It really is infuriating when the media try desperately, in the name of supposedly achieving “balance,” to draw equivalencies between the Republicans and the Democrats these days. What makes it so infuriating isn’t just the fact that each side’s sins aren’t equal in the least, but that one side’s are so much more unequal. I’ve seen the Democrats do some really shitty things in my day, but never in my life have I seen the kind of steady, continuous, drip-drip-drip of offensive awfulness that’s come from the Right, and only the Right, over the past five years.
In just the past 24 hours three stories have broken that years ago, even with the polarization we’ve come to expect from government, would’ve seemed incomprehensible. The fact that they’re not incomprehensible anymore, that we’ve gotten used to this crap by now and each time the bar is lowered we just accept that that’s the new normal, makes me wonder where we’re headed and how much worse it can actually get.
1. “I Cannot Even Stand To Look at You”
The White House is denying it and Sessions’s people are denying it, but both Dick Durbin and now Harry Reid say that during negotiations over the government shutdown a couple of weeks back, an angry Republican Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas said to President Obama, “I cannot even stand to look at you.” It’s one thing when you and I fire off rude comments about the president — any president — but it’s an entirely different story when a United States congressman does it, and to his face. Even if the story stretches the truth of what really happened, it’s depressing that it’s as easy to believe as it is. In an era where another U.S. congressman can heckle the president in the middle of the State of the Union address — shouting, “You lie!” — how can it be impossible to believe that a Republican lawmaker would do essentially the same thing behind closed doors?
What this also once again shows is the hubris of those who are taking on Obama. While you may not like everything this president has done, he is still the president — someone who was elected by a majority of the entire United States. He’s not an asshole nobody who got sent to Washington by a few dozen yokels in a heavily gerrymandered district back in Texas. Our government is a system of checks and balances, it’s true, but at no point should somebody like Pete Sessions believe he has the authority to condescend to the President of the United States. But this is what happens when you don’t treat this particular president like a president and consider him little more than an illegitimate pretender to power. This is what happens when you hear only the noise inside the bubble. You get this kind of unconscionable disrespect and the attitude that it’s completely okay.
2. Cruz Humor
Speaking of disrespect, Ted Cruz — another Texan, it should be pointed out — made the following crack to a receptive crowd at a rally back home a couple of days ago:
“Have you all noticed, you know the Nigerian email scammers? They’ve been a lot less active lately, because they’ve all been hired to run the Obamacare websites.”
Now there’s nothing wrong with making a joke at the expense of the ACA website considering all the issues it’s had. I also can’t exactly blame Cruz for gleefully reveling in those issues; he’s on the other side of the aisle after all and it’s to be expected. But if you think he decided to go with Nigerian scammers for his set-up, regardless of their actual existence, as some kind of offhand choice — that it was a completely innocent move not at all designed to rile up his hillbilly base’s belief that the country’s first black president is really from Africa — you’re fucking nuts. Cruz knows which side his very white bread is buttered on. He’s playing to his audience and their prejudices — prejudices that have only been heightened in the age of Obama.
Incidentally, by making that joke he apparently upset Texas’s Nigerian community. In other news, Texas has a Nigerian community.
3. A Little Honesty
It’s rare that somebody can be so honest during a Daily Show interview intended to draw a reaction or a defelction out of them that it can stop the correspondent cold. That’s what happened when Aasif Mandvi interviewed Buncombe County Republican Precinct Chair Don Yelton about North Carolina’s voter ID law: Yelton came right out and told the truth. That truth: he’s been accused many times of being a racist and the voter ID law exists not to prevent voter fraud but mostly to “kick Democrats in the butt.”
Watch and be uncomfortable:
This is just over the past 24 hours or so. Extend it out and you get five full years of this kind of madness — longer if you really choose to take overall irresponsibility and party arrogance into consideration but certainly since Obama took office. What will the next 24 hours bring? Somebody else is gonna have to monitor that because, for the sake of my sanity, I’m tapping out.
Chez Pazienza was the beating heart of The Daily Banter, sadly passing away on February 25, 2017. His voice remains ever present at the Banter, and his influence as powerful as ever.