Epilogue—What tribal loathing looks like: Friend, did you happen to sit through Thursday’s long day’s journey into loathing?
The conduct of the Republican inquisitors helped the world see what tribal loathing looks like. As one example, it can leave you asking questions like the ones shown below of the person you loathe.
Rep. Martha Roby (R—Alabama) is asking the loathed party about events on the night of September 11, 2012. In fairness, Roby only adopted this tone as the evening drew on:
ROBY (10/22/15): Who was at your office when you left? Was Cheryl Mills, your chief of staff, still at the office when you left?The inquisitor was going to ask specifics. She went on to grill the suspect, one by one, about a list of staff members.
CLINTON: I don't remember. I know that a lot of my staff were there.
ROBY: I'm going to go through and name them. We'll see if you remember. Jake Sullivan, was he still there?
CLINTON: When— Yes, they were all there when I left. They were all there.
ROBY: OK. Victoria Nuland was there when you left?
CLINTON: When I— When I left, everyone was there.
ROBY: Philippe Reines was there?
CLINTON: I can— All I—I can give you a blanket answer. When I left—
ROBY: No, I'm going to ask specifics.
She asked if Jake Sullivan had been there. She asked about Reines again.
She asked the suspect about Stephen Mull.
“Bill Burns and Thomas Nides?” This was her next question.
In this way, the inquisitor visibly grilled the suspect. Presumably, she was trying to show us that the uncaring suspect went home for the night, leaving staff members to deal with the plight of the brave Americans she, the inquisitor, cares about, unlike the suspect, who is perhaps a roach.
From there, Roby proceeded to another series of questions which seemed designed to show the world that the suspect was uncaring. She only spoke to the president once that night! She couldn’t remember what time!
We were sorry to see Roby descend to this level. During the bulk of the day, she had remained relatively sane as her fellow panelists barked and yipped about various problems, including problems involving one of the suspect’s highly suspect friends.
Commissar Jordan seemed to be on speed during the bulk of the day—perhaps on some bad speed at that.
Roby had comported herself in a saner fashion. Which, to be honest, may have made her just a bit suspect herself.
The congresswoman’s biography is suspiciously squishy.
According to the leading authority on her life, she was suitably born, right there in Montgomery. But after graduating from high school, she “attended New York University, where she received a bachelor of music degree.”
What kind of cockroach does something like that? When she served on Montgomery’s City Council, she even “opposed privatizing the disposal of household garbage!”
Perhaps for these reasons, Roby was forced to prove her revolutionary mettle by grilling the suspect as evening drew on, “asking specifics” designed to show us how little the suspect cared.
We were sorry to see her do that. For us, attack dog Jordan’s tugs on his chain had done a suitable job of showing the face of tribal loathing. Then too, we had other commissars’ apparent sense of shock at the idea that someone might receive emails from a long-time friend—that a long-time friend might even know his friend’s home address, or visit a suspect’s home!
That afternoon, the aptly named Commissar Pompeo had tried to unravel this puzzle. He too was serially specific as he probed this puzzling citcumstance:
POMPEO (10/22/15): I want to go back to a couple things I talked to you about a bit before, Madam Secretary. So Ambassador Stevens didn’t have your e-mail. Is that correct? Your personal e-mail?A long-time friend had stopped by her house, revealing access to her and her person!Ambassador Stevens had not!
CLINTON: I'm sorry, what did you ask me?
POMPEO: Ambassador Stevens did not have your personal e-mail address, we've established that.
CLINTON: Yes, that's right.
POMPEO: Did he have your cell phone number?
CLINTON: No, but he had the 24-hour number of the State Operations in the State Department that can reach me 24/7.
POMPEO: Yes, ma'am. Did he have the fax number?
CLINTON: He had the fax number of the State Department.
POMPEO: Did he have you home address?
CLINTON: No, I don't think any ambassador has ever asked me for that.
POMPEO: Did he ever stop by your house?
CLINTON: No, he did not, Congressman.
POMPEO: Mr. Blumenthal had each of those and did each of those things. This man upon who provided you so much information on Libya had access to you in ways that were very different than the access that a very senior diplomat had to your—to you and your person.
A possibility entered our heads. Was it possible that Pompeo has never had any friends, and may not understand the concept?
We’ll guess that Roby, a sane-seeming person, has had plenty of friends. That’s why we were disappointed when she went down this familiar old road, which is linked to death and destruction all across the world.
If we might borrow from our Kafka, the commissars had their cockroach! This is the way we humans end up when we surrender to tribal loathing.
Whatever one thinks of Candidate Clinton, twenty-three years of aggressive otherization have helped create the tribal loathing put on display this week. One example from 1994:
We were in our car, with the radio on, when Rush Limbaugh floated the idea that Vince Foster had been killed in an apartment which belonged to the cockroach in question. Out in the country, many people didn’t realize that they were being played as Rush spread his ugly suggestion.
Another example, from August 1999:
We were at home, with our TV set on, when Chris Matthews spent a half hour kissing the aspic of Gennifer Flowers, who had been brought on his “cable news” program to tell us how many people the Clintons had managed to murder.
For our money, one of the low points is shown below. Moments before, Matthews had said that Hillary Clinton had been “offering herself as Nurse Ratched to the cuckoo’s nest here:”
MATTHEWS (8/2/99): Well, you know, I gotta pay a little tribute here. You're a very beautiful woman, and I—and I have to tell you, he knows that, you know that, and everybody watching knows that; Hillary Clinton knows that. How can a woman put up with a relationship between her husband and somebody, anybody, but especially somebody like you that’s a knockout? I don't quite get this relationship.Just for the record, there's no reason to think that Gennifer Flowers ever had a “relationship” with Bill Clinton. Beyond that, there's no reason to think that any of these alleged “conversations” ever took place.
FLOWERS: Gosh, you make me blush here. I’m telling you—I'll tell you, this—
MATTHEWS: Well, it’s an objective statement, Gennifer. I'm not flirting. So let’s go on.
FLOWERS: How can she do this?
FLOWERS: Because she is willing to sacrifice her personal integrity for their political motivation.
MATTHEWS: Has she told you that?
FLOWERS: Has she personally told me that?
MATTHEWS: No, has he told you that his wife is just a pol on the make?
FLOWERS: More or less, yes.
MATTHEWS: More or less?
FLOWERS: More. I would say in our conversations, he never put it that directly. But it was clearly a situation where they were, they were political partners.
Despite these fairly obvious facts, Matthews was very excited. “Hey, we’re coming back with Gennifer Flowers in Las Vegas,” he excitedly said at this point. “More coming back on Hardball!”
When Matthews came back, he asked his guest if she wanted to retract her accusations about “murders.” Out in the country, many people didn’t know that they were being played.
(Flowers’ performance on Hardball was so crazy that she was quickly invited on Hannity & Colmes, where she did the full hour. She used the extra time to tell the world that Hillary Clinton is the world’s most gigantic lesbo. Three months later, Matthews reported that Candidate Gore was wearing three-button suits in a smarmy, sexualized attempt to attract female voters. Out in the country, many people didn’t know they were being played. No journalist was willing to tell them.)
On Thursday, you saw the result of twenty-three years of this sort of misconduct. More specifically, you saw hours of tribal loathing displayed by the commissars.
Presumably, some of the loathing was real. Presumably, some of it was feigned, designed to please the people back home who haven’t realized, down through the years, that they were being played by horrible, grasping people like Limbaugh, Hannity, Matthews.
(In fairness, Matthews is playing for our team now. Tribally, we love him!)
Many people were able to see how silly the commissars looked. Even some journalists were able to see it—though for our money, Amy Chozick dragged her heels just a bit at the Times.
This isn’t about what you think of Candidate Clinton as a possible president. This is about something which precedes what you think. It’s about the way a deeply destructive force gets introduced into the world.
The moronic face of tribal loathing was on display this week. People like Limbaugh, Hannity, Matthews have worked quite hard, for twenty-three years, to create this inchoate loathing, in which the public is told to be suspicious because a suspect’s long-term friend has actually stopped by her house.
We’re going to leave you with a suggestion:
Think about the way the inquisitors looked to you on Thursday. That’s the way We look to Them when they see our own creepy, grasping tribal leaders dissembling and lying their ascots off about those office closings in Alabama, where Rep. Roby lives.
Roby understands the full set of facts about the office closings. Beyond that, she understands what our tribal darling Rachel has done.
By the way, Maddow thinks the Clintons have some “sort of creepy seeming” friends too! She said so to Andrea Mitchell last night, after expressing some peculiar ideas about Bill Clinton’s White House years.
(“Where in the world do these find these people?” the analysts sadly asked.)
Tribal loathing creeps and spreads. It devours the social fabric. It worms its way inside everyone’s heads. It makes each tribe despise the other.
Tribal loathing destroys clear vision. But dear lord, it feels so good!