…Senator Rand Paul (R)(Kentucky), who for some reason is celebrating his very first Gohmert Award, but whose hijinks are bound to earn him many more in the decades of incumbency sure to be granted him by the backwards-assed Kentucky fucks who keep voting him back into his Senate sinecure, there to make the most appalling mischief at taxpayer expense. Here, feast your ears and eyes upon this:
You know, back when Lee Atwater and his Republican strategist henchmen refined what came to be called wedge politics, the emotional topics they focussed upon to cleave the electorate – gay marriage, immigration, abortion, drug crime, and so on – tended to exploit pre-existing and deeply entrenched hatreds and bigotries, especially surrounding race, these being the culture war versions of low hanging fruit. It was like a recipe: simply find something fraught over which some people will gladly become “single issue voters”, ignoring all other policy questions and even their own well being, like, say, Second Amendment rights, then claim the Democrats are diabolically committed to the opposite side of the question, and bingo – you’ve snagged that demographic. It really doesn’t matter what the Democrats actually would do if elected, nor does it matter whether the selected issue has anything to do with the jurisdiction of the relevant officials. The point is, it riles ’em up. For that, yes, goddammit, they’ll haul themselves out of their BarcaLoungers and vote. Back in the day it could be anything, like, say, mandatory seat belt laws, flag burning, or school prayer. Whatever. The point is, people were already emotional about it, and thus ripe for the picking.
The twist on the strategy perfected by the modern GOP, as exemplified by Rand Paul’s singularly anti-social invective, is to go beyond the existing cleavages and manufacture new ones out of issues that were never before controversial, or at least never about anyone’s political ideology. Call it synthetic wedge politics. Public health measures designed to keep people alive likely wouldn’t have struck Lee Atwater or Karl Rove as the sort of stuff they were looking for – who doesn’t want to stay alive? Who doesn’t want to keep their kids safe? How is that a wedge? – but they can be. Almost anything can, so long as you can associate it with an assault on a cherished value, like individual liberty, and freedom from government overreach tantamount to tyranny. What the likes of Paul, Gaetz, Cotton, Johnson etc. etc. have figured out is that the linkage doesn’t need to make a lick of sense, not anymore, not after decades of peddling the somewhat crazed notion that there’s practically no such thing as a sensible limit on anybody’s right to to do any damned thing he pleases, and screw everybody else. Almost any policy can be brought under the rubric of liberty when you look at the world through that sort of distorting lens, since any government action necessarily involves some sort of regulation. Laws to secure the proper functioning of the electric grid? Tyranny! Laws to mitigate a coming climatological holocaust? Tyranny! Meat inspectors? Damnable tyranny! This campaign, which began with Reagan, has succeeded to the frightening point that the GOP is at risk of turning the entire Base into so-called Sovereign Citizens, a metastasizing movement with tentacles reaching into law enforcement and, one suspects, the military, the philosophy of which you can read about here:
Republicans, like little kids playing with Daddy’s Glock, seem never to understand that they’re messing around with things that are liable to go off in their hands and blow their own brains out. Even after January 6, when the chant was to hang one of their own, and all of them were likewise in grave personal danger, they still don’t get it. Anyway, by now, they’ve left themselves little choice. The Base demands it. They’ve got a tiger by the tail. Anybody who steps out of line and stops making the right noises could wind up – gasp – getting primaried.
In the political environment manufactured by today’s GOP, you’d never be able to get something like an income tax passed into law. Can you imagine? It’d be out of the question. People would take up arms. Hell, you likely couldn’t mandate drivers’ licences, or even require folks to stick to one side of the white line on the interstate.
It’s time to resist, says Rand, apparently in need of a diaper change. He’s trafficking in disgusting lies and selling death in the name of freedom. It’s such a ludicrous bit pf play-acting that you almost want to laugh, particularly at the risible defiance of the fascist diktats of Nancy Pelosi, who, as Speaker of the House – that’s the House of Representatives, the other chamber, remember Rand? – has no power whatever to force Paul or anybody else in the Senate to do anything. The Senate makes its own rules, and has set no mask mandate, but you know, going after Pelosi is a real crowd-pleaser. She’s a soft target. The Base hates her. She’s a woman.
Here you go, Rand, you poodle-headed arsehole: