Current Affairs, 6 Dec 2022

Warnock v. Walker; high-IQ stupid people, with comments by David Brin and Charles P. Pierce; restaurant discrimination; and Republicans’ psychological needs.

The lead item here may hopefully be moot by tomorrow, or even without a few hours, since the earliest results from the Georgia senate run-off election are favoring Warnock over Walker. (But different contingencies of voters’ votes come in at different times, so… early results are not conclusive.)

Washington Post, Eugene Robinson, 5 Dec 2022: Opinion | Republicans, you can do better than Herschel Walker. Draw a line.

How far has the Republican Party fallen into atavistic tribalism? Voters in Georgia are about to provide an answer. Woe to the nation if it’s the wrong one.

Here’s a section that strikes me as typical of Republican complaints about Democrats.

Trump, for all his insanity, did at least understand and deliver on parts of the Republican agenda — tax cuts for the wealthy, punitive immigration policies, far-right judicial nominees. GOP officials can, and do, try to rationalize their support for him by citing his positions and actions on the issues.

Even by post-Trump standards, however, Walker’s campaign has been markedly devoid of policy. If he has any substantive understanding of any issues at all, he keeps it well hidden.

On Saturday, Walker appeared on Fox News and gave his closing argument:

“Because of Joe Biden, we have these high gas prices. We have these high grocery prices. We have crime in the streets — Joe Biden and Raphael Warnock is a part of that. We have this open border. Men in women’s sports. And this has been done in less than two short years. I don’t know how many more years we can put up with it.”

That’s as deep as it gets — inflation, crime, Joe Biden, culture wars.

Of course, politicians tend to blame anything they don’t like on the other side. But Biden didn’t actually do any of those things. Inflation, for instance, is the result of global forces that are affecting many countries around the world. (Either Republicans are too dim to understand this, or are simply cynical enough to play these ideas to the crowd.) More to the point, Republicans, including Walker, never say exactly what they would do to solve these problems. Except maybe: tax cuts for the wealthy!


Via, Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana, stumping today for Herschel Walker.

“These woke high-IQ stupid people are easy to recognize. They hate George Washington, they hate Thomas Jefferson, they hate Dr. Seuss, and they hate Mr. Potato Head.

“These woke high-IQ stupid people, they walk around with Ziploc bags of kale that they can eat to give them energy. If you want to eat kale, that’s up to you. I don’t eat kale, you know why? Because kale tastes to me like I’d rather be fat.

“The berserk wing of the Democratic Party, they hyperventilate on their yoga mats if someone uses the wrong pronouns.”

Could there be any clearer example of conservative disdain for the educated? All of these claims are caricatures, or simple lies. Conservatives do not do nuance.

On Facebook David Brin chimes in:

Louisiana Senator John Kennedy, campaigning for Herschel Walker in Georgia, taunts kale-eating “high-IQ stupid people.” Esquire responds to this hypocritical graduate of an elite British university: “Aw, Shucks, Senator Kennedy, Your Hayseed Act Is a Disgrace.”

Yet Esquire misses the core point: MAGA madness is NOT centrally about racism or sexism or abortion. Tabulate the ravings of Tucker & Judge Jeanine and the rest… you’ll see that they spend 50x as much time railing against nerds! Against every single fact-using profession, now even the FBI, intel and military officers. Why?

Brin gives three reason. I’ll quote the first.

1. Culturally, MAGAs are enraged by universities for a deep, psychic reason. Every year the best and brightest from every high school in every small town head off to bright lights and then come back changed. It is the classic archetype of ‘elves stealing your children.’ And it is sad that no one has studied this.

Brin links this piece by Charles P. Pierce at Aw, Shucks, Senator Kennedy, Your Hayseed Act Is a Disgrace, subtitled “The Louisiana senator’s rant about ‘bags of kale’ masks his contempt for Republican voters.”

And among the comments to Brin’s post are these:

Dale McAtee

I’m reminded of how well the CBS “rural” shows of the 60s were perceived in my little town when I was growing up. They loved how the country folks put the city folk to shame. [[ comment: these shows were Green Acres, Petticoat Junction, and The Beverly Hillbillies. Growing up I never watched them regularly, but saw occasional episodes. I was aware of them, and their rural smart/city dumb theme. ]]

Lou Anders

I can’t locate it but some years back I read a wonderful piece by a fellow southerner on the deep suspicion of education in rural communities. We all hear the phrase that someone “had so much education their brains dried up.” There is a deep distrust of science that predates MAGA by decades.

Many more comments worth reading there.


Washington Post via: Restaurant refuses service to Christian group, citing staff ‘dignity’

That is, a group called the Family Foundation that is pushing for laws that would allow restaurants and other public establishments to refuse service to people they don’t like (gays) got refused service by a restaurant who didn’t like them. Naturally, the group is outraged. Religious discrimination!

Much more about the group and its leader, Victoria Cobb, at the via link, e.g.

This woman just derailed the Equal Rights Amendment yet again.

Meet Victoria Cobb, who says she achieved all her success before reaching her 40th birthday without help from any amendment, so the rest of American women don’t need it either.

Conservatives just don’t understand why everyone isn’t like them.


Salon, Alex Henderson, 6 Dec 2022: “Deep psychological need”: Reagan speechwriter explains why GOP is so obsessed with Hunter Biden, subtitled “Even if GOP’s Hunter claims are true, ‘it still wouldn’t amount to a fraction of what Trump did,’ Republican says”

Recall how Republicans blame Democrats for inflation, without explaining how Democrats are to blame, or how they, Republicans, would fix it. What are their first priorities if they get control of congress? Investigating Hunter Biden’s laptop. Why?? What is this “deep psychological need”?

“Hunter Biden seems to be corrupt,” [Mona] Charen [in The Bulwark] writes. “He traded on his father’s name. He has abused drugs and engaged in other unsavory practices. He’s a mess. But there is nothing relevant to public policy or civic virtue here. President Biden is hardly the first president to have troubled family members. But Joe Biden didn’t hire Hunter at the White House, and if there is any evidence of the president using official influence on Hunter’s behalf, we haven’t seen it. The Department of Justice under President Trump opened an investigation into Hunter Biden. President Biden has left it alone. It’s ongoing.”

So then? (Given all of Trump’s transgressions, many listed.)

“They know it,” Charen writes. “It gnaws at them. That’s why the Hunter Biden story is their heart’s desire. But here’s something else they need to meditate on: Even if everything they’re alleging about Joe Biden were true — even if he did pull strings to help his son and even profited unjustly thereby — it still wouldn’t amount to a fraction of what Trump did.”

That is, the only way they can live with their support of Trump is to imagine that the other side must be at least as bad, so they’re obsessed with finding evidence of that. Rather like Hillary and Benghazi.

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