The GOP is no longer a serious political party. It’s a vaudeville show, and all they care about these days is performing. Not performing good deeds, mind you. Just performing. And the top clowns were all feeling their oats on Wednesday.
Whether he’s concocting ad hoc reasons for flying to Cancun during a deadly deep freeze or insisting there really is candy in the back of his windowless white van, it’s safe to say that Sen. Ted Cruz can rarely be trusted. I’d say “never,” but you can rely on him being the most loathsome vertebrate at any right-wing rally that neglected to book the neo-Nazi blobfish. And even then it’s a toss-up.
Yesterday, Cruz viciously attacked Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson with a fusillade of dishonest accusations and innuendos. It was gross. It was outrageous. And his performative pique seemed about as genuine as his situational outrage on behalf of his wife.
But more on Cruz in a minute—because he was far from the only asshole at the party.
Sens. Lindsey Graham, Josh Hawley, and Tom Cotton also piled on, transparently angling for a spot on Fox News, which they knew could be relied on to package their sound bites into a Potemkin case against Jackson’s confirmation.
It was as predictable as the sunrise—or Russian state media boosting Tucker Carlson. So, naturally, it came to pass, just as we all foresaw.
Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) got what they set out to achieve in their performances during Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation hearings Wednesday: airtime on Fox News.
The four hectored her, with raised voices and constant interruptions, on her record of sentencing people in possession of child pornography. Their theatrical intent was clear at the time: many repeatedly asked questions that she’d already answered, and cut her off when she tried to explain the complicated process of sentencing those crimes.
“Hectored” is the perfect word for what they did, but it really doesn’t come close to capturing the full breadth of their refulgent assholery. For that, you’d have to watch the entire poo-flinging fantasia, and I can’t recommend that less. Just imagine that kid in grade school who used to pull the wings off flies, then imagine he somehow got an Ivy League law degree. That pretty much sums up the bulk of the GOP Senate caucus these days.
And so it was no surprise when all four of those musty assholes got booked on Fox News Wednesday night. Because clearly, that’s who they were auditioning for, as TPM notes.
But, of course, these senators weren’t seeking clarity to questions about her record. Nearly all are known to have designs on higher office, and know how the right-wing media ecosystem works — a theatrical performance, rooted in an exceptionally dark fixation of the right wing of the party, made to smear and humiliate a Black woman, rates clicks and eyeballs. And it worked.
Still not convinced that this was their intent? Consider that, following his smear-a-palooza, Cruz seemed far more interested in his Twitter clout than the credibility and integrity of the nation’s highest court.
During the hearing, Cruz went over his 20-minute allotted questioning time and repeatedly ignored requests from Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin, the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to stop grilling Jackson.
He had been asking her about her sentencing record on child-pornography cases, a topic which she repeatedly defended throughout the week.
Shortly after the heated exchange between Durbin and Cruz, Los Angeles Times reporter Nolan D. McCaskill tweeted a photo of the Texas senator in which he appears to be looking down at his phone.
Here’s McCaskill’s tweet:
Well now, we shouldn’t make assumptions, should we? He could be looking at his phone for any number of reasons. Like maybe the indentured servants who work his land in FarmVille are revolting, and he needs to violently put down the insurrection. Could be anything, really.
Except McCaskill’s Los Angeles Times colleague, Kent Nishimura, was working an entirely different angle.
Ketanji Brown Jackson will almost certainly be the next associate justice of the Supreme Court, but she sure didn’t deserve the reception she got this week. And if she’d been a white male beer lover encumbered by lots of mysterious debt and credible sexual assault allegations, Cruz would have spent the day genuflecting and fawning. But she’s an exceptional Black woman, so these dicks are determined to do all they can to signal their distaste to their racist base.
Mission accomplished, assholes. Mission accomplished.
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