Tuesday, August 16, 2022


This, from the Republican candidate for governor of Arizona, might be the creepiest thing you'll watch all day:

He [Ron Desantis] is gutsy. The guy has bigger -- okay, let me think about how I want to word this. My staff always says, "Whatever you do, do not say 'balls.'" So I'm not going to say it. That guy has a backbone made of steel. I'll tell you what he's got. I don't know if you've heard of this, but he's got BDE. Anybody know what that means? Ask your kids about it later. I call it Big DeSantis Energy. Right? He's got the same kind of BDE that President Trump has -- and frankly, he has the same kind of BDE that we want all of our elected leaders to have.
There's so much to unpack here. This occurred at a rally for Lake and Senate candidate Blake Masters at which DeSantis spoke, yet Lake is praising DeSantis as if he's the candidate who needs a boost. (That's also the vibe when Trump speaks on behalf of endorsees.) Also, Lake has been endorsed by Trump, yet here she is embracing his likely chief rival in 2024 (insert that meme of the guy checking out a woman on the street while his girlfriend looks on in horror, but with the genders reversed). And she says "all of our elected leaders" should have Big Dick Energy when, um, she's trying to become one of our elected leaders. (Unsex me here, as Lady Macbeth said.)

And now to the sexual ickiness. I can't say that Democrats are completely immune to this sort of thing. There was that cringe tweet in 2018 about then-Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke ("O’Rourke is like the guy who is all sweet and nerdy but holds you down and makes you cum until your calves cramp"). There were disturbing moments in the Clinton years: At the height of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, journalist Nina Burleigh told Howard Kurtz, then of The Washington Post, that she "would be happy to give [Bill Clinton] a blowjob just to thank him for keeping abortion legal. I think American women should be lining up with their Presidential kneepads on to show their gratitude for keeping the theocracy off our backs." And in 1993, at a D.C. march for gay rights, comedian Lea DeLaria said, "I like the Clintons. Finally we have a First Lady you can fuck."

But when Republicans make it all about sex, they really make it all about authoritarianism. Remember what Peggy Noonan wrote just after George W. Bush won a second term in 1984 2004:
About a year ago I was visiting West Point, and I was talking to a big officer, a general or colonel. But he had the medals and ribbons and the stature, and he asked me what I thought of President Bush. I tried to explain what most impressed me about Mr. Bush, and I kept falling back on words like “courage” and “guts.” I wasn’t capturing the special quality Mr. Bush has of making a tough decision and then staying with it if he thinks it’s right and paying the price even when the price is high and—

I stopped speaking for a moment. There was silence. And then the general said, “You mean he’s got two of ’em.” And I laughed and said yes, that’s exactly what I mean.
At the time, what that meant was that Bush wouldn't reverse course on the quagmire that was the Iraq War, nor would he acknowledge that the U.S. was torturing prisoners on his watch. What Lake means is that DeSantis and Trump delight in bullying, intimidation, and (at least in Trump's case) criminality and mob violence.

My Democratic examples are about pleasure or gratitude. The Republican examples are about authority and force. No surprise, really.

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