The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers

YouTube Screenshot

On Tuesday, June 21, Rusty Bowers — the conservative Republican who serves as speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives — testified at one of the hearings being held by the January 6 select committee. Bowers recalled his refusal to promote the Big Lie following the 2020 presidential election and the abuse from MAGA extremists that he suffered because of it — abuse that included being falsely accused of being a “pedophile.”

Journalist Ali Breland, in an article published by Mother Jones on June 21, points to Bowers’ experiences as a prime example of the type of tactics that QAnon extremists and far-right conspiracy theorists will resort to if a politician stands up to former President Donald Trump and the MAGA movement in any way. And Breland emphasizes that QAnon won’t hesitate to go after Republicans as well as Democrats.

“For years, ‘pedophile,’ often shortened to ‘pedo,’ was used as semi-ironic 4Chan shorthand for anyone internet trolls thought was a weirdo,” Breland explains. “More recently, QAnon’s misplaced ‘save the children’ paranoia has helped this sentiment germinate among the non-4Chan normie masses. For a bit, the pedophile accusations were reserved for elite, liberal gatekeepers — the high-profile Democrats featured in John Podesta’s hacked e-mails, for example. But now, literally anyone who stands even slightly in the way of the right’s agenda might be called a pedophile.”

Breland continues, “Testifying Tuesday before the January 6 committee, Rusty Bowers — the Republican speaker of the Arizona Statehouse — somberly explained how this happened to him after he refused to help Donald Trump overturn Joe Biden’s victory in that state. In response, right-wing protesters began showing up at his home, where he lives with his wife and daughter.”

Bowers is a prime example of the fact that QAnon extremists will not cut a politician any slack simply because they are a conservative Republican. If they consider them disloyal to the MAGA movement or a RINO (Republican In Name Only), they are a target for a false accusation of pedophilia. And Bowers has not been a Never Trumper.

“These kinds of often-unfounded accusations have become increasingly common weapons wielded by conspiratorial right-wingers who believe the election was stolen from Trump,” Breland observes. “But they also fit into a longstanding framework of weaponizing children as a part of far-right political projects. In 2019, while QAnon was gaining steam but had not yet gone fully mainstream, I wrote about the history of political movements baselessly portraying children as being in grave danger, as in the moral and Satanic panics of the 1980s.”

Breland notes that QAnon’s influence asserted itself this year when Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri made “attempts to smear Biden’s Supreme Court Justice nominee, Ketanji Brown Jackson, as a pedophile sympathizer.”

QAnon believes that the United States’ federal government has been hijacked by a sinister international cabal of pedophiles, child sex traffickers, Satanists and cannibals and that Trump was elected president in 2016 to fight the cabal. And QAnon, Breland warns, has “normalized” such thinking.

“QAnon, and the ‘80s moral panics that preceded it, established a more elaborate and convoluted mythos,” Breland writes. “Children were being kept in tunnels for a sprawling child sex trafficking ring run by elite pedophiles, and the proof was sitting in plain sight for anyone willing to do the research. This has become so normalized that people attacking Bowers might not even waste their time concocting fabulous stories. They just cut straight to the chase and call him a pedophile. They don’t explain any further, because they don’t need to.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Mehmet Oz

Youtube Screenshot

Fox News is in attack mode after its own polling showed Republican nominee Mehmet Oz trailing Democratic nominee Lt. Gov. John Fetterman in the Pennsylvania Senate race.

The July 28 Fox News poll showed that Fetterman has an 11-point lead over Oz. Additionally, according to the poll, “just 35 percent of those backing Oz say they support him enthusiastically, while 45 percent have reservations. For Fetterman, 68 percent back him enthusiastically and only 18 percent hesitate.” These results, combined with data showing that Fetterman is outraising and outspending Oz, could spell disaster for the GOP hopeful. However, since this polling, Fox has demonstrated it’s a reliable partner to help Oz try to reset the race.

Keep reading... Show less
Youtube Screenshot

For decades, abortion was the perfect issue for Republicans: one that they could use to energize "pro-life" voters, and one that would be around forever. What's more, they ran little risk of alienating "pro-choice" voters, who had little concern that the GOP would ever be able to repeal abortion rights.

Key to this strategy was the assumption that the Supreme Court would preserve Roe v. Wade. GOP candidates and legislators could champion the anti-abortion cause secure in the knowledge that they would not have to follow through in any major way. They could nibble away at abortion rights with waiting periods and clinic regulations, but the fundamental right endured. And their efforts were rewarded with the steadfast support of a bloc of single-issue voters.

Keep reading... Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}