Monday Reads: It’s one of those days where I’m just speechlessPosted: November 1, 2021
Well, it’s Monday Sky Dancers!
I’m just going to put these items up and see if you’re as shocked and speechless as I am. The Supreme Court is holding oral arguments on the unconstitutional Texas Abortion Law that’s designed to make women chattel property of whatever state decides that’s their political wish. You can watch it on C-Span 2 where you can see that Clarence Thomas actually can speak from the bench and not just from political fundraisers.
There really never was a day in America when political discourse wasn’t wrapped up in testosterone posing but this tit-for-tat shit is really out there. I just learned about the “Let’s go Brandon” thing and here’s Dan Rather to damn it so I don’t have to fire a synapse thinking about college boys at football games creating a national meanness meme. “A Party Embraces Vulgarity.”
The issue at hand can succinctly be summed up in three words: “Let’s go Brandon.” If you have no idea what I am talking about, consider yourself fortunate. For reasons too mundane to fully outline here, “Let’s go Brandon” has become a favorite chant and rallying cry for many Republicans as a stand-in for another three-word chant that you may also have heard : “F- Joe Biden,” with F-, for the purposes of decorum in this newsletter, standing for a four-letter vulgarity. Search for “Let’s Go Brandon,” and you will start finding it everywhere – all over social media, a song with a ton of downloads on iTunes, at political rallies, and among snickering Republicans in Washington.
In a compelling column in the Washington Post, Dana Milbank uses the phrase to dive into the stark differences between the seriousness and propriety of the two political parties at this moment. He writes:
“Democrats clear the way for passage of a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that will provide broadband Internet and lead-free drinking water to every American, and better roads, bridges and ports for all to enjoy. And Republicans reply: Let’s go Brandon…
Could the contrast be any greater? Half of America’s leaders are trying to govern, and the other half are hurling vulgarities.”
The entire piece is worth the read, but for our discussion here I would like to delve a little deeper into what I think these vulgarities really mean, what motivates them, and what should be our – particularly the media’s – response.
Politics has never been a genteel pastime. The volume of vulgarities I heard covering the White House, Congress, and politics at the state and local level over the decades would rival any comedy special on HBO. In the passionate pursuit of power, discourse, especially behind the closed doors where the real action takes place, is often reduced to words that can be spelled with only four letters, or their adjectival equivalents. And no matter what side of the political divide you might be on, there have likely been moments when you are reading something or listening to an opposing politician speak and you have been moved to at least think of obscenities, if not utter them out loud. There have certainly been many Democratic politicians who have sworn about Republicans. But what we are witnessing here is fundamentally different.
“F- Joe Biden,” or the slightly less explicitly obscene but no more clever “Let’s go Brandon,” is about much more than political passion or anger. It’s about weaponizing the vulgar dehumanization of our entire democratic – small d – experiment. Joe Biden is not only a person; he is the President of the United States, whether your tinfoil-shrouded conspiracy brain cares to recognize that fact or not. How many times have we heard Republicans sanctimoniously preach about how Democrats don’t “respect” the office of the presidency for such things as President Obama not saluting properly or wearing a tan suit?
Not to be outdone, The Wall Street Journal Op-Ed page which is a favorite thing of those seeking to line rat cages is pearl-clutching over 5 young people dressed up as the Torch Terrorists in Charlottesville and stood in silent ironic protest in front of the Trumpist running for governor in Virginia’s campaign bus. Wow, they really let the Lincoln Project get to them this time. “A Dirty Campaign Trick in Virginia. The Lincoln Project plays the race card in a false-flag operation.” As usual, there are two right-wing conspiracy theory signals dog-whistling from the headline. Everything surrounding racism is playing “the race card” and I can’t even figure how this is a “false-flag operation,” but hey, get down with your crazy stupid selves! How long do we have to wait before we read the next attempt to label it “virtue-signaling”?
Democrats routinely play the race card when they’re worried about losing an election, and that’s exactly what the operatives from the Lincoln Project did last week in staging a dirty campaign trick against surging GOP candidate Glenn Youngkin.
It started Friday when a reporter for a local NBC affiliate tweeted a photo of four men and one woman dressed in white shirts, khakis and sunglasses and holding tiki torches. They were standing in front of Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin’s bus during a campaign stop in Virginia.
“These men approached @GlennYoungkin’s bus as it pulled up saying what sounded like, ‘We’re all in for Glenn.” tweeted Elizabeth Holmes. The tiki torches were meant to tie Mr. Youngkin to the infamous torchlit, white nationalist march in Charlottesville in 2017.
Twitter exploded, with various people claiming to have identified people in the tiki-torch photo as Democrats. They hadn’t been positively ID’d by the time we went to press on Sunday.
But as evidence grew that this was a setup, the Lincoln Project finally fessed up. It presented its attempt to play the white supremacist card as an exercise in civic virtue, saying it was “our way of reminding Virginians” about Charlottesville, “the Republican Party’s embrace of those values,” and Mr. Youngkin’s “failure to condemn it.” This is a slur against Mr. Youngkin and the Virginia GOP.
So, this is all pretty radically nuts because the latest craziness by the Republicans in Virginia is all about that Critical Race Theory nuttiness. Juan William states it plainly. ‘Parents’ rights’ is code for white race politics’. I remember living through this same craziness in 1992 when the code word was “multiculturalism” which basically means if it wasn’t spat out by a white christianist it shouldn’t be taught to children.
After white supremacists spilled blood in defense of keeping up Confederate statues in 2017, the GOP candidate for governor of Virginia, Ed Gillespie, said the monuments should stay up as a matter of heritage and history.
His TV advertising featured threatening images of Latino gangs, labeled illegal immigrants, involved in murder and rape.
The racially loaded “Culture Wars” campaign, straight from then-President Trump’s playbook, gave Gillespie a push, but he ultimately lost the race to Democrat Ralph Northam.
Now Virginia Republicans are back with a new and improved “Culture Wars” campaign for 2021. The closing argument is once again full of racial division — but this time it is dressed up as a defense of little children.
The rallying cry is “Parents’ Rights.”
It is a campaign to stop classroom discussion of Black Lives Matter protests or slavery because it could upset some children, especially white children who might feel guilt.
And this time, the Trump-imitating Republicans think they have struck political gold.
Unlike their earlier defense of Confederate monuments, the “Parents’ Rights” campaign message at first glance looks to have zero to do with race.
That puts Democrats on the defensive. They are in the uncomfortable position of calling the attention of suburban white moms to divisive racial politics being used by Republican Glenn Youngkin’s campaign.
Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic candidate, calls the Republican message a “racist dog whistle.”
Still, that race–that will be determined tomorrow–is a dead heat. This is from the NYT: “In the Final Days Before Virginia Votes, Both Sides Claim Momentum.”
The high-stakes race for governor of Virginia entered its final stretch with Glenn Youngkin and Terry McAuliffe trading accusations of sowing division, as voters appeared closely divided over returning a Democrat to office or electing a Republican to lead their state for the first time in more than a decade.
The size and atmosphere of dueling events during the last weekend of campaigning before Election Day on Tuesday reflected the trends in the most recent polls. Mr. Youngkin, the Republican candidate, greeted crowds of more than 1,000, while Mr. McAuliffe, the Democrat, hustled through sparsely attended events from morning to night.
Mr. McAuliffe, who served one term as governor from 2014 to 2018, has displayed a rising sense of urgency lately, dispatching some of the Democratic Party’s biggest stars to campaign for him and push people to vote early. In 11 hours on Saturday, Mr. McAuliffe traveled more than 120 miles, making eight stops in six cities amid a whirlwind day of campaigning in which he urged supporters not to be complacent.
“We are substantially leading on the early vote, but we cannot take our foot off the gas,” Mr. McAuliffe told a crowd on Saturday in Norfolk, where he met with labor leaders who were planning to spend the day knocking on doors.
Meanwhile, The Bulwark’s Tim Miller just had to put this headline in front of me today: “Donald Trump Is Now the Odds-On Favorite to Be President in 2025 .” I’m gagging over here.
So, Donald Trump is now the odds-on favorite to be president of the United States in 2025.
I know that lede sentence was also the headline, but I wanted you to read it one more time just to let it really settle in the ol’ noggin before pressing forward.
The twice-impeached, disgraced loser who was schlonged in the 2020 election, tried to stay in power against the will of the people, and then came ten cowardly Republican senators away from being disqualified from ever running for office again, is now more likely than any other person in the world to take the next oath of office on the Capitol steps on January 20, 2025.
How is that for some weird shit?
Now I’m sure some will roll their eyes when this headline comes across the Twitter feed. Attribute this article to my raging Trump Derangement Syndrome or The Bulwark’s Cady Heron-level obsession with Mar-a-Lago’s in-house wedding toastmaster.
But this ain’t about my compulsions. It’s the actual, real-world reality being presented by those who have the most skin in the game.
Both the major off-shore gambling quants and the online trading markets have moved in Mr. Trump’s favor in the past couple weeks.
Here’s some more crazy shit that I’m speechless about.
- Olivia Beavers / Politico: ‘They’re probably going to put us back in power’: GOP basks in Dem discord
- Bill Schneider / The Hill: 2022 and ‘the passion gap’ — why Republicans are more fired up
- David A. Graham / The Atlantic: Josh Mandel Might Be Craven Enough to Win
- Terry Jones / Issues & Insights: I&I/TIPP Poll: Just 42% Now Think Biden Is ‘Mentally Sharp
- Sarah Rumpf / Mediaite: Matt Gaetz Jokes About Blowing Up Capitol Metal Detectors With Explosives (UPDATE: Lauren Boebert Tweets ‘I’ll Bring the Tannerite!’)
Why does the press keep trying to incite a civil war instead of elucidating the danger in all of this? Rad idea below Atlantic writer suggests Never Trumperz support DeSantis. (Connor Friedsdorf warning) What drug is this guy on? Or Read this shake-down in New York Magazine describing DeSantis worship.
I’m going to go play music and eat chocolate now. Hope you have a great day and that you’re not as depressed and confused about all this is and derp as I am.
I had to steal this image from my blogging buddy Peter Athas Get his take on that TNR article here.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?