By now most people have heard that the black man who allegedly attacked a young white woman who was supporting John McCain was a hoax.

He didn’t rob her, beat her and carve the letter “B” for Barack into her face.

Thank you, Matt Drudge, for once again being the most hysterical man in America when it comes to supporting conservative causes.

Ashley Todd, 20, of College Station, Texas, has admitted that her story was a hoax, and that the backward “B” on her face was self-created — in a mirror.

The interesting part of the story is that Todd was an active volunteer for the College Republicans and was working to get out the vote for the GOP ticket in western Pennsylvania.

Of course as soon as the hoax was exposed, the College Republicans threw Todd under the bus.

“When Ms. Todd initially contacted us claiming to have been attacked, our first reaction was obviously to be concerned for her safety,” said College Republicans communications director Ashley Barbera. “We are as upset as anyone to learn of her deceit. Ashley must take full responsibility for her actions.”

On the face of it, this might make sense.

But the group deserves a lot more culpability in this than it would want to accept. Back in the ’80s, when Jack Abramoff — remember him? — was building the College Republicans into a force, a big part of his philosophy was to turn what had been a college club into an “in-your-face” activist group.

Abramoff and Grover Norquist — another beauty I’m sure you’ll know — emphasized confrontation with the left and a quasi military victory over liberals, as Thomas Frank writes in his wonderful new book, “The Wrecking Crew — How Conservatives Rule.”

“We are different from previous generations of conservatives,” Paul Weyrich said. “We are no longer working to preserve the status quo. We are radicals, working to overturn the present power structure of our country.”

These are people, Frank says, who have “lionized bullies from Joe McCarthy to Westbrook Pegler to Bill O’Reilly to George Allen to Michelle Malkin, a pundit with the appearance of a Bratz doll but the soul of Chucky.”

And of course Ann Coulter.

So don’t let the College Republicans off the hook. They may not have told Todd to do what she did — although it’s certainly a possibility — but they went a long way to create the atmosphere in which it could happen.

It wasn’t an accident that Sarah Palin quoted Pegler in her convention speech, just as it was no accident that Ronald Reagan opened his 1980 presidential campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi.

These people are bullies, and the only way to deal with bullies is to stand up to them and not give an inch.

Ashley Todd should go to jail.

The College Republicans should be ashamed.

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