees (like me) to remain very non-partisan in our public statements. I also work in Virginia and as a right-to-work state, employers can let people go without cause (for the most part). As I said earlier, I probably wouldn’t get fired but there’s no sense in risking it. There’s also an added benefit. Leftists can’t go Alinsky on me and can’t make the debate about me instead of what I’m writing. I see it as a win-win.
I actually received a degree in Marketing with an emphasis in Sales / Sales Management. I’m one of the few people I know who have made a career out of what they studied in college. I’ve sold pretty much everything you can imagine, too. From services (professional services aka staffing, outsourcing) to boxes (copiers, computer hardware) to software and internet backbone access. Give me the value proposition of whatever you’re trying to sell and I can run with it.
9. Besides your parents, who are three people who were influences in your life that led your thinking in a free-market direction, rather than a progressive one?
Well, I have to say my father is the biggest influence in that regard. I know you said “besides my parents,” but I can’t not put him on the list. He’s the one who taught me that free enterprise and the pursuit of it is the American Dream. Ironically, to this day he doesn’t consider himself a conservative. I’ve tried to explain it to him but he’s pretty set in his ways. He thinks he’s a libertarian / borderline anarchist. He can’t stand politicians. Any of them. He doesn’t vote because of it.
I also have to mention my mother because without her, I think I would have been sucked into the anti-Reagan mindset that was so pervasive during my formative years in the 80’s. She was a lifelong Democrat. But she was a Reagan Democrat. From a political standpoint, my father was no help, obviously. He despises anyone who runs for office. My mother, on the other hand, adored Reagan. She referred to him as “My man, Ronald.” I can remember her telling me to listen to how he spoke about America. She told me to not just pay attention to what he was saying, but how he said it. I forget the exact speech, but I remember watching parts of it on the news and watching as my mother listened intently, nodding at some parts, disagreeing with others, but always ending with, “That’s my man, Ronald” or something similar. I also remember realizing that I agreed with everything he was saying even as my mother was shaking her head – and my father was saying something like, “pfft” in the background.
So yeah, it’s cliché, but Ronald Reagan is the one person, besides my parents, who influenced me the most in politics and ideology. William F. Buckley, Jr. is another, although the realization came later in life. I remember watching him on TV (“Firing Line”) and thinking he was a bit of a jerk. A little snobby. It wasn’t until later that I realized just how much of a genius he was. He acted that way to get under the skin of whomever he was interviewing to rattle their cage a little and put them on the defensive. It was brilliant. I realized he did this because he knew what they were going to say and wasn’t going to allow them to ramble off the talking points unchallenged. In a way, I emulate his style a little when I challenge the left online and in my writing.
Crap, you said three people besides my parents. I think I’d have to say Jack Kemp. He fought for free enterprise and the power of the private sector until the day he died.
(I could have lied and gone all intellectual by citing Hayek and Friedman but the truth is I instinctively believed in the free market long before I ever knew who they were.)
10. What part do you see yourself playing in the conservative movement, five years from now?
You know, I honestly haven’t thought about it too much. My main focus is raising my kids and instilling in them the values I hold. If they can take what I’m teaching them and continue to live by those conservative principles, I’d have done my job.
I guess it would be great if I can parlay my writing into a paying gig at some point. That would be pretty cool. Until then, I’ll just keep on fighting the good fight and expressing my views to as many people as possible.
(But, if anyone out there is looking to pay me for expressing my views – my views, not theirs – hit a brother up on Twitter. I’m open.)