Skip to main content

Ronna McDaniel and the Ten Syllables of Doom

Any capable writer would have looked at the words “legitimate political discourse” and said “Uh Ronna? Can we talk privately?”

Of course, the writer might’ve been less than capable. Or ignored altogether. Neither would come as a shock.

But let’s assume there was a real copywriter on the job. You wouldn’t want to go to market without one, especially when you’re a political clown like Ronna McDaniel, and what you’re trying to market is conspiracy and sedition.

Still, you can see how it happens. They’re in this meeting of the Resolutions Committee of the Republican National Committee. Ronna is RNC chair, so we guess she’s driving the effort.

The purpose of the meeting is to write a censure resolution. They’re there to cobble together some sort of logic, no matter how tortured, that can justify the censure of Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger. Everyone on the Zoom call knows this is nuts. They all know it puts things on record that have no business being there.

Yet someone — and I wonder if we’ll ever know who — has insisted on this strange shunning, of two of their own.

So picture these committee members, people who once thought themselves respectable citizens. Pillars of their communities, valued members of their party, they’re still trying to figure out how they came to be aiding and abetting the overthrow of their own government.

Sure, there are some ideologues and firebrands among them, and even they must be wondering what they’re getting themselves into. But most are just political lightweights who are already in too deep.

They’re terrified of the Jan 6 committee. Many of them know they’ve behaved badly for five years. Some know they have criminal exposure. Some were involved in the run-up to Jan 6 and would rather not discuss it. Some are asking themselves who they can flip on, or what they might know that a prosecutor might trade up for. Most can’t afford the kind of lawyers that could pull them out of trouble.

And a lot of them really need their current job, whatever that may be. The job market might be sweet right now, but not for people with Trump stink on them. Their choices have narrowed.

So we’re looking at a roomful of ethical compromises, broken laws, and nervous people who now realize they’ve chosen sides in a game they didn’t even know they were in.

And this RNC resolution is a significant turn for the worse. Up to now, they’ve just been pretending to hate government. They’ve been out there amplifying lies, trashing Fauci, fighting mandates, demanding recounts, trolling Democrats, and taking credit for their states’ infrastructure funding. Nothing too strenuous, nothing too incriminating. Just following orders.

But now they’re being asked to put their names on this resolution, a document that is clearly bonkers, top to bottom.

They’re being asked to put in writing what we’ve known all along: that the Republican party is a conspiracy in plain sight, a knife at the throat of democracy.

All the more reason for them to get the wording right.

Because that’s what these edgy, not-very-bright people are reduced to — arguing about wording. They have to come up with a document that somehow makes bonkers sound reasonable. Let me assure you this is not easy.

You’d think they would bring in one of the pros from the Heritage Foundation, writers totally adept at making bullshit smell like napalm in the morning. Though this particular task might stump even them.

One of the many ironies here is that this censure resolution didn't need the phrase “legitimate political discourse” at all. They’d already made their point. Cheney and Kinzinger are already thoroughly tarred and feathered by the sixth paragraph. Joe Biden and every living Democrat are already savagely slandered for their “effort to replace liberty with socialism.” The whole resolution is already a bizarre cavalcade of lies and gaslight. Bringing it around to the Jan 6 rioters is both superfluous and fraught.

So it's at this point that the writer should be warning them that it’s time to cut to the punchline, to the part where they resolve to excommunicate the two apostates.

But they can’t help themselves. They just have to add a rhetorical flourish. They need an exclamation point.

So they argue about how to say it.

Is “legitimate” the right word? They can’t use “legal” or “lawful” in reference to the rioters — that would draw belly laughs. “Permissible” sounds too wimpy. “Valid” doesn’t go far enough. “Righteous” goes too far (“far-righteous?”). So they settle on “legitimate,” a loaded word in the context of an event that was anything but. But so be it. One word down, two to go.

The next word, “political,” is more-or-less a throwaway. It doesn’t add much to the discussion. It’s sort of a modifier, something that goes without saying. They could have left it out.

But of all the ways one could describe the wanton criminality of Jan 6, “discourse” is easily the most adorable. Like the whole event was just a few happy busloads of concerned citizens who came to Washington to engage in polite debate. 

What they’re looking for is the perfect euphemism, a way to sugarcoat the violence that was there for the entire world to see. Nixon used "pacification" in Vietnam, when he really meant "bombing villages and burning civilians." If this committee could get away with “hijinks” or “antics” or “shenanigans” they’d jump at it. “Discourse” might have been the best they could do. Did they consider “intercourse?”

But it’s getting late and they’re tired of arguing, so they do what committees the world over do. They reach an agreement. They settle on these three words.

And yet they don’t check to see how those words might fly in the real world, a place they rarely visit. They mistake their own consensus for effective communication. Which is what the writer — supposedly the effective communicator in the room — should have told them.

But instead, history has zeroed in on those ten fateful syllables. Ronna wishes she had them back. She even tried to pull them back, but too late. They were already on record, out in public, and a lead story for at least three news cycles.

Of course, the phrase might have been exactly what they meant. They might really think the riot was legitimate discourse. In which case I fear for the country even more.

And lest you think I’m being overly hard on the writer, let’s just say that this one had, and still has, plenty of culpability. Not so much for failing to head off the loaded language — which maybe couldn’t be helped — but for working for Ronna McDaniel in the first place. For writing this garbage with a straight face, and taking money for it.

 

Comments

  1. And now we need to make them wear that label around their necks for the rest of the year, if not the next 3.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for, once again, cogently calling bullshit on these traitors.

    ReplyDelete
  3. At last a copywriter's words in a document that lasts for more than sixty seconds. Congratulations on breaking the barrier effectively. Nicely done. BTW the
    y needed you at the Super Bowl.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Dobbs is Just the Bludgeon We’ve Been Looking For

I recently had occasion to engage in a brief political discussion with a bright and well-spoken woman in her mid-twenties. She was clearly perturbed at what she considered the failure of Democrats to push through the progressive agenda she and her generation have long been promised. I felt her pain, knowing how hard the next twenty or thirty years will be for her age group, not just in this country, but planetwide. She will surely be a witness to spontaneous atrocities, environmental calamities, and a competition for dwindling resources that will reduce many of her fellow humans to savagery. At the same time, I was embarrassed — as I often am — that I’m passing along to her a nation in far worse shape than it was when I found it. Even so, I felt she was being a bit hard on the Democrats in power, most of whom have, more or less, behaved admirably in pursuing basically the same agenda as hers, even as they remain shackled to a constitutional system on the very c

Putin’s Information Bubble Springs a Leak

The cat is out of the bag. The Russian citizenry can now be quite sure there’s a real war on, with real people dying. Something about a 300,000-man military draft — more likely a million — serves to focus the mind. It was only a matter of time before even the most brainwashed of parents would figure out that their sons were highly likely to be blown to pieces sometime soon. Who would have thought Putin’s hermetically-sealed information bubble would be pierced, not by liberals or intellectuals or human rights activists, but by the militant right? I suppose it does make a certain weird sense. The left has either fled the country, gone to jail, or — in most cases — opted to shut up and lay low for a decade or so. So it’s the far right that, curiously, is giving Putin the most heartburn. Specifically, it’s the ultra-militarist bloggers on Telegram — boasting millions of followers — who are reporting from the front lines of the war. And they’re telling it like it

They’re Using ‘Trump’ and ‘Espionage’ in the Same Sentence

It isn’t every day that a former president gets investigated for espionage. One more first for Donald Trump. Yes, we’ve all been titillated by every sordid new development in the ongoing saga of the Mar-a-Lago files. But the big question, at least for me, remains: What was he thinking? Why would he take state secrets out of the White House, knowing full well it’s a felony? Not that he’s a stranger to felonies, but still. The press has focused mainly on the make-believe theories thrown up by the wingnut right to explain away the obvious. But I’ve not seen much on the espionage angle itself. Which is strange. Because the very word ‘espionage’ puts an unmistakably sinister spin on Trump’s motives. It’s not a word that either CIA or DOJ throws around a lot. But it’s a word both are using. If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Trump it’s that life is about transactions, about trading favors. He is, by nature, a quid in search of the perfect pro quo. So while we don’t know how s