Discover more from PREVAIL by Greg Olear
GOP: The Cosplay Confederacy
The heroes of today's Republican Party get plenty of attention—and raise plenty of money—despite (or because of) being obviously horrible human beings.
The Republican Party styling itself “the Party of Lincoln” is like the Emperor Palpatine branding the Dark Side of the Force “the Jedi of Anakin Skywalker.” It may technically be true, but it’s extremely misleading.
Unfortunately, the modern GOP has more in common with Democrats of 1860 than Republicans of that same era—with one notable exception. While the men who formed and led the Confederacy believed in something inherently and unforgivably evil—the institution of slavery, and the disgusting racism it was built upon—they were all possessed of positive attributes. Jefferson Davis, the Mississippi Senator who became president of the C.S.A., was a hero of the Mexican War whom the historian Shelby Foote describes as the most intellectual member of Congress. Alexander Stephens, his vice president, was a noted orator. Robert E. Lee may have been responsible for more American deaths than any single individual until Trump came along, but he was dashing, brilliant, and charismatic—he was Lincoln’s first choice to lead the Union army. Heck, even John Wilkes Booth was a professional actor from a family of great renown, not some schmuck the Rebels found on Explore Talent. Reading about the Civil War, we can understand, if never condone, why a Jeff Davis or a General Lee would inspire other Southerners. They were impressive people.
Liz Cheney notwithstanding, modern Republicans have no such notables in their ranks. The GOP is the party of poltroons, panderers, pedophiles, and cosplayers. Below are some of the heroes of the party faithful. They get plenty of attention in the media, both mainstream and social, and they raise a shit-ton of money. Why is that? Seriously: why are people so obviously horrible, so devoid of redeeming qualities, so popular? I’m genuinely asking. I don’t understand it at all.
“I like Ted Cruz more than most of my other colleagues like Ted Cruz,” Al Franken once quipped, “and I hate Ted Cruz.” Fat Wolverine has publicly humiliated himself so many times that I sometimes wonder if public humiliation is his kink—if he legit gets off on people mocking him. (Yes, that is a real thing.) Cruz is the consummate coward—as they might have said in Texas a dozen decades ago, he’s as yeller as a feller can git. He high-tailed it out of the Senate chambers on January 6, even as some of the besiegers sought him out as a leader of the insurrection, angering his own staff. He high-tailed it out of Texas when the power went out and his constituents froze, for a romantic getaway at Cancun—just him, his wife, and his college roommate. Speaking of Heidi Cruz: when Trump called her ugly, Rafael did not demand pistols at dawn, as any of the Civil War leaders surely would have, but instead puckered up his reptilian lips and applied them to TFG’s diapered ass. But hey, why stand up to a bully when you can be embarrassed by Luke Skywalker?
There is something misshapen about the skull, something Cro-Magnon in the jaw, something off in the eyes. Was he repeatedly dropped on his head as a baby? Was he badly injured in his wrestling days? Is he more Neanderthal than most? That might explain his inclination to hurl feces and make loud, incoherent noises. It may also account for his egregious character defect—the inability to discern right from wrong. A massive sexual assault scandal happened under his watch, and Jim Jordan did nothing about it. I wrote about this pre-Insurrection, but it bears repeating:
When Jordan was the assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State University, the team doctor, Richard Strauss, was sexually abusing the wrestlers like he was getting paid a bonus for each molested student—there were 177 victims, at last count. Strauss would do things like demand genital exams if a student had a busted thumb. He’d shower with the wrestlers. He’d groom them. And Jordan, the assistant coach, knew about it and did jack shit. This is why he’s known as “Gym Jordan.” These paragraphs are from a long article at CNN:
Former OSU wrestler Adam DiSabato told Ohio state legislators in February that Jordan called him in 2018 and asked him to contradict statements by his brother, who had publicly alleged Jordan knew about Strauss’ abuse when he worked for the university.
“Jim Jordan called me crying, crying. Groveling. On the Fourth of July, begging me to go against my brother. Begging me. Crying for a half hour. That’s the kind of cover-ups that's going on there,” DiSabato told legislators.
That statement was made in a statehouse hearing, under penalty of perjury. There’s no reason to suspect it isn’t true.
So we know damned well who Jim Jordan is and what he’s about. He’s a lummox from a seahorse-shaped Congressional district who dependably looks the other way when young men in his charge are being molested.
And this Australopithecus, this fucking caveman, is the Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee.
On the campaign trail, Boebert lied so often and so egregiously about her background that two combat veterans living in Pueblo, Colorado formed a PAC, Rural Colorado United, to help defeat her. One of the founders of the PAC, George Autobee, told the Daily Sentinel back when she was campaigning: “Nothing about Lauren’s story is true. She is not who she says she is. She has had multiple failed businesses, doesn’t pay her taxes, breaks the law frequently, and will do or say anything to get in the spotlight. She has told countless lies on the campaign trail, and we cannot afford this circus in Congress.”
So here are the facts: When the former Lauren Opal Roberts was 16 going on 17, she took up with Jayson Boebert, who is six years and ten days older than she is.1 I’m not familiar enough with the so-called “Romeo and Juliet” exception to determine if this was technically illegal, but I’m quite sure it’s both inappropriate and creepy af for a 23-year-old to “date” a high school girl.
In December of 2003, Lauren turned 17 (the age of consent in Colorado), and Jayson turned 23. On January 28, 2004, Jayson was arrested at a bowling alley for showing his tattoo to some underage girls. (He was arrested because the tattoo, apparently, is on his penis.) (Seriously, read the police report that Colorado blogger Anne Landman dug up. It’s really something.) A month later, Jayson was arrested again, this time for harassing and physically assaulting Lauren.
Despite two red flags big enough to mount on the back of a Ford F-150, Lauren stayed with the professional roughneck, and eventually married him, in June of 2007—after his probation ended for the whipping-out-his-inked-dick-to-minors incident, but not before she got pregnant: probably in June of 2004, which was 40 weeks before her son Tyler’s birth, four months after Jayson’s second arrest, and one month after her arrest following “an altercation with Jayson at his home in which she scratched his face and chest and trashed his residence,” per the New York Post. Got all that? Quite a bit of criminality—enough to attract the attention of the NY Post, a Rupert Murdoch rag.
Years later, the Boeberts opened a gun-themed bar/restaurant called Shooters (get it?), and would go on to poison hundreds of people by serving bad pork sliders at a rodeo. There’s more, there’s always more, but it’s pretty clear, and always has been, that the Boeberts are garbage human beings. Is being slim and packing heat really enough to discount all of that awfulness?
Autobee’s words proved prophetic—we really can’t afford this circus—but even he probably could not have foreseen that Boebert would go on to tweet the location of the Speaker of the House, a target of the seditious besiegers, on January 6, during the worst attack on our democracy since Booth shot Lincoln.
The handsome young lad with the cheerleader name and the history of sexual assault was not smart enough to 1) get into the Naval Academy, 2) last more than a semester in college, 3) figure out that the Russian bombshell he married was not interested in him for his sparkling personality or his facility in the bedroom, or 4) grasp that, however much he might personally admire Adolf Hitler, if the Nazis return to power, paraplegics like him would be among the first individuals wheeled into extermination camps. His urging kids to drop out of high school, the same week he announced he was divorcing his maybe-honeypot wife after just eight months of marriage, might be the most pathetic political spectacle I’ve ever witnessed.
He is the bad guy from every 80s teen movie, the good-looking, arrogant rich kid who wrecks the Porsche—the dude who’s a few years out of college but keeps showing up at high school keggers to meet chicks. Sadly, this isn’t even a metaphor. He really is good-looking (relative to other GOP Congressmen, at least, and if you can get past the forehead), really is arrogant, really is the son of a grotesquely rich guy (who founded the nation’s biggest chain of end-of-life care centers and then sold his stake for billions). And, yes, he really is, allegedly at least, the older guy who more or less cruises the high schools for chicks. (Maybe he should hang out with Jayson Boebert.) And when he finds one he likes, he induces her to travel on airplanes with him for the purposes of sex, per the federal allegations. The only reason Gaetz has not yet been indicted, it seems to me, is because his creeper buddy Joel Greenberg is still giving up the goods to the feds:
Marjorie Taylor Greene
There is a conspiracy theory suggesting that Empty G planted the pipe bombs the night before January 6. And while this is likely tin-foil-hat silliness, if not an outright joke, literally no one would be surprised if it turned out to be true. That’s really all you need to know about this mask-refusing, shit-stirring, Q-believing, Trump-worshipping, don’t-look-upping piece of shit—although the story about her having an affair with the tantric sex guru is an amusing bit of color. Family values, amirite?
Those are the GOP politicians that are on the news and in the Twitter feeds all the livelong day. And, like, I get that they are there to troll us—to “own the libs,” as they like to say. They are good at that, no question. But shouldn’t our leaders have discernible positive attributes beyond unabashed assholery? Since when is being a dick a redeeming quality? Why do people like this? Why do Christians, who presumably are familiar with the character and teachings of Jesus Christ, like this?
One more, although he’s not (yet) a member of Congress:
He turned 19 yesterday, but to my novelist eyes, Kyle Rittenhouse looks like a baby. I don’t mean a figurative baby. I mean an actual baby, an infant: plump belly, undersized arms and legs, chubby cheeks that, in another reality, one might want to pinch. Here we have a young white man who resembles a fetus (which GOP Fascists claim to value above all other life forms) arming himself with assault rifles (which GOP Fascists do value above all life forms) and gunning down “Antifa” (which literally means anti-Fascist). His killing spree is like a twisted GOP Fascist fantasy: Revenge of the Unborn! Might this explain his star rising in the Republican Party? I mean, what else can it be? Most admirers of Rittenhouse have never heard him speak. He’s cute and cuddly and a gun-loving killer, so they adore him.
The Party of Lincoln has been so perverted that, much like Darth Vader, it now stands in direct opposition to where it started. There is no spirit of inclusion in the GOP, no vision for a better future, no advocacy for the downtrodden, no clamor for racial justice, no demand for democracy. There is only nastiness, pettiness, and encroaching tyranny.
The Emancipation Proclamation has given way to the Death Star.