Malacandra.me

The #NotUs Movement : An Armada of Lifeboats with an Army of Straw Men



As the collapse of the Trump Administration continues apace and the unhinged braying of the Pig People becomes deafening, the ranks of Republican "It Wasn't My Fault" brigade sprinting as fast as possible away from any whiff of personal responsibility for the political monster machine they helped create is swelling from a trickle to a Cecil B. DeMille epic.

Mind you, the organizers and backers of this Not Us Exodus have absolutely nothing new to say in their defense because there is nothing new to say.  There is no Reformicon cavalry coming over the hill.  There is no Secret Other Republican Party full of Burke-spouting Sensible Centrists waiting in the wings to sweep in and save the the GOP from itself.  Practically speaking, there is nothing left but a brutal, bare-knuckle contest between the fully-up-armored and lavishly funded fascist Republican Party, and those of us on the Left who have been right about the Right all along.

This is a war, to quote Mr. Lincoln, between those who would make war rather than let the nation survive and those who would accept war rather than let it perish.  And it is here, now.

But this is most emphatically not the war which the Both Siderist enablers of the Republican Party signed up for, and not a war they have any interest in talking about.  Because any hint that this is true -- that at this moment in history, one side really is right and one side really is monstrously wrong -- would be the darkest heresy against their most scared dogma, would blow their carefully constructed cult of Both Siderism to atoms, and would ruin them both financially and psychologically.  And so, with no way forward and no way back, America's professional Both Siderists have no cards left to play left except to double down on the same  ridiculous, played-out lies and delusions they have been peddling for decades.

To them, this is the fucking apocalypse -- an apocalypse for which the decades they've spent knee-walking drunk on their own Beltway bullshit has left them completely unprepared.  And so now it's all about professional survival by any means necessary.  It is about getting their lifeboats into the water and their straw men behind the oars fast-fast-fast before they are sucked under by the collapse of their party and their movement.

Which bring us to three of the worst offenders in the media, each of whom has been hard at work this week doing what they do best: deflecting, blame-shifting and just plain lying.

First up, Mr. David Brooks of The New York Times, who is finally willing to admit that, despite having virtually unlimited media resources at their command, the collective efforts of the Never Trump Republicans have amounted to a whole lotta nothing:
Over the past year, those of us in the anti-Trump camp have churned out billions of words critiquing the president. The point of this work is to expose the harm President Trump is doing, weaken his support and prevent him from doing worse. And by that standard, the anti-Trump movement is a failure.

We have persuaded no one...

We have not hindered him...

We have not dislodged him...

We have not contained him...

A lot of us never-Trumpers assumed momentum would be on our side as his scandals and incompetences mounted. It hasn’t turned out that way. I almost never meet a Trump supporter who has become disillusioned. I often meet Republicans who were once ambivalent but who have now joined the Trump train...
Which I coulda told him.  

Wait a minute ... I did tell him.  Years and years ago, during the Age of Bush:
You’ll find all of us pervy, frightened little angels with flawed intentions.

And with equal helpings of humor, discipline and reciprocity, most of us can make most systems work most of the time.

But not all of us. Not all of us.

And that is the bitter, epiphanic cup which too many of us choose to let pass on by.

Because we want to believe that there must be a better tool, a more perfect voting machine, a more compelling narrative that can be wrapped around the bare, blinding facts of Evolution which will (as I have written before) compel “Conservative Christopaths to grow opposable thumbs en masse, climb down out of the Stupid Tree and stop believing dangerously lunatic trash.”

But there isn’t.

And while all of those are perfectly good ends in themselves, there are no upgrades, patches or new releases that can bulletproof a system against the malevolent intentions of those who come with fascism burned on the board...
Eleven years ago I wrote that.

And eleven years later, deep the suffocating shadow of yet another depraved Republican administration, Mr. Brooks still has the gall to blame people like me for the ghouls and hobgoblins that keep pouring out of the Republican monster machine he helped create:
Part of the problem is that anti-Trumpism has a tendency to be insufferably condescending. For example, my colleague Thomas B. Edsall beautifully summarized the recent academic analyses of what personality traits supposedly determine Trump support.

Trump opponents, the academics say, are open-minded and value independence and novelty. Trump supporters, they continue, are closed-minded, change-averse and desperate for security.

This analysis strikes me as psychologically wrong (every human being requires both a secure base and an open field — we can’t be divided into opposing camps), journalistically wrong (Trump supporters voted for the man precisely because they wanted transformational change) and an epic attempt to offend 40 percent of our fellow citizens by reducing them to psychological inferiors.
Hippie punching?

Check!

Which brings us to Mr. Michael Gerson -- reliable Beltway stalactite and PBS's emergency backup David Brooks.  And from high atop his safe and well-compensated perch at The Washington Post what does Mr. Gerson have to say this week about his dungheap of a political party and the squirming horrors it is breeding at an exponential rate?  (emphasis added):
In the GOP, fanaticism seems to have all the passion and energy. On the left, the same is increasingly true. But there are problems when politics ceases to be the realm of partial agreement and becomes a conflict of social movements. The virtues essential to self-government — civility, compromise and moderation of temperament — are devalued. The incremental reforms necessary to solve public problems become impossible. Opponents are dehumanized and viewed as enemies. The cruel and intemperate come to dominate our political life.
Both Siderism?

Check!

And finally, Mr. Chuck Todd -- the Political Director for NBC News and host NBC's Meet the Press -- rounds out our roster by checking a few more of the Beltway media denialist's favorite boxes:



The modern Republican Party began two years ago and anything before that is unknowable and irrelevant?

Check!

And remember Mouseketeers, if anyone asks, it's "Trumpism", not Republicanism, right?

Check!

Finally, as my brilliant and beautiful wife documented yesterday, you can actually watch the use of the term "Trumpism" spike as the Not Us Exodus gains speed.