About the title: when my younger brother was a small child in the mid-1980s, he was a fan of the cartoon “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.” According to family lore, one time at a store, little bro was riding in a shopping cart my mom was pushing and saw a He-Man-affiliated toy display and started screaming, “It’s the Bastards of the Universe!”
The same could perhaps be said of GOP U.S. Senate candidate Blake Masters, his mentor Peter Thiel and propagandist Tucker Carlson. There’s an article at Politico about Masters and a so-called “New Right” allegedly being shaped by Thiel. The article says Thiel’s aim is to build a coherent ideology around Trumpism, and that’s why Thiel strategically deploys pallets of cash to hard-right former employees like Masters and Vance.
My guess is this ideology will coincidentally inform policies that punish Thiel’s enemies and reward himself and his friends, as Trump’s policies did. But here’s what struck me when reading the Politico piece:
Masters’ views, while hard right, are not quite fringe in today’s Republican Party. He’s a harsh critic of Big Tech and says Trump was robbed in 2020. He traffics in the “replacement theory” that Democrats want to change the electorate through a wave of undocumented immigrants. He opposes aid to Ukraine and the right to an abortion. (He recently faced controversy for criticizing Griswold v. Connecticut, which legalized contraceptives nationally, though he said he doesn’t want to outlaw contraception and, taking a page from Thiel, threatened to sue an Arizona news outlet for defamation.)
It’s true — these insane and pro-fascist views are “not quite fringe in today’s Republican Party.” That’s why it’s so important to defeat them thoroughly. But how? We’re not the only ones wondering about that. This excerpt from an NBC News story on Biden’s frustrations with our political moment sounds like it could have been generated from a Balloon Juice word cloud:
Biden has vented to aides about not getting credit from Americans or the news media for actions he believes have helped the country, particularly on the economy. Unemployment rates have dropped to below 4 percent — pre-pandemic levels — but polling indicates most Americans believe the economy is in bad shape. Biden grouses that Republicans aren’t getting their share of the blame for legislative gridlock in Congress, while he’s repeatedly faulted for not getting his agenda passed.
All true. The NBC story also says that Biden “shares the view that we haven’t landed on a winning midterm message” and is pressuring staffers to figure it out. One tactic they’re exploring is “villainize the opposition.” In this case, that’s also known as “telling the truth,” and I’m all for it.
ETA: In breaking news, Michael Sussman, the former cybersecurity lawyer for the Hillary Clinton campaign, was acquitted of charges that he lied to the FBI when he brought them allegations about Donald Trump. So Barr-appointed Special Counsel John Durham has come up snake-eyes. Good. The time to shut Durham down was 12:01 PM January 20, 2021. Maybe the DOJ will do so now.