Monday, November 22, 2021


I guess it’s time to remind people about the Doughy Pantload, aka the Flatulator. From an otherwise estimable Greg Sargent column about Stephen Hayes and Jonah Goldberg quitting whatever it was they were getting paid for by Fox News over Tucker Carlson’s pro-insurrection TV special:

Some liberals have scoffed that Hayes and Goldberg are unreliable allies who should have recognized Fox’s toxicity long ago and have taken other unforgivable positions over the years. But liberals should want the existence of a center-right that is fundamentally for the baseline of respecting democratic outcomes and institutions, for reasons I’ve outlined elsewhere, even if we disagree with them about everything else.

In the story linked from his “for reasons I’ve outlined elsewhere," Sargent acknowledges that people like Hayes and Goldberg aren’t exactly democracy’s best friends, but they are more likely to defend it in a pinch than are the true Trumpkins:

On CNN, [Trump apostate Miles] Taylor said: “The one place we are united with Democrats right now is in defending our democracy.” Unfortunately, when it comes to center-right voices willing to say this, right now we don’t have the option of being particularly choosy.

But we only have their say-so on that -- what’s the proof they’ll “defend democracy”? Taylor was revealed to be the author of the hilarious 2018 “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration” op-ed in the New York Times, in which he claimed to be one of “many Trump appointees [who] have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr. Trump’s more misguided impulses until he is out of office.” But what’d he actually do, besides wait until just before the 2020 election to out himself? 

Taylor's anonymous op-ed suggests he and his buddies just tried to keep the mentally unstable Trump from fucking up Republican policy too much. Even the many “oh yeah, Trump was nuts but I couldn’t tell you at the time because I needed it for my upcoming book” reports out there don’t show Taylor or anyone like him stopping Trump from declaring martial law or anything. (I will add that I take the stories about Pence resisting Trump because of James Madison, rather than because he was ascared he’d get in trouble, with a megagrain of salt.) 

As I wrote when the op-ed came out:

…it's taken me more than a year to acknowledge that Max Boot, for example, is sincere about opposing [Trump]. Boot remains a war-mongering monster, of course, but he's not pretending to be anything else -- he even admits that he can't approve of Trump's saber-rattling, not because Boot has turned pacifist, but because he thinks Trump lacks the belly (figuratively speaking) to follow through with the civilizational slaughter Boot's approval would require.

So when Boot says he's hoping the Democrats take over to teach Republicans a lesson, I believe he means it, because he's not trying to snow me about why he wants it. Thus, if he and his comrades of convenience get rid of Trump and eventually install President Mattis, I won't be stuck with my thumb up my ass blubbering "B-b-b-but I thought we was pals" as America blows up half the Middle East and Boot orgasms voluptuously.

More likely Taylor et alia were just looking for a more comfortable niche in the rightwing universe with some staying power for after Trump sharts himself to death. Taylor is currently working something called the Renew America Movement, pitched by -- red alert! -- the Niskanen Center. These guys are less likely to save democracy than to save their own asses.

Now Sargent and others think Hayes and Goldberg are part of some post-Resistance. Hayes ran the Weekly Standard, the wingnut mag that went anti-Trump, thus driving away its rich rightwing funders -- at which, LOL, on many levels, not least because Megan McArdle thought the demise of this sinecure meant there was a “civil war shattering the [conservative] movement,” notwithstanding “some of the movement’s stalwarts did turn into Trump boosters, if only half-hearted ones.” Har de har har. Pick up a copy of National Review sometime and tell me how anti-Trump they are

As to Goldberg: Since his emergence as his mom’s backup in the Lewinsky affair, he’s been a public nuisance -- my alicublog archives return hundreds of entries on his awfulness, despite my getting bored with him over the past couple of years. The most recent phase of Goldberg’s failsonry is his quasi-demi-hemi-anti-Trumpism, by which he heretofore hoped to straddle Trumpworld and NeverTrumpworld -- here, for example, he sputters that he’s not technically a “Never Trump” conservative, but more of a “Trump skeptic.” Whatever you call his aposta-half-assy, he has mainly expressed it by sneaking snide remarks in between pats of the Former Guy’s back:

Goldberg actually lists several columns where he's been "criticizing Trump." Let's take one at random -- "The False Prophecy of the Presidential Pivot” -- and look at the lede:

It was just last week that Donald Trump had the finest moment of his short presidency — his address to a joint session of Congress. Even many of his harshest critics praised his speech or reluctantly conceded that it was “presidential.”

Really lets him have it, huh? Actually Goldberg does get to criticizing eventually, but it's mainly criticism of Trump's intemperate Tweeting…

The great irony here is, Goldberg’s intellectual cred is largely based on his book Liberal Fascism -- a book about, unsurprisingly, how liberalism is fascism. (Goldberg, sneaky little shit that he is, claimed the book wasn’t about that when hawking it in the prestige media, and mostly got away with it, though not with Jon Stewart.) Now Goldberg finds himself chased out of the top tier of conservatism by the actual fascists in his own movement. Don’t worry about him, though -- he still has his phony-baloney job at The Dispatch as well as his Asness Chair (snerk) at AEI. And eventually you’re see him again in some place of unaccountable prominence, admitting that while the Proud Boys sometimes go too far, they’re a welcome change from the protestors they’ve put in the hospital. FarrRRt

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