Round-Up of Republican Rottenness
Another week of assholery from the GOP is par for the course.
If action is character, as Fitzgerald decreed, what does a brief survey of recent Republican rottenness reveal?
Donald Trump dumped the body of his first wife—the one whose hair he pulled; the one he allegedly raped; the mother of his three favorite children—on the front nine of his shitty golf course, for a tax break. Actually, for three tax breaks:
Golf! Tax avoidance! Disposing of human remains like a Genovese hit man! This, one imagines, is Trump’s idea of heaven.
On that same golf course, the Trump family, along with special guests Tucker Carlson and Marjorie Taylor Greene, took in a LIV Golf tournament.
LIV Golf is funded by the Saudi sovereign wealth fund. The golfers that participate took the Crown Prince’s blood money—there’s a lot of it; Tiger Woods was offered something like $750 million to join the upstart league and told them to pound sand, adding to his status as golf legend—to ignore the fact that MBS is a psychopath who chops to bits journalists he doesn’t like.
Journalists he does like get to hang out at Bedminster with the disgraced former president. These two are having a gay ol’ time swimming in Saudi blood money—even if the photo looks like a still shot from a One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest remake:
In an exquisite moment of irony, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden’s Number Two and the leader of al-Qaeda—you know, the terrorist outfit that convinced all those Saudi nationals to attack the United States on 9/11—was killed by a CIA drone strike outside of Kabul over the weekend, as the Saudi-funded golf tournament was happening. Fore!
“Justice has been delivered,” President Biden said, “and this terrorist leader is no more.”
The lawyer for rightwing media personality Alex Jones flipped off the lawyer for the Sandy Hook families, in the Texas courtroom. The families are suing Jones for knowingly and maliciously spreading lies about the massacre of their young children in Newton, Conn., in 2012. Jones has insisted that the shootings never happened and the grief-stricken parents were “crisis actors,” subjecting them to years of harassment and abuse by Jones’s maniacal followers.
Not to be outdone by his counsel, Jones gloated on his shitty InfoWars show that his legal maneuver of filing for bankruptcy in the way he did will tie everything up in court “for years,” and allow him to continue broadcasting his sludge:
Matt Gaetz, Florida Congressman and (alleged) sex trafficker, doubled down on his insistence that proponents of abortion are ugly and unfuckable (which itself is a rip-off and perversion of the George Carlin line: “Did you ever notice that most women who are against abortion are ones you wouldn’t want to fuck in the first place?” Unlike Gaetz, Carlin makes no comment about the appearance of the women.)
“Rapey McForehead,” an allusion to Gaetz’s noggin and his sex-trafficking allegations, trended on Twitter.
After voting to successfully kill a bill that would have extended medical benefits to veterans suffering from health issues caused by exposure to toxic burn pits in Afghanistan and Iraq, Republican Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Steve Daines of Montana celebrated by bumping fists.
Cruz is a darling of the January 6th insurrectionists.
Daines was in Moscow on the Fourth of July 2018, despite tweeting out a misleading photo that day of he and his wife in front of the Capitol.
The Republicans decided to do this because one of their number, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, a “spineless and unmemorable mediocrity” who is retiring in a few months and will likely be replaced by John Fetterman, thought he saw a “budget gimmick” that amounted to a “$400 slush fund.” The comedian Jon Stewart was one of many observers to call bullshit.
Basically, the Senate GOP saw an opportunity to deny Biden and the Democrats a “win” on a popular bill, and they took it. Never mind the ailing veterans. That didn’t even enter their calculus.
Burn pits, by the way, are not the result of something the Iraqis or the Afghanis were doing to our troops. They were a forced error, made by some general doing the bidding of the Republican administration. As Lucian K. Truscott IV explains:
What is a burn pit? It’s the result of a single stupid decision made by a general officer somewhere in the bowels of the Pentagon that all units stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan had to burn the waste they produced so that secrets and military materiel couldn’t somehow fall into the hands of the enemy.
Got that? Soldiers were made to burn everything they threw away so some imaginary top secret plan to win the war wouldn’t accidentally be recovered by an Iraqi or Afghan citizen who happened upon a pile of military waste. . . .
The pit emitted thick, awful smoke day and night, wafting through open windows, hitting you in the face every time you walked out of the building to go on a patrol. You couldn’t get away from it.
And now, the foul stench emanates from the Republican Senate.
Republicans in statehouses across the country, but especially in red states, are more radical and cruel than their more-ready-for-prime-time brethren in Washington. Every other day, it seems, a video circulates of a different state GOP lawmaker proposing some idea more racist, misogynist, or creepy than the last.
Here, Robert Lee Karnes—seriously, his name is really Robert Lee—a state senator from West Virginia, opines on the very special relationship child rape victims have with their adult rapists. “The child has a very romanticized view of what’s happening,” he explains. “They think this is their boyfriend.”
Karnes received national attention a few years back by gallantly defying the state mask mandate. His mask was missing the part that covered his nose and mouth.
For the last 150 days—almost half a year—a bizarre cult has been “holding the gavel” smack-dab in the heart of our nation’s capital. This appears to be the last vestige of the Trucker Convoy. The leader, “Santa,” spews the usual rightwing-talking-point, grievance-fueled conspiracy drivel.
Perhaps they are more dumb than dangerous, but their presence so close to the Capitol is perhaps not so great:
For the last year and a half, Sean Hannity has repeated numerous times on his show that Trump had called the DC National Guard before January 6th. He said this because it was told to him by then-Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller and Kash Patel, who was Miller’s acting chief of staff, among others:
Under oath, however, Miller sang a different tune. He testified to the January 6th Committee that this was not true, that Trump never asked for the Guard to be deployed.
The whole story is a lie, intended to make Trump look like he wasn’t on the side of the J6 besiegers.
As far as I can tell, Hannity has not corrected the record.
“Justice” Sam Alito, whose majority opinion in Dobbs overturned Roe v. Wade, imperiling the lives of thousands of women, yukked it up in Rome, giving remarks intending to be funny. Then he explained himself:
There’s also growing hostility to religion, or at least the traditional religious beliefs that are contrary to the new moral code that is ascendant in some sectors. The challenge for those who want to protect religious liberty in the United States, Europe, and other similar places is to convince people who are not religious that religious liberty is worth special protection. And that will not be easy to do.
Republicans have put six justices on the Court who care more about their invisible sky god and the soul of a zygote than the health and safety of actual flesh-and-blood human beings. We know this because their rulings reflect those values.
Action is character.
Time was, the GOP was the party of fiscal conservatism, of low taxes and balanced budgets, of individual responsibility, of strong national defense, of meritocracy, of environmentalism, of conservation. Heck, in Lincoln’s day, Republicans were the party that didn’t like slavery. Imagine that!
Times have changed—and the GOP has rewound the clock. The Republican Party of 2022 is fascist in nature, a death cult revolving around a mob-money-laundering insurrectionist, aligned with despots in Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Hungary: racist, misogynist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic, suspicious of smart people, contemptuous of kind people, jealous of talented people, a loose affiliation of extremist libertarians, Christofascists, fossil fuel whores, climate change deniers, antivaxxers, Opus Dei radicals, and bullies of all stripes.
Whatever it might read in the document, the actual Republican platform, such as it is, consists of tax cuts for the rich and the accumulation of raw power at the expense of all else. For the rest of us—and I’ve said this before—the GOP outlook can be summed up in three words: “Fuck you, die.”
Republicans of 2022 are selfish. They are mean-spirited. They don’t care about other people, especially people who are not straight white men. They wave the flag as they dishonor it. They bleat about the Constitution as they use it to wipe their prodigious asses. They harp on fair elections as they support a demagogue who tried to thwart the will of the people. They shout out FREEDOM as they strive to take it away.
He’s exaggerating, you might be thinking. He’s just saying that because he’s a liberal.
No. I’m saying it because it’s the truth. If we keep heading in this direction, we will wind up a debauched oligarchy, like Russia; an “illiberal democracy,” like Hungary; a corrupt system of bribes and barter and bullshit, like the dissolute Ottoman Empire; or an overtly Christian state, like some failed kingdom from medieval times that burned apostates at the stake. The sooner the supine media and the blissfully-oblivious political middle realize the stakes, the greater the chance that our democracy survives.
As the above examples show, Republicans, in the post-Trump era, have removed their masks—figuratively and literally—to reveal, through their actions, their essential nature. What do all of the people highlighted in this round-up have in common? What is their shared trait?
Assholes. They are all assholes.
Donald Trump is an asshole. Tucker Carlson is an asshole. Marjorie Taylor Greene is an asshole. Alex Jones is an asshole. His lawyer is an asshole. Matt Gaetz is an asshole. Ted Cruz is an asshole. Steve Daines is an asshole. Pat Toomey is an asshole. Robert Lee Karnes is an asshole. “Santa” is an asshole. Sean Hannity is an asshole. Christopher Miller is an asshole. Kash Patel is an asshole. Sam Alito might be the biggest asshole on the planet.
While there are certainly liberals who are assholes, being an asshole is not the Democratic Party’s raison d’être. The GOP is a toxic burn pit of assholery. And we are now suffering the very real consequences of putting assholes in positions of power and letting them do what they please.
Photo credit: Ryan Lackey. The “never-ending burn pit” at Balad, 2005.