Tuesday, January 25, 2022


In case you weren't sure, here are a couple of reminders that they hate us.

Who are "the scumbags"? Who are the "psychopaths"? In the Blake Masters ad, which you can watch below, a few "psychopaths" are named: Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and the man Masters wants to beat in the Arizona Senate race, Mark Kelly. (Mark Kelly? Really?)

But presumably you're also a "psychopath" if you're a voter and you support, say, vaccine mandates, or compassion toward immigrants. Vance doesn't even try to be specific. The majority of voters chose Democrats for the presidency, House, and Senate in 2020, so presumably we're all scumbags too, along with the candidates we chose.

This isn't Biden calling a correspondent for a right-wing propaganda channel a "stupid son of a bitch." That's a vulgar insult, but it's mild. Vance and Masters are calling us reprehensible and dangerously mentally unstable.

And it's highly unlikely that any Democratic politician will push back.

Josh Marshall (understandably) no longer likes the name he used for this brand of politics back in 2004, but the analysis is still as solid as it was when Marshall applied it to GOP attacks on John Kerry's military career:
Let’s call it the Republicans’ Bitch-Slap theory of electoral politics....

On one level, of course, the aim behind these attacks is to cast suspicion upon Kerry’s military service record and label him a liar. But that’s only part of what’s going on.

... both sides are trying to prove to undecided voters either that they’re tougher than the other guy or at least tough enough for the job.

... One way — perhaps the best way — to demonstrate someone’s lack of toughness or strength is to attack them and show they are either unwilling or unable to defend themselves — thus the rough slang I used above. And that I think is a big part of what is happening here. Someone who can’t or won’t defend themselves certainly isn’t someone you can depend upon to defend you.
And now "you" -- we -- are among the people being slapped. We're the scumbags, too. Our ideas make us psychopaths.

Maybe Democratic voters will embrace these labels the way Trump voters have embraced the term "deplorables." Maybe supporters of Tim Ryan, the likely Democratic candidate for the Ohio Senate seat Vance is pursuing, will begin wearing shirts saying "Proud Scumbag for Ryan." (If this happens, I hope some harmless-looking grandmothers start the trend.) Maybe Arizona Democrats will begin wearing shirts that say "I'm a Psychopath for Kelly." Or maybe we should all embrace and own these insults, all over the country.

I assume we'll have to do this ourselves. Democratic politicians won't.

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