But the other thing that springs to my mind – especially looking at Christine O’Donnell’s newfound trouble with her election cash – is that sometime in the last twenty years, talk-show hosts and their anointed candidates became the new televangelists. Whereas in years past, the stereotypical person of a certain age would send the whole Social Security check to Oral Roberts, now the money all goes to Cash4Gold and SarahPAC. And for much the same reason – if you can trade cash for salvation, temporal or heavenly, you have to make that deal, right?
The current administration, when you think about it, is almost an inevitable endpoint. I have argued previously that a core part of the Republican mission in the last 50 years, ever since Kevin Philips wrote The Emerging Republican Majority, has been to weaponize ignorance in defense of wealth. Set against that, the Trump movement makes perfect sense, because it has taken things to the logical extreme endpoint: the weaponization of racism in defense of personal wealth.
The delicious irony of Steve Bannon being pulled off a boat by US Postal Inspection Service agents like some kind of Arrested Development pastiche merely points up what I said ten years ago: this is the new televangelism. The same people who would have shipped their money to Oral Roberts to keep God from calling him home gladly pivoted to shipping their money to another brand of asshole hucksters (Anal Roberts?) who would assure the salvation of their faith: give us your cash so we can use it to shit all over the brown people. And meanwhile, pockets were lined and backs were scratched and metaphors were abused. And it’s worth asking why the Attorney General fired the DA for the Southern District of New York and tried to insert his own replacement, given that the ultimate replacement was the lady reading out the indictments this morning. (History will record that Bill Barr is the most corrupt defender of the Trump machine, and he must be pursued in the After if we ever have one.)
And so here we sit, looking at a GOP whose purpose and mission has been turned entirely toward the protection not of wealth in general, but of the Trump Organization and the constellation of grifters and con artists that orbits it. The Republicans are going to have to be made to wash the slime off before being allowed back into polite company, never mind actual power, and I suspect there are plenty of people who would love to do so on their side. But I’m gonna need to see contrition, penitence and a little bit of “NOT IN THE FACE” before I’m willing to regard any elected Republican as other than a stooge for the hustlers.