Misplaced Outrage

Last week … or was it the week before?  Time seems to have a way of escaping and slipping through my fingers these days.  Anyway … recently, I wrote about the Republican outrage against President Biden when, in a speech, he referred to “maga-Republicans” as semi-fascist and a threat to democracy.  I thought I was done with that topic … the Republican outrage is … ho hum … nothing new.  They are outraged that their hero might actually pay a price for his felonies, his crimes against the people of this nation.  They are outraged that schools actually teach … GASP … history!  (Since this came as news to them, we can only assume they didn’t study history in their earlier years.)  They are outraged that federal tax dollars go to help people in need.  They are just outraged in general from the moment they wake up until they fall asleep at night.  It seems to be requisite for being a member in good standing of the Republican Party.  The President has a job to do … he shouldn’t have to walk on tippy-toe so as not to offend this gang of crybabies!

As I said (I tend to digress … did you notice?) I thought I was finished with that topic, but last night I came across Bill Press’ insightful article on this topic, and thought his was one well worth sharing, worth revisiting the topic just once more.  He hits the nail squarely on the head in answering the question about whether maga-Republicans are, in fact, driving the nation toward fascism, and does so with a bit of humour.


If the semi-fascist shoe fits, wear it!

By Bill Press

06 September 2022

Even veteran political reporters admit they’ve never seen politics as ugly as it is today. But, still, every once in a while, we get a big belly laugh. Like last week, after President Biden remarked that the “extreme MAGA philosophy” of Donald Trump and his followers is “like semi-fascism.” 

In response, Republicans exploded. How dare Biden engage in such name-calling, they thundered. This, mind you, from MAGA Republicans who, following the example of their “dear leader,” excel in name-calling. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) compared the Biden administration to “Marxist dictatorships.” On Fox News, right-wing commentator Mollie Hemingway called Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine plan a “fascist move.” And at an August 2020 campaign rally, Donald Trump warned that Joe Biden would “replace American freedom with left-wing fascism. Left-wing. We’re going left-wing all the way. Fascists! They are fascists!” 

In other words, it’s OK for Republicans to call Democrats “fascists,” but President Biden must apologize to the nation — Or resign? Be impeached? — for suggesting that MAGA Republicanism is semi-fascist? 

LOL. 

But, of course, that begs the more important question: Is Biden right? And that depends on the meaning of fascism. 

Most historians agree that, whether practiced by Italy’s Benito Mussolini or Germany’s Adolph Hitler in the 1930s, or by Hungary’s Viktor Orbán or Turkey’s Recep Erdoğan today, there are traits common to every fascist regime: cult-like loyalty to an autocratic leader; no parliamentary limits on a leader’s power; denial of free and fair elections; intolerance of, including violence against, political opposition; and outright racism and anti-Semitism. If you think MAGA Republicanism fits the bill, you’re right. 

Cult-like loyalty to an autocratic leader? Check! Whether it’s attempting to bribe a foreign leader, inciting an armed mob to attack the Capitol Building, or absconding with top-secret documents, there’s nothing for which MAGA Republicans would hold Donald Trump responsible. Not even, as he suggested, shooting someone in plain sight on Fifth Avenue.

No limits on power? Check! On Jan. 6, MAGA Republicans, at Trump’s bidding, tried to prevent Congress from doing its job. Today, they still argue that Trump’s above the law when it comes to cooperating with the Justice Department. 

Denial of free and fair elections? Check! As recently as his rally in Pennsylvania last Saturday, Trump still refuses to accept Biden as president. He’s hardly alone. According to FiveThirtyEight, at least 120 election deniers, whose primary purpose is to negate the 2020 election, won Republican primaries and are on the ballot in November. 

Violence against political opposition? Check! Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), Trump’s guest at his Pennsylvania rally, has repeatedly endorsed calls for political violence, including in 2019, when she “liked” a Facebook post suggesting a “bullet to the head” of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). On Jan. 6, Trump supporters chanted “Hang Mike Pence.” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) warned of “riots in the streets” if the Justice Department files charges against Trump in connection with stolen classified documents.

Racism and anti-Semitism? Check! Trump welcomed the support of white supremacists, issued a ban on Muslims entering the country, attacked the Black Lives Matter movement, and insisted there were “very fine people” among those who marched through Charlottesville chanting “The Jews shall not replace us.” 

Which brings us back to the central question: Was President Biden right in calling the politics of Donald Trump and MAGA Republicans “semi-fascist?” No, Biden was wrong. He didn’t go far enough. Based on what they’ve said, what they’ve done, and their ongoing efforts to undermine democracy, Biden shouldn’t have called MAGA Republicans semi-fascists. He should have called them outright fascists, period. 

39 thoughts on “Misplaced Outrage

  1. So far the USA and to a certain extent the Republicans are not dealing with a president who decides they are going to play hardball. Such a president would tend to have their own brand of fiery rhetoric and aside from sending out not so coded messages they consider the current Right to be neo terrorist but also start to ensure their own network would be exploring their own version of militias. This is of course a very dangerous path, but if the Right keep pushing they will find the movement will start and in turn build up its own momentum. At this stage the gloves are off and the then government start flexing its muscles into a few test cases of bringing more prominent right wingers up under charges of terrorism.
    I have gone over this scenario several times, then comes good news to pull it back, then comes some fool on the Right to raise the thermometer again.
    Democracies can be deadly opponents when threatened and pushed beyond a certain; ask the ghosts of any fascist aggressor.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: MISPLACED OUTRAGE. |jilldennison.com | Ramblings of an Occupy Liberal

  3. Great take, thanks for sharing.

    The part that stood out to me most was, “In other words, it’s OK for Republicans to call Democrats “fascists,” but President Biden must apologize to the nation — Or resign? Be impeached? — for suggesting that MAGA Republicanism is semi-fascist?”

    Even as a very little girl, I noticed how right-wingers do the most attacking, yet also have the most hurt feelings. They don’t feel bad about playing dirty– but they know that liberals do. They literally exploit us for having consciences by trying to make us feel guilty any time we go half as low as they do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, cognacproject! Like you, I became socially and politically aware at an early age. I felt the discrimination my best friends experienced … one was Black, one was Japanese. I was puzzled, for all I saw in my friends was their kindness, the kindness of their families when I visited, and yet, the hatred toward them was palpable when we were out in public. It boils down to an even more basic level, I think, than liberal vs conservative, but is somehow a flaw in the human character that allows so many to feel they are somehow superior to all others. Thousands of years of the human species and we still haven’t figured out the solution to this problem. I suspect we never will.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. “Was President Biden right in calling the politics of Donald Trump and MAGA Republicans “semi-fascist?” No, Biden was wrong. He didn’t go far enough.”
    Ummm…. this type of rhetoric could be dangerous. This is how civil wars begin, differences in ideology. Democrats are suppose to be a party of unity, to unite ALL Americans, isn’t this what Biden campaigned on that won him the election?
    Divisiveness doesn’t help a nation, Dems are suppose to be better than Republicans, not stoop to their level. Be better, do better…. think JFK!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s hard these days not to respond in kind. I think the Democrats have, overall, done an admirable job of taking the high road in the face of the constant barrage of hate spewed by the Republicans, but comes a point when … you just gotta throw it back at them. Maybe that’s what’s needed … I don’t know, but I certainly understand! Frankly, if I ran into Lindsey Graham, Donald Trump, or ANY of those who support Trump while walking down the street, I would spit in their faces! And I’m typically a pretty calm person, but … not these days!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. If Bill Press misses the mark on MAGA-supporters and tRump’s continually predictable words and criminal behavior while in office and since—and btw, he doesn’t—then Dr. Mary L. Trump, his niece and a clinical psychologist has encyclopedias full of tRump’s cognitive dissonance, narcissism, and other diagnosable mental-illnesses, on top of his less-than-legitimate financial portfolio.

    The fact that over half of U.S. citizens/voters is a very astounding, disturbing reflection on this nation’s knowledge and application of our Constitutional core values precisely based upon the Charters of Freedom our Founding Fathers intended and clearly laid out in writing for future generations. Those great men—including some fantastic women too who had no rights to vote then!—would’ve DESPISED everything tRump and MAGA represent today! Of this there is no doubt whatsoever.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Apologies. Forgot to finish my thought in my 2nd paragraph. It should read…

      “The fact that over half of U.S. citizens/voters”…fully back tRump, his audacious coup attempt on our elections, and continues still to spread disinformation, lies, and undercut completely our nation’s democracy…

      “is a very astounding, disturbing reflection”…

      Liked by 1 person

    • Agreed on all counts, my friend. I’ve seen several of Mary Trump’s podcasts or interviews, and I’m always impressed by her understanding and knowledge, not to mention her honesty even though it has probably ensured that she’s no longer in his will! Like you, I am appalled by the number of people in this country who cannot see what he is doing to us all, what he is doing to this country. WHY he hasn’t faded into oblivioun like every other former prez is beyond me, but I mean it when I say that if he runs again and if it looks as if he will win, I will leave this country one way or another.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Jill, well relayed. Thanks. Rawgod uses an interesting example – how can you be both? This is straight out of the narcissist playbook – a way to defend yourself is to echo back the same criticism on the critic. This mirror effect is very childish, similar to the whatever you say “bounces off of me and sticks to you” retort. The former president has tended to do this long before he ever became president.

    It has been quite overt from his actions and words, the former president has regal tendencies and aspirations. The latest report is from a forthcoming book that said Trump told a White House staffer he was not going to leave. This is not a surprise and, what makes it more sad and comical is political comedian Bill Maher starting saying almost two years before the 2020 election that Trump would never leave.

    Taking Maher’s comments a bit further, I knew Trump would contest the election two months before and wrote a post about it. He had hired 1,000 attorneys by September, 2020 and had already belittled the mail in process and tried to hobble the mail by placing a campaign contributor to run the USPS. What has surprised me is the number of sycophants who have and still rationalize this fraud. And, police have died for defending the Capitol and many folks have gone to jail for believing this bogus election fraud claim and storming the Capitol.

    Keith

    Liked by 3 people

    • Indeed, it would have been more surprising if he had NOT contested the election. Remember back in 2016 when he said that if he lost, it would mean the election was ‘rigged’? Trump is out for one person and only one person: himself. He will topple people then walk over their bodies to have his way, to boost his ego (and his bank balance).

      You mention Maggie Haberman’s book … yes … I preordered that back in April! Looking forward to its release next month!

      Like you, I am continually surprised and disappointed by the number of people both in and out of government who cling to his lies, who cannot see the forest for the trees. Or, perhaps they see clearly, but there is something in it for them, something — power and/or wealth — to be gained by continuing to support a madman. I still hold onto a small hope that he will be made to pay for his crimes.

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      • Jill, I wish some of those folks who worked for him that now see the light, would have spoken up earlier. The Republican Party Senate leadership could have put the lid on Pandora’s Box by voting to remove him when the House impeached him for the second time had these folks made statements public. Keith

        Liked by 1 person

        • Agreed, and I imagine some of them wish they had spoken up earlier, too, and perhaps their consciences wouldn’t be keeping them awake at nights now. If they had found their courage and impeached him either time, we would not be going through this chaos today. Sigh. But alas, my biggest hope is that he will be charged and convicted before November 2024 so that we are not in danger of his name being on the ballot that year.

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    • Really? I’m surprised by that … I thought that, like some other EU nations, they would carry news of it on a daily basis! Can you go to some of the U.S. news sites to get information? I’m also surprised they show documentaries about the Nazis and Third Reich, for I thought that would be a taboo topic for Germany. xx

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  8. Agreed. My words exactly. But Trump wants it both ways. He has called Democrats Antifa (Anti-Fascists) after Black Lives Matter rallies, and Fascsts at the August 2020 rally, as Bill Press just reminded us. So HOW CAN FASCISTS BE ANTI-FASCISTS? Because Trump doesn’t have the intelligence to know what he is talking about. First, it is an honour to be called Antitfa becauses anyone who fights against Fascism has to be a not-bad person. Secondly, Trump wouldn’t know a Fascist when he looks in a mirror, because he sees himself as a god, not a person. And that’s okay with the MAGAt crowd, because they don’t know any different either! Only a god can do no wrong, which is why we know there are no gods. Anyone who believes this world is watched over by a god has no idea what that word means!

    Liked by 5 people

    • Contrary to what Republicans would have you believe, there is no major, well-organized ‘Antifa’ movement in this nation, but yes, most Democrats, most liberal-minded thinkers, are against (anti) fascism (fa). The Republicans seem unable to come up with anything original that makes any degree of sense, so they just throw back the things that we say of them. Not very original or creative, but then … they aren’t the brightest bulbs in the pack.

      You’re right … if you asked Trump or any of his minions to define the word ‘fascism’, they couldn’t give you an accurate definition. Then again, they call us ‘socialists’ and they cannot properly define that word, either … they just have some vague notion of what socialism actually is.

      And about that ‘god’ … where was he on 9/11? Where was he a few days ago when a man (a maga-ite) went berserk and killed his wife and child? Where was he when Putin attacked Ukraine in February? And … well, you get the picture.

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      • No story on a family annihilator up here!
        As far as Antifa goes, I have heard that there are some Anitifa groups now. There were none until Trump or whoever coined the phrase for yet another Republican fictitious talking point. Trump should beware what he wishes for, even indirectly.
        It would be ironic if some new Antifa group were to assassinate him. A group he caused to create killing him. Too bad I don’t believe in Karma…

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        • There are a few small, unorganized groups, but nothing along the scale the Republicans would have you believe. Heck, I wish there were an organized activist group of anti-fascists … I’d probably join them! And yeah, that would be poetic justice, but … it would also lead to horrible levels of violence here, and we don’t need that!

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            • I dunno … I hadn’t heard anything about it, and when I Googled just now, the only thing I found was there was an outbreak of violence at a game somewhere in Mexico.

              Ahhhh … sorry, I thought maybe you were serious, for I have had similar ideas, too!

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              • Maybe check the sports news. I know there was violence in the stands in Detroit, and at least 6 or 7 other cities. I don’t doubt NFL officials do not want this to be known, and have maybe pulled the stories off the internet somehow, to protect the “integrity” of the game or some such bullshit, but yes, it happened. If I heard about it in Canada, then it wasn’t just fiction.
                On the other matter, comedy works best when it contains some degree of reality. Wink. Wink!

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