September 25, 2020 | Reading Time: 3 minutes

They’re not hypocrites. They’re liars

Trust us, they're saying. We won't turn our backs on America.

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Since at least Robert Taft’s heyday, the Republican Party has faced a conundrum. Things sounding just great to Republicans tend to sound just terrible to everyone else. Tax cuts for the rich. Contempt for the poor. Corporations permitted to do anything for profit. Control of women. Control of Black people, people of color and LGBTQ people. Control of civil society generally, even how Americans worship. In other words, the conservation of a white-Christian-man-on-top brand of partisan politics.

When your real interests are those of a small homogeneous minority (think of them as not just white men but super-white men), the trick is making them sound like the interests of a large heterogeneous majority. And for the most part, since 1968, the Republicans have succeeded by inflaming white race hatreds. To end there would be overlooking the party’s broader rhetorical success, though. White supremacy is only part of it. The GOP is masterful at hiding its true goals behind neutral values and principles. When you want to control women and LGBTQ people, appeal to “family values.” When you want to control Black people and people of color, appeal to “law and order.” When you want to punish the poor for their poverty, appeal to “the American work ethic.” When you want to empower corporations, appeal to “market efficiency.” And do all that while claiming to be in the service of liberty, God and country.

Debating whether the super-whites are hypocrites overlooks a long public record of contempt for the people’s trust.

To take a specific example, the super-whites wanted to depose President Clinton. Not because he did anything wrong, though it’s certainly debatable whether he did. They tried deposing him, because they wanted to depose him. Yes, this is a logical tautology, but that’s how super-white thinking works. You don’t do X, because Y. You do X, because X. Reasons are not causes. They are effects. You find an excuse, a rationale, then do it. In Clinton’s case, the excuse was morality, the rule of law, or whatever. It didn’t matter what. What mattered was whether it obscured from majority view the super-whites’ real goal. If they don’t cover their tracks, they risk losing the American people’s trust. Without trust, they can no longer manipulate the American people.

In the case of Clinton, they failed ultimately. They succeeded, however (perhaps more than they ever could have hoped they would), in the case of Merrick Garland. The super-whites wanted to stop Barack Obama from getting a third justice on the US Supreme Court. That was the goal. They couldn’t say that, though, because a majority of Americans weren’t going to wholly accept a naked power play. So the super-whites invented a “rule” of out thin air. The president shouldn’t get a confirmation during an election year. The American people should decide. Anything short of that is anti-democratic. Mitch McConnell would in fact block Garland no matter what. (He was going to do X, because X.) But to win, he needed a Y. He was so successful a majority now thinks he and Donald Trump should wait, and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s replacement should be decided by the election’s winner, according to a Reuters poll.

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It should be clear McConnell and the super-whites are not hypocrites even though they’re going to confirm a new justice during an election year when they said last time that the American people should get to decide. Remember, they don’t do X, because Y. They do X, because X. Reasons are not causes. They are effects. The super-whites don’t believe anything has higher value than defeating their enemies. Strictly speaking, McConnell and the Republicans are not hypocrites. Strictly speaking, they’re liars. True lovers of citizenship, liberty and democracy should not give them the time of day. Debating whether they’re hypocrites overlooks a record of contempt for our trust.

They lied when they said Bill Clinton should be removed because Y. They lied when they said Merrick Garland should be blocked because Y. They lied when they said Trump should not be impeached and removed because Y. They did what they did, because they wanted to do what they did, not because of some higher principle. And they are lying again in the wake of Trump’s vow to accept the election’s outcome only if he wins. Senate Republicans (the whitest of super-whites) have been scrambling all week to reassure “white normies” who don’t want to be seen supporting a criminal extortionist president that everything’s OK. The peaceful transference of power will happen no matter what. The super-whites are asking us to trust them. They won’t turn their backs on America if Trump decides the power transfer should be bloody. Their assurances, however, should be seen as weak and insincere. They should be seen as more cover for the super-whites’ goals, which could end up being treasonous.

John Stoehr

John Stoehr is the editor of the Editorial Board. He writes the daily edition open and available to all. Find him @johnastoehr.

13 Comments

  1. hw on July 30, 2021 at 11:19 pm

    I appreciate your perspective which focuses on the wrongs perpetrated by the GOP, but the truth once again is that this could not have occurred so rapidly had it not been for an incredibly weak opposition party. Even today, after refusing to impeach Trump on a wide scope of issues, or to impeach Barr for lies/criminal action against peaceful protestors or bending laws to help Flynn and Stone, Pelosi is trying to stop Biden from debating Trump. We have a simple choice in voting for Biden, but the problem won’t be solved even in the unlikely event of a landslide Biden victory. Weak opposition leaders like Pelosi, Feinstein, and Schumer must be voted out. A robust democracy can’t survive without 2 strong parties as a check on one another. A Biden win and majority Democratic Senate is just the first step. We’re all tired, but Democratic voters must actually vote in every local, state, and national election if the majority is to obtain and maintain power. Local udges matter, local DAs matter, state AGs matter. And believe people when they show you who they are–Trump, the GOP Senators, and Pelosi have shown us unquestionably who they are.

    • Burgs on July 30, 2021 at 11:19 pm

      Oh shut up. You know yourself that would all be a fool’s errand and none of it would work. Not only that, the time frame for that kind of stuff is years. We have one real shot at this.

      • hw on July 30, 2021 at 11:19 pm

        I disagree….the media focuses on Trump because Pelosi has constantly refused to make a show of Trump’s lawlessness. Saying that she ‘will pray for the president’ is hardly a stark warning to the nation as to the consequences of a dictatorship. We are 6 weeks from a historic election and the bulk of the country is unaware of the realities of fascism. I agree that voting is the only option, but speedbumps could have been imposed so many times, strong oversight and press conferences to counteract the bully pulpit would have helped to show the damage to everyday lives by the Trump administration. The GOP made Benghazi and emails into a 5-alarm fire, Pelosi’s leadership treated a 5-alarm fire as a drill.

        • Burgs on July 30, 2021 at 11:19 pm

          You’re wrong, because every single thing they tried to do, within the confines of the rules, he immediately disregarded by breaking those same rules.

          “We want evidence, here’s a subpoena.” Yet Trump just refused. They probably understood that continuing to go after within the confines of those same rules would result in nothing other than people like you and I losing more faith. This is an attempted dictatorial takeover, let’s just call it what it is. Without the Republicans being willing to respect the Constitution even slightly, there’s absolutely NOTHING the Dems could do that he couldn’t thwart easily.

          Voting may not even end up being an answer. The only answer could literally end up being violence. We just don’t know what Trump is going to try to pull, but there’s not one thing he won’t do to keep that office. If he had to be like Agamemnon in the Iliad, he’d do it. It’s all on the table.

          I’ve felt like the only way past Trump might be some kind of war, or at least skirmish, for a while. He jas too much to lose and is too narcissistic to ever let go without being physically forced to do so.

          • Burgs on July 30, 2021 at 11:19 pm

            It’s not just where the media is focused that matters anymore because there’s millions of delusional freaks on social media who live in a dark fantasy, complete with mountains of fake evidence and fake news to back it up. This is an actual existential crisis and the bad guys happen to be our countrymen in this particular case.



          • hw on July 30, 2021 at 11:19 pm

            I haven’t lost faith…there are many excellent Democratic representatives and Senators, but the leaders of both caucuses are weak and ineffective. If Pelosi and Schumer couldn’t figure out how to effectively message the dangers of autocracy in 4 years, it’s their failure. The media focuses attention on conflict and controversy…Pelosi continually underplayed the danger, appointed the weakest members of her caucus to oversight (with the exception of Schiff), and refused every opportunity to throw up roadblocks.

            Trump has been clear from the outset…he wants exercise not just dictatorial powers, but the powers of Putin. That we have come to yet another Constitutional crisis should come as a suprise to no one. Many Democratic Representatives begged Pelosi to refrain from passing the initial Covid stimulus bill until election security was ensured…she refused suggesting that it would be addressed in later bills, and here we are. She could have impeached Bill Barr, but she refused and allowed him to weaponize the DOJ. She refused to even begin to question de Joy until a nationwide outcry forced her hand.
            I do think your assessment is correct, but I don’t believe that we will see total anarchy in the face of the brutal militia power that Barr has been all too willing to unleash and the rampant, unchecked virus.
            I hope that we are both wrong.



          • Burgs on July 30, 2021 at 11:19 pm

            Your assumption that holding up relief at that time would’ve been a political winner when that’s not necessarily reality.



          • hw on July 30, 2021 at 11:19 pm

            Messaging is everything…Pelosi has now had 4 years to explain the dangers of an insecure election, and she has failed at every turn. I understand that you disagree…We now have to hope that Americans have enough understanding of the nature of the abyss to vote for our democracy. I wish you the best.



          • Burgs on July 30, 2021 at 11:19 pm

            No one has the megaphone Trump has. He makes the newscycle run at near relativistic velocities.



  2. Ed Kako on July 30, 2021 at 11:19 pm

    The GOP are sincerely lying. When they say, “Of course we support the peaceful transition of power,” they’re being sincere *about a specific outcome.* What they mean is, “We support the peaceful transition of power *if Trump wins*, and we’ll do anything to ensure that he does.” They’re lying about their commitment to democracy.

    Darker still: Their commitment to a peaceful transition is a commitment to putting down the massive unrest that will follow their attempts to stage a procedural coup. They’re not, as the media claim, “warning Trump.” They’re warning *us*.

  3. Burgs on July 30, 2021 at 11:19 pm

    If they think the consequences of stealing another election is anything less than a civil war, they’re just that much more likely to try it.

    I’ve been saying this for a while. They need to understand how high the stakes really are. If they try, we crush them for good.

    • Burgs on July 30, 2021 at 11:19 pm

      They need to KNOW THAT in their bones.

  4. Jason Lindquist on July 30, 2021 at 11:19 pm

    I don’t think they do these things for their own sake. These are people (yes, predominantly white men) who feel *entitled* to power. They pursued Clinton because his defeat of GHWB interfered with their power. (And that wife of his! With her *career* and *accomplishments*! They can’t have her inspiring other women! More threats to power!) You pick apart their empty justifications beautifully… and when those are swept aside, all that is left is a lust and need for power and its trappings.

    To be fair, it works for them. There’s a performative quality to it–one that keeps their patrons happy, keeps them convinced that these guys are still *their* guys, pursuing the patrons’ goals of less regulation, less oversight, more tax cuts, and more handouts. It keeps their campaigns funded, and when their time in office ends, guarantees them lucrative “consulting” and lobbying jobs.

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