CSotD: The Uncivil War

Tim Campbell (Counterpoint) may be urging voters to make good choices, but, as noted here the other day, clarity matters, and this could easily be interpreted as a variation on “Don’t vote. It only encourages them,” which was witty when Scottish comedian Billy Connolly first said it.

But we had more space for cynicism a generation ago, in part because our loudest voices were younger and less constrained by experience and in part because we had not yet seen the rise of a political force intent on overturning the system.

I’m not claiming an exemption. In the 1968 elections, I was old enough to kill but not for voting, but saw no substantive difference between Humphrey and Nixon and wished I could vote for Dick Gregory, not to get him elected but to make a statement, somewhat along the lines of resisting the draft by singing a few bars of Alice’s Restaurant in hopes of being judged unfit to serve.

By 1972, I was old enough to vote but Nixon’s boys had knocked my first choice out with the forged Canuck letter. It wasn’t until later that we learned Tricky Dick had earlier undermined LBJ’s peace efforts in Vietnam, a bit of double-dealing that repeated itself a dozen years later.

They laughed when Archie Bunker sat down at the piano. Who’s laughing now?

Even the reforms that followed Watergate didn’t stop the slow, systematic rise of an angry turn towards authoritarianism, and the Reagan Revolution bred a button-down bourgeoisie army who not only said things like “I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub,” but damn well meant it.

Not only do they still mean it, but actual, concrete plans are being laid that ought to drive decent people to the polls this coming November.

Except that voters likely won’t hear about it, or, if they do, it won’t seem scary and will be balanced by plenty of “on the other hand.”

As Will Bunch points out, the press does not like to upset readers by dealing with unpleasantries.

The result is a sense that things continue to unfold as they always have.

Rob Rogers is correct that the new Speaker holds extremist religious views which he feels should guide the nation, and that he played a significant role in the January 6 insurrection.

But the idea that someone should have looked into all that is a holdover from a former age.

First of all, it assumes honest disclosure, and, while Johnson has been out front about his Christian nationalism and his anti-science take on reality, he was less than honest in his financial disclosures: Apparently, neither he nor anyone in his family has a bank account. (Does he get paid in cash, some of which he hands over to his mortgage holder in person?)

Nobody vetted him. Nobody had to. Dear Leader wanted him, the Freedom Caucus fell into line and the rest of the GOP followed suit.

Many Republicans knew nothing more about him than that he had Dear Leader’s seal of approval, and, while Jeff Danziger (Counterpoint) paints an amusing picture, it’s doubtful that party members even dozed through an orientation or that there even was one.

For that matter, it’s irrelevant that, as Jack Ohman (Tribune) notes, the former president threw hissy fits on the witness stand yesterday …

Or, as Bill Bramhall puts it, cranked out garbage instead of answering questions.

Will it help him in court? Not unless he can provoke the judge into doing something so intemperate as to trigger a mistrial, and Trump’s time on the stand ended without that happening, despite several stern cautions to behave and to answer questions rather than making speeches.

But will it hurt him with voters? That’s a different question.

He’s not facing jail time in this particular trial, where it has already been established that his companies committed fraud and the only question is the size of the fine and the potential for being barred from doing business in New York State.

The issue, rather, is how you punish a shameless opportunist who builds strength by whining to his followers about how the Dark State is picking on their hero?

The necessary followers of said opportunist being depicted by Clay Bennett (CTFP) : MAGAts are completely loyal, and the critical question is how large a group are they?

The jersey is a reminder that loyal fans stay faithful whether the team goes to the Super Bowl or crashes in an ignominious season. Those who had doubts have long since left, and the collar is firmly in place.

Bennett is gentle in having the dog offer a leash rather than a whip.

So how big is that ever-faithful MAGAt contingent? All we really know is that Republican party members make up less than a third of the electorate and independents go back and forth between favoring the two major parties.

Another question is whether polls matter. As suggested in today’s Duplex (AMS), polls are dubious at best and increasingly so as people learn to ignore calls on their cell phones, leaving pollsters with a diminishing sample.

No? Colorado had a lost hiker who ignored calls from his would-be rescuers because he didn’t recognize their number. And even those who might have cooperated a few cycles ago have become tired of push-polls that transparently steer people to the clients’ preferred results.

Polls predicted Obama re-election losses and that Hillary Clinton would trounce Trump. They were clearly wrong in the first case and may have fatally dampened turnout in the second.

Or maybe they don’t matter at all, except to give reporters a chance to cover the horse race instead of the issues.

Meanwhile, back at the isolated island whence our nation is governed, Clay Jones is unhappy that the House could not muster the 2/3 vote necessary to expel serial liar and imposter George Santos, but the claim of setting a bad precedent by assuming his innocence until he’s proven guilty seems sound.

Otherwise, we’d start seeing things like this:

And this:

It seems like a choice between “Fighting fire with fire” or “Sinking to their level.”

Or maybe it’s a question of “Rules? In a knife fight?”

10 thoughts on “CSotD: The Uncivil War

  1. Voting to “make a statement” is pretty much the same as not voting. A republican or democrat has been president since 1853. Hold your nose and pick the lesser of two evils.

    1. Yes, but if we all had ranked choice voting (RCV) like Alaska now has, then there would be no such thing as a “wasted vote” or a “spoiler candidate”.

  2. I like how Clay Bennett didn’t do the usual exaggerated rendering of that guy, but still captured that weird, hind-end-out stance of his.

  3. Dear Mike, Thank you. You really went all out today. Your views and the comics that support them are irrefutable. I wish there were more people who did their homework and were as analytically insightful as you.
    I’ve sen articles that point out the many ways (most of mainstream) ‘media lies’. By omission, by carefully chosen trigger words, presenting only the info that supports their desired viewpoint, statistics presented in a vacuum, etc. I say the media’s quest for ratings to boost their corporate owners is very similar to the fact that most politicians are owned by corporate or religious interests. Honesty keeps being murdered in our society. We seem to be heading for a New Dark Ages, led by Corrupt corporate and religious zealots. I won’t march along with them.
    Now, I’ll climb down off my soapbox and get back to work.

  4. O.K. one more thought on the insanity in which we are immersed. Contrary to the stupidity spewed by the media and Rtwingnuts, aren’t the Palestinians (including Rashida) also Semitic people?

    1. True. And Canadians and Mexicans live on this continent, so they are Americans. And anyone born here is a Native American. And Charlize Theron was born in Gauteng but lives here now, so she’s African-American.

  5. Wow, Mike, do you mean to tell me that we are not a purely w.a.s.p.y society? That there are people from many different cultures, ethnicities and backgrounds in our society; all enriching it with their own experiences and traditions?? Why that would make our society . . . Diverse!
    Why, if everyone here in Scarizona were to realize and accept that, many heads would explode!

    1. No, I just meant that applying labels in a pedantic manner leads to ridiculous conclusions. We all know what “antisemitic” means, just as we know what American, Native American and African American mean.

  6. Every day I regret learning who Mike Johnson is.
    The dude is a scumbag and a coward who (like many so-called “Christians”) hides behind the Bible.

  7. Mike, thanks for the clarification. I missed that inference. I was just seeing the wide range of different backgrounds mentioned, without any subtlety of understanding of the implications of the names you chose. And, I do understand how labels can be used to misconstrue (as in stereotyping) and sometimes be used in a biased and belittling way and even as a pejorative. I hope that indicates that I understand what you were communicating.

Comments are closed.