Thursday, May 6, 2021

Lie Or Leave

Last week’s column began with a quote from an actual conservative. Here’s another, from Michael Gerson, former adviser to George the Second: 

“… The GOP is increasingly defined not by its shared beliefs, but by its shared delusions. To be a loyal Republican, one must be either a sucker or a liar. And because this defining falsehood is so obviously and laughably false, we can safely assume that most Republican leaders who embrace it fall into the second category. Knowingly repeating a lie … is now the evidence of Republican fidelity…”

He’s referring, of course, to the perpetuated prevarication that, but for rampant fraud, Trump won the election. “Laughably false,” indeed. Yet believing or pushing it is now the standard by which Republican politicians are judged. Leave the lie, live lurched and languishing like Liz. In the United States of America, exceptional exemplar of democracy and integrity, it’s inexplicable. So let’s try. 

Republicans’ descent began long before Trump; otherwise, he’d have been laughed out of contention. Now they’re desperate to maintain the delusion. Why? The pandemic. It’s revealing truths about current conservatism so indisputable that the only available responses are lies and attacks on democracy. As in Arizona.

The pandemic has floodlit the falsehood of fundamental post-Reagan dogma; namely, that government is the problem. True enough, about bad government, of which we’ve seen plenty. And now we’re seeing the good kind. In differing responses to the pandemic, that truth is writ larger than Trump’s name on a bankrupt building. A wholly-owned subsidiary of multi-sued Trump, Inc., today’s Republican Party is doing its best to obscure the writing.

In that, they’ve had a head start for decades. But it’s been a struggle to rationalize more than half a million deaths and the incompetence, dishonesty, and contumacious denial that caused them.

Yes, the ground-breaking mRNA coronavirus vaccines, for which federally-financed research and development began years earlier, became available during Trump’s “presidency.” We acknowledge his big-government spending on final production, which any president would have ordered. But then he stopped.

Because of absent planning, misinformation, and what’s been described by taskforce participants as Trump’s disinterest, distribution lagged, while he deliberately sabotaged other efforts to stop the spread. When leadership in (mild) sacrifice was called for, he provided the opposite. Someday, psychiatrists might explain why.

But it supports the hypothesis: without government, the vaccines might never have been created; and had there been better government, distribution would have been wider and faster. For that, it took President Biden. Had Trump not spent months lying about or ignoring the virus, had he not hired sycophants and liars, had he not ridiculed protective measures, experts say, half the deaths wouldn’t have occurred. The contrast couldn’t be greater, the lesson more easily learned.

For Republicans, the consequences are monumental. When people were hurting, the economy in ruins, systems overwhelmed, Trumpublicans did next to nothing. Worse than nothing, after Biden took office, as they voted, unanimously, against his measures to restore the economy and help the desperate; laying down an unmistakable marker. (Unbelievably, as benefits arrive, they’re touting them, implying they deserve credit.) People needed good government, and are grateful for it. The pandemic brought recognition of current, effective leadership, and of its previous lack. Bad news for those voting “no.”

Or so you’d think. Never hesitant to dissemble, Republicans answered President Biden’s speech to Congress with plenty of it. A tale of two ditties, the best of words, the worst of words. What our president proposed were policies any functioning, democratic society should expect from a government of, by, and for its people. As he spoke of addressing child poverty, Republicans sat, stony. When he spoke of internal threats to democracy, of the value of government, tax fairness, education, healthcare, Ted Cruz nodded off. Seventy-percent of listeners, however, liked what they heard. Republicans represent the thirty-percent. 

Knowing the implications, their response warned of “socialism” and government takeovers. Understanding the threat to their rich-people-first agenda, they’re committed to blocking any progressive (i.e. helpful, popular) legislation “one-hundred-percent,” as Mitch McConnell just said. Lacking attractive alternatives, they’ll prevent as many Democratic voters as possible from voting, while ensuring their voters will distrust any lost elections.

The preceding thoughts are fact-based. Now for speculation: Perhaps what’s behind Republicans’ pathological push to forestall mask-wearing and vaccine-taking, now said to have made herd immunity unlikely, is discrediting President Biden’s people-positive leadership, which Republicans haven’t provided for decades; and, mainly, keeping his example of competence from taking hold among voters, even if it kills them.

Far-fetched? In today’s GOP-Q, we’re already seeing destructive anti-democracy treachery in abundance. 

[Image source]


  1. My comments of 2 weeks ago were about my despair. Today's comments are also about the letter "d". Sesame Street aired after my childhood--I was young in the era of J.P. Patches and Wunda Wunda--but since my first nephew was born when I was just 14, I know a bit about Big Bird and "the Street". Anyway, the letter "d".

    Desperation. I see the Republicans as operating out of desperation to retain power, nothing more or less. It is clear they don't have ideas or policies to benefit the country and her people and as Dr. Schwab states, they are now seeing the effects of real policies improving lives. Why else would they be so glad to take credit for things which they had no part in implementing? Unfortunately, desperate people act out in ways that can be destructive.

    Dismay. They evoke my pity and my fear as I am dismayed by their lack of principle or backbone. Reptilian in their physiology and action, they appear to seek a quick and easy way out by lying. How do people live with lies in their hearts? How can they think only of themselves? I have a strong self-preservative instinct too, but I don't get how professed Christians (puke) can show such disregard for those whom they are elected to serve. Jesus would not be amused.

    I got kicked off Twitter for a day for a comment in reply to a pundit who only wished Trump imprisoned, while I wished his demise. I took the day of punishment and removed the tweet, but it is still my wish.

  2. One more thought, not of the letter "d" variety. It feels as if justice is coming. Slowly and methodically, but lawfully and properly. Our new AG and his team are getting down to business and Garland asking for more money to fight violence against women as well as Domestic Violent Extremists. The judge in DC offering an opinion on the veracity of the former AG. The Secretaries of DHS and Defense rooting out the White Supremacists in their ranks. So, these hopeful signs are the flip side to my dismay. Maybe there is hope? I'd like to see it all happening more quickly but I can wait for it to be done properly.

    That's it. Peace out.

    1. Very well said, as usual, Mary Ellen, x 2. I, too, am in a state of constant despair, the somewhat-hopeful signs you mention notwithstanding.

      It's a rigged game, to use an ex-"president's" favorite word. As I wrote, representing 30% of the populace in terms of what they want from government, Rs control, at the moment, 50% of the votes in Congress. Between Moscow Mitch on one side and Joe Manchin on the other, it's hard to see how things we need will ever make it through.

      Lindsey Graham just said the R party can't grow without Trump. True. And, it seems, there's a self-refilling well of lunatics, conspiracists, and Nazis on which to draw.

    2. MEH and Dr. Schwab,

      I share your diagnosis regarding the causation and resulting "sickness" our great nation is suffering with today. The original formation of a national government composed of 13 diverse communities late in the 17th century was recognition that survival required unity of purpose.

      The inspired wisdom of the founders ordained a DEMOCRACY ceding dedication to the "common good". Over time the constitution they adopted then has been amended to modify the evolution of basic but logical values.

      Today, this model of government is still the best and most attractive yet conceived by humanity. The threat of reverting back to authoritarian autocracy as desired by the MAGA dupes is unthinkable to every person who desires justice and freedom.

      Graveyards throughout the world are filled with heroic people who have sacrificed their lives to defend our precious DEMOCRACY.

    3. How to deal with family of the alt right persuasion.
      Jen Psaki gets it...Non confrontational and simple. Easy for you to do you've done this your whole life too!

      Also, about what one act of kindness is worth in todays world. Watch Close Encounters of the 5th Kind and especially about random number generator science. You will discover real life tangible value for everything you've done in your life bad and good. Trust me...Just humor me and watch it.

      I think you'll find the two answers you are looking for.

    4. Dark money alt right voter suppression exposed...

      Here it is...In black and white. Is this equal?

  3. In the meantime, if you've not been to Saltwater Park (Richmond Beach) in the last 20 years or so, go, any day, even if it's sprinkling. The beach is the usual cool, but the promontory with single tree is spectacular for a view of Puget Sound. A great place to get your steps in for the day.
    At times I get worried for you all, you sound so depressed all the time. Joe's making a difference. Sanity is returning. Our country on the upswing of the pendulum instead of the down we've been in for awhile.
    All indications are for the better. Trust him.
    But don't trust the B'$, they're competing like never before right now, vanity broke up 2 marriages and counting. Competition among those mustards to see who is god (little "g") is simply horrible for our country. If anyone is depressed, it's Bill. I'm not going to write it, but that's my prediction. (Hint: a Simon & Garfunkel song)

    1. I disagree...This is the state of America and we are at war. I for one will not stand by and watch the world burn.

    2. Until we get rid of the geriocracy America will be in grave danger.

    3. We can't rest because there's a massive misinformation campaign perpetrated by the alt right.


    5. I'll pass, I don't watch things like that.
      Youtube has its usefulness, if I need to repair something someone has already posted a video on how to do it. But I'll offer my response to the "war", for your listening/viewing pleasure, all, masters in what they do/did:

      Work peace, not make war. It's His will in our lives. Remember your oath (for others):
      "I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."

    6. "I'll pass, I don't watch things like that."

      Aren't you the one getting on Sid's ass about reading and not reading "the whole thing"??? That we shouldn't be talking about stuff we have not thoroughly researched yada yada yada...Sounds hypocritical to me.

  4. FWIW I'm impressed with former staunch conservative Republican pundit Charlie Sykes and his Bulwark website. It seems to have attracted others like me from the center-left. He still describes himself as conservative, but he also believes in objective truth, democracy and playing by the rules. He loathes and despises everything Trump. He sincerely wants Joe Biden to succeed and for the RepubliQanon party to completely implode and disappear from history. His podcast is also a daily listen for me. I don't know if these can cheer you up, but I think you will often cheer in agreement.

  5. I grew up in Wyoming. Never, ever, thought I'd see Wyoming dis a Cheney. Unfortunately, these are the times we live in. Right? Incidentally, I don't give Liz a pass because she's standing up for the truth this one time, I no longer consider her a republican. Her disregard for many other truths and her trump voting record are abysmal. There are Republicans around still, it's just none of them are working in Government. I am filled with Dismay and Desperation: currently live in Missouri whereby the voters amended the state constitution to allow for Medicaid expansion under Obamacare, yet both the state houses have voted not to fund the expansion. Voting rights? Who gives a flying fuck about voting if the politicians decide my vote just doesn't count or matter. Just like my voting for a democratic president in a red state- my vote doesn't count. I'm sure it's nice to live in a blue state and have hope- look at voting rights disappear in the red states. We're one election away from autocracy, I'm not hopeful. But then again, I'm just a dismal and dismayed lose cannon surrounded by cult members.

    1. She's not a Trump Republican, but she's well inside the pre-Trump and Cheney tradition of lying and divisiveness. That she won't spread a lie so obviously false and so dangerous to democracy is nice. But calling her a hero for it is like calling me a hero for not going outside and stabbing someone.

      And, as is apparent, I share your dismay. Were it not for the many ways Rs are able to skew the vote despite being in the significant minority population, the crazies would be relegated to the sidelines where they belong. As it is, they control the narrative and, to too large an extent, the vote.

    2. "But calling her a hero for it is like calling me a hero for not going outside and stabbing someone."

      I would just like to say that by your own admission, you've stabbed a few people in your day...Just sayin' :OP

  6. The RepubliQanon party has become a reverse parody of "The Emperor's New Clothes". It's composed entirely of the stark raving naked: grifters, lunatics, predatory knaves and gullible fools, all loudly admiring each other's special clothing and purging anyone who might point out the truth.

    1. Drumpf is going to run :O)


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