Remember the Rocky Marciano barber shop scene from Coming to America? Specifically, the first line: "Every time I start talking 'bout boxing, a white man got to pull Rocky Marciano out their ass." I think about that line a lot. Not in any boxing-related contexts, either.
Instead, I think about how what I'll call the "Reverse Rocky Marciano" move plays out in politics. Where the person being referenced is on the opposite side from the person doing the referencing, to say "but look at what he did" as the most simplistic form of whataboutism.
Let's swap some words out. "Every time I start talking about [sexual misconduct], a [Republican] got to pull [Al Franken] out their ass."

The interesting thing is, there are two really telling things about this technique. First, it's almost uniquely a Republican move.
Second, the conduct of the person being referenced almost never compares in general objectionability to the conduct of the original subject of the conversation. Put these two together & you can draw a few conclusions:

1) There are bad eggs in both parties.
2) There are many ...
more bad eggs in the Republican party.
3) The bad eggs in the Republican party are worse than the bad eggs in the Democratic party.

This isn't really aimed at Republican and Democratic voters; it's really a politician/spokesperson thing. But it's definitely there, & it's ...
really rather astounding how frequently they trot out this trope. When the fact of the matter is, they're generally comparing apples to, well, apple orchards.

It's basically like this. Someone starts complaining about how 50 Republican politicians committed premeditated ...
murder last year, & Tucker Carlson starts saying "yeah, but Hillary Clinton shoplifted in college!" Yeah, it's still a crime, but it's not quite the same, & it's still one person vs. 50.

I get it. It's much easier to point fingers at someone else's bad behavior than it is to ...
defend your own. But when you're saying "but what about Al Franken/Anthony Weiner/Bill Clinton" to distract from Matt Gaetz or this dude, do you really think you deserve to win the argument?…
The thing is, it doesn't really have to be this way IMO. If the Republican party cut someone loose after behavior like this, would they really suffer any consequences? I'd think their constituents would feel BETTER about them. They'd definitely be able to defend their ...
choices better. Can you imagine how frustrating it would be to argue with someone if they could say this?

You: I don't see how you can say you're a Christian. You voted for a pedophile.
Them: I didn't know that, and when we found out, we kicked him out.

They'd be insufferable.
And these politicos generally aren't from at-risk districts either. So if you kick one out, another one politically just like him can generally be expected to take his place.

So why are they so protective? The easy answer is, they're all awful people & they're afraid the one ...
being thrown out will name names. But tbh I think that's facile. No matter how much it might sound like a good slogan, no, all Republican politicians are not pedophiles/rapists/embezzlers/whatever. Mutually Assured Destruction is too simplistic & doesn't reflect reality.
I think it's both more subtle & more basic. I think it's because Republican politicians have so indoctrinated their voters into focusing on The Other (Democrats/gays/immigrants/etc.) as the sole source of everything wrong with their lives, & if they turned on one of their ...
own, that would be that that person was actually The Other, which means that one of The Others was actually One Of Us, which means what if there are other Others in Us, which inevitably leads to an existential question, what if The Other is an artificial construct?
Bottom line, you can't both exclusively focus on The Other & recognize misconduct in your own ranks without creating a subtle cognitive dissonance in your followers. And it's not like the above thought process would be a conscious thing; it would happen in the background of
people's minds, slowly creating niggling doubts.

But won't that thought process still be there even if these guys aren't cast out? Not necessarily. Humans are, for all our intelligence, social animals, & if our eyes tell us one thing but the people we trust tell us something ...
else, we don't necessarily get that critical mass of doubt that is necessary to start a chain reaction. So the fact that the party leaders don't disavow someone is actually significant.

Anyway, that's my thought on the matter. It's not complete or a grand unified theory of ...
Republican psychology or anything. It's just some musings about a boxer who keeps being pulled out of white men's asses.

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More from @NatlSecCnslrs

2 May
This just in: OLC gonna OLC no matter who's in charge.…
Pretty sure I said this before.…
What irritates me is that this opinion was written the DAY I submitted my testimony to @AppropsDems about OLC & damn if it wouldn't've made an amazing example. To think, 2 OLC opinions in as many years saying "well actually IGs aren't really all that." It's a bit on the nose.
Read 4 tweets
28 Apr
Have I mentioned how fun it is to watch opposing counsel carefully laying a clever trap because you know it's going to be completely useless?

Exhibit A (rendered generic for convenience):

OC: When did you start representing these clients in [Country X]?
Lawyer Witness: 2010.
OC: And when did you graduate law school?
LW: 2011.
OC: Were you affiliated with a law school program in 2010 that allowed you to represent clients?
LW: No.
OC: Were you admitted to any bar in 2010?
LW: No.
OC: Were you authorized by any state to represent clients in 2010?
LW: No.
OC: <preparing the A Ha! finger> So how were you representing clients in 2010?
LW: <nonplussed> I was licensed to practice law in [Country X].
Read 5 tweets
23 Apr
Let's get started with the AMA! Follow along with this thread (tweets by @bstautberg) and tweet questions with that hashtag while Kel answers Qs on Reddit. This will be a summary of the Q&A; for the full text hop on Reddit.
@bstautberg Tweet questions with #AskNatlSecCnslrsAnything. I'll be summarizing everything here for the Twitter audience. Reddit link:…
@bstautberg 1st Q: Did you say the same thing (that the president should make it a priority to reduce harmful secrecy in the federal gov't) when Trump was president? A: Yes, and I hope all the questions are this easy!
Read 72 tweets
20 Apr
Protip: If nobody is answering your emails, a recorded message on the customer service line saying "for faster service just email us" is not going to have the intended effect.

PS major props to the @fepblue rep who is patiently sitting through this interminable hold cycle with me.
30 mins into the call, we made it from #12 in line to #2. Then the music stopped.

@fepblue Rep: OK we're up.
Rep: Mr. McClanahan?
Me: Yes?
Rep: They disconnected us.
Me: You're kidding.
Rep: I'm as shocked as you are.
Me: Now you know why I tried to email them.
Read 4 tweets
16 Apr
This is fun. Just came across this processing note about how FBI processed an old FOIA request (not of mine).

To be clear, they finished processing most of the requested records. They're ready to release. There's no work left to be done on the already-processed records.

But ...
if the requester doesn't pay a fee, they don't get the records. Even though, I'll say again, THEY'RE ALREADY READY TO GO OUT THE DOOR.

This makes sense in a private company. It makes no sense in a FOIA office. The fees don't even begin to pay for the records (they're holding ...
out for $143 here, which is chicken scratch to a FOIA office).

There is literally no reason to withhold these records except the fact that they CAN.

THAT'S how FOIA offices see fees.
Read 5 tweets
16 Apr
OK, I'm going to say this one time & I will not be arguing with anyone about it. If you want a reasonable discussion, maybe I'll reply.

I do not know @thelindsayellis personally. I do not know if she is a wonderful person or a horrible racist bigot. I do know that I have ...
never gotten that impression from any of her products, & I've followed her for a while now, since she first popped up on my radar as half of the amazing Nostalgia Critic/Nostalgia Chick review of Ferngully.

I also know that as a straight cis white man, I'm pretty much the ...
least qualified person in the world to intelligently comment on what someone in a marginalized community experiences on a daily basis. So understand those limitations when deciding what to make of this comment.

You do not need to think she is right or wrong to need to watch ...
Read 12 tweets

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