The GOP’s coordinated tantrum about the leak of a Samuel Alito-authored draft opinion to overturn Roe should be the ultimate reminder of an essential truth about American politics in 2022.
Republicans celebrate one thing.
Whether this draft opinion, written in the voice of a man who spends his weekends screaming in the face of a woman trying to enter a Planned Parenthood clinic, turns out to be the final word on a constitutional right to abortion access remains to be seen.
But what’s clear is that’s exactly what the rightwing of this country has been dreaming about since at least the late 1970s when the alleged “religious right” decided to switch their outward focus from opposing racial desegregation to fighting against abortion rights.
Republicans first turned into the Uterus Police to oust America’s first “born again” president, Jimmy Carter, and ran with it as corporate donors saw it as a way to brand the New Deal coalition that had dominated politics in the mid-20th century not just as faulty but evil.
But then you’d be in a coma for 40 years.
The GOP has evolved into a reactionary cult seeking minority rule through the world’s most effective ecosystem of propaganda that feeds millions of Americans a steady diet of strategic victimization.
Talk radio, Fox and a neural network of social media misinformers, provocateurs and Kevin Sorbo have one objective every day: Tell the most coddled people to exist in the history of this planet that they are oppressed and at risk of losing absolutely everything to “them.”
Anyone who isn’t a white, straight Christian man.
Or a useful ally of white, straight Christian men.
It will even devour outrage about their wildest dreams coming true.
This is extraordinarily effective.
Outrage fuels the GOP’s midterm turnout advantage, which is especially strong when Democrats are in charge, an outrage in itself.
Outrage swerves the conversation away from GOP policies, like the overturning of Roe, which is not supported by most Republicans.
Outrage is key to the in-group/out-group demagoguery that has driven the GOP so far to the right they oppose democracy itself.
You can trace the creation of this extraordinarily effective effort to subvert majority rule to the so-called Powell Memo of 1972, which urged corporations to fight the “broad attack” on business by countering the liberalization of America, as evidenced by even Richard Nixon embracing pinko abominations like the EPA and OSHA.
In a memo to the Chamber of Commerce, future Justice Lewis Powell urged a comprehensive response that required infiltrating American institutions from the news media to academia to the courts.
By the 1980s, this response looked like Rush Limbaugh, bloviating into millions of ears for hours a day. Then Fox, then Facebook, then QAnon.
What have the Democrats and the press corps done?
Mostly treat bad faith as good faith.
Republicans are still called “pro-life,” though they encourage the spread of a novel virus that’s killed at least 1 million Americans.
Their cries about four dead Americans in Benghazi were taken seriously after they led the US into an illegal and terribly planned war in Iraq that led to the deaths of thousands of American soldiers.
They still get to pretend they’re against abortion though the policies they embrace – from opposing sex education to opposing birth control coverage to opposing universal childcare – actually increase abortions.
Banning abortions doesn’t even reduce them.
It just makes an extremely safe procedure far more deadly.
If you want to help Republicans achieve their nefarious goals, you just have to do one simple thing: react to whatever they’re whining about.
That’s how they figure out what works.
If you want to help Trump and his party get back in power, pretend their objections have some purpose other than feeding the beast.
Believe there’s some number of deportations that will be enough to stop their white power-driven attacks on migrants and immigration.
Engage their concern-trolling about Hunter Biden as Trump’s kids cash in on blood money for helping the Saudis carve up a journalist.
But, if you want to defeat the Republicans, focus on what they do.
They’ve given trillions to the super-rich and the corporations.
They’ve undermined workers so they can’t support their families.
Republicans whine because whining is how they win.
If we have any hope of saving hard-won rights, we have one choice.
Ignore these motherfuckers and their bullshit.