Tuesday, March 02, 2021


Today was one of those days that left me even gloomier than usual, as I watch Republicans go on offense again and again, defying all talk of their demise.

There's Seuss-ghazi:
Six Dr. Seuss books — including “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” and “If I Ran the Zoo” — will stop being published because of racist and insensitive imagery, the business that preserves and protects the author’s legacy said Tuesday.

“These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong,” Dr. Seuss Enterprises told The Associated Press in a statement that coincided with the late author and illustrator’s birthday.

“Ceasing sales of these books is only part of our commitment and our broader plan to ensure Dr. Seuss Enterprises’ catalog represents and supports all communities and families,” it said.
This is a decision made by the company established to manage the business of publishing the Dr. Seuss books. But the right doesn't think Seuss's executors made the decision. On the right, it was made by the bogeyman of the moment, "cancel culture."

The lead Fox headline on this subject tells us that President Biden's spokesman "won’t say why Dr. Seuss was dropped from Biden reading proclamation." ("The 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas' author wasn't on the Read Across America Day reading list.") Fox wants to ensure that its audience gets the message that this story is all about evil Democrats.

You can mock this as Fox trying to create a faux-controversy, but 25 of the top 50 books on Amazon's bestseller list are Seuss books as I write this. The books being taken from circulation are on the list, but so are many other Seuss books. I don't believe they're all being bought by right-wingers.

I think many moderates (and even some liberals) will consider this too much. And the right is very good at linking this sort of thing to Democrats, even when, as in this case, the link is tenuous, while there's still little evidence that the horrors of the Trump years and January 6 are widely seen as a sign that Republicans in general are terrible.

Next we see the governors of Texas and Mississippi fully reopening their states and ending mask mandates. There's a brutal cynicism at play here: Governors Greg Abbott and Tate Reeves know that more people will die as a result of this decision, but they also know that taking the side of FREEDOM!!! will deeply impress GOP voters, most of whom are statistically likely to survive whatever happens. And then increased vaccination will begin to bring the pandemic to an end by fall or winter. So by 2022, no one will remember that uptick in the spring of 2021 (except those who had to bury the dead), but every Fox, Newsmax, and OANN viewer will remember that Texas Republicans stuck it to the lockdown-loving libs.

And the Republicans on the Supreme Court seem predictably ready to uphold more efforts to limit Democratic voting:
The Supreme Court on Tuesday seemed inclined to make it more difficult to challenge widely used voting laws that in practice might be more of a burden to minority voters.

... the greater impact will be the test that the increasingly conservative court develops for proving violations, as new laws are proposed and state legislatures begin redrawing congressional and legislative districts following the 2020 Census.
They'll do further damage the Voting Rights Act, even as the states Republicans control are throwing up ever more creative roadblocks to voting, such as the proposed ban on giving food or beverages to voters in Georgia's hours-long voting lines.

If we wondered what Republicans would do after the awfulness of the Trump era, the answer should have been obvious: go right back to the awfulness of the pre-Trump era. I wouldn't even call the defiance of public health experts a Trumpian depravity -- it's very similar to from the red state embrace of guns every time there's a mass shooting.

The common thread here is that Republicans aren't at all abashed -- they're acting and messaging aggressively. There's been no period of self-examination after the loss of the presidency and both houses of Congress in the last two election cycles. Democrats, who are supposedly in charge, seem more cautious and circumspect right now.

Maybe you're certain that the GOP really is doomed this time and that none of this will work. But this is what always worked for them in the past.

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