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A Metaphor That Applies To Joe Klein's Latest Newsletter: F*ck Off
He almost gets the point but not quite.
Author and columnist Joe Klein, over at his Sanity Clause Substack, writes, “A metaphor that applies to my current political dismay: I am annoyed by Joe Biden but I am appalled by Donald Trump. Why is that a metaphor?”
I can’t answer that question, because what he wrote isn’t actually a metaphor. “She’s got diamonds on the soles of her shoes” or “I’m a hot air balloon that could go to space with the air, like I don’t care” are metaphors. There’s nothing metaphorical about Klein’s stated “political dismay.” He finds Old Uncle Joe “annoying” and Donald Trump “appalling.” That’s pretty straightforward, though it certainly minimizes the current political stakes. The guy who tells ramblings stories about his buddy “Corn Pop” is not really in the same league as the psychopath who tried to overthrow the government.
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But Klein takes this non-metaphor further: “I am annoyed, chronically, by the Democratic Party but appalled, mortally, by the Republicans. Which raises a question: I haven’t toted up the word count, but I suspect that I spend a lot more space criticizing Dems than GOPs. Why is that?”
I can’t answer that question, either. I didn’t plan on this being such an interactive reading experience.
He goes on:
Well, because it seems in these DysTrumpian times, the Democrats are the only hope of saving our democracy, despite their idiot array of indulgences. They are misguided, but not fundamentally irrational. They believe in our institutions, even those—like the Supreme Court and the electoral college—that are weighted against them; even those—like the military—that they really don’t believe in.
That’s such a ridiculous strawman. Democrats do in fact believe in the military. They’re just more judicious about flexing US military muscle than the Republicans who think warfare is just a big video game. Republican presidential candidates are talking about bombing Mexico.
But rational Republicans I’ve known—I’m looking at you Lamar Alexander and Rob Portman—have been struck dumb, utter cowards in the face of Trump, even though they’ve retired from politics and have nothing to lose. Why the silence in the face of an authoritarian who threatens our freedom? Their mute buttons are still turned on, impenetrable and irresponsible. They are a lost cause.
Yes, they are, but people keep voting for these frauds, perhaps because self-proclaimed “radical centrists” like Klein keep overstating their fundamental decency. Actions speak louder than superficially polite rhetoric from Klein’s country club buddies.
So I tend to write about Biden’s age more than Trump’s sociopathy, and about the Dems’ identity and woke obsessions more than the Republicans’ fundamental corruption. Because the Dems have to find a way to 51%, lest we lapse into Hungary or Russia.
But Klein isn’t helping with his “both sides” bromides. When Democrats control all branches of government, they pass legislation that builds roads and feeds children. They are not obsessed with “identity” and “wokeness.” I challenge Klein to name one bill that exclusively targets a group of people because of their identity they way that Republicans have actively attacked everyone who’s the slightest bit different.
Republicans love it when willing collaborators like Klein fixate over the one, small example of “wokeness” gone wild while ignoring Republicans’ active death threats at people who aren’t the right “identity.” Oh well, Klein insists his lopsided criticism somehow makes Democrats better, and sure, I am critical of Democrats when they do bad things but my goal is that the party is more effective at defending the marginalized. I don’t want them to become 1990s moderate New England Republicans.
Klein, seemingly in an effort to make nice with Democrats, devotes the rest of his column to calling out some bad Republicans, such as Rep. Jim Jordan, Rep. Matt Gaetz, Rep. Lauren Boebert, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Nobel Prize-winning opera singer George Santos. What’s hilarious is that most of it is a quick nickel tour of Republicans’ bad acts that Wonkette has covered in depth for years now.
It’s absurd that Klein thinks writing a couple paragraphs about Jordan’s shameful role in a collegiate sexual assault scandal somehow makes up for around-the-clock coverage of “annoying” Old Man Biden gaffes.
Returning to Klein’s original “metaphor,” the word “appalled” makes it seem like Republicans are just rude to guests and record live theatre performances. Sure, that’s also on their ledger of awfulness, but more to the point, they are an existential threat to national security and democracy itself. It takes a lot of white dude privilege to only be “appalled” by Republicans. The rest of us are freaking terrified.
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