Rupar is right about Graham’s affect here:
"Donald Trump is the most vibrant member of the Republican Party" — Lindsey Graham's interview on Fox News Sunday has major hostage video vibes pic.twitter.com/4vohcotJjK
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 14, 2021
Will also note for those who don’t have the stomach to watch that in addition to “vibrant,” Graham called the short-fingered vulgarian the Republican Party’s most “potent” member, which sounds like the kind of framing an abuse victim might use to salve the ego of a violent tormenter and forestall further abuse. So, Graham vs. Haley. The fight is on for the wizened turd that is the soul of the Republican Party.
Sort of related: toward the end of the thread downstairs, valued commenter Steep said something that resonated:
Can’t remember where I read it—somewhere on Twitter, probably—but someone offered the thought that at this point it’s more helpful to think of the GQP not as a political party but as a virus, concerned only with survival, power and self-replication. That got me to consider the framing of Trump not so much as the head of the party or a cult leader but as the current host of the virus. Now that he’s out of office and facing a lot of legal problems, his viability as a host is in question. (Not to mention he’s old and not healthy.) So Cruz, Hawley, Haley et al. are calculating how to slide into that position without being seen as the one to kill the old host.
Maybe it’s not helpful to think only in terms of “Trump’s base” and think that if the Trump problem is solved everything is okay. (Not saying that you are doing that.) If Trump disappeared tomorrow the racists and fascists would still be around and would quickly find someone else to attach themselves to. Like a virus.
I think that’s true. But to extend the analogy a bit, maybe it is worth thinking about “the base” to the extent that Mango Mussolini turned out voters like no other Republican could, i.e., the Velveeta Voldemort variant of the GOP virus was more transmissible when the Dark Lord was the host.
I suspect the Haley variant would be less so and that she’d lose two Hair Furor fans for every suburban swing-vote mom she brought on board with her compelling backstory and seeming reasonableness.
Cruz and Hawley are repellent in unique ways, but He Who Shall Not Be Named proved that those who arouse intense disgust in one portion of the electorate can inspire ecstatic devotion in another quarter for the exact same traits. My feeling is Ted and Josh don’t have it in them, but who knows?
Anyhoo. Open thread.