Tag Archives: Conservatism

What Kavanaugh did to the right

I haven’t written much about Pride for uncomplicated reasons, but one of the reasons for which I’m glad, in the era of casual experimentation, that we gays still carve a month out of the year is to anger twerps like Sohrab Ahmari, for whom drag queens reading books to children in Sacramento libraries is analogous to the Fall of Constantinople. At the end of last week the New York Post editorial page editor decided he had had enough with this sewage called contemporary culture; his answer: “[Brett] Kavanaugh snapped something in me.”

Trying to make sense of this pathology, Lawyers, Guns & Money’s Paul Campos theorized that for many on the right, especially those who posture on Twitter, what Kavanaugh allegedly did was no big deal:

OK, it was “technically” sexual assault/attempted rape, but “nothing happened.” Again, this ties in to deep anxieties about Metoo. I mean if that’s sexual assault, who hasn’t committed at least a little light sexual assault, especially if you went to high school in the 1970s or 1980s, with girls and alcohol both present and everything?

I’m obviously speculating here, but I further suspect that these attitudes are closely related to the general paranoia about the loosening of sexual mores throughout the culture, reflected in Ahmari and Co.’s manifesto linked above. All these left wingers are simultaneously trying to turn America into a non-stop polyamorous transgender cuckolding orgy, while at the same time trying to destroy upright conservative white men for engaging in a little hanky panky in the long-ago haze of their inebriated youth (“I like beer.”).

One of the president’s shrewder moves during the Kavanaugh hearings last October was using social media to remind his followers that slatterns and scolds pushed by the left could impugn the reputations of their fathers, sons, and nephews; and, at any rate, 1981 was a long time ago, and how dare Democrats get highhanded when Ted Chappakennedy has only been dead a decade? This explains Lindsey Graham’s epic meltdown at the end of the first day: the thought that this SCOTUS nominee, harvested since the Reagan era in an authoritarian lab, would have to pay for his alleged crimes. As Campos points out, conservatives can’t rejoice when they win because, like Sith lords or tropical storms in the Gulf of Mexico, they gather energy from their own motion — from the projections, innuendo, and disgust that Democrats and the left inspire. Then the political press, in its cynicism and stupidity, cries uncle by claiming BOTH SIDES DO IT.

Finally, A comment on the thread had a response to what has changed and what hasn’t since the alleged incident between Christine Blasey Ford and Kavanaugh:

Kavanaugh is about ten years older than I am, and at that time the culture was different. It should not have been but it was. People thought there was such a thing as “playing hard to get” or whatever. If the accusation was that Kavanaugh and Blasey-Ford were making out in the back seat of a Buick, and she told him to stop but he didn’t, he would be not less guilty of rape, but I would at least understand this business of “we can’t punish him for something he did as a kid” and “who doesn’t have an incident like that in their past?” and “Me Too has gone too far!”

But that’s not the accusation. There were two guys. One locked the door while the other turned up the stereo so nobody could hear her scream. You don’t exactly need Third Wave Feminism and date rape awareness training to know that if you are locking the victim in the room and trying to mask the evidence, she’s not into it. The guy’s not just a rapist by the standards of 2019, or by the standards of 1991. He was a rapist by the standards of 1980.

The spectacle Kavanaugh made of himself in his testimony was the abjectness of a man realizing other people whom he hadn’t thought about for almost forty years were not only seeking justice but implicitly destroying his pathetic belief system. Ford kept her composure as she explained why her life was ruined; Kavanaugh lost his when he joined immortality on the Supreme Court,” I wrote at the time. “Every GOP senator apologized to Kavanaugh for what Democrats had done to him; every one of them hid behind a female sex crimes prosecutor and said nothing to Ford.”

‘He had me with the idea that we are made to be free, and then he lost me’

Cue Adam Serwer: the cruelty is the point. In a story that deserves a Netflix series, the estranged daughter of Thomas B. Hofeller sifted through her dead parent’s USBs and external hard drives and found a curious document: a study concluding that a citizenship question on the 2020 census would make gerrymandered districts ever more impregnable. He also wrote the DOJ letter stressing that the question would — get this — enforce the Voting Rights Act. Continue reading

The party of male white supremacy

“The animating impulse of Trump’s campaign — the beating heart of “Make America Great Again” — was a defense of traditional hierarchies,” Jamelle Bouie writes in today’s NYT, seventy-two hours after Bret Stephens wore garlic to protest millennial disgust for lazy thinkers like him.” Continue reading

GOP: If you can’t imprison women, kill them

Heady with victory, one-fifth of Ohio House Republicans will make it a crime for private insurance companies to provide abortion coverage:

The bill would ban nontherapeutic abortions that include “drugs or devices used to prevent the implantation of a fertilized ovum.”

And Becker says the bill also speaks to coverage of ectopic or tubal pregnancies where the fertilized egg attaches outside of the womb.

“Part of that treatment would be removing that embryo from the fallopian tube and reinserting it in the uterus so that is defined as not an abortion under this bill,” Becker explains.

Continue reading

Florida politics and the carceral state

In a classic example of heads-I-win tails-you-lose policy, the Florida legislature has decided that the plain language of Amendment 4, passed with overwhelming support last November, doesn’t mean what it says:

Senate President Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, said that the upper chamber is scheduled Monday to consider a House bill that would prevent felons from voting until they’ve paid off all fines, fees and restitution.

The House bill would potentially keep hundreds of thousands of former felons from voting. The Senate’s version is milder, allowing felons to vote while paying off fines and fees.

Both Galvano and Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, the architect of the Senate bill, said Friday they were willing to consider the House version, which Brandes said was constitutional.

And the Republican leaders of both chambers said they remain committed to passing a bill this session. The question is whether the House, the more conservative chamber, is willing to accept what the Senate offers.

The Senate bill improves mildly on this horror:

That measure doesn’t require fees and fines be paid if they were converted to a civil lien. Since fees and fines are usually converted to a civil lien by the time a felon has completed their probation or parole, it would allow them to vote while paying off those obligations, as many other states allow.

We see the groundwork for two Floridas: one for those who can afford to vote and those who can’t; besides, Florida has to pay for the carceral state with a Kafkaesque web of administrative costs imposed on former felons. Only nineteen percent of Floridians pay these debts. In addition, a 1998 law requires fees to pay for courts. Both bills form part of the GOP’s nationwide effort to unravel democracy, from efforts to criminalize mistakes in voter registration to proposed legislation in New Hampshire requiring new forms of ID for those out-of-state college students who want to vote.

Alas, finding sympathy from those same voters is impossible. To gauge the depths of right wing pathology, don’t discuss taxes : discuss the carceral system, whether it’s death penalty or disenfranchisement. It’s been impossible to dissuade people who support capital death, even those who don’t watch FOX News in a feedback loop, from believing that revenge and justice are incompatible; they’re likely to say, “Yes, they are, and fuck you, he raped this woman three times, he doesn’t deserve to live.” The state, they insist, has the duty — the obligation — to bleed these felons dry. They deserve it. Asking these people to where in the Constitution it states that you can revoke the rights of citizenship for a felony takes you exactly nowhere, nor does explaining that prisoners get counted as part of the population for drawing congressional districts, therefore rescinding their rights amounts — ahem — to taxation without representation.