I remain fixated on the rise of Mike Johnson. I wish that we could click our heels together and make him return to obscurity, but we cannot.
The NYT’s Charles Blow is from the Gret Stet Of Louisiana. His 2019 column comparing the Kaiser of Chaos to Edwin Edwards is a masterpiece. in that memorable piece, he put his regional knowledge to work to explain Trump’s appeal. He gave the new Speaker the same treatment yesterday.
Blow’s title comes close to saying it all: I Grew Up In Mike Johnson’s District, Where Kindness Can Mask Cruelty.
That’s true of much of rural Louisiana. The people are warm and friendly but their tone changes when discussing politics.
“He is from a part of the country where your nemesis will smile at you and promise to pray for you, where people will quickly submit that they “love the sinner but hate the sin,” where one hand can hold a Bible while the other holds a shackle. He is from a place where people use religion to brand their hatred as love so that they act on it cheerfully and without guilt.”
That’s why the Mike Johnsons of the world are so alarming. Unlike his fellow extremists Gym Jordan and Marge Greene, he’s not a cartoon villain. Instead, Johnson is Ned Flanders’ evil twin. That makes him infinitely more dangerous than a loudmouth like Jordan who would never greet someone like this:
It’s easy to imagine Mike Johnson saying that. Of course, he’d add something about abortion causing gun violence but the analogy fits like a glove. It’s cold today, so I have gloves on my mind.
Charles Blow believes Mike Johnson has more staying power than I do:
He is what many have feared: an example of second-wave Trumpism — politicians rising in Trump’s wake who come with the same policy priorities and ideological proclivities, but in a far more congenial and urbane package, propelled by something more than personal grievance. Trumpism is a religion developed to serve a man. What happens when it evolves into a pillar of an established creed and is viewed as a way to serve God?
I stand by yesterday’s post: I’m unsure if anyone other than committed Trumpers will buy Johnson’s shtick but if they do, they’ll use it to smite their enemies. They will, however, smite them with a smile.
This is how Charles Blow concludes his Johnson column:
Where he and I are from, even would-be oppressors can be affable. It’s not just good manners, it’s the Christian way, the proper Southern way. And it is the ultimate deception.
Mike Johnson is a snake. I’m not convinced that extremism with a smile will work but stranger things have happened. In 2016, America elected as president an Insult Comedian with a dead nutria pelt atop his head. That’s as strange as it gets.
Repeat after me: Mike Johnson is Ned Flanders’ evil twin.
The last word goes to The Temptations: