Tuesday, July 12, 2022


The right has been trying to generate outrage over the fact that visitors to Thomas Jefferson's Monticello are made aware that Jefferson was a slave owner.
The conservative freakout seemingly started with a July 4 tweet from Jeffrey A. Tucker, who complained of “aggressive political messaging” at Monticello. Tucker ... also wrote a column the same day for the conspiracy theory website The Epoch Times complaining about his visit there. The New York Post picked up the story and interviewed Tucker for its July 9 article titled “Monticello is going woke — and trashing Thomas Jefferson’s legacy in the process.”

... Fox News devoted multiple cable segments, a digital article, and a podcast episode to expressing outrage over the estate teaching this history....
Who is Jeffrey Tucker? We're told that he's "the president of the Brownstone Institute — formed in May 2021 to oppose COVID-19 precautions." Also:
Tucker is a former Ron Paul acolyte who has worked with Lew Rockwell in various capacities, including at the Ludwig von Mises Institute. But there’s a bit more to it than that. A 20-year-old report by the Southern Poverty Law Center on the Neo-Confederate movement identified Tucker and Rockwell as founding members of the League of the South....

The League of the South faded away for a while, but in its heyday it was a racist and secessionist forerunner of the current brand of white nationalism that animates the far right.
That's the kind of hack who's safe to deploy in the right-wing media universe -- the Murdoch press, The Epoch Times. No one will object to his racist credentials. He goes in, does his bit, and now your Fox-watching uncle is complaining that "they" are coming for Thomas Jefferson next.

But the right might be hesitant to deploy someone like Jeffrey Tucker when trying to persuade Washington Post readers not to worry their silly little heads about the Supreme Court depriving same-sex couples or contraception users of their rights:
With the end of the Supreme Court’s term, Democrats are denouncing the court as ideologically motivated, extreme, undemocratic, even destabilizing. Their angst is understandable, but it’s misguided.

... Democratic warnings of a constitutional apocalypse — with the court supposedly poised to strip away Americans’ rights to contraception (Griswold v. Connecticut), homosexual sex (Lawrence v. Texas), same-sex marriage (Obergefell v. Hodges) and other rights not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution — are overblown. The court is not inclined to do any such thing.

... there is no secret agenda. The conservative legal movement has been shouting for 40 years that Roe should be overruled. There are few if any voices in that movement calling to overrule Griswold, Lawrence or even the more recent Obergefell decision.
This isn't terribly persuasive -- if you pay attention to the angry right, you know it absolutely is talking about finishing what the Dobbs decision started. But maybe this is persuasive to some Washington Post readers, who may genuinely believe that if highly credentialed right-wing lawyers aren't denouncing something, then the right isn't really gunning for it.

So, who is this conservative hack? We're told:
Curt Levey, president of the Committee for Justice, is a constitutional law attorney.
And what is the Committee for Justice? Let's find out:
The Committee for Justice says its mission is “to defend and promote constitutionalist judicial nominees to the federal courts and educate the public on the importance of judges in American life.” Its founder is C. Boyden Gray, former White House counsel to President George H.W. Bush. Gray founded the Committee for Justice in 2002 in response to Senate Democrats blocking several of President George W. Bush’s judicial nominees.

The committee ran television and print advertisements on behalf of Miguel Estrada, William Pryor and Charles Pickering, who were among the most controversial of Bush’s nominees to the bench. The committee also ran advertisements opposing Senate candidate Ron Kirk from Texas and presidential nomination hopeful Sen. John Edwards in South Carolina for their opposition to judicial nominees that the committee favored. In 2009, it ran ads opposing President Barack Obama’s first nominee to the Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor.... Its website reflects the fact that it was formed to generate support for Republican judicial nominees and offers little information that could be considered objective.
The right expends a massive amount of effort on propaganda. At any given time it's attempting to inject at least a dozen new messages into the national conversation, while selling dozens of other messages that are already established. Some of them miss the mark -- I suspect that no one will be persuaded by the assertion that the Supreme Court really intends to tack to the center in the immediate future -- but the right and the GOP have a message (or several messages) on every issue, and work them all tirelessly. The messengers might be shady chracters, but the right deploys them like hitmen, to get a job done and move on. Much of the time, it works, and that's why we discuss so many issues on their terms.

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