Last week The Leader continued preparations for his seizure of power — appointing a sworn enemy of public schools as secretary of education, a black-helicopter paranoiac as national security adviser, and various goblins and freaks to other high federal offices. He also tweet-snarled repeatedly over the Jill Stein audit of swing-state voting results from the 2016 election, claiming that Clinton’s 2.5 million-vote edge was solely due to “millions of people who voted illegally,” among other lunatic outbursts.
Many people who still remember life before the Dark Time found The Leader’s behavior — and that of his Sieg-Heiling neo-Nazi followers — unsettling, and lamented what they called the “normalization” of his grotesque egotism and crackpot retinue by a heedless media establishment.
Conservatives, including those who had once abjured The Leader as unLeaderlike, either rejoined nuh-uh, actually it was liberals who’d normalized something-or-other, or they wondered aloud what anyone found so weird about The Leader, who after all wasn’t too different from all the other amoral, self-promoting tycoons with multiple, egregious conflicts of interest who had blundered into the presidency before him.
“Who ‘Normalized’ Trump? Liberal Pundits,” claimed National Review’s Jonah Goldberg. (Goldberg, unlike his more fungible colleagues, can’t quite embrace The Leader because The Leader once made fun of him for his alleged problems buying pants.)
For one thing, said Goldberg, the media, which is totally liberal, gave The Leader lots of airtime because they “thought Trump was more likely lose to Hillary Clinton.” Sure, Goldberg’s own National Review also gave The Leader an enormous amount of coverage — in articles like this 2015 John Fund howler, “Is Trump a Double Agent for the Left?” for example — but that was negative, not like the liberal media’s, which was positive — okay, not positive, but at least neutral — except the liberal media is liberal, not neutral — anyway, Goldberg shifted, Bill Clinton was a predator first, and “liberals not only normalized him, they lionized him and demonized his critics,” so there. “I’m not trying to start a pointless debate about who is more abnormal (though I’d argue that Trump would win that contest),” added Goldberg, making good his escape in the confusion.
At NewsBusters, Jeffrey Lord, best known for lecturing a nonplussed Van Jones on how Democrats are the Real Racists™, came up with a similarly counterintuitive shtick: That liberals had in fact performed “the normalization of racism” by disrespecting the whiteness of Trump’s supporters.
For example, reported Lord, the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin (yeah guys I know she’s conservative, but she’s double-plus-ungood in the eyes of The Leader’s Ministry of Propaganda) referred to “Trump’s party of angry, white, abusive males…most well past their prime, acting abusively toward women.” Gasped Lord: “The line was so casually racist, sexist, and ageist…” Lord also raged that Jay-Z had a song called “Pussy” and Michelle Obama and her daughters were once seen “clearly enjoying Jay-Z’s rapping,” and he might have been rapping “Pussy” — in any case, it was probably something obscene. “And from Rubin or her paper?” observed Lord. “Not a raised eyebrow.” Lord then referred to “Martin Luther King’s dream ‘that my four little children will one day live in a nation…’ ” and King did not return to Earth in zombie form to tear Lord to pieces and beat him to jelly with his own arm, proving there is no God.
Howard Kurtz supplied the more housebroken version of this routine at Fox News: “What those who decry the normalization of Barack Obama’s successor are really saying is Trump is not a legitimate president, and doesn’t deserve to be treated as such,” intoned Kurtz. “And the reason I find this troubling is that there’s an echo of what some opponents did to the nation’s first black president. He was unfit, he wasn’t legitimate, he was a Muslim.…” See, Jeff? That’s the way you do it! Try practicing with a pat of butter in your mouth.
Other conservatives pushed back against the anti-normalizers. For example, “The Editors” of the New York Observer complained that Democrats like Howard Dean were “Throwing ‘Nazi’ Around” in relation to employees of The Leader (who is, coincidentally, the Führer-in-law of the Observer’s publisher). “To use the word to damage a political opponent cheapens its memory and meaning,” huffed the defenders of a man who had implicated Ted Cruz’ father in the Kennedy assassination.
Hey, how about the libertarians? If you were expecting them to be worried about the normalization of The Leader — him being an authoritarian and all — then welcome to reality, n00b! After all, The Leader’s certainly pro-capitalism, and if it’s the crony kind, that’s only a problem if Democrats get a cut.
Take a peep at libertarian flagship Reason. There you’ll currently find Eric Boehm cheering that former bank boss and Cato Institute president John Allison is on The Leader’s short-list for treasury (though it’ll probably go to some other bank boss who isn’t associated with a free-market think tank); Bob Poole discussing “why he’s encouraged by Trump’s early moves on transportation policy” (while The Leader has been “vague as to how the program would be financed,” Poole’s pleased that one possible plan would be a “public private partnership” involving “customer user fees” where “people get their highway bill every month like they get their electric bill and water bill” — and paupers get, I’m not kidding, “transit vouchers”); and Brendan O’Neill, who said it was great Trump won because it meant “America Called Bullshit on the Cult of Clinton,” and made liberals who considered her “Mother Teresa in a pantsuit” cry. O’Neill was particularly pleased by the humiliation of venerable right-wing hate object Lena Dunham, Miley Cyrus, Kate McKinnon (who “played Clinton as a pantsuited angel” on SNL), “a feminist in the Guardian,” “someone at Bustle” — hmm, think I see a pattern here.
Some conservatives went beyond normalization into veneration. Ben Garrison, heretofore known as a “libertarian” cartoonist, has gone full Leaderite, as seen in his extremely flattering nude portrait of The Leader as the biblical Adam, tempted by satanic snakes Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, et alia to take a bite of an apple called “Compromise.” “He can’t be going down that slippery slope,” insisted Garrison. “If he does, the wall won’t be built and Obamacare won’t be revoked…and most likely, Hillary won’t be locked up.” This young man is in for a bitter disappointment, at least until Trump changes his mind to distract from some future crisis in his administration.
Others timidly suggested that The Leader nod ever so slightly toward democratic norms. “The other day I experienced a flash of alarm,” claimed the Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan; seems she had (quite by accident I’m sure) come across one of the many stories of The Leader’s conflicts of interest with his upcoming office. “Does Donald Trump know he can’t ever have a conversation like this?” gasped Noonan, hands flying to her cheeks.
Then Noonan give The Leader a piece of her mind, albeit politely and indirectly: “Mr. Trump shocked [his opponents] by winning,” she wrote. “He should shock them now with rectitude.… It would be a painful act, selling the business he loves and around which he has ordered his life. But there would be comfort in this: In doing the right thing.…” No, I can’t go on — it hurts too much to hear you laughing so hard and to know it’s not at my jokes.
Meanwhile, The Leader’s less-exalted supporters fill their idle pre-inaugural hours with conspiracy theories: that John Podesta conspired with performance artist Marina Abramovic to rape children, that Hillary Clinton’s recent selfies with supporters are fakes — you know, typical stuff, and definitely signs of a healthy movement, as was Terresa Monroe-Hamilton’s reaction at Right Wing News to the (brief) listing of New York’s Trump Tower as “Dump Tower” in Google Maps.
“The media seems to be covering this as a ha ha…but I don’t think it is funny,” scowled Monroe-Hamilton over her knitting. “It is disrespectful. Considering how in the tank Google was for Hillary Clinton, color me suspicious. There should be consequences for vandals and hackers doing something like this….” Lock ’em up! All shall normalize The Leader, or face the consequences.