Politics Magazine

The Republicans Are Proud Of Their Bad People

Posted on the 21 November 2021 by Jobsanger
The Republicans Are Proud Of Their Bad PeopleThe Republican Party used to claim to be the party of family values. That claim is now laughable. They have elected, and are running, individuals that are truly bad people -- and they seem to be proud of it.

The following is part of an op-ed in The New York Times by Michelle Cottle:

How upbeat is the Republican Party about its prospects for taking control of the House and Senate next year? So upbeat that it apparently is cool with the fact that in three Senate races — Georgia, Missouri and Pennsylvania — it has leading candidates who have been accused of harassing, abusing, threatening or otherwise mistreating women. 

Once upon a time, this situation likely would have provoked a major display of concern, or at least an attempt at damage control, by the Republican establishment. Instead many party officials are brushing off related questions like pesky bits of dryer fluff.

While the particulars of these cases vary — the allegations, the candidates’ responses, the warmth of the party’s embrace — the creeping not-so-casual misogyny is indicative of the dark path down which former President Donald Trump continues to lead the G.O.P.

It is not simply that Mr. Trump has long worn his shabby treatment of women like a perverse merit badge — a symbol of how the rules of decent society do not apply to him. He also has made the Republican Party a welcoming place for other like-minded men. As president, rarely did he confront a harassment or abuse scandal in which he didn’t make clear his sympathies for the accused and his skepticism of the accusers. Pity the poor harasser. So misunderstood. So persecuted by humorless prigs. It almost takes the fun out of groping random chicks. . . .

Republican officials are in a tough spot. Accusations of sexual misconduct or domestic violence are not necessarily disqualifying in the party of Trump. In some cases, they can be dismissed as lies — Mr. Trump’s preferred approach — a nefarious attack by haters. Bad behavior that is indisputable can always be pooh-poohed as unfortunate but of secondary importance within the larger battle against radical leftists.

For devout Trumpists, accusations of toxic masculinity can even be a comfort of sorts, a kind of corrective to a #MeToo movement that many in the MAGAverse consider excessive and anti-man. Remember when two White House aides resigned over accusations of domestic violence in early 2018? Mr. Trump popped up on Twitter to whine, “Peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation.” Later, during the Brett Kavanaugh hubbub, Mr. Trump bemoaned what a “scary” and “difficult” time it was to be a young man in America.

The rot goes beyond the disrespect and mistreatment of women. Under Mr. Trump, the Republican Party has undergone a fundamental shift, swapping a fixation on character and morality and so-called Family Values for a celebration of belligerence, violence, and, yes, toxic masculinity. Greg Gianforte won his 2017 House race after “body slamming” a reporter who asked an unwelcome question. Charged with assault and sentenced to anger management classes and community service, Mr. Gianforte was praised by Mr. Trump as “my kind of guy” for his violent display. Last year, Montanans elected him governor.

This tendency is not restricted to the G.O.P.’s men. Just look at the way MAGA extremists like Representatives Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene play up their swaggering, gun-toting images to the delight of the base. Before arriving in Congress, Ms. Greene got her kicks indulging social media fantasies about killing Democratic leaders.

Speaking of that, just this week, Representative Paul Gosar of Arizona, a 62-year-old former dentist desperate to be known as a MAGA butt-kicker, got himself censured and stripped of committee assignments for posting an animated video depicting him slashing the throat of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the New York progressive. All but two of his Republican colleagues stuck by him. Ms. Boebert took to the House floor to deliver a barn-burning defense.

Whatever the misconduct of individual Republicans, the larger scandal is in the party’s collective group shrug.

When a party prizes thuggishness, it becomes harder and harder to figure out where to draw the line. The slope is not merely getting slipperier. It’s getting steeper.

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