CSotD: The United States of Hooterville

RJ Matson keeps the matter of Clarence Thomas’s ethical failures before the public, which I think is important, given the mayfly attention span we seem to have, our ability to absorb and accept the unacceptable and, of course, our penchant for fixating on trivial events while ignoring things that ought to be more compelling.

“Ought to” being, of course, something said by people who decline to deal with the world as it is.

There used to be a practice in housebreaking a dog of rubbing his nose in the offending mess before shoving him outdoors. This has long since been condemned, but you still need to make sure the dog knows why you’re angry and why he’s being put in the yard. You need to be proportionate, to make your point without inspiring fear or resentment.

The difference being that the dog really wants to please you, while the public ought to.

Matson’s cartoon is similar to the Stuart Carlson piece I featured yesterday, and let me say here that the Q-Anon Shaman ought to get royalties or some kind of award from political cartoonists for providing such a colorful graphic way to say “looney tune.” I criticized Carlson for giving Ginni a goofy face, and I much prefer Matson’s look of more focused, determined insanity, a distinction that makes a difference.


I also like Matson’s allusion to the classic Grant Wood painting, but I suspect a lot of people will think he’s doing a takeoff on Oliver and Lisa Douglas, because they don’t know that Green Acres was riffing on Wood.

The problem there being that Lisa Douglas was a loveable screwball, and that the premise of the show was that her husband had unwittingly dragged her off to a bizarre world where her lunacy fit the way things worked, while his logical approach failed utterly.

Which seemed a lot funnier set in fictional Hooterville than when it’s actually happening in these United States.

Even in this universe, however, it’s hard not to laugh at the bizarre situation, and, over at The Bulwark, JV Last has an insider explanation that is both logical and fact-based but acknowledges the Lisa Douglas factor:

He goes on to back up that opening with evidence, which saves me space to agonize over the other things happening here in the United States of Hooterville.


For instance, the walls appear to be closing in on the former Dear Leader, and, as John Cole points out, the GOP haven’t gotten much traction from holding up Hunter Biden’s laptop in an attempt to distract from the Emperor’s increasingly obvious nakedness.


And to hammer the analogy into the ground, just as Oliver Douglas was dependent on an obvious swindler for his supplies, we were in the grip of a conman for four years. In the real world, the people of the town would have run Mr. Haney out on a rail, or, at least, declined to do business with him.

But, in Hooterville, he was simply accepted as part of the System.

If you weren’t astonished when he asked Russia for help in hacking Clinton’s emails, why would you be surprised now that he’s back asking Putin for help in smearing Hunter Biden?

Do your remember some episode of Green Acres where the townspeople warned the Douglases not to deal with Mr. Haney? I don’t. Nor do I expect to see it happen in the USofH.


Juxtaposition of the Day

(Kevin Siers)

(Michael de Adder)

Siers is far from the only person to connect Trump’s missing phone records with Nixon’s erased White House tapes, but he’s done the best work of blending Tricky Dick’s eyes into President Haney’s face.

It was a commonplace, back then, to say that, had Nixon simply burned the tapes, he’d have remained in office. The problem was that, while the Kennedy campaign created a lasting line with a 1960 poster asking  “Would you buy a used car from this man?” and Nixon had earned his nickname “Tricky Dick,” he wasn’t a career criminal and, even as he gamed and undermined the system, he still understood the Constitution and believed in the rule of law.

No such problem this time!

Nixon hedged and prevaricated and misdirected, but Trump is willing to lie right in your face, claiming that he had never even heard the term “burner phone,” when he’d used the term himself, repeatedly, and burner phones were purchased by January 6 conspirators.

He’s counting on the good people of Hooterville to trust him yet again.

After all, a substantial number of them believe the Big Lie, as well as a collection of transparently idiotic things about JFK jr and pizza parlors, and that a disease that killed nearly a million Americans was not only a myth but that he cured it.

As de Adder suggests, however, he hasn’t cleaned up his mess. He’s only sweeping it under the carpet.

Tapes can be burned, but, in this case, he’d better hope he had a competent henchman trashing those records, because it’s a lot easier to think you’ve deleted something than to make it actually cease to still be in there somewhere.

Also, some of the people in the room, and some of the people on the other end of those mystery phone calls, are already talking to the Jan 6 Committee.

Even Nixon had a limited selection of staff members like G. Gordon Liddy and my guess is that Dear Leader will find out how few of his offer him that level of psychopathic loyalty.

I mean, Rupert Murdoch has a lot of money, but he can’t hire them all, can he?

Not even with CBS pitching in.

In any case, historians doubt the familiar story of Ben Franklin, asked what kind of government the Constutional Convention had decided on, replying “A republic, if you can keep it.”

But it’s certainly true that he did say “Three people can keep a secret, if two of them are dead.”

And that Nixon and Haldeman might have wished the name “Mark Felt” had meant more to them at the moment.

And that journalism is a skill.

And that patience is a virtue.


Date of the Burglary – June 17, 1972
Nixon Resigns – Aug. 8, 1974