I remember the first time I saw Nikki Haley. It was in a high school gym before the 2012 South Carolina Republican presidential primary. Tim Scott, who was then a congressman, was holding a raucous town hall, and Ms. Haley was there to cheer him on. The first woman governor of South Carolina, the first Indian American ever elected to statewide office there, the youngest governor in the country. Whatever that “thing” is that talented politicians possess, Ms. Haley had it. People liked her, and more important, she seemed to like people. She talked with you, not to you, and made routine conversations feel special and important. She seemed to have unlimited potential.
Is Herschel Walker the worst candidate the Republicans have ever run?
By Jill Filipovic
Republican men can be accused of any number of horrors, and not risk their party’s support
Thu 27 Oct 2022 14.29 EDT
It’s possible that Herschel Walker is the worst candidate the modern Republican party has ever run for national office, and in an era of conspiracy theorists, Christian nationalists and Donald Trump, that’s saying a lot. Walker embodies everything the Republican party has claimed to oppose: violent crime, abortion, homes broken by absentee fathers, race-based affirmative action and straight-up incompetence. And yet no matter what Walker is accused of, up to and including acts many Republicans define as murder, he retains the support of the Republican party, and his race for a Georgia Senate seat remains a tight one.
It’s not just that the modern Republican party has accepted as a norm that there should be absolutely zero moral or ethical expectations from the people they run for office. It’s that they seem to relish breaking the rules they want to set for others. It’s not hypocrisy so much as the celebration of conservative male impunity.
Walker has now been accused by two different women of pressuring them to get abortions, and paying for the procedures – allegations which he denies. By the “pro-life” definition of abortion, one widely accepted within the Republican party, abortion is murder, which means that Walker allegedly paid to murder his own children. That Republican voters don’t see this as a problem suggests that they don’t really buy what their own movement is selling, and don’t actually believe that abortion is in fact murder. But they are nonetheless prepared to criminalize it.
And the two women who say Walker paid for their abortions are different women from the ex-wife who has accused Walker of domestic violence. The latest woman to accuse Walker has remained anonymous, so it’s impossible to know if she is a different woman still from the one who accused Walker of stalking around her home and threatening her, or the other one who says Walker allegedly threatened to “blow her head off” if she left him. The first woman who came forward about Walker’s involvement in her abortion is, however, the mother of one of the several children Walker fathered out of wedlock and then did not publicly acknowledge – and had been sued to support – until after journalists tracked them down during his Senate campaign.
Walker has described fatherless Black families as a “major, major problem” in the US. Last year, he told conservative celebrities Diamond and Silk that the typical irresponsible Black father “leaves the boys alone so they’ll be raised by their mom”, he said. “If you have a child with a woman, even if you have to leave that woman – even if you have to leave that woman – you don’t leave that child.”
Walker did in fact leave his own children. At least one of their mothers had to sue him to get him to admit paternity.
Still, this is the man selected by the party of “family values” to represent Georgia – and this is a man who believes he should get the job.
Rightwing commentator Dana Loesch seemed to sum up the Republican view on Walker when she said of his abortion funding, “I don’t care if Herschel Walker paid to abort endangered baby eagles. I want control of the Senate.” Walker has denied the accusations, but not even Republicans seem to believe him. “I don’t know if he did it or not,” Loesch said. “I don’t even care.”
Republicans definitely care when women choose to have abortions, though. The Republican party line is that abortion is murder and should be criminalized. Walker himself believes as much, and has voiced his support for Georgia’s strict abortion criminalization law, as well as Republican efforts to outlaw abortion nationwide.
And it’s not just that Walker is by any measure a profoundly immoral person, with his long string of violent criminal behavior and abuse of women. He is also almost indescribably vapid, a man with what seems to be a shockingly light grasp of the most basic of concepts (he at least seems to recognize his own intellectual limitations, saying, “I’m not that smart”). He struggles to string together a coherent sentence. Climate change, he has said, is not worth fighting because “since we don’t control the air, our good air decided to float over to China’s bad air so when China gets our good air, their bad air got to move. So it moves over to our good air space. Then now we got to clean that back up, while they’re messing ours up.”
He is also a serial fabulist, although it’s unclear if he’s purposely lying all of the time, or if he truly does not understand what is happening around him at any given moment. Walker claimed he was his high school’s valedictorian and in the top 1% of his graduating class in college; in reality, he did not graduate from college, although he has since lied about lying about it. Walker told a group of soldiers, “I spent time at Quantico at the FBI training school. Y’all didn’t know I was an agent?” They did not know he was an agent because Herschel Walker was not, in fact, an agent. Nevertheless, he has persisted in claiming that he was in law enforcement, holding up an honorary sheriff’s deputy badge as proof – the rough equivalent of a child brandishing their kiddie pilot wings and claiming they can fly the plane.
And while Republicans are crowing about the Pennsylvania Senate candidate John Fetterman’s depressing debate performance and claiming that he is mentally unfit for office – Fetterman is recovering from a stroke, and though his doctors say he is not cognitively impaired, he still struggles with auditory processing and stumbles over his words – they are also excusing Walker’s bad behavior by pointing to his history of concussions. And Walker himself has said he simply doesn’t remember much of his violent past, and has pinned blame on what he says are his multiple personalities – a disorder he sought treatment for by a guy whose professional credentials are a degree in Bible from the Dallas Bible College and a master’s degree in theology, and who blames demonic possession for mental illnesses, claims to be able to cure homosexuality and diagnoses mental disorders based on what color crayon a patient selects (the therapist himself is colorblind).
Imagine, for a moment, if Kamala Harris had what seems to be inadequately treated multiple personality disorder, a history of violent criminal behavior she blamed on her other personalities, and several children with multiple different men who she attempted to hide during her campaign – the rightwing outrage and attacks would be vicious and unending, and she would not be in office. Michelle Obama had the audacity to simply exist in the public eye, and for that was subject to a barrage of racist and sexist vitriol, including Fox News calling her “Obama’s baby mama”.
Republican men, in the meantime, can be proudly incompetent, self-defined imbeciles, moral degenerates and violent misogynists, and they don’t risk their party’s support or conservatives’ ballots.
This is hypocrisy, yes. But Republicans aren’t ashamed of it not just because they seem to lack the capacity for shame – although that is certainly true – but because the below-the-surface conservative ethos isn’t about any real attachment to family values, moral uprightness, or fetal life, but rather a return to a traditional gender order where men dominate political, social and economic life, and women are financially and socially dependent on them, primarily tasked with raising children and tending to the home. Outlawing abortion helps to reinforce this patriarchal order by constraining women’s opportunities and our ability to choose the course of our own lives, but it’s the “patriarchal order” part of the equation that’s more desirable than the “preventing abortion” part of it. When Walker wants the women he allegedly impregnated to end their pregnancies because additional out-of-wedlock children are inconvenient for him, his future and his political career, that upholds the kind of traditional male power structure conservatives seek to reinstate – and is the kind of abortion exception Republicans can apparently get behind.
Trump is completely sabotaging the Republican Party In Georgia with a rant against the “RINOs” who he is going to defeat in the primary. By Trump’s definition, a RINO is anyone who would not help him steal the election. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpntnqYxj08)
My father, bless his heart, was fond of saying, “The world is going to hell in a handbasket.” Adapting to change was difficult for him, and many others, ‘back in the day’.
This month the wild fires burning out west and in Canada caused so much smoke that almost the entire United States of America was filled with smoke.
There was a day when the only part of the US without smoke from the burning flames was the Southeast. This included my home state of Georgia, Florida, and parts of the North and South Carolina. Several days ago things had changed and there was a report that Atlanta was under a “smoke advisory.”
“Smoke” has become a regular part of weather forecasts all over the land that was made for you and me.
Yet members of one of the two major political parties in this country (Why only two?) continue to deny there is climate change. I would expect nothing less from the Neanderthals who also continue to deny the Trumpster lost the election. This was the Russian assessment of the Trumpster published by The Guardian a couple of weeks ago: “There is a brief psychological assessment of Trump, who is described as an “impulsive, mentally unstable and unbalanced individual who suffers from an inferiority complex”.” Sounds like the Republican party, does it not? It is not only climate change those in the ‘Grand OLD party’ deny. The report also contains this: “A report prepared by Putin’s expert department recommended Moscow use “all possible force” to ensure a Trump victory.” (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jul/15/kremlin-papers-appear-to-show-putins-plot-to-put-trump-in-white-house) No wonder little man Putin was grinning like the cat who ate the canary every time he was near the Trumpster.
The world is burning literally and figuratively.
Last week, the US Naval Research Laboratory held a very 2021 press conference, in which scientists reported a very 2021 outbreak of “smoke thunderclouds.” Catastrophic wildfires, exacerbated by catastrophic climate change, had produced a rash of pyrocumulonimbus plumes over the western United States and Canada, known in the scientific vernacular as pyroCb. (https://www.wired.com/story/oh-good-now-theres-an-outbreak-of-wildfire-thunderclouds/)
I had this video where the Bruce Springsteen video now resides, but decided to put Woody, who wrote the song, down here because I wanted to include the lyrics. Many years ago during a conversation with my cousin Linda, who taught, or maybe I should say, tried to teach English to children of high school age. Because she was a decade older than was I, she knew, for obvious reasons, the songs of Woody well. Like most people cousin Linda knew only the first stanza, so she was SHOCKED when I recited the whole song, putting special emphasis on the stanza placed in bold below:
“This Land Is Your Land“
This land is your land, this land is my land From California to the New York island From the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters This land was made for you and me
As I was walking that ribbon of highway I saw above me that endless skyway I saw below me that golden valley This land was made for you and me
I’ve roamed and rambled and I followed my footsteps To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts And all around me a voice was sounding This land was made for you and me
When the sun came shining, and I was strolling And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling As the fog was lifting a voice was chanting This land was made for you and me
As I went walking I saw a sign there And on the sign it said “No Trespassing” But on the other side it didn’t say nothing That side was made for you and me
In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people By the relief office I seen my people As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking Is this land made for you and me?