Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse, a whiny Trump-asslicker pretending to be something else, penned an OpEd for The Atlantic yesterday trying to blame the degeneration and eviscertion of the Republican Party on Q-Anon: QAnon Is Destroying the GOP From Within. Much of what he wrote-- if not the overview-- is spot on analysis: "Until last week, too many in the Republican Party thought they could preach the Constitution and wink at QAnon. They can’t." Ya think?
Or are most rank and file Republicans not even aware of anything called Q-Anon and just assume-- not incorrectly-- that it's not much more than a wing of the Republican Party? Two Q-Anon people were elected to Congress from the most backward districts in Georgia and Colorado. Both may face expulsion and criminal liability for their active roles in the insurrection.
In northwest Georgia, local sociopath Marjorie Taylor Greene won her seat 299,825 (74.6%) to 77,798 (25.3) against Kevin Van Ausdal, a Democrat who had been driven out of the race. Do you think even 20% of the voters knew what Q-Anon is. In the immense rural western and southern part of Colorado, crackpot gun fanatic Lauren Boebert beat a legitimate Democratic candidate 220,634 (51.4%) to 194,122 (45.2%). Again, I suspect that a majority of those Republican voters may be very far right but is unaware of how the Senator from a bordering state described Q-Anon: "the delusional QAnon conspiracy theory. Its supporters believe that a righteous Donald Trump is leading them in a historic quest to expose the U.S. government’s capture by a global network of cannibalistic pedophiles: not just 'deep state' actors in the intelligence community, but Chief Justice John Roberts and a dozen-plus senators, including me. Now Trump’s own vice president is supposedly in on it, too."
Sasse always complains about Trump and never does anything but protect undeniable him. He was even too frightened to stand with Mitt Romney and find him guilty in his first impeachment trial. Now that Trump will be out of power, people are betting the hypocritical and confused Sasse will finally vote against Trump. "When Trump leaves office," he wrote, "my party faces a choice: We can dedicate ourselves to defending the Constitution and perpetuating our best American institutions and traditions, or we can be a party of conspiracy theories, cable-news fantasies, and the ruin that comes with them. We can be the party of Eisenhower, or the party of the conspiracist Alex Jones. We can applaud Officer Goodman or side with the mob he outwitted. We cannot do both... The GOP must reject conspiracy theories or be consumed by them. Now is the time to decide what this party is about." Eisenhower? The guy with the 90% marginal tax rate? The GOP is no closer to being the party of Eisenhower that is to being the party of Lincoln or Teddy Roosevelt. The GOP Is Q-Anon, even if Sasse can't see it. [Note: The Democratic Party establishment is the party of Eisenhower, although not of the 90% marginal tax rates.]
He isn't as afraid of the congressional Q-Anon ladies as he is of Señor Trumpanzee. "The newly elected Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene," he wrote ungallantly, "is cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs. She once ranted that 'there’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take this global cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles out, and I think we have the president to do it.' During her campaign, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had a choice: disavow her campaign and potentially lose a Republican seat, or welcome her into his caucus and try to keep a lid on her ludicrous ideas. McCarthy failed the leadership test and sat on the sidelines. Now in Congress, Greene isn’t going to just back McCarthy as leader and stay quiet. She’s already announced plans to try to impeach Joe Biden on his first full day as president. She’ll keep making fools out of herself, her constituents, and the Republican Party. If the GOP is to have a future outside the fever dreams of internet trolls, we have to call out falsehoods and conspiracy theories unequivocally. We have to repudiate people who peddle those lies."
That train, Senator, has left long ago-- and you didn't stop it when you had the chance during the first impeachment trial. He then tried to blame the media for Republican woes, claiming Fox and OAN are as bad as MSNBC, CNN, and the New York Times. So who is cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs again? But not just the media. "Political incompetence and malpractice around the COVID-19 pandemic has only deepened suspicions that some politicians will never let a crisis go to waste. The decisions in California to keep churches closed but to keep open strip clubs and marijuana dispensaries baffle Main Street. Similarly, the jolting juxtaposition of a media-addict mayor breaking up Hasidic funerals while marching in Black Lives Matter protests not only deepens the cynicism of many Americans, but it indisputably undermined institutions of public health that should have been cautiously protecting their standing."
He forgot to mention Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts (R), his political ally and one of the least competent governors in America, whose phobia to public health has left Sasse's state with one of the worst per capital infection rates in the entire world-- and the 7th worst in the U.S. Nebraska didn't report again yesterday but had a total of 180,910 cases the last time it did report-- that's 93,522 cases per million Nebraskans. Almost one in 10 residents have been infected, almost entirely because of the Nebraska Republican Party and it's office holders.
Sasse wrote that conspiracy theories are a substitute for churches. "Support Donald Trump," he asserted bravely, "and you are not merely participating in a mundane political process-- that’s boring. Rather, you are waging war on a global sex-trafficking conspiracy! No one should be surprised that QAnon has found a partner in the empty, hypocritical, made-for-TV deviant strain of evangelicalism that runs on dopey apocalypse-mongering. (I still consider myself an evangelical, even though so many of my nominal co-religionists have emptied the term of all historic and theological meaning.) A conspiracy theory offers its devotees a way of inserting themselves into a cosmic battle pitting good against evil. This sense of vocation that makes it dangerous is also precisely what makes it attractive in our era of isolated, alienated consumerism."
Whatever the Republican Party does, it faces an ugly fight. The fracture that so many politicians on the right have been trying desperately to avoid may soon happen. But if the party has any hope of playing a constructive, rather than destructive, part in America’s future, it must do two things.
First, Republicans must repudiate the nonsense that has set our party on fire. Putting it out will take courage-- and I don’t mean merely political courage. This week, after realizing that some Capitol insurrectionists wanted to capture the vice president, several Republican House members said privately that they believed a vote to impeach the president would put their lives, or the lives of their families, at risk. That is not the “constituent engagement” that elected officials are duty-bound to deal with on a daily basis. That is simply tyranny, just from the bottom up, instead of the top down. When arsonists are inside our house, can we just stand by and hope that they’ll depart quietly?
Second, the party has to rebuild itself. It must offer a genuine answer to the frustrations of the past decade. Other than by indulging Trump’s fantasies about building iPhones in America, Republicans have not figured out how to address Americans’ anger about community erosion, massive dislocations in the labor force, or Big Tech’s historically unprecedented role in governing de facto public squares.
Sensing a chance at tribal expansion, some on the left are thrilled by the chaos on the right, and they’re eager to seize the moment to banish from polite society not just those who participated and encouraged violence, but anyone with an R next to his or her name. Already on Twitter, a conservative position as longstanding as opposition to abortion has been recast as “domestic terrorism.” An MSNBC host talked about the “de-Baathification” of the GOP, comparing rank-and-file Republicans to supporters of Saddam Hussein. In an exchange on CNN, a host accused Republican voters of making common cause with Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan. Yet the exploitative overreaction by the left should not allow an underreaction by the right.
The past four years have wounded our country in grievous, long-lasting ways.
Try the past 40 years.