I gotta admit, I didn’t know Alabama’s voters had it in them. Well, I knew they had a lot of black people in them, but I thought the GOP’s voter-disenfranchisement shenanigans would keep them from voting, and that tween-girl fan Roy Moore would win the special Senate election last Tuesday.
But he didn’t, and perhaps in consequence the mood among conservatives has been weird and paranoid, with their thoughts inevitably turning toward the Mueller investigation, the threat to democracy they imagine it entails, and the possibility of putting an end to it by any means necessary.
In the closing hours of the Alabama race, Moore made some embarrassing public appearances — including one in which his wife told the haters who’d called Roy an anti-Semite that “one of our attorneys is a Jyew” — then ducked out of sight until it was time to ride his pony to the polls.
As I mentioned earlier in this space, some of the brethren put up a brave show for Moore before the election. In the homestretch, for example, the Federalist assured readers that “Voting For Roy Moore Is Not A Vote For Pedophilia” (assuming, perhaps unfairly, that they cared).
Rod Dreher of the American Conservative quoted an alleged former subject of the Soviet Union who claimed he’d vote for Moore if he could because the accusations against him were just like the ones suffered by refuseniks in the old days (“Did you [sic] neighbor have a better car? Well, you accused him of being a secret adherent of capitalism.… We are not that far from it here”). Why else would a woman complain he’d tried to fuck her while she was underage? Why, in Latvia, any fourteen-year-old would be flattered that a high public official wanted to sex her up — she might get an extra bread ration!
Alas, to no avail. Some of the brethren tried to make lemonade. Fox & Friends’ Ainsley Earhardt told viewers, “This was not a referendum on Trump. I feel like this was a referendum on Harvey Weinstein.” Who knew a New York Jyew had such power over the minds of white Alabamians?
Lyman Stone told readers of the Federalist that Moore had received the “Lowest White Evangelical Support Of Any Alabama Republican In The 21st Century.” True, he got 80 percent of the white evangelical vote, Stone admitted, but he lost out in the “potential evangelical electorate, as calculated from Census and PRRI.…” So if next time the GOP finds a candidate who loves Jesus as much as jailbait, they’re in!
Some rightbloggers grumbled about the wave of women who had come forward to accuse Moore and men like him; it was one thing when they were taking down Democrats like Al Franken, but now that it was their bull being gelded, it was time to shut that whole thing down.
At the Federalist, D.C. McAllister lamented that “The #MeToo Movement Is Destroying Trust Between Men And Women,” and it sure wasn’t the menfolks’ fault: Thanks to mouthy bitches, “fear of men is legitimized, as accusation is treated as fact,” McAllister said. “Men are seen as ‘the enemy,’ an embodied deviance that must be remolded into the image of a woman.” If you ladies don’t want vagina-men, you’ll shut up about these little boundary-crossings.
As the Alabama race receded into history, the brethren resembled a crowd of surly soccer hooligans, milling outside the stadium after a tough loss, looking for outlets for their anger and frustration, and lashing out at any likely targets.
NRA spokespersons Grant Stinchfield and Dana Loesch, for example, went on “NRATV” to yell at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) for defending the family of the spectacularly unsuccessful New York subway bomber, whose relatives had been grilled on his terror connections. “No one’s gonna sit here and cater to this family,” snarled Loesch, who also yelled at Loyola University students for not getting with Trump’s War for Christmas. “Heaven forbid you take a few days off to worship Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and celebrate his birthday!” roared Loesch. “So because you hate Christmas so bad, do not appropriate my holiday!”
Others mounted the culture-war hobbyhorse made available by the big movie event of last weekend. “It is a period of civil war,” intoned Don Fisher Jr. at American Thinker. “Liberal filmmakers and lawmakers, striking from their elitist enclaves, have won their first victories against the forces of decency and godliness.” The lawmakers gave us the “obscene ruling that same-sex couples may marry,” explained Fisher, and now the liberal artists “race to the screen to indoctrinate audiences into this twisted notion and aid in further enslaving the masses of the planet into their mistaken worldview.” Their latest cruel ploy — Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
The evidence, said Fisher, was that J.J. Abrams and other members of the Star Wars team once said it would be cool if there were gay characters in their movies. It hasn’t happened, but the very thought of it was enough to send Fisher into purple panic: “As with any liberal cause, they will never give up on it,” he muttered like Tim Robbins in War of the Worlds. “They’ll just develop better marketing, such as ‘marriage equality’ instead of ‘legalized sodomy,’ and move forward to their goal.” Sure, “a same-sex relationship is not new for the Star Wars canon, as some were introduced to in a video game and a couple of their novelizations,” admitted Fisher, burnishing his nerd credentials, “but the big screen is the big prize for Abrams and his fellow libs.” It’s not too late, true believers — you can still make your own fan films like Todd Haynes did with Barbie! And when you get sued, you can blame liberal fascism!
But the biggest target for Moore-ose conservatives was the ongoing investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller of Russo-Trump collusion — especially after Trump’s lawyers claimed some of the evidence Mueller is holding was obtained via the “unlawful conduct” of the General Services Administration (GSA), and it was revealed that FBI agent Peter Strzok has called Trump a “douche,” among other things, for which he was fired.
Notwithstanding that experts say Trump’s people had no expectation of privacy in the documents Mueller received, and that calling Trump a “douche” is as clinically accurate as calling the sun “hot,” conservatives darkly hinted that a coup was in progress against their orange overlord, and that Trump would be within his rights to fire Mueller.
“Is the FBI part of the Resistance?” asked Fox News host Jesse Waters. “It’s like the FBI had Michael Moore investigating the president of the United States!… The scary part is we may now have proof the investigation was weaponized to destroy his presidency for partisan political purposes and to disenfranchise millions of American voters. Now, if that’s true, we have a coup on our hands in America.”
Judge Jeanine Pirro demanded Trump “not just fire these people immediately, but to take them out in cuffs.” “A COUP IN AMERICA?” asked a Fox News crawl. “The fix was in against Donald Trump from the beginning, and [Mueller’s team] were pro-Hillary,” claimed White House counselor Kellyanne Conway.
“Unlike Nixon, Trump Will Not Go Quietly,” warned syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan, who, as a former Nixon dead-ender, would know. He blasted “Mueller’s Dump Trump team” for using “prosecutorial bulldogs who had been Clinton contributors,” and claimed “a connection between Hillary’s campaign and Russian spies — to find dirt to smear and destroy Trump and his campaign — has been fairly well established.”
“Time to end Mueller’s wild reign of malfeasance?” asked Renew America. The Washington Times’ Rowan Scarborough attacked Mueller associate Andrew Weissmann for “hardball tactics, overturned rulings” — referring to Weissmann’s prosecutions of Arthur Andersen and Merrill Lynch, defendants with whom Scarborough seemed to think his readers would sympathize — though, come to think of it, if they love Trump they probably love criminal corporations too.
And it wasn’t just media people: GOP representative Louie Gohmert ranted on the radio that Mueller “wants anti-Trump, Hillary-loving folks on his team. He wants people like [Andrew] Weissmann that said, ‘To heck with the law, to heck with the Constitution.’… We’ve got to stop the coup before it becomes successful and these yahoos throw us into a civil war.”
Throw them into a civil war? Usually, I take this kind of projection by conservatives as a mere political tactic; but, given the stunning reversal represented by a Democratic Senate victory in Alabama, I’m willing to consider that, in this instance, it may be coming out of genuine psychological need.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 18, 2017