Yes, Cancel Stephen Miller

Plus: Q's Matt Gaetz Dilemma

“One of the United States’ venerable, powerful political parties has been overtaken by people who make resentment against outsiders the central element of their appeal. … Elected Republicans who are not bigots are generally cowards in the face of bigotry. And that is a shocking, horrible thing.” — Former GWB speechwriter Michael Gerson.

Reasonable people can disagree about the metrics of redemption for Trump era collaborators, enablers, and rationalizers. How long did they stay? Are they willing to speak out now? How much damage did they do?

Did they actually put kids in cages? Or simply make excuses? Were they actual bigots? Or simply cowards who looked the other way?

If we have any chance of moving on from the moral swamp of the Trump years, we’re going to have confront those questions sooner or later.

Some of the bad actors of the last four years will fall into the gray area; but for others there ought to be no ambiguity at all.

Which brings us to that malign homunculus, Stephen Miller. Later today, I’m going to have a piece up at the MSNBC opinion site about Miller’s attempts at a second act. Here’s a preview:

Miller is not simply one of the many misfit toys left over from the moral squalor of the Trump years. He is one of the nation’s most notorious and well-documented bigots, and the architect of much of our recent national nightmare.

In a rational and healthy polity, Stephen Miller would be regarded as a pariah, not a source.

Earlier this week, MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan said that there is “no shortage of odious people who gained power thanks to Donald Trump.” 

But even in this menagerie of moral midgets, he said, Miller stood out as “probably the most repugnant individual to serve in the Trump White House.”

“If you had to pick just one,” Hasan said, “who should be pushed out of public life, who should hang his head in shame and never be heard from or taken seriously ever again, it would have to be Stephen Miller.”

Indeed, Miller is not a shadowy or mysterious figure; his record is described in great detail in Jean Guerrero’s book, Hatemonger, and thoroughly documented in a massive 2019 email dump….

Is this then a call to “cancel” Stephen Miller by expelling him from polite society and treating him like a pariah? 

Actually, it is. And no one in our public life deserves it more richly.

Check back later for the whole thing.

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Make sure you read David Frum on the performative outrage over “vaccine passports”:

But the point is not to win the fight, or even really to fight the fight. The point is to announce the fight, and to keep raging about it, even if you do not in fact fight it very hard. [Florida Governor Ron] DeSantis surely does not agree with those Republicans who dismiss COVID-19 as a hoax, the COVID-19 vaccines as a menace, and vaccine certificates as the mark of the anti-Christ. He has repeatedly said that he will take the vaccine when it’s his turn. But he must reckon with a party in which anti-vaccination has joined pro-gun as an indispensable cultural marker—and as a potential veto bloc for anyone aspiring to a future Republican presidential nomination.

To appease those cultural blocs, Republican politicians must be willing to sacrifice everything, including what used to be the party’s foundational principles. To protect the gun, or to avoid contradicting the delusions of anti-vaccine paranoiacs, property rights must give way, freedom to operate a business must yield. The QAnon-curious Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene expressed the new mentality when she took to Facebook to denounce vaccine passports as “corporate communism.” It sounded crazy. But if you understand that she interprets communism to mean “any interference in the right of people like me to do whatever we want, regardless of the rights of others”—then, yeah, the property rights of corporations will indeed look to her like a force of communism.

Words for our times, from reader, Mary Dougherty, from the book: Lost Words by Joe Gillard

Blatteroon--A person who talks or boasts incessantly and constantly

Flapdoodle--Foolish and blatantly false ideas or words

Humbuggery--Nonsense or deceitful language or ideas

Humgruffin--An appalling, hideous repulsive person

Mumpsimus--A stubborn person who refuses to change their mind despite being proven wrong (or these days a "way too big" group of Americans)

Smatchet--An ill-mannered despicable person

Ultracrepidarian--A person with opinions beyond their knowledge

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Just as Q predicted. Sort of.

The Q dilemma.

For three and a half years, QAnon followers have been waiting for a child sex-trafficking scandal involving high-profile lawmakers to be uncovered, and the alleged existence of a vast ring of elite child abusers lies at the center of the QAnon belief system. 

But QAnon’s unhinged fantasies were based on Democratic and liberal Hollywood elites orchestrating a global child sex trafficking ring—not on allegations that an ultra-conservative MAGA Republican and staunch ally of QAnon messiah Donald Trump was having sex with a teenager and paying for her travels.

The Q solution.

But in the hours after the news broke, QAnon followers didn’t celebrate. Instead, they frantically scrambled to explain why he couldn’t possibly have done what he’s accused of doing.

“Gaetz is working WITH FBI to catch an extortion racket,” a member of one prominent QAnon Telegram channel wrote. “The deep state media is using Matt Gaetz to distract us from the recent Ghislaine Maxwell drops and information,” a member of a different Telegram QAnon channel wrote.

Another user said the story was a smear campaign designed to undermine Gaetz’s ambitions for a possible 2024 presidential ticket with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis: “Gaetz and DeSantis are 2024 President material. Might be why DOJ is trynna target him.”



Amanda Carpenter on the Crybaby Caucus

On today’s Bulwark podcast, Amanda Carpenter joined to discuss the GOP’s crybaby caucus, COVID passports, the PizzaGaetz controversy, “corporate communism” or fascism or whatever, the Fauci gaslighting, and the deficit and the debt.

On yesterday’s podcast, Amanda and I talked about proposals to subsidize the semi-conductor industry. Shay Khatiri’s piece in the Bulwark put the proposal into context:

With more than half of the market share, Taiwan is the world’s largest supplier of semiconductors, a necessary component for computers. The industry accounts for roughly 10 percent of Taiwan’s GDP.

To pre-empt this problem, a bipartisan group of Senators, including Chuck Schumer, Tom Cotton, Josh Hawley, Kristen Gillibrand, and Susan Collins, are pushing through a bill to subsidize the American semiconductor industry. Instead of spending a lot of money to produce lower quality semiconductors at higher prices and hurt an ally’s economy along the way, it would be more efficient to make sure that China won’t invade Taiwan.

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Quick Hits

1. Two Capitol Cops Sue Trump for Jan. 6—What Are Their Chances?

Kim Wehle, in today’s Bulwark:

If there is to be justice and accountability for Trump’s wrongdoing on and before Jan. 6, therefore, Congress has to be the institution to do it. Since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s February call for a 9/11-style commission to investigate the Capitol riots, however, Congress has gone deathly silent on the subject. This nonfeasance adds insult to the officers’ injuries. If nothing else, their lawsuit should reboot Pelosi’s call for serious scrutiny into Trump’s role in the fateful day that killed five people, including a Capitol police colleague, and threatened American democracy itself.

2. SCOTUS Should End The NCAA’s Faux Amateurism

Tim Miller in the Bulwark:

Honestly, how bitter and lost and uncharitable do you have to be to demand that the people entertaining you be denied a portion of the funds they themselves and their efforts generated for you to enjoy it?

The idea that the high court should allow the NCAA to deny compensation to the workers who are making them billions based on the whims of a bunch of old white guys who like their basketball shorts short and their bounce passes crisp is farcical. 

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Cheap Shots



Speaking of revolting grifters.

The crazy is strong.