To hear it from Glenn Greenwald, Matt Taibbi and other Useful Idiots of the Right, the events of January 6 were at bottom nothing to worry about. The rioters who trashed the Capitol were a lovable, misunderstood band of misfits. They weren’t interested in overturning the 2020 presidential election results and heavens to Betsy, they weren’t trying to overthrow the government. Had they encountered Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez while on their DC field trip, they would have prepared her tea and held a Q & A. The fact that she has said she feared for her life just shows what a snowflake she is.
The Useful Idiots and other Crypto-Fascists believe the real danger facing the country lies not in the GOP and Fox News but in the Democratic Party and MSNBC. Consider this recent tweet from Taibbi, which is dumb even by his increasingly incomparable standards.
This portrait is moronic and dangerous. In addition to the fact that Fox is a mouthpiece for the radical right, which has enormous institutional political influence, it downplays the danger posed by MAGA Chuds and other cranks around the country. Is the US teetering on the brink of a fascist coup? No, it’s not, but that doesn’t mean these cretins don’t pose a threat to the country and to what’s left — very little, admittedly — of its democratic system. Am I a fan of the Democratic Party and MSNBC? No, I despise them as much as the other side, but they aren’t as dangerous or disposed to use violence to achieve their ends as is the GOP.
(Let me specify here that the Democratic Party’s policies are literally deadly to poor and working class people, and the party’s representatives are happy to use violence, as seen in our criminal justice system and policing. So the party is dangerous but Democrats are not going to riot to overturn elections and if Joe Biden, or a successor, loses the 2024 presidential election he or she will accept defeat and step down, unlike President Donald Trump.)
Just yesterday, Judge Royce Lamberth, a Ronald Reagan appointee, “used the first sentencing hearing for a defendant charged in the attack on the Capitol to blast Republicans trying to cast January 6 as anything other than a violent riot aimed at stopping the wheels of democracy from turning,” CNN reported. Lamberth said: “I’m especially troubled by the accounts of some members of Congress that January 6 was just a day of tourists walking through the Capitol. I don’t know what planet they were on..This was not a peaceful demonstration. It was not an accident that it turned violent; it was intended to halt the very functioning of our government.”
Yet the Useful Idiots will go on pretending that the nitwits who attacked the Capitol on June 6 pose no threat and aren’t reflective of a broader violent movement in US politics, which they very clearly are. Indeed, the situation is far scarier than is commonly understood.
I recently spoke to a Florida Republican who is increasingly estranged from his party, though he is not going to join the Democratic Party. He portrays the GOP as increasingly unhinged — we already knew that — but in a way that’s more alarming than I thought, particularly given that he is a long-time Republican. The scariest story he told me involved Allen West.
If you don’t know much about him, here’s a nutshell bio of West, cribbed and plagiarized from Wikipedia. A retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, West in 2008 ran as the Republican challenger to Democratic Congressman Ron Klein. He lost but won a rematch in 2010, taking office in as the first African-American Republican member of Congress from Florida since Josiah T. Walls in 1876. West was a high-profile member of the Tea Party Caucus. In 2012, he lost his House seat to Democratic nominee Patrick Murphy.
West ran and won the chairmanship of the Republican Party of Texas in 2020. He “has stirred controversy for incendiary comments about Islam, descriptions of President Barack Obama as a ‘low-level Socialist agitator,’ and unfounded accusations that 81 Democratic members of Congress were members of the Communist Party,” says the Wikipedia profile. Earlier this month West announced his resignation as Texas GOP chair and many believe he will challenge Governor Greg Abbott in the 2022 GOP gubernatorial primary.
This source had direct knowledge of a campaign event held by West when he unsuccessfully ran for congress in 2008. The event was held at the well-appointed Boca Raton home of a retired Navy admiral and attendees were overwhelmingly white and wealthy. According to this person, a woman in the boisterous crowd asked, “Is it OK to go out and shoot them all in the head now?” The “them” in questions were liberals, Democrats and other “enemies” of the far-right.
Surely West, a responsible, mature political figure sought to calm the crowd, right? Wrong. He stirred the pot further saying, “Soon,” to which the woman hopefully replied, “Now.” West went on to say that he was going to scale the wall of his opponent Klein’s home and slit his throat as he lay in bed with his wife. “These people want to kill people,” my source told me. “And this was back in 2008. Imagine what they are thinking now. They are true psychos. Half of the country is waiting for a sign to dish out violence and death.”
Indeed, this isn’t all that surprising given what we’ve seen in the country the past few years, and given the involvement of West — just look at that tweet above — and the lunatic Florida Republican Party. It’s actually reminiscent of that lovely couple in St. Louis who invited Black Lives Matters protestors into their home last year to rap over cups of cocoa.
I left a voice message for Mike McCrady, West’s campaign manager in 2008, to ask about the incident as I was told he was on hand. West will remain chair of the Texas GOP until July 11. I emailed the the organization’s press office to ask for comment about the allegations as well. So far, I haven’t heard back from McCrady or the Texas GOP. If I do, I’ll update this story.
Greenwald is virtually a daily fixture on Fox News now, especially with his pal Tucker Carlson. He, and other Useful Idiots, claim that appearing with the vile Carlson is harmless and that it merely offers him the chance to get out his allegedly progressive views to a large audience that might be swayed to the left.
This is a spurious, self-serving argument. First, Greenwald’s toxic views are increasingly indistinguishable from Carlson’s. Nowadays he’s more likely to be swaying left-leaning people to the right than the reverse. Second, Carlson is not at all harmless, but the chief propagandist for a vile, racist political ideology. Appearing on his show today is roughly equivalent to being a guest on the Leni Riefenstahl Power Hour in the 1930s.
Greenwald is in a deep state of denial about what he’s become, but at some level he knows he’s aiding and abetting the right. He doesn’t care, though, because his primary concern, like Taibbi and other Useful Idiots, is fattening his Substack bank account by appealing to Carlson’s rancid audience, while falsely pretending he’s not on their side.