Then maybe you’re not quite getting what’s actually happening at the moment.
I’m a big fan of Dahlia Lithwick’s work, but she isn’t immune to Elite Lawyer Brain, as this Slate piece illustrates. Lithwick is angry that Senate Democrats didn’t use the KBJ hearings to lay out “a coherent theory for the role of an unelected judiciary in a constitutional democracy,” which is a pretty odd complaint under the very odd circumstances in which those hearings took place.
It’s odd because if such a theory existed – it doesn’t – the circus that was the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing this past week would not be tenable venue for laying it out, given it was a made for TV circus, dominated by lunatic Republican conspiracy-mongering of the QAnon-adjacent variety.
Lithwick is mad at Democrats about the latter fact as well:
Given the opportunity to do anything at all about an information war that opened with Hawley alone attempting to smear a respected federal judge as an enabler of child pornography, and that closed with 10 Republicans signing a letter demanding confidential pre-sentencing reports so they could better assess whether a respected federal judge was someone who is an enabler of child pornography, it seems that Democrats opted to do little to counter even that lie. The first rule of parenting is to impose consequences. If we learned anything at all after Jan. 6, 2021, it should have been that leaving misinformation and lies to fester will only encourage them to grow. And if we learned anything else, it should have been that if there are no consequences for the distortion and lies of craven opportunists like Hawley, seemingly sane Republicans will eventually and eagerly join their clown car. Jackson as responsible for child porn went from crackpot to acceptable in under a week. That is what happens when you choose not to engage with a pernicious lie.
Erik’s encomium to Harry Dean Stanton (Side point: there’s a book from the 1990s, Baked Potatoes, written by a couple of University of Michigan undergraduates, that rates movies in terms of how appropriate they are to watch while smoking marijuana. The ratings feature various icons revealing what sorts of features the movie in question contains. One icon is dedicated solely to indicating the presence of Harry Dean Stanton) reminds me of the moment in Alien when the artificial person Ash tells the doomed crew: “You still don’t realize what you’re up against, do you?”
That’s more or less what I want to say to Lithwick, who seems to be under the impression that you can make social headway against the belief system of a delusional cult by pointing out that the cult’s beliefs are delusional.
Yes I understand that Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz are cynical opportunists who don’t actually believe any of the QAnon stuff, but so what? Donald Trump doesn’t believe that stuff either – Donald Trump doesn’t believe in anything other than the aggrandizement of Donald Trump – but the tens of millions of Americans who make up the core of the Republican party believe it, because they believe a whole bunch of frankly insane things, that are required beliefs if you’re going to be part of their cult.
What kinds of things? Behold the world view of Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas, and major player in the attempt to overturn the results of the November 2020 presidential election:
Thomas is a certifiable lunatic, but it’s important to always remember that her beliefs are in no way unusual among contemporary Republicans. In fact they’re extremely widespread.
Having a nationally televised “debate” about whether in fact the Democratic party is part of a child sex slave trafficking ring controlled by a (((globalist))) elite is . . . how to put this? Not a great idea, maybe?
You can’t argue crazy people out of their craziness. 45% of the American voting public is either flagrantly insane, or A-OK with the various forms of flagrant insanity that dominates conspiratorial core of the Republican voting base.
That’s the main reason why no important person has been prosecuted for his or her part in the January 6 insurrection, and why none of these people are ever going to be prosecuted for trying to overthrow the government via lynch mob. The DOJ, DANY, etc., are afraid to put the leaders of the insurrection on trial – and those leaders include the wife of a Supreme Court justice who is issuing unsigned rulings regarding any such legal proceedings! – because that would in effect be putting the Republican party on trial, which you can’t do because It’s a Two-Party System dontcha know.
Blaming Senate Democrats for “bad messaging” when it comes to this shall we say rather sobering state of affairs seems a bit inadequate to our present situation.