Tuesday, December 06, 2022


The New Republic's Alex Shephard thinks he knows why Republicans are determined to pursue the Hunter Biden story:
For the right, the fixation on Hunter Biden boils down to a few things. The first and biggest is that it’s become a kind of grotesque simulacrum of Trump’s two big Russia scandals: interference (and collusion) during the 2016 election and the attempt to extort Ukraine into providing dirt on the Bidens in 2019. The idea here is that the Biden family is just as corrupt as the Trump family and that Biden ascended to the White House after numerous media and tech entities essentially cheated on his behalf....

The histrionics over election interference also neatly mirror popular concerns about the Trump administration and should be familiar to anyone who followed the Trump-Russia scandal. Republicans are well nigh convinced, in the same way that Democrats were during the course of several formal investigations into Trump’s dealings, that the Hunter Biden laptop story would really blow up if only the media would be willing to relentlessly turn the screws.
The Bulwark's Mona Charen -- formerly a Republican in good standing, now a Never Trumper -- has a similar theory:
The right has a deep psychological need for the Hunter Biden story. They desperately want Joe Biden to be corrupt and for the whole family to be, in [Representative Elise] Stefanik’s words, “a crime family” because they have provided succor and support to someone who has encouraged political violence since his early rallies in 2015, has stoked hatred of minorities through lies, has used his office for personal gain in the most flagrant fashion, has surrounded himself with criminals and con men, has committed human rights violations against would-be immigrants by separating children from their parents, has pardoned war criminals, has cost the lives of tens of thousands of COVID patients by discounting the virus and peddling quack cures, has revived racism in public discourse, and attempted a violent coup d’etat.

They know it. It gnaws at them. That’s why the Hunter Biden story is their heart’s desire.
Charen believes that the Hunter Biden narrative, now revived by Elon Musk and Matt Taibbi, "has been suspended for some time," and is being eagerly embraced by Republicans at this moment because Trump has been unusually embarrassing in the past few weeks. Clearly she's unaware of the hard-sell campaign for the preposterous "docu"drama My Son Hunter, which was released on September 7. For a while, you couldn't click on Breitbart without seeing a big ad for the movie; Fox News first promoted it in November 2021. I've posted the batshit-crazy trailer before, but here it is again.

Republicans' Hunter narrative might be partly whataboutism, but they'd be doing what they're doing now even if Joe Biden had beaten Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio in 2020. Republicans tirelessly pursue every negative story against a powerful Democrat, whether genuine or concocted -- Hillary's emails, Obama's birth certificate, Monicagate, Whitewater. (In real time, Charen was morally outraged by the Clinton presidency, even Whitewater.) The core precept of the Republican Party is that Democrats and liberals are evil.

If this is resurfacing now, it's for two reasons: because Republicans just won the House and because Elon Musk (who's regarded as endlessly fascinating) just took over Twitter and promoted it. If Democrats hadn't held the House in 2020, we would have had this moment two years ago.

Alex Shephard says this about the Hunter Biden story:
... it doesn’t have the thing that makes other pseudoscandals tick: It doesn’t reinforce an already popular notion about the Bidens as some uniquely corrupt family.... The Hunter Biden story doesn’t work ... because it’s not actually a quintessential story about Joe Biden. It’s actually a Trump story, and the kind of corruption and malfeasance that defined the last president.
But Republicans believe that all Democrats are amoral globalist corruptocrats. Sure, many don't literally believe that all Democrats sexually abuse children and drain their bodies for adrenochrome, but the QAnon narrative is just an amped-up version of the mainstream GOP narrative, which assumes control of all national and global institutions by slick, depraved liberal overlords. Watch the trailer above. The real, shambolic Joe Biden is replaced by just that kind of degenerate slickster.

And on the right, they think the Trumps aren't a uniquely corrupt family. To right-wingers, the Trumps are salt-of-the-earth folks (Trump Sr. doesn't have a posh accent! When he eats, he likes steaks and burgers! Don Jr. likes to hunt!) who just happen to be rich. They see Trump as a rich, comfortable man who selflessly gave up his life of ease so he could work hard to save the country. They really believe all this -- the Trumps are humble members of the Volk who were granted great wealth by God while Joe Biden is a greedy international criminal mastermind. So they've been pursuing the Hunter Biden story nonstop since it first emerged, and they're pushing it into the headlines now simply because they can.

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