Tag Archives: Hershel Walker

Playing Cozy With The Nazis

It is getting very scary.

Over the past several years–aided and abetted by Trump’s normalization of racism and anti-Semitism–the GOP has become less and less distinguishable from its Neo-Nazi fringe, and less embarrassed by the relationship.

Just a few of the many available examples:

In Washington State, the Republican Party is paying a pro-Nazi blogger.

Arnold runs the far-right Telegram account “Pure Politics,” which traffics in Jan. 6 conspiracy theories, praise of controversial lawmakers, and anti-COVID-containment sentiments. It also has more than 12,000 followers who frequently comment with racist and antisemitic language.

But Arnold himself has said plenty of distressing things. As CNN reported last year, Arnold has advocated shooting refugees, killing undocumented immigrants, and has posted praise for Nazi Germany. He actually once said Adolf Hitler was “a complicated historical figure which many people misunderstand.”

 In a statement shared last week with The Daily Beast, the communications director for the Washington Republican Party, Ben Gonzalez, didn’t deny Arnold’s employment but claimed his tenure was short-lived.

The paid tenure may have been “short lived,” but the party’s relationship with Arnold isn’t. The GOP congressional candidate who won this year’s Republican primary was photographed alongside Arnold, “a move praised by his followers.” 

Other media outlets have reported on Arnold’s strong ties to white nationalist Nicholas Fuentes. Fuentes leads a group of “college-aged, far-right activists that refer to themselves as “groypers”—a rebranding of the racist alt-right movement”–and within the far-right “America First” movement, Arnold is a lieutenant.

The embrace of Nazi ideology isn’t limited to Washington State, nor to organized far-right groups. Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake has endorsed an “out and proud” Oklahoma anti-Semite. Doug Mastriano, running for Governor of Pennsylvania, has a long history of anti-Semitism and has made anti-Jewish attacks on his Jewish opponent.

As one media outlet put it, 

From Dr. Oz in front of Hitler’s car to Marjorie Taylor Greene spouting the Great Replacement Theory to the GOP supporting Kanye West—the message is clear.

GOP officials have praised figures like Hungary’s Victor Orban, and Americans have been treated to a stream of pro-Putin, pro-Orban, anti-Semitic propaganda by Fox News figure Tucker Carlson.

Even though Fox News star Tucker Carlson’s interview with Kanye West was so expansive that it ran during both his Thursday and Friday night broadcasts, it appears the far-right cable host left out plenty of newsworthy footage, Motherboard reported on Tuesday.

These segments of the interview omitted from the final broadcasts showed the rap superstar, now known as Ye, casually peddling antisemitism while making strange claims about “fake children” used to manipulate his own kids.

Last week, before West went on an antisemitic tantrum on social media, he was welcomed on Carlson’s show to discuss the backlash he faced for donning a “White Lives Matter” shirt alongside right-wing provocateur Candace Owens at Paris Fashion Week.

 In the interview that aired on Fox News, Carlson presented West as a conservative folk hero, praising his “interesting, deep, provocative” observations on politics and social issues, even shrugging off concerns about West’s mental-health issues and documented struggles with bipolar disorder.

Carlson has been a major apologist for the so-called “replacement theory”–the fear expressed by far-right White Christian Males that they will be “replaced” (displaced from their perceived status as “real” Americans) by Jews and people of color. The men who rioted in Charlottesville chanted “Jews shall not replace us.”

Almost immediately after his appearance on Carlson’s show,  West used social media to issue antisemitic threats against Jewish people and was locked out of both his Instagram and Twitter accounts. Carlson has ignored the controversy and has continued to laud his “standing up for oppressed white people., as have most Congressional Republicans

Kanye West –now “Ye”–is currently a Republican celebrity, one of a small number of Blacks being used by the GOP to rebut charges of racism. (“I can’t be racist. Some of my best friends/current candidates are…”) Hershel Walker is another. As several pundits have commented, the issue for these cynical Republicans is how to handle personalities like West and Walker, both of whom have publicly struggled with mental health issues and seem unaware of their status as pawns.

As one observer put it, “I am not personally worried that Kanye is going to bomb a synagogue or something like that. I’m more concerned that there is a huge political movement that’s holding him up as this figure.”

Members of disfavored minorities used to worry about rightwing “dog whistles.” These days, the GOP isn’t bothering to whistle–instead, the party (now fully captured by its one-time fringe) is enthusiastically embracing its inner bigot.

The parallels with Germany in the 30s are too obvious to miss.

 

Bananas!

Sometimes, political reality is so bizarre, all you can do is laugh– and Dana Milbank is one of the funniest political commentators around.

You’d think that We The People would be accustomed to the GOP’s steady retreat from seriousness and sanity. There’s Marjorie Taylor Greene, who opposes solar energy because we won’t have electricity after the sun goes down. Louie Gohmert has continued to protect his reputation as the dumbest mammal to enter a legislative chamber since Caligula’s horse. Lauren Bobert wants all citizens to pass a test on the Bible…The litany of idiocy could go on for hours.

What set Milbank off was an even more recent example: one of Trump’s endorsed congressional candidates–a North Carolina  Republican nominee named Bo Hines– “weighed in recently on all the talk about the United States becoming a banana republic, one of those nominal democracies where the rule of law is shaky. But Hines, a former college football player, spoke as if everybody was referring to Banana Republic, the clothing retailer.”

“A lot of people have likened the situation going on right now, is, you know, they say we’re in a Banana Republic,” he told radio host John Fredericks. “I think that’s an insult to Banana Republics across the country. I mean, at least the manager of Banana Republic, unlike our president, knows where he is and why he’s there and what he’s doing.”
 
Hines’s campaign retroactively labeled this “a joke.” Ha! I nearly split my pleated chinos.

Sorry, but that excuse is a total Lululemon. Misunderstanding a universal idiom, particularly while maligning President Biden’s mental acuity, suggests Hines is just not very PetSmart. On an intelligence scale of 1 to 10, he’s Five Below.

I wonder how many Trump Republicans would understand Milbank’s references…let alone laugh…

The column also has fun with the ongoing joke that has been Dr. Oz’s campaign for Senate in Pennsylvania. Among other gaffes, the noted quack distributed a video showing him shopping at a Redner’s supermarket.  Not only did he misidentify the grocery as “Wegner’s,” he filled his arms with broccoli, asparagus, carrots, guacamole and salsa, leading Milbank to note that supermarkets have these things called carts. The point of the video was to blame President Biden for the high price of the vegetables, which he called crudités, a word unlikely to be used by average guys going to the store for their wives. (The Democratic candidate, John Fetterman, who has had what looks like a lot of fun trolling Dr. Dense, tweeted that people in Pennsylvania “call that a veggie tray.”)

Milbank had fun with several other GOP candidates, but he outdid himself when he came to Hershel Walker, Georgia’s Senate candidate. (Granted, it’s hard NOT to laugh at Walker. I know it’s not kind to make fun of people who are mentally disabled, but typically those individuals aren’t running for the U.S. Senate.)

Leading this confederacy of dunces is Herschel Walker, GOP Senate nominee from Georgia. He took the position that there are 52 states and asserted that the theory of evolution is wrong because, “If that is true, why are there still apes? Think about it.”

Then think about Walker’s thoughts on the futility of fighting air pollution: “Since we don’t control the air, our good air decides to float over to China’s bad air. So, when China gets our good air, their bad air … moves over to our good air space.”

Cleanup in the crudité aisle!

Milbank then returned to the Banana Republic gaffe, and noted that the retailer is

all about encouraging sedentary Americans to pretend they are 19th century explorers in safari tents or sailing ships, wearing “pieces inspired by our history, a story of daring vision and imagined journeys.” Its clothes “wink at our heritage.” 

Given the current devolution of the GOP, Milbank had some suggested “winks.”

  • The White-Nationalist Linen Line. Yearn for the days when White men alone ruled America? Then put your wardrobe through a Great Replacement and return to the hoop skirts, bodices and tail coats of yore.
  • Stasi Style. As you report to the state on the activities of teachers, journalists and those who seek abortions, show your fashion sense by wearing the jackboots, baggy trousers and belted military jackets popularized by the East German secret police.
  • The Dezinformatsiya Line. Russian state television reports that it is “worried for our agent Trump.” Share the worry, visually, with a clothing line inspired by classic Cossack hats and babushka headscarves.
  • The Giuliani Collection. As Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani becomes a target of a criminal investigation, his chief financial officer prepares for a guilty plea and top-secret government files are found in Trump’s home, wear the crisp pinstripes and bold orange jumpsuits that define prison chic.

If we don’t laugh, we’ll cry…As Hershel Walker would say, “Think about it.”