The Mahablog

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The Mahablog

Can the Beast Be Starved?

“Anything you feed will grow” is an aphorism I heard a long time ago that stuck with me. It’s coming back to me again. See Paul Waldman, Republican elites fear the monster they created

On screen, Fox News personalities paint a world of clear heroes and villains, where conservatives are always strong and right and liberals are weak and wrong. But the extraordinary private communications revealed in the $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit filed by Dominion Voting Systems against Fox show who they really are. Panicked over Donald Trump’s loss in the 2020 election, those same hosts, and the executives who run the network, cowered in abject terror.

They feared the same monster that keeps House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) up at night, the monster that conservative media and Republican politicians created: base voters who are deluded, angry and vengeful.

At this point, if they stop feeding the monster the monster might eat them. It’s also the case that if they stop feeding the monster, plenty of other news outlets and politicians will step forward with truckloads of juicy, red meat to keep feeding it. And of course the deluded, angry and vengeful base can always get on social media and feed each other.

Is this a beast that can’t be starved? We may never know. Recently Kevin McCarthy handed over House security footage of January 6 to Tucker Carlson so that the beast could be fed.

 Carlson’s producers will comb through endless pixels to find images with which to mislead viewers: to convince them that the riot wasn’t so bad or that Trump’s supporters weren’t to blame or that the whole thing was a setup.

That will only further convince Carlson’s audience to deny the truth about Jan. 6, and punish any Republican officeholder who disagrees.

The beast was created and carefully nurtured over many years as a cheap source of “conservative” votes for the Republican Party. Lee Atwater fed it. Karl Rove fed it. But back in the day, they could still control it. At this point, the beast is in control, even though in many parts of the country the extremists are driving middle-of-the-road voters away from the Republican Party.

Election deniers lost big in the midterms, so now they’re taking over state GOP offices. PBS:

Embracing election conspiracy theories was a political albatross for Republicans in states that weren’t completely red last year, with deniers losing every statewide bid in the swing states of Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. But the movement has focused on GOP state party chairs — positions that usually are selected by only dedicated activists and have the power to influence the party’s presidential nominating contest and some aspects of election operations, such as recruiting poll watchers.

“The rise of this dangerous ideology nationwide and the rise within party machinery are ominous,” said Norm Eisen, a prominent Washington lawyer and former ambassador who is executive chair of States United Democracy Center, which tracks election deniers. “It’s an outrageous phenomenon.”

But, so far, it’s working pretty well for the beast. The PBS article goes on to list a number of hard-right ideologues and election deniers, some of whom lost midterm elections, who managed to get themselves elected to positions in their state’s Republican Party. Yes, let the party be run by the wackjobs who lost the last election. Such a plan.

If somehow the right-wing news outlets and right-wing politicians shut up for a few weeks, maybe some of the craziness would subside. Just stop feeding the beast. If the flow of disinformation and phony controversies (Pete Buttigieg didn’t go to East Palestine!) could be cut off — which is not going to happen — the beast at least would shrink. I’d like to believe that at some point the hard right fanatics will become such a liability to the Republican Party that they’ll be run out of the party instead of being given plum House committee assignments.

But Josh Marshall reports that right-wing web-based influencers are telling their loyal viewers the Ukraine War is fake. So the beast will be fed by somebody. It’s not going to be starved. Not anytime soon.

6 thoughts on “Can the Beast Be Starved?

  1. The fascist laws in our legislatures are not fake.

    It will be illegal to let anyone under age 18 watch Mrs Doubtfire soon.

    Death santis is going after the entire state university system. No reality but white male straightism will be taught.

    Biden is doing a good job. Did it ever occur to pollsters that the vague question of whether the country is headed in the right direction is a reflection not on Biden but on the slow fascist takeover that is rolling over the states like the Blob movie?

    The crazies are in charge in too many places all trying to out do each other. State legislators file multiple anti trans laws and anti education bills so they can brag on twitter etc. Facism as performance art.

  2. I hope before they start, the Fox video-editors on "MotherTucker KKKarlon's Fascist-fest Hour" take a moment to remember Leni Riefenstahl.

    Leni was said to be Hitler's favorite film propagandist.  You all here know who she was, and her story.

    But, well, the Fox volks may not.

    So listen, Fox schmucks: 

    After the war, the Allies spent years investigating Leni Riefenstahl – and making some pretty wild accusations.  Without proof.

    But eventually, the Allies concluded that Leni wasn't a willing accomplice to the Nazi regime's war plans and crimes, and she was cleared of charges.

    Leni was 101 years-old when she died:  1902 – 2003..

    And all those decades ago, when she was cleared, and it had just been proven she wasn't a Nazi herself, and not an accomplice, Leni knew that none of that will ever matter. 

    That her name was so "soiled," that until the day she died, whenever people heard her name, their first thought would be, "Leni…  Oh… Oh yes!  Leni Riefenstahl!  Oh no, a Nazi propagandist."

    And she was right.

    For the rest of her life, whenever she was introduced to someone, she knew that eventually the look of realization would come upon their face,  of exactly who they were being introduced to.

    WWII ended in 1945.

    Leni died, in 2003.

    That's a lotta years seeing that realization in people's eyes.

    Do the "left" thing, Fox "folks!"

    Don't do Putin's propaganda for him through KKKarlson!!!

  3. The more extreme the state Republican parties get, the better. Democrats will put themselves in sharp relief to the nutters and get elected. The more the nutters are exposed – and get hauled before various courts, the better. Do illegal or unethical stuff, and expect the public to find out.

    More and more women and young people are mobilizing because they don't want Gilead.

  4.  Regarding the "monster"… in the movie "Aliens", which is the second (and best) movie if the series, the "company" sent a colony of victims to provide hosts to the monsters the first group encountered in "Alien." The company thinks they can harness the destructive energy as an army of super-soldiers. 

    I credit Rush Limbaugh first. The GOP realized the ditto-heads were fact-averse, truth-averse, and married to their pet bigotries. Drones, Easy votes. Knee-jerk opposed to anything liberals like and they will turn out to vote. Murdoch seems to have realized that if cultivated (fed) the power of a mob of fact-free zealots under the spell of Fox would put Rupert in the position of kingmaker for the GOP. 

    Key conflict: If the number of appearances on Fox is any indication, Rupert has anointed DeSantis as the next GOP presidential nominee. Trump thinks he owns the GOP voters and the GOP nomination to run in 2024. Trump also has motivation – it may be the only way to stay out of jail.  

    Rupert Murdoch thinks he can still ride this to power. As long as no blood is on his hands, Trump's fall is the best thing that can happen to Fox – if the mob turns to the network for direction and their daily fix of resentment. The trove of video is for the narrative – Trump deceived everyone and the J6 patriots were poor pawns. (Murdoch maintains kingmaker status, including the first lien on Ron's ass.)

    A bunch of people conspired with Trump to overthrow the election. Mark Meadows, Kevin McCarthy, MTG, Ron Johnson, Scott Perry, are the tip of the iceberg of people in positions of power who aided  Trump before and after the coup. Trump owns them for what Trump can say about them to DOJ. (On the flip side are Republicans like McConnell who would love to visit Trump in jail.) The House Republicans are squarely in Trump's corner and likely to stay there even after criminal charges are filed.

    Trump can't win in the general election. A lot of GOP voters sense that and are looking at DeSantis as a possible winner. Trump has one ace – enough Republican voters are loyal to Trump alone (the true cultists) to deprive the GOP of a win if Trump ran as an independent. I believe that Trump isn't campaigning hard because Trump has no intention of recognizing the right of these Republicans to oppose him. I think Trump will demand a coronation by the party before the primary season starts or he will run as an independent. 

    If that happens, the GOP will get creamed in 2024. Again. The donor class behind the GOP will assert their authority. I think. (For one thing, the GOP donor class can see the Trump tax cuts will sunset in 2026-7 if a Republican does not win in 2024. They expect a return on investment. The kooks can't deliver.) They are going to demand the GOP clean house, put sane Republicans in positions of authority within the RNC and state Republican organizations. Or the money stops. The nuts and racists will freak and form their own party built around Trump. 

    Fox won't nursemaid the idiots if they are not a conduit to power. I think a third to half the GOP will leave the party to assert the right to pursue their bigotries and wage their culture wars. In a few states and districts, they are numerous enough to win a few elections. But power? They'll never see it again. To replace the losses, the GOP will turn to two groups. Hispanics are often conservative in philosophy, but they've been disrespected by the GOP for so long, they've started voting "D". I predict the reformed GOP will advocate for real immigration reform. Second, I predict the reformed GOP will advocate for the ERA passage, with wording to guarantee the right to elective abortion. Like it was their idea all along.

    It will take a few election cycles to reach parity with the Democrats but as the GOP moves to the center, the Democrats can move further left. That's the moment to get big money out of politics. (The lunatics will make a lot of noise on the far right, too few, too ignorant, and too rude to negotiate anything they want into law.)

  5. There is a piece on lawyers guns and money about the one gay state senator in Missouri. He says all the Republicans tell him they are playing the game and the bills they keep throwing on the table are just for bragging to their voters. They really don't give a damn sorta like Tucker/Santos/Trump etc


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