Yes, The GOP Has A Racism Problem
Plus: The GOP civil war fizzles out
I’m tempted to say that that the GOP civil war ended Thursday night not with a bang, but with a whimper. But, seriously, even a whimper puts up more of a fight than this.
As my colleagues noted last night on the Bulwark Livestream, the GOP “Civil War” lasted one Scaramucci.
Liz triggers The Federalist.
ICYMI, the other day, Liz Cheney declared that “It’s very important, especially for us as Republicans, to make clear that we aren’t the party of white supremacy.”
Of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, Cheney added: “You certainly saw antisemitism. You saw the symbols of Holocaust denial. … You saw a Confederate flag being carried through the rotunda. We, as Republicans in particular, have a duty and an obligation to stand against that, to stand against insurrection.”
Apparently, the folks at The Federalist felt seen. Umbrage was taken. Dudgeons were high.
Cheney’s comments, fumed writer Dave Marcus, were “utterly baseless.” If Cheney “really believes the GOP is a racist party,” he wrote, “the moral thing to do is to quit the party immediately.”
And Marcus took her comments as personally insulting.
You called me a white supremacist. You called tens of millions of Trump voters white supremacists. Your lies about us will not go unchallenged, and neither will your political ambitions.
Let’s leave the hyper defensiveness aside for a moment. Marcus’s argument is both lazy and in bad faith. Cheney was not calling millions of Trump voters racists — she was calling the actual racists… racist. She was calling people wearing “Camp Auschwitz” t-shirts anti-Semitic, because they were… anti-Semitic.
She wasn’t saying that the the whole GOP was a party of white supremacy, she was warning that it had to “make clear that” it was not. She was calling in the GOP to rid itself of the bigots.
Until five minutes ago, Republican leaders understood the need to draw those bright lines.
In fact, Cheney’s remarks at the Reagan Institute echoed what Ronald Reagan himself had said back in 1981, when he spoke at the NAACP convention:
"A few isolated groups in the back order of American life still hold perverted notions of what America is all about," Reagan said while addressing the NAACP convention in Denver.
"Recently in some places in the nation, there's been a disturbing reoccurrence of bigotry and violence," he said. "To those individuals who persist in such hateful behavior … you are the ones who are out of step with our society, you are the ones who willfully violate the meaning of the dream that is America, and this country … will not stand for your conduct."
In 1996, Bob Dole, in his nomination acceptance speech had a similar declaration:
"If there is anyone who has mistakenly attached themselves to our party in the belief that we're not open to citizens of every race and religion, then let me remind you, tonight this hall belongs to the party of Lincoln and the exits, which are clearly marked, are for you to walk out of as I stand this ground without compromise.”
And here is George W. Bush in 2000:
"For our nation, there is no denying the truth that slavery is a blight on our history, and that racism, despite all the progress, still exists today," Bush said at the conference in Baltimore. "For my party, there is no escaping that the reality that the party of Lincoln has not always carried the mantle of Lincoln."
But in the Age of Trump, those comments are now treated like heresy.
How telling is that?
This piece actually appears in the uber-Trumpy American Greatness, a journal with intellectual pretensions, and numerous connections to TrumpWorld.
The author, Alexander Zubatov, opens with a dystopian scene of New York City.
It is evening, very late evening. I am walking in the remains of what once was New York City. Broken trash bags and discarded clothing, furniture and debris line the sidewalks, spilling out onto the streets, the bags’ black plastic jerking and lurching as though some near-suffocated life within were struggling to break free of confinement.
But his loathing — his unalloyed contempt — is reserved for the people he encounters. He simply cannot accept their humanity.
The first higher species of being I come across is only a shadow of any such description—a teetering, drooling zombie barely maintaining the accustomed vertical orientation of humanity—its head, neck, and back doubling over further and further, heavy eyelids drooping down time and again on the remaining vestiges of any consciousness to which it only weakly clings. I hear a dead moan as I pass.
His language is not veiled or ambiguous. He refers to people as “it” and “specimens.” They are ”lazy leeches, slugs, thugs” who claim to be the victims of white people. He describes “two brown bums,” who dance “like ungainly insects,” and encounters a “sunken-cheeked Arab”. Everyone is described by the color of their skin or their ethnicity.
“I navigate around one such specimen transecting the middle of the sidewalk, with the telltale final bottle capping off its drunken stupor still clasped in its gnarled fingers.”
And then comes the paragraph highlighted by Vanderbrouk, in which the American Greatness writer rejects empathy and expresses his disgust at humans he refuses to humanize.
I know the unyielding ukase of my educated pedigree and those who share it is that empathy and compassion are the only sanctioned responses to this sorry spectacle. But that would require me to rationalize my way out of a feeling and override all my sound, sane animal instincts. Those instincts are of pre-cognitive repulsion and disgust, and I refuse to let them go. I refuse to humanize those who cannot be bothered to lift a finger to humanize themselves. The mentally ill need our care. The rest need the whip. In the long run, all of us—they most of all—will be thankful for it.
“The rest need the whip.”
This is his vision of America today:
This is what this entire city, this nation, has become: a shrinking reserve of law-abiding citizens shouldering every burden for a growing mass of fat, lazy leeches, slugs, thugs, gangbangers, rule-breakers, whiners, and perpetual ne’er-do-wells comically beatified by walled-off, gated-away elites who never set foot in the subway and spin out contemporary fantasias on Rousseau’s theme of the “noble savage,” virtuous “oppressed,” “marginalized” and “vulnerable” victims heroically bearing their daily yoke while living in fear of the mythical, perpetual great white crackdown.
It would be alarming, but not shocking, if this appeared in a marginal publication deep in the fever swamps of the white nationalist Alt Right. If we found it, for example, on Stormfront, it would barely merit mention.
But this racist rant about human scum and whips appears in a publication whose contributors include such right-wing luminaries as Victor David Hanson, Roger Kimball, Conrad Black, Salena Zito, Josh Hammer (who is also Newsweek’s opinion editor), Michael Anton, Ned Ryun, and Dennis Prager.
In other words, it is smack in the middle of the Trumpian Right.
And this is not a one-off. Some years back, American Greatness published something called “Cuck Elegy,” which was accurately described by the Washington Examiner as “an alt-right piece of literotica masquerading as a poem.”
It was also raw, undiluted racism:
This is the Capitalist Pentecost
Submit to the modernist’s spirit of avarice
Defer now to the mocha-skinned Lazarus
Know this, you are more rich than him
If not in cash, then in your white skin
The worm is possessed by cool-kid perception
Considers himself a great exception
To all those evil, racist whites
Whose recalcitrance impedes his rights
To trample on their spirit more
To profit from the endless wars
And from the labor multiplied
And from the masses demoralized
Who still turn to the worm for guidance because
For America, he professes love
Not for her people (those, he hates)
They are but low-life reprobates
But for what nation she could be
If she increased her liberty
And turned her unscathed, generous face
Toward parasites that “earn their place”
And spread her ample, gentle thighs
For those who come and tribalize
And offered her abundant breast
To those who maybe pass a test
And even those who don’t
Exit take: Yes, the right has a white supremacy problem. But there are few signs that it will take Cheney’s warning seriously.
Here comes CPAC. Dave Weigel reports:
One panel will discuss whether tech companies are “colluding to deprive us of our humanity.” One speech will explore what to do when a social media network “de-platforms” a conservative by deleting his account. And seven main-stage panels or speeches will litigate the 2020 election, with panelists who mostly — and incorrectly — argue that Donald Trump won.
The Conservative Political Action Conference, which begins this week, has evolved from a fractious meeting of Republicans and libertarians into a celebration of the 45th president and the airing of his grievances.
Chip Roy is a Cowardly Goldfish
Absolute must read: Tim Miller’s piece on the Texas congressman’s craven flip-flop.
If Roy’s views are completely and totally subject to the whims of Republican base voters, that would be one thing. But this man is such a pusillanimous poltroon that he’s going all the way to demand that others be punished for sticking with the truth. He doesn’t even have the common decency to slink quietly into a corner and stroke mUh pRinCiPles while letting some other red hat do the dirty work of going after Cheney.
Nope, in order to prove to the mob that he is at their beck and call, Roy now demands that his “friend” take the fall for saying something that they agreed on just six weeks ago.
Worshipping the golden calf.
Culture war update.