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    • Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – September 26, 2021
      Week-end Wrap – Political Economy – September 26, 2021 by Tony Wikrent Strategic Political Economy “Rich People Are Leading the Anti-Vaccine Movement — and Experts Have a Theory Why” [Money, via Naked Capitalism Water Cooler 9-20-21] From 2019, still germane: “Disease experts say the parents least likely to vaccinate their kids live in some of the most afflu […]
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Matt Gaetz, Embodiment of the Far Right

Even in the horror show lineup which constitutes the modern Republican Party, Matt Gaetz stands out. Not only is he completely obnoxious with his rich frat boy sense of entitlement, he is a loud and brazen grandstander happy to interrupt hearings with some idiotic stunt. He also invited a Holocaust denier to a Trump state of the union address. He does not appear to have one redeeming personal or political feature.

Gaetz is well known for alcohol-fueled episodes. He has been previously arrested for at least one DUI. Now we learn of a new sleaziness which may actually be a crime. That would be paying women for sex, and most particularly, paying an underage 17 year old female to cross state lines to have sex with him.

The implication may be that he wanted to have the sex in a locale where she would not be legally underage. The infamous Mann Act of 1910, which was used to arrest all sorts of men for crossing state lines with women they were having a sexual relationship with, has been vitiated over the decades. Trying to read through the various sexual trafficking laws, it is hard to know exactly what specific behaviors would constitute a crime, beyond the obvious ones. If Gaetz were having a sexual relationship with a woman, and paid for her plane or hotel costs, that would probably not be a crime now. If the woman were under the age of consent in the locale where it took place then it would be. In fact, having sex with someone under the age of consent is a crime in itself.

Right now, both Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader McCarthy have said that if the allegations are true, Gaetz should be removed from his committees. They do not talk about him being kicked our of the House. Gaetz of course denies all of this, and says something about a man extorting his father for millions by threatening I am not sure what, release of information which is completely false, according to Gaetz? I suppose that he could argue that even though they are untrue, the threat of scandal is the lever. But how can you extort $25 million out of a father, by threatening to make up stories which the facts disprove?

Leaving that aside, we have Matt Gaetz, one of the bully boys who are the face of Republicanism, under fire. Gaetz, as do all of the Republicans, denies it all, says that he is the victim. However, his communications director just resigned, “out of principle.”

Republicans’ game plan always involves brazening it out, angrily denying, accusing various people, usually liberals, of making it up to target them. This usually results in an outpouring of support for the person, and millions in donations. It is turned into a rallying cry, and the next step is accusations against various Democrats, which often lead to them being forced to resign. Thus Republicans turn this into long-term political gain, such as Lindsey Graham saying that he completely reversed his position on filling a Supreme Court seat right before an election, “because of the way they treated Kavanaugh.” Maybe Goebbels wrote about that; Republicans seem to take much of their playbook from the odious Nazi chief of propaganda. “Turn the spear in the other direction,” something like that?

And you can bet that the right-wing media will start attacking their favorite targets: Bill Clinton, Franken, Cuomo, et al. “What about them, huh?!’ It is all distraction and misdirection, but it does often prove effective. No one ever forced Newt Gingrich out of office for his abhorrent personal behavior. Roy Moore won the primary as the Republican candidate for Senator from Alabama. And Jim Jordan is not only still in office, but rising to probably the #2 Republican in the House.

In general, Republicans simply refuse to leave, and count on their base to bail them out. Democrats are much more apt to call for anyone accused of impropriety, to resign. The case of Gaetz is pretty embarrassing to Republicans, however. There had been stories before this that Gaetz had wanted to leave Congress and do a TV talk show. But Fox News, asked about this, did not sound open to it, nor did OAN. Newsmax was the propaganda network which was rumored, and they might still take him, despite all this, and the stories of Gaetz showing photos of naked women, presumably sex partners, to colleagues on the House floor.

The most obvious point here is that Republicans, who gain fame and power by piously lecturing about morality, and how books and movies created by liberals are destroying our moral fabric, are often people of great immorality, who actually have no moral bounds at all, in any area of life or politics. We all know the stories of various preachers, some of whom run vast media empires, who engaged in all sorts of corrupt and immoral conduct. It almost seems like a characteristic.

It will be interesting to see what devices Gaetz tries to use here, and what the right-wing propaganda machine does to help him. Right now, they aren’t doing much of anything. Could he have gone over even their expansive boundaries? Or is Gaetz; buddy Roger Stone even now targeting Democrats for the next fake scandal? Take a hit for the team, to be used for further team gains?