Just to get this out of the way, of course, as all good Liberals know and have been saying for years, There. Is. No. Tea. Party.
There never has been.
The so-called "Tea Party Movement" was never anything but a massive wingnut rebranding scam designed to get millions of bigots and meatheads off the hook for volubly supporting the Worst Fucking President in Modern History. Which, after seven years, even a straight-up, braying Republican ass like Joe Scarborough finally, smirkingly admitted out loud.
As Matt Taibbi wrote back in 2010 (emphasis added):
Vast forests have already been sacrificed to the public debate about the Tea Party: what it is, what it means, where it's going. But after lengthy study of the phenomenon, I've concluded that the whole miserable narrative boils down to one stark fact: They're full of shit. All of them. At the voter level, the Tea Party is a movement that purports to be furious about government spending — only the reality is that the vast majority of its members are former Bush supporters who yawned through two terms of record deficits and spent the past two electoral cycles frothing not about spending but about John Kerry's medals and Barack Obama's Sixties associations. The average Tea Partier is sincerely against government spending — with the exception of the money spent on them. In fact, their lack of embarrassment when it comes to collecting government largesse is key to understanding what this movement is all about...And six years later, those millions of Republican bigots and meatheads who have been hiding behind their Gadsden flags and shrieking about the Terrible Tyranny of the Kenyan Usurper are, without any doubt, the same millions of Republican bigots and meatheads who have been flocking to Trump's banner and who swoon with ecstasy every time Il Douche lets his bigot freak flag fly.
Which is why Friday's column by Mr. David Brooks of the New York Times was so damn hilarious.
Because almost nothing is funnier than listening to a lecture about the tenets of the Imaginary Conservatism which exists only inside the heads of Conservative Beltway pundits...
Conservatives believe that politics is a limited activity. Culture, psychology and morality come first.....from a man who has spent the last 20 years in a state of aggressive, willful denial about every important thing that was going on inside his Republican party and and the actual Conservative movement.
Nobody calling themselves a conservative can agree to this hierarchy of values [in which policy agreement can paper over a moral chasm]...
The classic conservative belief, by contrast, is that character is destiny...
Some conservatives believe they can educate, convert or civilize Trump. This belief is a sign both of intellectual arrogance and psychological naïveté...
For more on this we turn to The American Conservative:
Donald Trump, Mainstream ConservativeAnd then comes the paragraph I have been waiting for. The paragraph I have never seen any of our well-paid, professional Very Serious Person dare to even hint at... (with emphasis added):
Those who have long stoked the flames of populism should not be surprised by the results.
...instead of hurting him, the controversies surrounding Trump only helped his appeal to the conservative grassroots.
There’s a very good reason that this is the case: The American Right has become willfully disengaged from its fellow citizens thanks to a wonderful virtual-reality machine in which conservatives, both elite and grassroots, can believe anything they wish, no matter how at odds it is with reality.
They can wake up in the morning and read email newsletters filled with nonsense from the likes of Dick Morris along with false promises of “secret cancer cures.” As they make their breakfast, they can flip through websites utterly devoid of reporting and data analysis predicting that Democrats are on the run and Hillary Clinton is sure to be indicted. During the work day, they can turn on the radio and listen to Christian nationalists like Bryan Fischer tell them how the Founding Fathers intended to provide religious freedom only to Christians.
As ridiculous as Trump’s temporary Muslim ban is, it’s actually moderate compared with what Fischer would like to do to adherents of the “Ebola virus of culture.” In his ideal world, America would ban the construction of mosques across the country, make Trump’s temporary ban permanent, and also forever bar Muslims from serving in the military...
Yet it’s odd that conservative intellectuals have suddenly become concerned with racism. Literally for decades, smart liberals like Sam Tanenhaus, Frank Rich, and Jonathan Chait have been trying to get conservatives to notice that racism and anti-intellectualism were rampant within many corners of the Right. These critics were denounced as haters and frauds peddling lies. After Trump’s smashing victories, a small percentage of conservatives have finally admitted the lefties were right.We return now to Mr. David Brooks of the New York Times, whose full frontal denialism is already under way:
The Republican Party can’t unify around Donald Trump for the same reason it can’t unify around a tornado. Trump, by his very essence, undermines cooperation, reciprocity, solidarity, stability or any other component of unity...But Mr. Brooks, the Republican Party has already unified around Donald Trump because the Republican Party is not you and your little clutch of privileged friends hiding out in the Acela Corridor. If you ever got off your ass and took a look at the actual country in which you live (and off of which you have made a handsome living) you would know The Republican Party are these people:
Furthermore, Trump’s personality is pathological. It is driven by deep inner compulsions that defy friendly advice, political interest and common sense...
To make decisions, these narcissists create a rigid set of external standards, often based around admiration and contempt. Their valuing criteria are based on simple division — winners and losers, victory or humiliation...
They take Christian, Jewish and Muslim values — based on humility, charity and love — and they invert them...
And these people:
And these people:
People who have been carefully conditioned by your Republican party and your Conservative movement to view "cooperation, reciprocity, solidarity, stability or any other component of unity" with contempt. Who have been trained to believe in a pure, Manichean view of the political universe where everyone is either with their program 100%, or is a black-hearted traitor who hates Murrica. People who were perfectly willing to ruin this country with shut-downs and debt defaults and lockstep legislative obstructions rather than let a popular, twice-elected, Centrist president govern it. People who have scrambled so far down the crazy hole that their narcissistic delusions can only be sustained by a constant diet of rage, racism, and paranoid conspiracy theories.
These are the same people you found so delightful just six years ago --
-- as you jogged past them on your way to writing yet another column about how Both Side Are Equally To Blame For Everything, and, four years later, this extended meditation on how your GOP had finally cleaned up its act:
The big Republican accomplishment is that they have detoxified their brand. Four years ago they seemed scary and extreme to a lot of people. They no longer seem that way. The wins in purple states like North Carolina, Iowa and Colorado are clear indications that the party can at least gain a hearing among swing voters. And if the G.O.P. presents a reasonable candidate (and this year’s crop was very good), then Republicans can win anywhere. I think we’ve left the Sarah Palin phase and entered the Tom Cotton phase.
Well, Mr. Brooks, those millions of Republican meatheads and bigots we on the Left have been warning you about for decades -- those those millions of Republican meatheads and bigots you have spent your entire career pretending did not exist -- have finally taken over.
And this man is their King.
If I were to render a psychological diagnose of Mr, Brooks' condition in the same way Mr. Brooks has seen fit to use his column to diagnose Donald Trump --
Psychologists are not supposed to diagnose candidates from afar, but there is a well-developed literature on narcissism that tracks with what we have seen of Trump. By one theory narcissism flows from a developmental disorder called alexithymia, the inability to identify and describe emotions in the self.
-- instead of leaning on my own, nonexistent credentials, I would instead turn to an expert.
And who in the world could possibly be a bigger expert on Mr. David Brooks than Mr. David Brooks?
Yes, in this August, 2010 column in which Mr. Brooks adds one more, droning, mendacious turd of a column about the horrors of Both Sides to the enormous, steaming pile of droning mendacity which constitutes his life's work --
The ensuing mental flabbiness is most evident in politics. Many conservatives declare that Barack Obama is a Muslim because it feels so good to say so. Many liberals would never ask themselves why they were so wrong about the surge in Iraq while George Bush was so right. The question is too uncomfortable.There’s a seller’s market in ideologies that gives people a chance to feel victimized. There’s a rigidity to political debate. Issues like tax cuts and the size of government, which should be shaped by circumstances (often it’s good to cut taxes; sometimes it’s necessary to raise them), are now treated as inflexible tests of tribal purity.
-- Mr. Brooks also accidentally diagnoses his own pathological denialism with uncanny accuracy:
To use a fancy word, there’s a metacognition deficit. Very few in public life habitually step back and think about the weakness in their own thinking and what they should do to compensate.
Well it is six years later and -- irony alert! -- Mr. David Brooks remains as every bit as unswervingly dedicated to keeping reality at bay as Donald Trump or any one of those millions of Republican bigots and meatheads who are only too happy to march in Trump's orc army.
Funny old world.
Funny old world.