Happy Monday. I’m back from vacation and notice that a few things happened during my hiatus.
Let’s start with the roll-out of the new America First Caucus, shall we? As Punchbowl News reported, the group was set to launch with a 7-page document redolent with some of the wooliest nativist language we’ve heard since TFG came down the golden escalator to warn against Mexican rapists. "America is a nation with a border, and a culture,” it declared, “strengthened by a common respect for uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions."
Of course. Anglo-Saxon.
Let’s stipulate that it is unlikely that either Marjorie Taylor Greene or Paul Gosar could distinguish Edward the Confessor from Æthelred the Unready or were deeply familiar with the traditions of the Witan.
But that wasn’t the point was it?
Lest the reference was too unsubtle, the document went on to add that "societal trust and political unity are threatened when foreign citizens are imported en-masse into a country, particularly without institutional support for assimilation and an expansive welfare state to bail them out should they fail to contribute positively to the country."
In other words, as the late Stephen Miller might say, your huddled masses and other wretched scum yearning to breathe free can piss off. Especially if those masses came from non-Anglo Saxon places like Central or South American, Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, or the Mid-East.
Oddly enough, the new caucus’s support for infrastructure was also predicated on its fealty to "the progeny of European architecture, whereby public infrastructure must be utilitarian as well as stunningly, classically beautiful, befitting a world power and source of freedom."
All of this left even some Republicans with the vague sense that would have read better in its original German.
Blowback was swift, with even some members of the various Freedom and Sedition caucuses of the House GOP rejecting the crudely racist new klatch. Representative Adam Kinzinger called for expelling members of the Anglo Saxon caucus from the GOP.
Punchbowl News @PunchbowlNewsNEW In @PunchbowlNews Midday A new America First Caucus — led by @mtgreenee and @RepGosar — is recruiting people to join based on “Anglo-Saxon political traditions” architectural style that “befits the progeny of European architecture” Some of the most nativist stuff we’ve seen https://t.co/diPDItUt2V
But this won’t happen. Green and Gosar will both end up raising major bucks off the whole thing. No one will strip them of anything. And, predictably, the caucus drew a tepid response from the GOP leader, who would like to continue to pretend that nativism has not become the heart of the Trumpian Right:
At first, Greene tried to defend the Anglo-Saxon reference by reminding us of her last foray into Anti-Semitism. “Taking #AngloSaxon out of context to mean racist,” she tweeted, “is the same as the idiots that lied about me and #JewishSpaceLasers.”
Jake Tapper @jaketapperAny comment, @GOPLeader? https://t.co/GZjIfSjFRE
But within days, Greene tried to back off from what she called a “staff level draft proposal from an outside group that I hadn’t read.” Gosar also scrambled to distance himself from the document. "Let me be perfectly clear. I did not author this paper," he said. "In fact, I first became aware of it by reading about it in the news yesterday, like everyone else."
So never mind?
The blowup over the Anglo Saxon caucus might feel like just a skirmish at the fringes of right wing politics.
But the reality is that the Overton window of nativist rhetoric had already been moved.
You know all this, but it is worth emphasizing and underlining: last week, one of the nation’s most prominent right wing media figures, Tucker Carlson, openly and enthusiastically embraced what is known as “white replacement theory.” Here’s Tucker declaring that “X will not replace us!” (If that sounds familiar… it should.)
Now, I know that the left and all the little gatekeepers on Twitter become literally hysterical if you use the term "replacement," if you suggest that the Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate, the voters now casting ballots, with new people, more obedient voters from the Third World. But they become hysterical because that's what's happening actually. Let's just say it: That's true.
This is raw stuff, and until last week, generally (if imperfectly) confined to the farther reaches of the fever swamps. But now, as Michael Gerson notes, the replacement theory is being mass marketed.
Each day, Carlson gives a pure, accurate depiction of Trumpism. This viewpoint is not focused on the working-class economic dislocation caused by globalization, or even the moral panic resulting from rapidly changing cultural norms. It is an argument in favor of cultural purity, of social hygiene. Note Carlson’s use of “dirtier” in describing immigrants, and his reference to toilet hygiene. Trumpism is an argument that Western society, and American society in particular, is being infected by dirty outsiders who are destroying the country’s very nature.
Carlson’s segment drew a swift rebuke from the Anti-Defamation League, which called on Fox News to fire Carlson. AP reports: “In a letter to Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott on Friday, the head of the ADL, Jonathan Greenblatt, said Carlson’s ‘rhetoric was not just a dog whistle to racists — it was a bullhorn.’”
But watch what is happening. Fox’s bosses are standing by Carlson, and the “white replacement theory” is quickly becoming embraced and normalized on the right.
As Aaron Blake notes, none of this not strictly speaking new. It was implied by much of Trump’s rhetoric, and has long been an undercurrent of anti-immigrant sentiment. “It was occasionally raised as a potential GOP downside of a path to citizenship, but it wasn’t tip-of-tongue, and opponents of immigration overhaul bills apparently recognized how dicey it was.”
That is changing now.
In recent weeks, it has accelerated. The idea of replacement has been pushed prominently by Fox host Tucker Carlson, causing an outcry including calls for his resignation. Fox News has stood by him. Extreme members of the House Republican conference like former congressman Steve King (R-Iowa) have occasionally espoused variations of it. In recent days, though, it seems to have worked its way even more into the mainstream of Republican lawmakers. Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) said that “what appears to them is we’re replacing … native-born Americans to permanently transform the political landscape of this very nation.” Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) asked more recently whether Democrats “really … want to remake the demographics of America to ensure their — that they stay in power forever? Is that what’s happening here?”
So far, there has been little pushback to the “white replacement theory” either from prominent Republicans or from the conservative “thought leaders” who might once have thought that they had a responsibility to be bulwarks against this sort of ugliness.
So it will keep spreading in the GOP.
We know the formula: It triggers the libs, but it’s true, and saying it is brave, and we can’t possibly be racists, so if they say we are they are trying to cancel us, and we are victims, and need to fight back, by stepping on toes and saying brave things that trigger the libs.
The crazy keeps spreading.
Earlier this week, Oklahomans witnessed yet another example of political maleficence as former State Representative John Bennett was elected chair of the Oklahoma Republican Party. Bennett has quite a reputation for anti-Islamic rhetoric, claiming the Islamic faith “is a cancer in our nation that needs to be cut out”. He’s required Muslims to answer several written questions—such as “Do you beat your wife?”—prior to meeting with him. An Oklahoma Imam claims, “John Bennett looked me in the eye and told me that he was going to demolish my mosque and every mosque in town.”
The crazy keeps spreading. (Part 2):
Perfectly normal, right?
The crazy keeps spreading. (Part 3)
Wisconsin GOP taps secessionist Allen West as convention speaker. Via Right Wisconsin:
Allen West, the current chairman of the Texas Republican Party, will be a featured panelist in a forum at the Republican Party’s state convention on June 25th in the Wisconsin Dells.
In repeated interviews, West has falsely claimed that the state of Texas could secede from the United States as it did in 1861. In addition to making those claims, West has expressed support for legislation in Texas allowing secession and even expressed support for secession after the U.S.Supreme Court ruled against a Texas lawsuit seeking to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
“Perhaps law-abiding states should bond together and form a Union of states that will abide by the constitution,” West said in a statement. “The Texas GOP will always stand for the Constitution and for the rule of law even while others don’t.”
America is great again.