Tag: republican party
Timothy McVeigh

Tracing America's Political Poisoning Back To Timothy McVeigh

You’d like to think that in the wake of the farcical and failed January 6, 2021, uprising to reverse the results of the 2020 presidential election, even the Republican Party had sobered up and right-wing conspiracy theories were fading from prominence in the United States.

Ain’t happening.

But then you’d also like to think that the malign influence of Fox News would have receded since the network agreed to pay more than three-quarters of a billion dollars to Dominion Voting Systems after numerous talking heads and ranking executives admitted under oath that they knowingly broadcast thunderous lies about the “stolen” 2020 election.

Also not happening. Despite some slippage of media outlets even further out on the fringe and the purging of “white replacement” conspiracy maven Tucker Carlson, Fox News remains highly profitable and influential. A substantial proportion of Americans, it appears, simply want to be lied to if it flatters their incipient paranoia.

You’d imagine, as well, that a former president who publicized the private address of another former president, enabling and encouraging an armed crackpot to stalk his neighborhood with lethal intent, would find himself shunned and essentially disqualified from seeking public office by members of his own party, who preach law and order.

After all, what would happen to any other criminal defendant who broadcast naked threats against prosecutors and their families?

Yet, with the signal exception of former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who hasn’t the proverbial snowball’s chance, Teflon Donald Trump’s GOP rivals remain discreetly mute.

Instead, Trump appears to have a substantial lead for the GOP nomination. “NOW THAT THE ‘SEAL’ IS BROKEN ...,” began one all-caps outburst on his Truth Social account recently — a pointed allusion to the Book of Revelation (although it’s unlikely Trump’s ever read it). He ended up vowing retribution against Democrats he accuses of maliciously destroying the country.

It’s more like a professional wrestling spectacle than an American election campaign. Even the Mini Mussolini currently running second in polls promises to purge the nation of heretics. He uses the word “die” a lot.

So, have a substantial proportion of Republicans simply gone around the bend and abandoned reason altogether? Alas, many have, yes. And whether they acknowledge it or not, their movement’s patron saint is Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber.

I come by this opinion after reading Jeffrey Toobin’s extraordinary new book, Homegrown: Timothy McVeigh and the Rise of Right-Wing Extremism. A terrific reporter with legal expertise and a knack for vivid storytelling, Toobin has written several excellent books about criminal trials — including a bestseller about the O.J. Simpson case.

Toobin originally covered McVeigh’s trial for murdering 168 people (including 19 children) with a truck bomb that destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995, for The New Yorker. He describes having a flashback in 2020 while reading about the militia loons who plotted to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and try her for treason in a kangaroo court.

“I know these people,” he said to himself, recognizing that the self-styled patriots’ motives were essentially identical to McVeigh’s a quarter-century earlier. Indeed, much of McVeigh’s deadly plot was conceived on a remote Michigan farm belonging to co-conspirator Terry Nichols’ family.

In one sense, McVeigh was a classic American loner, a juco dropout who failed in an attempt to become a Green Beret and left the Army without a profession or a purpose. It was, Toobin writes, “a shattering defeat ... he had no plan B.”

Much of Homegrown reads like a Jack Kerouac novel about a demented loner driving aimlessly through the American outback in search of somebody to kill: from his native upstate New York to Arkansas to the Michigan north woods to Arizona and the Flint Hills of Kansas. Basically, from one gun show to another.

And as he drove, he listened to Rush Limbaugh touting the political nostrums of the fellow he called “Mr. Newt.” When Gingrich urged Republicans to describe Democrats as “sick,” “pathetic,” “traitors,” “radical” and “corrupt,” McVeigh heard him. When Limbaugh talked about a “second violent American revolution,” he thought that sounded like a great idea.

But what really caught McVeigh’s attention was a prophetic potboiler called The Turner Diaries, a novel describing an uprising against a tyrannical government of Blacks and Jews who were taking away patriots’ guns. McVeigh was all about guns. He built his bomb based on the novel’s detailed instructions.

McVeigh never expressed an ounce of regret; he died defiant, a hero to himself. And thanks to the Internet, as Toobin makes clear, the sick, racially obsessed gun nuts like him are no longer alone. And then, after Trump became president, Toobin writes, “the wolf pack had a new leader.”

Reprinted with permission from Suntimes.

Republican Party of Wisconsin

Wisconsin GOP Senate Candidates All Support Abortion Ban

The Republican field for the 2024 Wisconsin Senate race remains in flux as several potential candidates mull over whether to challenge incumbent Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin. Despite strong support among Wisconsin voters for reproductive rights, each of the likely GOP contenders has a history of opposing legal abortion or actively working for an abortion ban.

In the 2022 midterm elections, Republicans expected a “red wave” would net them a pickup of at least two Democratic-held U.S. Senate seats and a GOP majority in the chamber. Instead, every single GOP challenger lost, and Democrats ended up gaining an open Republican-held seat in Pennsylvania.

Many analysts have attributed the lack of predicted Republican victories to voters’ anger over the 2022 Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned the nearly 50-year-old guarantee of reproductive rights established in Roe v. Wade. Republicans nominated abortion rights opponents in targeted Senate races across the country in 2022, and they all lost to Democratic backers of reproductive freedom.

As the 2024 elections approach, Senate Republicans seem poised to repeat the same failed approach.

On June 17, the WisPolitics political news site held a straw poll at the convention of the Republican Party of Wisconsin in La Crosse. Six possible Republican Senate candidates received support: former Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke; real estate developer and 2012 Senate candidate Eric Hovde; staffing firm executive Scott Mayer; former College Democrats of America president turned 2018 GOP Senate candidate Kevin Nicholson; former state Senate President Roger Roth; and U.S. Rep. Tom Tiffany.

Clarke has repeatedly backed state and federal abortion bans. After House Democrats passed a ban on semi-automatic assault weapons in July 2022, he tweeted: “Oh bag it Democrats. They claim gun control will save lives. SO WILL A BAN ON ABORTION. That kills more lives than guns do.”

A month earlier, Clarke compared abortion rights to slavery, tweeting: “These same devils would have called reversing Plessey v Ferguson [sic] and Dred Scott decision was a step backward. WRONG. It righted a wrong by the US Supreme Court just like reversing Roe v Wade has done. Killing babies is as immoral a wrong as slavery.”

According to the progressive website Blogging Blue, Hovde said at a July 2012 campaign event, “I’m 100% pro-life,” and added that he only would make an exception in cases of rape and incest. In campaign radio ads that year, he noted an endorsement from the anti-abortion rights group Wisconsin Right to Life and said: “I believe that we’re all created in God’s image. Defending innocent human life is a basic responsibility of civilized people.”

Wisconsin Right to Life said in its June 2012 endorsement, “Eric Hovde has indicated strong support for federal right-to-life issues should he be elected.”

“I am absolutely unapologetically pro-life, I really am,” Mayer told USA Today in May, “ but we have to have some access.” In April, he told NBC News that he was “absolutely pro-life” and would likely allow the procedure only in the first three months, except in cases of rape, incest, or health risk.

Though Nicholson said in a 2000 address at the Democratic National Convention that Democrats “care about a woman’s right to choose,” he has since abandoned his support for reproductive rights. During his unsuccessful 2018 bid for the Senate, he said he would back an abortion ban but would consider exceptions “case by case” as long as the legislation “saves the unborn and does it in a way that’s enforceable.” In an aborted 2022 gubernatorial campaign, Nicholson promised to “protect innocent life” by providing state funding for anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers.

During Roth’s unsuccessful 2022 campaign for lieutenant governor, his biography on his campaign website said, “Despite radical moves from liberals to push partial-birth abortion, abortion on demand, or murdering a child based on their sex, Roger has stood to thwart the left’s ruthless ambition to end the life of thousands of future Wisconsinites.”

Roth sponsored a 2015 bill in the Wisconsin Senate to prohibit “abortion of an unborn child considered capable of experiencing pain.” Abortion rights opponents have falsely claimed that fetuses can feel pain as early as 15 weeks into a pregnancy, though the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says on its website, “The science conclusively establishes that a human fetus does not have the capacity to experience pain until after at least 24–25 weeks.”

Tiffany received “A+” ratings from the anti-abortion rights group SBA Pro-Life America for the past two Congresses, indicating consistent agreement with its positions. He is currently a co-sponsor of a bill that would ban abortions nationally after a “fetal heartbeat is detectable.” Abortion opponents falsely claim that there is a heartbeat at six weeks into a pregnancy, while the science shows that there is no cardiac structure in a fetus at that age.

“All of the potential GOP candidates for Senate want to help Mitch McConnell and MAGA Republicans pass a national abortion ban and keep abortion illegal in Wisconsin,” Arik Wolk, a spokesperson for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, told the American Independent Foundation. “That’s out of touch with Wisconsin values and dangerous for our state and our country.”

According to the report “Abortion Attitudes in a Post-Roe World: Findings From the 50-State 2022 American Values Atlas,” produced by the nonprofit research organization PRRI, 64 percent of Wisconsin residents believe abortion should be legal in most or all cases.

A June 2023 survey by the polling firm GQR of voters in Wisconsin and six other Senate battleground states, commissioned by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, found that 65 percent support abortion being legal in all or most circumstances.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Danziger Draws

Danziger Draws

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City and Vermont. He is a long time cartoonist for The Rutland Herald and is represented by Counterpoint Syndicate. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

desantis ukraine

Ukraine Officials Invite 'Former Officer' DeSantis To Visit War-Torn Nation

Ukraine has invited Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to visit the war-torn country after the Republican branded Russia’s unprovoked invasion a “territorial dispute” not amongst the U.S.’s “many vital national interests.”

A spokesperson for Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry, Oleg Nikolenko, extended the invitation via Twitter on Tuesday evening, writing that DeSantis, a former serviceman, should be capable of distinguishing between disagreement and warfare.

“We are sure that as a former military officer deployed to a combat zone, Governor @RonDeSantisFL knows the difference between a ‘dispute’ and war. We invite him to visit Ukraine to get a deeper understanding of Russia’s full-scale invasion and the threats it poses to US interests,” Nikolenko tweeted.

The invitation came amid a cascade of criticism that followed DeSantis’s remarks characterizing U.S. support for Ukraine as the Biden Administration’s decision to back “virtual ‘blank check’ funding” of an “escalating foreign war over the defense of our own homeland.”

The Republican governor was responding to a questionnaire about the war in Ukraine that Fox News’s Tucker Carlson sent to several current and potential contenders for the 2024 Republican presidential nominee ticket, including former President Donald Trump.

In his response, DeSantis also opined that continued aid to Ukraine would “greatly increase the stakes of the conflict, making the use of nuclear weapons more likely,” signaling that he would tamp down on Ukraine aid — or kill it completely — if elected president.

"While the U.S. has many vital national interests – securing our borders, addressing the crisis of readiness within our military, achieving energy security and independence, and checking the economic, cultural, and military power of the Chinese Communist Party – becoming further entangled in a territorial dispute between Ukraine and Russia is not one of them,” DeSantis said.

The governor’s stance on the matter, which mirrored Trump’s and those of the isolationist, MAGA arm of the GOP, drew a swift rebuke from other prominent Republicans.

In an interview Wednesday with New Hampshire Today, a morning radio show, former Vice President Mike Pence pushed back against DeSantis’ claims. He called Russia’s military efforts in Ukraine not a "territorial dispute" but “an unprovoked war of aggression.”

“Russia is attempting to redraw international lines by force," said Pence, who is reportedly mulling a 2024 presidential bid. “I strongly support continuing to provide the Ukrainian military the resources necessary to repel that Russian invasion.”

Nikki Haley, who launched her 2024 presidential bid in mid-February, also disagreed with DeSantis in her response to Carlson’s questionnaire.

"America is far better off with a Ukrainian victory than a Russian victory, including avoiding a wider war," Haley wrote, according to Fox News. "If Russia wins, there is no reason to believe it will stop at Ukraine. And if Russia wins, then its closest allies, China and Iran, will become more aggressive."

Senate Republicans, several of whom have sought support for Ukraine within their ranks, got in on the act, too — in support of the embattled U.S. ally.

“To those who believe that Russia’s unprovoked and barbaric invasion of Ukraine is not a priority for the United States – you are missing a lot,” Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) tweeted on Tuesday.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, rejected DeSantis’ sentiment that the Russia-Ukraine war was merely a “territorial dispute” of no interest to the U.S.

“Well, it’s not a territorial dispute in the sense that any more than it would be a territorial dispute if the United States decided that it wanted to invade Canada or take over the Bahamas,” Rubio told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Tuesday.

Sen John. Cornyn (R-TX), another Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told Politico that DeSantis’ remarks had “disturbed” him.

"I'm disturbed by it. I think [DeSantis is] a smart guy… I hope he feels like he doesn't need to take that Tucker Carlson line to be competitive in the primary," Cornyn told the paper. "It's important for us to continue to support Ukrainians for our own security."

In recent remarks, Sen. John Thune (R-SD), the Senate Republican whip, distanced himself from DeSantis’s position on the Russian invasion, telling reporters, “The majority opinion among Sen. Republicans is the U.S. has a vital national security interest... That's certainly the view I have.”