The GOP: A Cornered and Wounded Animal

It’s said that wounded and cornered animals are the most dangerous. The GOP is acting like a wounded and cornered animal. And what’s rich is that the GOP wounded and cornered itself.

Yesterday’s happenings in Tennessee may prove to be one of those flashpoints that change everything, like the Stonewall Uprising in 1969 or Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat on a bus in 1955. Before yesterday, hardly anyone outside Tennessee had ever heard of State Reps. Justin Jones, Justin J. Pearson, and Gloria Johnson. Now they’re going to be media celebrities. Way to go, Tennessee GOP. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

BTW, members of the Nashville city council are saying they will reappoint Justin Jones back to the Tennessee House. It appears there’s a majority vote, although I don’t think it’s been taken yet. Justin Pearson represents part of the city of Memphis, and I would think he would receive similar support, although I haven’t heard anything specific except that the Shelby County Board of Commissioners may meet sometime in the next few days to discuss what to do.

See Mike Allen and Zachary Basu at Vox, The GOP’s Epic Losing Streak. The GOP has been falling short of election expectations since 2018. And by continuing to rally around Trump, they are putting themselves in danger of a massive shellacking in 2024. At some level, some of them ought to be able to see this. But they seem unable to change course nonetheless.

The Tennessee episode was not just blatantly racist, but it also illuminated the GOP’s unwillingness to deal with gun violence in any way except to make more guns available.

Charlie Kirk, the conservative founder and president of Turning Point USA, said during an organizational event on Wednesday that gun deaths in exchange for the preservation of Second Amendment rights is part of America’s reality. …

… “You will never live in a society when you have an armed citizenry and you won’t have a single gun death,” Kirk said at a Turning Point USA Faith event on Wednesday, as reported by Media Matters for America. “That is nonsense. It’s drivel. But I am—I think it’s worth it.

“I think it’s worth to have a cost of, unfortunately, some gun deaths every single year so that we can have the Second Amendment to protect our other God-given rights. That is a prudent deal. It is rational. Nobody talks like this. They live in a complete alternate universe.”

He added that “having an armed citizenry comes with a price, and that is part of liberty.” Other solutions he mentioned included armed guards at school buildings, as well as “having more fathers in the home.”

Kirk also compared gun deaths to fatalities resulting from automobile accidents.

“Having an armed citizenry comes with a price, and that is part of liberty,” he said. “Driving comes with a price—50,000, 50,000, 50,000 people die on the road every year. That’s a price. You get rid of driving, you’d have 50,000 less auto fatalities. But we have decided that the benefit of driving—speed, accessibility, mobility, having products, services is worth the cost of 50,000 people dying on the road.

“So we need to be very clear that you’re not going to get gun deaths to zero. It will not happen. You could significantly reduce them through having more fathers in the home, by having more armed guards in front of schools. We should have a honest and clear reductionist view of gun violence, but we should not have a utopian one.”

I suspect he was speaking for most Republicans. He’s making a straw man argument, of course. Nobody iexpect zero gun deaths. But having the same rate of firearm deaths as, say, Canada or Switzerland — especially where children are concerned — would be nice. Gun ownership is legal in both Canada and Switzerland, btw.

The chart above is based on 2020 data, btw. I believe it’s worse now.

Basically, Kirk’s words show us how far Republicans will go to not admit guns are a problem. They cannot admit it even to themselves. They will continue to toss out the same old talking points about “gun free zones” and “law abiding citizens” versus “criminals” that don’t apply to the real world. Guns are absolutely sacrosanct to them now, more so than children. Ironically, embryos are also more sacrosanct than children. Weird. Last night’s vote in the Tennessee legislature was an exercise in denial. In the psychological sense of the word. They have to stifle all this talk about gun control. This is how they cornered themselves.

Polls tell us a significant majority of Americans favor more restrictions on firearm ownership, including background checks, red flag laws, and restrictions on open and concealed carry without a permit. Republicans won’t even discuss these things. Of course nationwide polls don’t show us state/regional differences. But just as Democrats are learning to not back away from the abortion issue, I believe they’re learning to not back away from the gun issue, either.

The election of Janet Protasiewicz to the Wisconsin state supreme court is also being met by much hysteria in the Wisconsin legislature. There is serious talk of impeaching her already, because she’s not one of them. The Wisconsin GOP simply cannot abide not controlling the court. Wisconsin law is not suppose to allow impeachments except for serious misconduct, but of course the GOP is acting like a wounded and cornered animal who will stop at nothing to survive. Well, except for what they really need to do to survive, which is cut loose from Trump and moderate their positions on abortion and guns, among other things.

And then there’s Justice Clarence Thomas. Every news outlet in the U.S. has a big headline today about how Justice Thomas didn’t think lavish gifts from a major GOP donor needed to be reported. It’s going to be a lot easier going forward for Democrats to paint the Roberts court as corrupt and in need of big reforms.

Unfortunately, they’re not going to stop acting like wounded and cornered animals in the near future. They have staked Trump, abortion, and guns as the hills they’re going to die on, and they may very well do that. So to speak.

Update: See The Abortion Ban Backlash Is Starting to Freak Out Republicans by Michelle Goldberg.

14 thoughts on “The GOP: A Cornered and Wounded Animal

  1. This is spot on. The GOP is a dying, cornered party, and they're going to get more dangerous, not less.

    Got an email from Governor Newsom, in response to DeSantis passing an open carry law in Floriduh:

    California: Some of the strongest gun laws in the country.

    Florida: Some of the weakest gun laws in the country.

    The results: Florida has significantly higher firearm death rates, violent crime rates and property crime rates than California.

    Strong gun laws work. Don’t believe the GOP nonsense. What Ron DeSantis is doing is weak, pathetic pandering.

    The GOP is in a death spiral, with the last of the true believers, like Charlie Kirk spewing nonsense, and their ringleader, Trump, likely going down, bigly, in spectacular fashion.

    NOW: IMO a huge roadblock Dems have to overcome is getting clear not about guns (easy, because people are fed up), not about abortion (easy, tons of women are onboard), but LGBTQ issues.

    There is a large block of middle-of-the-road voters who are probably okay with homosexuals gaining rights, but are terrified / confused over trans people. I hear over and over from women who are frightened of running into a biological man in the restroom.

    When you have a wingnut like Candace Owen blaming the Nashville shooting on “the violence the shooter did to their own body, turning them into a monster” – this is the tip of the iceberg of how less-unhinged but moderate voters feel.

    The trouble with LGBTQ is that it’s easy to demonize in a single word, such as “woke”, or the simplistic argument I read yesterday (“they believe a man can be turned into a woman”) and very hard to tease it all out and explain and make a reasonable case. I haven’t read or heard anything about how to counter the common fear women have regarding trans people.

    • "I hear over and over from women who are frightened of running into a biological man in the restroom." You can tell them that they already have.

  2. There's absolutely nothing Grand about the Grand Old Party anymore.  They invite ridicule and mockery, and I am happy to oblige with insults in the style of their leader;

    Goobers On Parade

    Gerrymander Or Perish

    Grabbing Our Pussies

    Guns Our Priority

  3. I followed the "Update: See…" link, but had to stop reading at, "Ann Coulter tweeted…"

    Seriously, the New York Times copy-pasting Ann Coulter tweets is where we're at as a Nation? This is news per the "Paper of Record"? (I know, it's under the opinion section. But still.)

    It's too depressing to contemplate where we're at on the comedy-tragedy spectrum at this point, so I won't.

  4. I'm so old that I remember when the KKKonservative power-that-be used to send out William F. Buckley – a great faux-intellectual and talker, and a Grand Master of the GOP's bigoted bullshite!

    Now, there's no one better than Charlie Kirk?!?



    You have no one better than an angry, bigoted, (virgin, naturally) incel, who's a verifiable "MORAN!!!"

    I hate to admit it, but something like that gives a bit of confidence.

    • Buckley is a throwback to the past when republicans used racist and misogynist dogwhistles.  In the modern republican party today, it is all openly and loudly done with bullhorns.

    • I seriously hated William F. Buckley back in the day. I wish he were still alive to see what has happened to his party. I can't see Buckley ever getting on the Trump train. 

  5. What doesn't give me confidence is that the bastard son of Leonard Leo and (pro-life – not pro-woman) Susan B. Anthony – and Nazi SS officer clone – "Judge" Matthew Kacsmaryk, has now put a stop to any and every woman's best choice for a medical abortion:  Mifepristone.

    I'm a 65 year-old, White, hetero male.

    But I'm with you, all of you "Handmaids" of ALL ages, racial and religious minorities, LGBTQ folks, and any others who draw the eye and ire and irrational blind hatred of the GOP's Sauron!!!


  6. "They have staked Trump, abortion, and guns as the hills they’re going to die on, and they may very well do that."

    Let's look at these three individually. I'm not sure how long the GOP donor class is going to subsidize the party when the GOP is married to loser Trump. IMO, Trump is playing the legal game to string out the trials as late into the primaries as possible, a span from February to June 2024. My guess is for the first criminal trial to start in February. Highlighting Trump's infidelity with multiple women while his wife was home with an infant will NOT help Trump. How much later the GA trial and the federal Obstruction case will run is anyone's guess. Trump will also be damaged by the civil tax/bank case in NY (October 2023), the"rape" trial, and the J6 civil suit also in '23. Trumpsters won't care but Trump will be hurt everywhere else. 

    He can't win in '24 and it will become obvious to the GOP donor class before the primary season begins. This frames the ancient debate, "What happens when the irresistible object collides with an immovable object?" The Trump voters will freak if/when the GOP leadership wants a POTUS candidate with a chance of winning. Donors are going to demand the party apparatchik change course and dump Trump.

    Side Issue: I think Trump knows he can't win the general election unless he cheats in massive ways. The DOJ may be explicit before the election about prosecuting fraud, not just voter fraud – but election fraud in all forms. If GA charges some of the people who signed the fake electors' document for fraud, it will make others think twice about participating in a new version when Trump is likely going to lose. At this point, the smart money is that Trump will win the primary but even Trump is worried about DeSantis.

    Abortion: Trump and DeSantis are after the evangelical kooks. Expect Trump to claim personal and individual credit in public for the USSC striking down Roe. DeSantis is going to a 6-week ban in FL. Neither of them can pivot to the center on the issue and voters DO care. I think this is presidential kryptonite for Trump and DeSantis in the general. (DeSantis could have held open the current 15-week restriction but he's doubling down in order to challenge Trump for the evangelicals. I expect DeSantis to offer to support and lead a federal ban.)

    A federal judge in TX has struck down the FDA approval of the drug used to induce abortion. It's likely headed to the USSC, which looks to me like the judge's intent and strategy. The reaction to Roe created a backlash that's got the GOP on their heels – a ban on a drug on purely Catholic grounds will inflame voters against the GOP and the USSC further. But I'm placing no bets either way. 

    Guns: I'd like it – reeeeeeeely like it if Democrats get together and affirm in writing that they do not intend to take away guns. A position on the exact impact of a ban on assault rifles would have to be spelled out but that has to be the starting point. From there, at each level of government, we need a discussion about what CAN be done to reduce gun deaths. Public meetings need to be scheduled – Republicans invited – and the complete refusal to enter into the discussion held up for voters in the most public way possible. The statistic that gus are the leading cause of death in children needs to be on billboards, put up in advertising for sporting events, on radio and TV ads, and the Goodyear blimp. Don't associate it with a candidate or party. Just make sure every voter is exposed to the fact.

    Moonbat brings up a good point. A lot of people have no direct experience with transgender people. What you do not understand, you fear. The GOP is exploiting that and ginning up fear. I consider myself fortunate that a friend who led a dual life as a man in the day and a woman at night let me into his/her world. It doesn't make me an authority – there are a million variations on the non-traditional theme. But I "get" that everybody has their wires crossed, at least a little. For some, the mental inclination is in serious conflict with internal/external plumbing. The resolution (or denial) is never easy and homophobes make exploring an alternate lifestyle miserable if not lethal. 

    Conservatives didn't see it coming. (Neither did I.) Colleges began to embrace non-traditional lifestyles decades ago – students were allowed to experiment. They graduated and some became local teachers – they encountered kids discovering their sexual identities and they tried to apply psychology, science, medicine, and compassion to ease them into who they are without judgment of them or exploitation. As far as I can tell, this has taken root at the HS level in a lot of states. (In FL, the guv is trying to put the genie back in the bottle.) But it's there – administrators can gag teachers but not students and THEY KNOW! It's not abnormal or bad – it's just not the form of sexual expression that the majority settles into. 

    But Moonbat's point is astute – a lot of adults need to be educated that minority sexual orientation(s) are not a threat. I'm almost 70 – I was middle-aged – damn near – when I started to learn tolerance of alternate lifestyles. 

    • Yes, tolerance!  Great comment as usual, Moonbat's also.  The trend of openness in the LGBTQ realm requires tolerance for any acceptance and understanding to occur.  LGBTQ persons have had to be incredibly tolerant, and secretive, just to survive.  I suppose its partly natural instinct to be skeptical of, or fear, or hate the unfamiliar "other"; we can either allow it to become familiar if we are inclined to be tolerant and accepting of differences, or we can declare war on it if we are inclined to be intolerant because we are certain we are always right and "our kind" is superior.  These days with the internet, exposure to the "other" is only a click away and depending on one's mindset such exposure can result in driving one to anger or leading one to understanding. 

      Unfortunately some people consider any incidental exposure to LGBTQ subject matter, a news article, personality spotlight, or whatever, as "shoving it down our throats!".  I don't believe anybody is being forced against their will to attend a drag show or a gay pride event, but ridiculous reactions seem inevitable.

      Increasing openness of LGBTQ is nothing but a good thing, IMO.  It wasn't all that long ago that, from the perspective of a white person in certain locations, you would be very surprised for a black family to enter a restaurant you frequented – today it means nothing, at least to many of us.  It wasn't all that long ago I had no idea what "LGBTQ" meant.  I believe those of us who are simply curious and interested in better understanding our friend, coworker, family member, or ourselves – are the lucky ones.

  7. Oh well, they could just change the name.  After all Altria (nee Philip Morris) "sees a future without cigarettes,"  and Altria "no longer manufactures land mines."  It's all about the brand – right, Donny?  Just keep telling those lies, people will buy it.


  8. Charlie’s god given rights from the Bible,for women. Maybe he should read the Bible.

    2:22 Woman created from Adam's rib
    3:16 Woman cursed: maternity a sin, marriage a bondage
    19:1-8 Rape virgins instead of male angels

    20:17 Insulting Tenth Commandment, considering a wife to be property
    21:7-11 Unfair rules for female servants, may be sex slaves
    22:18 "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live"
    38:8 Women may not enter tabernacle they must support

    12:1-14 Women who have sons are unclean 7 days
    12:4-7 Women who have daughters are unclean 14 days
    15:19-23 Menstrual periods are unclean
    19:20-22 If master has sex with engaged woman, she shall be scourged

    1:2 Poll of people only includes men
    5:13-31 Barbaric adulteress test
    31:16-35 "Virgins" listed as war booty

    21:11-14 Rape manual
    22:5 Abomination for women to wear men's garments, vice-versa
    22:13-21 Barbaric virgin test
    22:23-24 Woman raped in city, she & her rapist both stoned to death
    22:28-29 Woman must marry her rapist
    24:1 Men can divorce woman for "uncleanness," not vice-versa
    25:11-12 If woman touches foe's penis, her hand shall be cut off

    11:30-40 Jephthah's nameless daughter sacrificed
    19:22-29 Concubine sacrificed to rapist crowd to save man

    I Kings 
    11:1-4 King Solomon had 700 wives & 300 concubines

    14:1-4 "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one . . ."

    7:9-27 Evil women seduce men, send them to hell
    11:22 One of numerous Proverbial putdowns

    3:16-17 God scourges, rapes haughty women

    16:45 One of numerous obscene denunciations

    24:19 "[woe] to them that are with child"

    2:22 Mary is unclean after birth of Jesus

    I Corinthians 
    11:3-15 Man is head of woman; only man in God's image
    14:34-35 Women keep in silence, learn only from husbands

    5:22-33 "Wives, submit . . ."

    3:18 More "wives submit"

    I Timothy 
    2:9 Women adorn selves in shamefacedness
    2:11-14 Women learn in silence in all subjection; Eve was sinful, Adam blameless

    Why should women–and the men who honor women–respect and support religions which preach women's submission, which make women's subjugation a cornerstone of their theology?

    When attempts are made to base laws on the bible, women must beware. The constitutional principle of separation between church and state is the only sure barrier standing between women and the bible.


  9. @doug wrote Guns: I’d like it – reeeeeeeely like it if Democrats get together and affirm in writing that they do not intend to take away guns.

    Great interview of Michigan governor Whitmer by Jen Psaki, finessing this issue, which you can imagine is up front and center in Michigan. A couple take aways

    – Whitmer dodges the question of banning assault rifles, and instead ticks off a set of incremental steps, which is probably more doable.

    I suspect guns will require some baseline policies in effect throughout the US, with local adjustments, since the big city is very different from rural areas, each has different needs. One-size-fits-all is very unlikely to get far.

    I saw Jen Psaki “interview” Andrew Weissman – the very visible NY attorney who’s on MSNBC a lot – he’s giving her a tour of his NYC apartment. She talks too much, and hasn’t learned to get out of the way of the subject she’s interviewing. OTOH, she’s got a lot more needed bite than someone bland like Katie Couric.

    The whole LGBTQ thing has been simmering in the back of my mind for weeks now, I recognize it as a significant obstacle for the Democratic party to tear down the lock the Republican party has on spiritually oriented people who happen to be conservative. These people are just a few steps away from joining the party that fights for children and all things good.

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