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"Kamala's America" and Other Republican Ideas
How to campaign in Alabama. And be a "pro-life" Republican.
1. They Are Who We Thought They Were
I am forever being told that just because you get some Proud Boys and Camp Auschwitz guys in the MAGA barrel doesn’t mean the whole bunch is rotten. Republicans caring a great deal about Confederate statues doesn’t mean anything except that they love history.
It’s definitely not racism. No siree.
Have you met Jessica Taylor?
She’s a working mom and a small business owner from Alabama who has thrown her hat in the ring for Richard Shelby’s Senate seat. You should watch her launch video.
I’m trusting that you sat through the entire 2:19. But if not, something weird happens at the 15-second mark as Ms. Taylor is introducing herself to the Great Republican Patriots of Alabama: Kamala Harris shows up.
Weird, right? What’s Vice President Kamala Harris doing in the launch video for an Alabama Senate candidate?
Well, Ms. Taylor can explain:
Today, in Kamala’s America, I fear everything we hold dear in Alabama is under attack.
Cue this random shot:
Now, what are Ms. Taylor’s preferred policies? Well, she tells us that she is for God and Guns. And she tells us that she is against liberals “stealing elections.”
As the video reaches the midpoint, she says:
Send me to Washington, and I’ll be Kamala’s worst nightmare.
I have questions.
Why is Jessica Taylor fixated on the vice president, and not the president?
Why does she refer to the vice president by her first name, and not her last name?
Has anyone ever used the phrase “Kamala’s America” before?
As Taylor says “Kamala’s America,” she shows video of people in Huntsville peacefully protesting the murder of George Floyd. Why is this sinister? Also, didn’t this scene take place during the Trump administration? Isn’t that literally “Trump’s America”?
I’m sure there are perfectly innocent explanations for all of it.
People call President Biden “Joe” all the time!
Taylor will be Kamala’s worst nightmare because Harris is the tiebreak vote in the Senate!
Calling it “Kamala’s America” is just looking forward to when Harris runs for president!
Just don’t say it’s racism. Absolutely not. Couldn’t possibly be.
2. Anti-Vaxx, “Pro-Life”
If you missed Charlie’s newsletter this morning, please go read it.
He does a round-up of elected Republicans and members of Conservatism Inc. who are attacking the idea of the government trying to make it easier for people in vulnerable communities to get a COVID vaccine.
As Charlie was writing, Sarah and I were taping an episode of the Secret show where we talked about this same thing and I have to tell you: It makes me very angry.
For Chip Roy and Dan Crenshaw to stand up and attack not “mandatory” vaccinations, but simply the government going door-to-door to offer the vaccine to people who may not have had the time or ability to get it elsewhere—doesn’t this cross the line into actual evil?
I’m not being hyperbolic.
If you’re trying to stop a course of action that will save lives and has nothing whatsoever to do with you—and you’re doing it purely for political self-interest—what other word is there?
And when we talk about lives being saved or lost, we’re not talking about some far-future actuarial abstraction. We’re talking about 200 people a day, every day, right forking now.
But the piece that really gets me is that every single one of these people describes themselves as being “pro-life.”
They’ll rail about bureaucratic abstractions such as the Hyde Amendment or the Mexico City Policy as being moral evils so total that they couldn’t possibly support any Democrat who is for them because they care so much about “life.”
It’s almost like “life” isn’t really the point.
Look: There’s hypocrisy all over. No side, or tribe, or party, or movement has a monopoly on virtue.
I’ll go you one further: For every Jessica Taylor and Dan Crenshaw, there’s probably a Republican who genuinely cares about the special burdens our society imposes on our African-American neighbors and who is devoted to protecting all life—from the child in the womb, to the overwhelmed mother, to the convict on death row, to the elderly dementia patient.
So I don’t mean to paint with the broadest possible brush.
But at some point you have to look up and realize that while there may be a lot of those nice people, there are also a lot of Jessica Taylors and Dan Crenshaws. And Chip Roys. And Proud Boys. And Camp Auschwitz guys.
As always, we can debate what exact percentage these people are of the whole. Maybe 30 percent. Maybe 15 percent.
But it ain’t 2 percent.
A lot of people don’t realize it yet, but we now live in a post-democracy world. I say “post-democracy” not because our democracy is over, but because the consensus on the appropriateness of democracy has been broken.
What this means is that our politics will eventually sort out along different lines than it has occupied since the end of the Cold War. Instead of left versus right, we’re going to have a side that is committed to democratic norms and processes and a side that is . . . willing to tolerate them only opportunistically.
Even in this new order, neither side will have a total monopoly on virtue. But the camps won’t be split 50-50, either.
Get ahead of this movement. And ride or die with democracy.
I know that no one in America cares about this stuff. But I’m going to keep ringing the bell anyway. This NYT piece is worth your time.
After the longest period of war in United States history, the Americans announced they were finally pulling out. Troops boarded jets and left. The White House pledged continued support for local allies, but appetite for the war had dried up at home, and soon so did funding.
“We wanted to fight, but no supplies, no fuel, no rockets. And the Americans did not help like they said they would,” Uc Van Nguyen said on a recent morning as he remembered the slide toward defeat. “I think in the end we felt betrayed.”
He was recalling the fall of the Republic of Vietnam in 1975. But Mr. Nguyen, who was a lieutenant colonel commanding a helicopter wing in the South Vietnamese Air Force, sees parallels today with the conflict in Afghanistan.
Like tens of thousands of other South Vietnamese veterans, Mr. Nguyen fled after the nation’s collapse. He now lives in suburban Orange County, Calif., after settling in Westminster, where nearly half of the residents are Vietnamese. In the Little Saigon neighborhood, the yellow and red flag of the Republic of Vietnam still flies above local stores and houses, and each year the city officially marks the date of the republic’s defeat, which they call “Black April.”
In a strip mall, veterans of the war and their children have put together a small museum — glass cases filled with medals and photos from a country that no longer exists. There, a few men, now gray with age, gathered recently to compare their experience with the news from Afghanistan.
All said they saw stark similarities between Vietnam 46 years ago and Afghanistan today: a swift pullout, an enemy defying peace deals, and an American-made military suddenly left with little support. They shook their heads in disappointment and cautioned that a similar collapse could be in the making.