Tuesday, March 9, 2021

There's Some Magic


This Axios rubbish interview with Lindsey Graham 

What they're saying: "Donald Trump was my friend before the riot. And I'm trying to keep a relationship with him after the riot. I still consider him a friend. What happened was a dark day in American history, and we're going to move forward."

  • "I want us to continue the policies that I think will make America strong. I believe the best way for the Republican Party to do that is with Trump, not without Trump."
  • Mitt Romney didn't do it. John McCain didn't do it. There's something about Trump. There's a dark side and there's some magic there."

Flashback: When Swan noted Trump is not showing remorse for his election challenge and still arguing he won in a landslide, Graham invoked McCain.

  • "I tell (Trump) every day that he wants to listen that I think the main reason he probably lost in Arizona is beatin' on the dead guy called John McCain," the senator said.

gave me a weird feeling of understanding suddenly what Graham is actually up to. Because I've always resisted the blackmail explanation, which just seems stupid to me (if he's gay, everybody in South Carolina knows it and doesn't care, and I just don't see him as involved in anything actually perverted like Gaetz or somebody). 

It's that he sees Trump as similar to his old pal McCain, a Leader with that special sauce. He hates it, as he may not have hated it at all when it was McCain, but he doesn't see himself as having any personal choice in the matter. Trump has "some magic" that he can't comprehend but is compelled to bow to.

Every once in a while I start thinking about George III, who was acutely crazy, once in a while, where Trump is chronically crazy, all the time. I don't think he'd ever lost his mind yet at the time of the American Revolution, but when he did his Tory supporters didn't withdraw their allegiance, of course. He was the anointed sovereign! While progressive Britons revolted, like Shelley calling him "an old, mad, blind, despised and dying king" and his trash children "the dregs of their dull race", because they didn't, as you and I don't, see the magic.

The connection between standard political conservatism and support for an actual monarchy is particularly vivid just now because of the Harry and Meghan drama, which I wouldn't have thought of commenting on if it weren't for the remarkable way America is reacting, in a pattern that duplicates our political divisions:

With the Right slavishly siding with the Firm (not Her Majesty herself, who I'm happy to suppose is a pretty nice girl and every bit as canny and dedicated as they say), and the Left with the victims of racist abuse even if they're really kind of privileged, and in favor of more accessible mental healthcare. 

Graham's turnaround on Trump is tied, as obviously as can be, to Trump's anointing, as the Republican nominee, as the heir of the mantle of Ronald Reagan, another incompetent monarch. (Let's note by the way that Graham's hero, McCain, was irascible and erratic, and often intellectually completely lost, though he never seemed stupid like Reagan or Bush—just easily bored and contemptuous of the wonks, which the monarchy-inclined court press adored. McCain was an anointed heir of Reagan too.) Graham saw Trump reasonably clearly, as a "kook", until he won the primary campaign, and then proceeded to defend him with perfect loyalty—loyalty—aside from the occasional temper tantrum as when Trump tried to get some undetermined number of congresspersons killed in January (the "dark day in American history"), just the way Prince Shuisky occasionally gets exasperated with the periodically insane Tsar Boris Godunov (I got a million of 'em).

You could see the same thing in the openly monarchist William Barr, or back at the beginning of Trump's term with General Kelly. You could see in their faces how annoyed they were with Trump's idiocy, from time to time, but they tried so hard to fulfill his every wish! They couldn't help noticing that he's no good, but they didn't see themselves as entitled to object to an order, unless it was completely impossible (like bombing North Korea or charging Robert Mueller with treason). 

It seems to me that there is that one genuine feeling that conservatives do have, of irrational loyalty to the anointed leader, that doesn't care how incompetent he is, from which we are forever excluded, because it just seems dumb to us. That may be why we can't reason together.

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