The story goes that a woman was sitting on a park bench in Miami. She was elderly, but she was also farputzed, i.e., put together nicely, with fashionable clothes, newly styled hair, and tastefully applied makeup.
An old, disheveled, unshaven man in a tattered suit came and sat down on the bench next to her.
“I haven’t seen you around here,” she said pleasantly.
The old man shrugged his shoulders and said, “I just came down.”
He hesitated for a moment. “No. I just got out of jail.”
Astonished, she said in an exaggerated whisper, “What were you in jail for?”
The man winced. “Murder,” he said.
“Whom did you murder,” she asked, incredulous.
He winced again. “My wife.”
“Oh,” she exclaimed, her face lighting up, “you’re single!”
And that brings us to the contemporary republican worldview. It doesn’t matter if you tell bald-faced lies about yourself and your family. It doesn’t matter if you fabricate stories about your supposedly Jewish grandparents fleeing the Holocaust, or your mother dying in the 9/11 attacks. It doesn’t matter if you trot out one phony baloney story after another, about losing colleagues in the Pulse nightclub shootings, about being an honor student and star volleyball player at a school you never attended, about being a project manager at firms where you never worked, about running non-existent charities. It doesn’t even matter if you stole a man’s checkbook in Brazil (between drag shows) or embezzled money from a dying dog’s GoFundMe account (seriously!). No, none of that matters to republicans. As long as you can provide a reliable partisan vote to do the important work of congress. Like sending the government into fiscal default. Like passing legislation condemning “left-wing abortion extremists” and “radical anti-life activists.” Like investigating the “weaponization of the federal government.” Like investigating the Bidens. Repudiate George Santos? Are you kidding?
And as we all well know, it’s not just Santos. The republicans had no problem supporting Solomon Peña, the certifiable sociopath who was recently arrested for hiring hitmen to shoot up the houses of Arizona democratic politicians. And Herschel Walker, the deadbeat dad who once pointed a gun at his ex-wife (remember, guns are good, so that’s all ok). And literally dozens of smaller fry (sometimes successful) GOP candidates convicted of everything from domestic violence to fraud and tax evasion. Given the role models that republicans have routinely placed before the American public, It's no wonder that self-styled militiamen attempted to kidnap Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer, or that a right-wing blogger succeeded in bludgeoning Nancy Pelosi's octogenarian husband. Is there any question where the buck stops on this nihilism? If the republican party could blithely look the other way during four years of Trump’s villainy, if they could shrug and gaslight after the Capitol insurrection two years ago, could there ever be any moment when they confront their own hypocrisy? After cutting such Faustian bargains, is there any ethical boundary they won’t trespass in their lust for power? Why not just put future jail inmates Jim Jordan, Lauren Boebert, and Marjorie Taylor-Greene on the House Oversight Committee? Oh wait, they've already done that. “Fair is foul, and foul is fair.”
And so, a republican strategist was sitting on a bench somewhere in DC, alternately reviewing legal documents in his briefcase and glancing at his smartphone. A young, tee-shirted skinhead came and sat down on the bench next to him.
“I haven’t seen you around here,” he said.
“I just moved up.”
“No. I just got out of jail.”
“What were you in jail for?”
“I killed five workers at an abortion clinic.”
“Oh,” he exclaimed, his face lighting up, “you’re pro-life!”
And, just in case you don't understand the title of this post . . .