The headline to this piece is a reference to a now-legendary moment in American politics: It’s the economy, stupid. During the 1992 presidential campaign, Kind of Funny Looking Political Genius James Carville coined the phrase, even going as far as hanging a sign in the campaign room with those words.
The point of the matter was the United States was going through a recession and Over-Celebrated President George H.W. Bush was viewed as kind of clueless about it. It was part of three main things that Carville wanted the campaign to focus on to get Bill Clinton elected and not get distracted by anything else, but that particular line became lionized in American political culture. So much so, that there are variations of it even today. It is a call to focus on things that really matter, and recognize them as the main issue.
Right now, the relevant variation of this phrase is “it’s the will to power, stupid” and I aim that to anyone who is still clueless enough to offer any benefit of the doubt to Republicans.
King of First Draft Adrastos artfully lays out the danger inherent in this radical right Supreme Court. Basically, this is years and years of dark planning, Federalist Society meetings, and TurtleHuman Mitch McConnell’s cackling scheming bearing fruit. Along the way, we were constantly told to give the benefit of the doubt to the monsters, that we should know that we all “want the same things,” and that we have much in common.
That ideal is increasingly taking hits to the gut, as my fellow blogger Cassandra points out in her posts here and here. Shapiro notes the prejudice that drives their policy and actions, and Tommy T has been documenting right-wing lunacy in the GOP since the time of Andrew Johnson.
Okay, probably not that long. Sorry, Tommy. But even if you don’t read this blog, the signs are so obvious that any reasoned person can’t possibly give conservatives the benefit of the doubt, right? They have to see that this is all about power, correct?
Apparently, not among the Cockeyed Optimists of the Discourse, like Seems-Like-an-Okay-Fellow Ross Douthat, the New York Times columnist who is supposed to represent the reasoned conservative perspective. These days, this is, of course, like representing the tastiest part of the sewage flow, but Douthat soldiers on.
I know Ross Douthat is gonna Douthat but if you’re an editor with any self-respect you gotta send this back with a “hey if you want to say this you need to present some reason to think this thing that has never happened will suddenly magically happen” note https://t.co/dcLulK3f3E pic.twitter.com/Z4mWOznv5n
— Jay Willis (@jaywillis) June 26, 2022
Oh, Ross. “Making the G.O.P. more serious about family policy and public health” would be kind of funny if it were not so tragically off. Why would they? The Republicans are not signaling anything of the sort in their shit vision of post-Roe America because they are moving quickly towards not needing to worry one bit about what voters think. Plus, there is a very high correlation between states that have banned abortion and states with the highest maternal and infant mortality rates.
Peggy Noonan, not to be outdone, managed to get an entire panel on Meet the Press laughing at her when she suggested that we might see the Republican Party become more human.
On Meet the Press this week Peggy Noonan tried to say with a straight face that the Republican Party should "use this victory" to reform itself and improve its standing with women. Watch as the whole panel dissolves in laughter. pic.twitter.com/SDCleEQWxx clip via @DavidEdwards.
— Jay Rosen (@jayrosen_nyu) June 26, 2022
“Reform itself.” Yes, that is exactly what this is all about for the GOP. They are not interested in that, Peggy. Read Cretin/Judge Clarence Thomas’s Roe opinion, where he makes it clear they are after bedroom privacy, contraception, and gay marriage next. This is a thin veil covering a clear will to power.
By will to power, I am not talking about the cheesy late 80s pop band. More the Neitzsche definition, where a set of values are created by a group of elites and imposed on people. Yes, philosophy majors, it is much more complicated than that, but in this case, it is exactly what is happening in the United States.
We constantly give bad actors the benefit of doubt, and within the media, it seems like the further to the right you are, the whiter you are, and the wealthier you are, the more benefit of the doubt you get. But, good Lord, at a certain point, even if you don’t want to believe it, you have to see things for what they are. Whenever I say that the GOP is all about imposing their will, I will sometimes get pushback, whether it’s that failed talisman against reality “oh that’s not true” or some other fantasy statement about how we’re all in this together as a nation.
And often, they will say “why do you think Republicans are going to do that?”. My reply is because they are TELLING us what they are going to do, as Thomas did. They are not shy about their intentions.
Ending Roe seems to have been a wake-up call for a lot of Americans. Now that we have a lot of, dare I say, woke people, perhaps we can get our leaders in the Democratic Party to begin doing what needs to be done, even if just a month ago, those actions seemed “too radical.” I withhold judgment on the Democrats’ reaction for now, but part of any plan will need to be making sure Americans with any decency fully understand what we have in front of us. And that does not include giving those who have a will to power the benefit of the doubt, because all that does is enable them.
The last word goes to Amanda Shires and Jason Isbell, a wonderful live version of their pro-abortion anthem The Problem.