There are two recent stories that actually do tie together, even though they seem distinct from each other. The first is the sliming of Supreme Court Justice nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson as a pedophile-coddler because she didn’t always follow federal sentencing guidelines when determining their sentences (never mind that Republican-appointed judges have done the same). Dalia Lithwick notes (boldface mine):
Chairman Dick Durbin’s inability to control some of the most shocking bullying and abuse from Cruz, Graham, Tom Cotton, and Hawley left observers speechless. At some point, you need to just start gaveling. But there was also a pervasive sense of Democratic senators’ almost chilling unwillingness to go to the mat for their nominee, who was being savaged by Cotton, who called her “not credible,” and Graham, who berated her with the claim that he was sparing her from being bullied like Justice Amy Coney Barrett…
Finally—and this actually matters as well—given the opportunity to do anything at all about an information war that opened with Hawley alone attempting to smear a respected federal judge as an enabler of child pornography, and that closed with 10 Republicans signing a letter demanding confidential pre-sentencing reports so they could better assess whether a respected federal judge was someone who is an enabler of child pornography, it seems that Democrats opted to do little to counter even that lie. The first rule of parenting is to impose consequences. If we learned anything at all after Jan. 6, 2021, it should have been that leaving misinformation and lies to fester will only encourage them to grow. And if we learned anything else, it should have been that if there are no consequences for the distortion and lies of craven opportunists like Hawley, seemingly sane Republicans will eventually and eagerly join their clown car. Jackson as responsible for child porn went from crackpot to acceptable in under a week. That is what happens when you choose not to engage with a pernicious lie.
What Republicans put Jackson through today was appalling. The QAnon Reddit smear was appalling, the relentless shouting that she should answer questions she had answered multiple times was appalling, the snide insinuations that maybe she wasn’t bothered by violent child pornography because she’s OK with it was appalling. To be subject to an all-out inquisition about not having clairvoyance about which sex offenders would reoffend by some of the very same people who invited and justified the Jan. 6 attacks on the Capitol beggared belief.
The other recent Republican propaganda stream has been to accuse Democrats of supporting ‘grooming’ of children by gay people–a vile and pernicious smear–because Democrats are opposing “don’t say gay” (in schools) bills.
These might not seem related, but they’re both part of an attempt to link Democrats with pedophilia and child abuse. While this is red meat for the significant Q-Anon wing of the Republican Party, it is also an attempt to completely smear Democrats in the most vile way. Yet professional Democrats do nothing. Meanwhile, when a Republican senator says the Supreme Court was wrong to legalize interracial marriage, professional Democrats are quiet.
Professional Democrats suck at their jobs.