This lone positive exposes immorality on parade – full transparency on the threat of more abuses
Ask Speaker McCarthy: “transparency” ain’t what it used to be. Nor is his unwavering ignorance to unintended bad consequences. He thought he’d get away from his craven, unilateral, subversive hand-off of Jan 6 Committee security tapes to Tucker Carlson and Lying Propaganda, Inc. Foolishly full of himself, McCarthy defended this wrongdoing with telling Trumpian hypocrisy: this was all about transparent openness, so that “everybody can make up their own conclusions.” Just wider, healthy visibility – all in the name of public service. And how many hundreds of confessed or convicted Jan 6 criminals bought that line?
What this low-upside episode exposes is a myriad of mortifying, compounding sins: that McCarthy never cleared this dangerous publicity stunt with D.C. security police (nor the Committee); that he showed extreme favoritism by only sending the tapes to one, self-exposed, lying lackey who fabricated a laughable, anti-reality charade of violent, nasty MAGA “sightseers” quietly “milling about.” Talk about running red warning lights! Worse still, McCarthy exposed his slavish impotency as Speaker, willing to do anything demanded by his deranged MAGA owners. In short, obliviousness to political downsides (how many centrists will not be offended?) vs. bowing to the braying, extremist minority with already fixated FOX “conclusions.”
Over the last month comes a parade of vivid shocks to the rightwing distortion machine, sputtering with boomeranging short-circuits. Reams of FOX/Dominion litigation cemented for all time that not only did FOX blatantly, chronically lie to secure profits by pandering to the insatiably aggrieved but, despite their contempt for Trump, these unprincipled toadies were forced in open court to admit endless, nefarious journalistic crimes. That Carlson, despite self-shaming that would pulverize even credible entertainers, went ahead after the Dominion revelations to manufacture propaganda on par with Trump’s worst, proves FOX even more desperate (hey, Trump believes his own B.S., with an unshakeable, small donor audience).
Bad gets worse
Meanwhile, back at the Congressional ranch, the McCarthy House clown show matched the FOX calamity by staggering under its own self-inflicted folly. The MAGA “weaponization of government” charade only exposed the Freedom Caucus as the most dangerous, subversive “weapons” since seditious Confederates. Oh yeah, House wackos still think that constant debt limit ultimatums, promising more self-inflicted wounds, is a winning electoral ticket. Like last time, inciting outrage when wounding the U.S. credit rating? Why not instead celebrate the “patriotic heroism” of criminal Jan. 6 insurrectionists (and diverse other violent extremists). Oh, the House MAGAs just did that. What courage, what awareness of law and order!
Want more? Just this week we learned that all 26 Rethugs on the House Oversight Committee refused to denounce white supremacy. When it rains transparency, malignant forces are pushed from dark rocks: here are active, elected yahoos maneuvered into a vote that condones white supremacists. And these same wackos have the cynical gall to rail against liberals as simply pawns of Big Money or world-controlling CEOs or that hidden, dominant deep state?
Want more? A liar vigorously competing with the Liar-in-chief, George Santos, still serves, besmirching the GOP house 1) for tolerating a member’s mendacity so total it stretches the meaning of “outrageous;” and 2) for reinforcing the notion that for this entire party truth is just “another word for nothing left to lose.” Hell, McCarthy types would do better to give up the House majority, let the Dems diddle, then scapegoat them as unAmerican failures. “Power corrupts” in such overtly transparent ways today that these no-governance bozos, parading their corruption, would gain more traction as rank opposition than as rank majority.
And there is more. Capping his mania to make himself unelectable, Trump at CPAC hit new lows, even by his abysmal, messianic gibberish, assaulting his own party, then invoking Old Testament rhetoric that revealed how vengeful he’ll be if re-elected. Not only will Trump II be even less accountable than Trump I (unimaginable after double impeachments), brace for making “Retribution” a new cabinet post – run say by the incendiary Steve Bannon. Imagine an even darker, end-is-near inauguration speech (I can’t).
Driving Trump’s threats of retaliation against enemies are solid commitments he (Bannon and MAGA) made: “to deconstruct the administrative state,” to decimate all checks and balances, scorn human rights, punish minorities, women and trans, thus making America like Russia, North Korea or Turkey. That means 1) bashing all democratic values (like fair elections); and 2) fomenting an endless war on truth, even the rhetoric there is no truth. That’s the whole, self-serving, strongmen default to autocracy. Totally transparent here is that more Trumpism – let alone more input from his never-say-die, peanut-brained gallery – represents (again) the greatest threat to America, bar none. Desperation gets ugly when malignant narcissists feel cornered and have to amp up increasingly absurd red meat to feed and incite angry crowds.
Sunlight, the only disinfectant?
The only positive is the clarity of this illiberal message, that cock-sure MAGA wingnuts are now shamelessly strutting about, like Mussolini, sneering at equality or majority rule and sure only cynical manipulation serves their authoritarian fever. Need I point out that when losers sell fascism to folks still with Constitutional values, they fall flat, especially as an ordained, vengeful “warrior” who “alone can fix everything”? Like Covid, or Ukrainian blackmail, proving election fraud or inciting an insurrection?
Thanks to MAGA madness, if not Trump’s transparent fascist pitches, how can the decisive American center even claim, “gosh, who knew that Trump was a monster disqualified for spreading monstrosity far and wide”? Failing to learn from failure, Trump’s gloomy domination visions are darker than even, mixing arrogance and blindness with doomed political strategy.
If overt immorality, compounded by lying, contradiction and criminal indictments, do not shake the non-Trump crowd, then elections become twistable weapons of mass democratic destruction. If greater violence on behalf of raw power, denuded of principles, is not rejected, then the American experiment fails.
While Trump will someday exit, his worst damage will linger: the craven opportunists who fuel a war on truth must continue that war: if alternative reality is not drowned in a bathtub (as anti-taxers sought for government), what kind of truce can sane adults make with tantrum-throwing screamers? It’s hard enough to address solitary mental illness, as with insane mass shooters; how in an open society does a rational majority address mass mental illness when one-third is suckered by delusion, then insists their lies are true?
When certified reality (backing sore loser Trump) rebounds on their failures and grievances, the wounded grasp the most accessible fiction to anchor desperation. The Trump cult cannot analyze data or think straight – or for itself. The biggest joke of all is Trump the control freak thinks he’s in charge, but wait until prosecutors demolish his empty criminal defenses – and convictions arrive. As Rupert Murdock conceded, Trump was post-election going “increasingly mad,” but was he ever sane? Perhaps in the crib.
Would that these serial transparencies were the exception, not the rule. Amidst unprecedented years of attacks on democratic procedures and institutions, often with astonishing range and cruelty, the sole positive that emerges is the conspicuousness of the cynical, dirty tricks – and the obvious lying that follows. If this swamp fever is not broken by law, elections and a return to sanity, even stunning transparency falls short.