Tuesday, December 01, 2020


Jonathan Chait believes that the rhetoric of Josh Hawley, Missouri's extremely ambitious pseudo-populist junior senator, suffers from "one glaring weakness."
Over the summer, Hawley warned Tucker Carlson that Joe Biden and his entire party are “in thrall” to “the Marxist left.” Monday afternoon he criticized Biden’s nomination of Janet Yellen on the grounds that “the people who he wants to be in his cabinet are all a bunch of corporate liberals and warmongers.”

The Bulwark’s Tim Miller pointed out the undeniable contradiction. Hawley could have ignored the criticism — after all, it’s not like his target audience is going to complain that he attacked the Democrats in two mutually exclusive ways. But Hawley felt compelled to show that he is not just a glib demagogue mouthing slogans, that his talking points have actual meaning:

This is self-evidently absurd, Chait says -- you can't be a corporate shill warmonger and a Marxist.
Big corporations do not like Marxists who want to discredit and destroy the system. Marxists do not support uses of the American military.

The most precious line Hawley’s lecture to Miller is “Let me explain this to you.” As if any fool can see the obvious congruity of his two attacks on Biden. Only the elites can’t spot the obvious. Just ask any regular hardworking Missouri farmer, and he’ll explain that neoliberal corporate warlords are working hand in glove with Marxists to use critical race theory in order to advance Janet Yellen’s candidacy for Treasury Secretary.
But what Chait says sarcastically is literally true: Hawley's target audience -- which probably includes a few hardworking Missouri farmers, but mostly consists of comfortable older white retirees with multiple Trump 2020 flags still flying on the front lawn -- doesn't care about the specific belief systems of its enemies. They're just enemies -- they hate America and guns and freedom, so they must all be working together, as in this cartoon, which is on the homepage of Lucianne Goldberg's Lucianne.com (yes, it still exists) and was originally published at the old-school right-wing blog Legal Insurrection (yes, that still exists, too):

President-Elect Biden is on multiple leashes -- that must be cumbersome -- held by the Deep State and Wall Street, but also Bernie Sanders (you know how fond he is of working with Wall Street), as well as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez holding a "Green New Deal" sign with a hammer and sickle for a G (to show, I guess, that she's a pal of Wall Street, too). Oh, and also China and Iran.

Plus an unidentified scowling figure in the back. When I posted this on Twitter, Joan Walsh asked:

The general consensus was that the lady (man?) represents Antifa, although the mask isn't black. I thought the figure symbolized Big COVID -- the Marxist/corporatist campaign to sap Americans of their freedom by compelling us to wear masks and not die. But it could be an public health Nazi who's also an antifascist! Makes sense to me!

I don't really believe Josh Hawley has what it takes to be the Republican presidential nominee in 2024, which is obviously what he hopes to be -- I think it'll be Donald Trump Senior or Junior or, if not one of them, QAnon-friendly congresswoman-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene or South Dakota's pro-COVID governor, Kristi Noem. But Hawley won't falter because his rhetoric makes no logical sense. The voters he's targeting wouldn't have it any other way.

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