Wednesday June 24, 2020
Just another pawn in their game.
The Atlantic's Adam Serwer has a good piece on the inability of Trump and Republicans generally to play white-male identity politics against a candidate who is not African-American nor female. None of the old tricks are working against Joe.
“The president's sparsely attended rally in Oklahoma on Saturday was a showcase for Trump's blunted arsenal,” Serwer writes. “He warned that the left wants to ‘defund and dissolve our police departments.’ He fantasized about a ‘tough hombre’ breaking into your home at night, warned that Biden was a ‘puppet of China,’ ... But even Trump didn't really buy it. ‘Joe Biden is a puppet of the radical left,’ Trump said, before acknowledging that ‘He’s not radical left. I don't think he knows what he is anymore. But he was never radical left.'”
Radical left elements are still a problem, of course, exemplified by protesters who think they can run a Seattle neighborhood without cops, or protesters who, yesterday, attacked a gay Democratic state senator in Madison, Wis., for filming their protest rally. The radical left will always be with us, sadly. But it's not touching Joe.
But this is the part of Serwer's article that stands out for me. It's the lede, and it took me back:
Eight months into Barack Obama’s first term as president, the right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh, who was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Donald Trump earlier this year, warned that Obama’s election had ushered in a dangerous inversion of power.
“Obama's America—white kids getting beat up on school buses now,” Limbaugh declared in September 2009, in response to a viral video of a fight between a black teenager and a white teenager on a bus. “In Obama's America, the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering.”
Limbaugh was offering a template for the next decade of culture-war arguments on the political right. For eight years, the Republican Party’s chief villain was the first black president, whose center-left liberalism was decried as “Kenyan anti-colonialism,” whose health-care bill was “reparations,” and whose election set off a “race war” waged by power-mad black Americans. His anointed successor, Hillary Clinton—in Limbaugh’s words, a “feminazi” armed with a “testicle lockbox”—was an easy target for anxieties about a different inversion of power, that of America’s traditional gender hierarchy. Clinton’s defeat was not sufficient to remove her as a target; to this day, Fox News’s most successful hosts return to the Clinton oasis like wanderers dying of thirst.
That pissed me off all over again. Like it was 2009 or 2016 all over again. (The “Clinton oasis” line is genius.)
Anyway, since we‘re apparently doing this anti-racism thing now, since the news media has seeemingly decided (how?) that, yes, we guess racism is bad after all, how about digging into the people who funded racist attacks on Barack Obama; who turned an extremely centrist president into that KenyanMuslimAntiColonialist bullshit we had to listen to for eight years. The story is who funded all that, and who maintained or achieved power because of it. Cf., Dylan’s “Only a Pawn in Their Game.” The focus shouldn't be on “pawn” but “their.” Identify the “their.” That's the story.