Flummoxed by Fascism (Except for Biden)

Last week, Lord Dark Brandon, aka “President Biden”, gave a speech in which he called out the American fascists in the Republican Party. As you might imagine the butthurt on display by Republicans and too many ‘centrists’ was enormous. Before we get to that, let’s do something unusual for the internet and look at some of what Biden actually said (boldface mine):

Too much of what’s happening in our country today is not normal. Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our Republic.

Now, I want to be very clear, very clear up front. Not every Republican, not even the majority of Republicans, are MAGA Republicans. Not every Republican embraces their extreme ideology. I know, because I’ve been able to work with these mainstream Republicans.

But there’s no question that the Republican Party today is dominated, driven and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans. And that is a threat to this country.

And here, in my view, is what is true: MAGA Republicans do not respect the Constitution. They do not believe in the rule of law. They do not recognize the will of the people. They refuse to accept the results of a free election, and they’re working right now as I speak in state after state to give power to decide elections in America to partisans and cronies, empowering election deniers to undermine democracy itself.

MAGA forces are determined to take this country backwards, backwards to an America where there is no right to choose, no right to privacy, no right to contraception, no right to marry who you love. They promote authoritarian leaders, and they fanned the flames of political violence that are a threat to our personal rights, to the pursuit of justice, to the rule of law, to the very soul of this country.

They look at the mob that stormed the United States Capitol on Jan. 6, brutally attacking law enforcement, not as insurrectionists who placed a dagger at the throat of our democracy, but they look at them as patriots. And they see their MAGA failure to stop a peaceful transfer of power after the 2020 election as preparation for the 2022 and 2024 elections.

They tried everything last time to nullify the votes of 81 million people. This time, they’re determined to succeed in thwarting the will of the people. That’s why respected conservatives like Federal Circuit Court Judge Michael Luttig has called Trump and the extreme MAGA Republicans “a clear and present danger” to our democracy.

After this, the Southernism “a hit dog hollers” rocketed around the Intertubes to describe the Republican caterwauling. Many in the political press corps joined in too. While it’s obvious why Republicans were upset–the truth hurts, assholes–the reaction of the political press corps, while predictable, is depressing.

After all, as Dan Froomkin noted, Biden’s description was accurate. In fact, many of the press corps members whining about this reported Biden’s observations their very own selves! But most of the political press corps desperately wants to avoid the entire topic of fascism within the Republican Party.

Unfortunately, they can’t because a president said it–professional Democrats are learning!–so, like it or not (and they really don’t), they have to cover it*. Due to career incentives and business models**, this forces them to criticize the speech as ‘political’ even though the substance of what he described has been covered by their own news outlets, but usually–almost always–without much context or clarity.

It’s all the more uncomfortable for them when Biden describes White Christian supremacists, though he intelligently didn’t use that phrase, as “a clear and present danger.” Typically, domestic extremism, especially from the right, is viewed as one part extreme outlier and one part mental illness. After the Oklahoma City bombing, we heard platitudes about ‘hate’, but not a list of particular identifying features or the larger ideological context in which it was allowed to thrive.

Biden called out White Christian supremacy, and very adeptly too, and the political press corps doesn’t know what to do with that. It’s the first time I can remember a sitting president has clearly defined white (Christian) supremacy, and the undemocratic impulses it leads to, as a threat to the country.We shouldn’t underestimate how much of a historic break this is.

And, yes, Biden is, in part, doing this for political reasons. But when doing good and doing well align, the rest of us should encourage that and take advantage of it.

*The left, construed broadly, jumping all over this helped make it an issue, and, for once, Democratic leadership didn’t try to close it down and distance themselves. Weird, I know….

**Many pundits made their bones essential both-sidesing everything (with the occasional kayfabe of ‘harsh’ criticsm thrown in. They don’t know how to respond to this. From the business side, not only do news organization want to keep conservatives, but the ‘NPR Totebagger’ contingent doesn’t like to hear unpleasant news, like the country is descending into fascism. Gotta keep the customers happy.

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