Sunday, July 10, 2022

A Field Guide to Republicans and Other Wild Pests

By David Bloviator
Political Editor

America is reeling from at least three mortal threats: to women, to anyone choosing to venture outside to enjoy, for example, a Fourth of July Parade, and to democracy itself.  The fourth threat – a fatal pandemic that claimed over one million lives in two years – appears to be less grave, not because of a continuing effective government and social response, but because vaccines and treatment have lowered mortality rates to a mere 300 lives a day, or three 9/11's a month.

Each of these grave threats to the body and the body politic has one primary cause: Republicans.  They packed the Supreme Court with extremist reactionaries, at least two of whom are sex offenders.  They stopped all efforts to take high powered weapons of war out of the hands of losers and misfits (not to mention their parents).  And they, with a few exceptions that we'll now turn to, have been actively promoting or at best complicit in the destruction of American democracy and its replacement with a fascist plutocracy.

Whom do you persuade first?

That one political party has been behind so much cruelty and violence has led to two wrong conclusions.  First, of course, it's all the fault of Democrats for – who knows?  Maybe it's not enacting the entire progressive agenda despite a lack of a working Senate majority.  Maybe it was not writing an abortion rights statute during the three months in 2009 when they could have done so, but chose to pass health care instead.  Or maybe they're too “woke,” which is used by conservatives and gasbags as a more pleasing description than “opponent of bigotry.”

It's too hot to squeeze down all those rabbit holes today, so we'll turn to the second conclusion: we need to understand and propitiate Republicans, the ones who are doing this to us.

One prong of this love-the-good-ones campaign is an outbreak of support for soon to be ex-Representative Liz “Torture Gal” Cheney, who has had more success raising money from Democrats in California than she has persuading her own s***-kicking constituents to vote for her:

... one of the nation’s biggest Democratic donors, the film producer Jeffrey backing a surprise candidate: Representative Liz Cheney, the staunchly conservative Wyoming Republican.

“We agree on little, if anything,” Mr. Katzenberg said in an interview. “But she has...put her country over party and politics to stand in defense of our Constitution.” ...

To help Ms. Cheney bolster her chances in Wyoming’s upcoming Republican primary — she is facing a Trump-backed opponent — Mr. Katzenberg and his wife have donated more than $43,000 to her campaign and groups supporting her. ...

Mr. Katzenberg is one of a number of Democrats and independents who are crossing ideological lines to support Ms. Cheney,... 

A supporter of Mr. Trump for almost the entirety of his term, Ms. Cheney — who opposes abortion, supports conservative judges and wants to expand mining and energy drilling even in environmentally sensitive areas — voted in line with him 93 percent of the time....

Now it really makes no difference whether rich idiots like Katzenberg want to shower a few bucks on Liz Cheney.  It's not going to prevent him from gut-restoring his $20 million Tribeca loft or his $35 million Nantucket teardown.

But it does point to a larger campaign to ignore the grossly evil positions of reactionary whack jobs like Liz Cheney, who is perfectly happy to legally suppress votes to maintain Republican power, as long as it can be done without pooping in Statuary Hall (and thanks to generations of Republican election- and court-rigging success, it can).

The campaign is pursued by anti-Tangerine Faced Grifter Republicans seeking to return the Grand Old Party to its roots – like invading countries for no reason and ensuring that all rewards in society flow to where they belong: the top 1% in income and wealth, who are predominantly, by coincidence, white men.

Here's former Iraq warmonger Max Boot:

Maybe that's all that matters to Max Boot, but to the 13-year-old girl who had to drive 1,000 miles to terminate a six-week pregnancy, we bet other things matter too. And there's no reason to venerate much less appease a prairie extremist who lacks any regard for the plight of that girl and the tens of millions of women who have lost any reasonable access to abortion due to some not very democratic decision making by a Republican-bent Supreme Court.

Similar thoughts were offered by another member in good standing of the now-disbanded Iraq Hot Air Force, Jennifer Rubin, who is pursuing the Brooksian fantasy of a centrist aggregation of Democrats (who will give up on every core issue, including keeping the Earth from broiling us all and giving the poor some modest support) and Republicans like her, who will be graciously pleased to receive their entreaties.

She cites approvingly one idiot Democrat in a purple district who is trying to run on a third party that would “attract” support from supposedly influential Republicans like Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, neither of whom could survive a Republican primary in their own districts.  That'll work and then together we can climb the Moral Mountain to the Brooksian paradise where the sensible centrists rule, the unwashed enjoy their soprassata subs, and the wives are always 35 and comely.

Or maybe start here?

Maybe these people need to take a harder look at the species whose behavior they are trying to predict.  Why is it the case that almost all Republicans espouse and support extremist positions, up to and including the destruction of American democracy?  Let's ask long-time Washington pundit Mark Leibovich, who's got an entertaining new book on this topic:

...far more compelling to me—are the slavishly devoted Republicans whom T---- drew to his side... Without the complicity of the Republican Party, Donald T---- would be just a glorified geriatric Fox-watching golfer. I’ve interviewed scores of these collaborators, trying to understand why they did what they did and how they could live with it. These were the McCarthys and the Grahams and all the other busy parasitic suck-ups who made the T---- era work for them, who humored and indulged him all the way down to the last, exhausted strains of American democracy....

Did [Kevin] McCarthy want Trump to run? His look got even dirtier. “I think it’s a long way away.”...

McCarthy will not be winning any Profile in Courage Award anytime soon. In fairness, that could make him a good fit for the cowardly caucus he is so eager to lead.

Soon enough, 2024 will not be a long way away, and T---- is well positioned to claim his third consecutive Republican presidential nomination. Again, T---- will do as he pleases and take what he can take. Because really, who’s going to stop him?

So to Leibovich the answer is cowardice:  Republicans line up to polish the Former Loser's Grifter's taint because they are spineless and addicted to power. That's certainly part of it, but we think the rot goes deeper, if that is possible, along two axes. 

First, there is no reason to think that any Republicans disagree with the FLG on any issue other than staging a coup. The rest of the angry, bigoted, corrupt, pro-rich drivel is more than OK with them; it's what Republicans have stood for since 1964. Second, they are cowards because they know the Republican base agrees with the FLG on such drivel. Their voters like the racism, the hate, the incitement to violence, and perhaps most all the impunity.

Uh, you go first

So it's not just cowardice or even a supposed cult of personality.  To understand Republicans, you have to understand their racism, their anger, their love of violence, their contempt for any institution that stands in the way of white privilege, up to and including the United States Government.  That's who they are, and if you want to appeal to that, let us know how that worked out for you.  

(Incredibly enough, that is the prescription offered by even hackier Joe Klein, who reviews Leibovich's catalogue of FLG outrages and Republican boot looking and concludes we need to work harder to reach out to these very fine people!)

There is an alternative of course: instead of selling out every Democratic goal to appeal to the 17 Republicans who are willing to depart from the Republican agenda 1% of the time, we could persuade our own base, and the great alienated middle, that they have a stake in the fight to save our democracy, our schoolchildren, our planet, and our daughters.  That's what Mr. Abe Lincoln did.   If a few Republicans join at least one of these causes, good for them.

But appealing to the elusive Republican “moderates” by forsaking key Democratic ideals, like a country free from weapons of mass murder, will undoubtedly work out as well as it did for Aiden McCarthy.  Thanks to decades of Republican opposition to an assault weapons ban, on July 4, he was  the two-year-old boy orphaned in the Highland Park gun massacre. 

Remember that your new best friend, Liz Cheney, was OK with that.

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