CSotD: Reasons to hope, reasons to despair

For those who believe in choice, and democracy, and who aren’t hoping to live under a repressive government, there’s a great deal of positive hope to be found in Bill Bramhall’s depiction of the GOP obsession with restrictive abortion laws.

This isn’t just about Ohio’s recent attempt to get people to stop trying to tell them how to run the state. Rather, it’s about the inexplicable resistance to learning and logic, following several such attempts at tampering with Roe v Wade over the past year.

Most folks don’t need to tinkle on the electric cattle fence more than once, but here’s ol’ Jumbo out there taking a second and third whizz and getting jolted each time and standing back up to do it again.

The thing about messing with women’s reproductive rights is not simply that they’ll vote against it. It’s that they will go out of their way to vote against it. They won’t just slap your face; they’ll cross the street to slap your face.

So for all that this tough-talk and anti-sex posturing appeals to your fans, it brings out enemies you didn’t even know you had.

Jimmy Margulies (KFS) laughs off Trump’s objection to being tried in front of a jury in the district in which he committed the bulk of his (alleged) crimes, but his reference is not poorly taken: Trump virtually began his first presidential campaign secure that celebrity was more important that policy and he continues to push that concept.

He’s not wrong, but, then again, he — or at least his party — is starting to test the limits. The problem with appealing to the crazies is that, while there are plenty of them, they’re crazy, which backs you into some extreme proposals to keep them content that will alienate those “swing voters” we hear about who are not crazy. And there’s aren’t quite enough crazies to carry the day on their own.

The poster boy for all this is Kevin McCarthy, whose grip on the Speaker’s hammer is so tenuous that if he even attempts to talk sense to the extremists of the Freedom Caucus, they’ll strip him of his Speakership and he’ll have to go back to doing whatever the hell it was he used to do.

But his terror spreads throughout the government, leaving a question of how many of these crazies there really are and how much they really matter and what you should, therefore, do when they tell you to go take a whizz on the cattle fence.

Which we’ll find out when the federal budget runs out at the end of September and they have to pass a dozen spending bills to keep our chins above water. It won’t be a complete shutdown, but it might feel a lot like one.

However, Daniel Boris suggests, the Jedi Mind Tricks seem to be working, as Trump has gotten up in front of crowds and explained that the droids they’re looking for are you, not him. Or, at best, all of us, emphasis on “us.”

IIRC, that trick was better at getting them into town than it was at peacefully extracting them, and, to shift from metaphor to reality, Trump’s mind tricks seem to work better in person than on a more abstract level. His track record in promoting candidates other than himself is, at best, spotty.

The key to these mind tricks is laid out by Patrick Chappatte and is perhaps specific to a nominally free, democratic society: Trump doesn’t have to prove what he genuinely believes.

There’s plenty of evidence that he knew he lost. But if the MAGAts believe it, it doesn’t matter what he knew or believed or imagined.

It’s a terrible defense, but an excellent campaign plan.

This sort of legerdemain requires a fall guy, a scapegoat to accept the anger and blame and to distract from what else might be happening, so we return to Bill Bramhall for a second cartoon, this one demonstrating in plain terms the role that Hunter Biden is playing in Trump’s efforts.

We know his function: It is to provide a focus for the language emerging from the rightwing, in which we hear about the Biden “regime” that stole the election and the “Biden crime family” that stole everything that wasn’t red hot or nailed down and, of course, the laptop.

As Clay Bennett (CTFP) points out, we know Hunter is guilty of being a member of the Biden Crime Family Regime, just as Billy Carter was part of the Carter Family Beer Drinking Regime and Roger Clinton was part of the Whitewater Vince Foster Murder Incorporated Regime and Donald Nixon was … no, wait, never mind. There was never anything wrong with Donald Nixon or his brother Dick. That was a conspiracy.

And, as Darrin Bell (KFS) points out, if our witness testifies that there was no payoff, that Hunter’s father had nothing to do with any of it, and that all Hunter ever did was shoot his mouth off with the boldness of, say, a drug addict, we just change the questions we claim to have asked and the overall proof we claimed to require, and then mock anyone who demands “evidence” of our accusations.

Because they wouldn’t demand evidence if they weren’t part of the conspiracy!

For the MAGAts, Clay Jones notes, the explanation is simple: The liberals are indicting Trump to distract him from campaigning for the 2024 presidency by accusing him of having interfered in the 2020 election because interfering in elections is what traitors and villains do. Along with the good, honest people who have to interfere because the election is crooked.

But no so crooked that anyone should be convicted. If he were, it would not be because he’s done anything wrong, because he hasn’t. It would be because of the conspiracy.

The conspiracy, that is, to make it easy for folks like Ruben Bolling to use a level of sarcasm that, over the past six years, has become so close to reality as to barely count at all. We couldn’t exaggerate the cartoons to mock reality, so we had to exaggerate reality to match the cartoons.

So the reason for hope is that maybe all this exaggerated reality will awaken people.

The reason for despair is that maybe it won’t.

It’s not enough to be awakened, if you’re not arisen.