FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2022
We're disinclined to indict: In his new column for the New York Times, Jamelle Bouie is talking about this past week's goblins.
Headline included, this is the way he starts:
This Is What Happens When Republicans Tear Off Their Masks
Even by the degraded standards of 2022, it has been shocking to watch Republican politicians and conservative media personalities respond to the brutal attack on Paul Pelosi—Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband—with lies, conspiracy mongering and gleeful disregard for the victim.
Glenn Youngkin, the Republican governor of Virginia, made light of the assault—which left the 82-year-old Pelosi hospitalized with serious injuries—while campaigning for Yesli Vega, the Republican running to unseat Abigail Spanberger, the Democratic representative in Virginia’s 7th District.
“Speaker Pelosi’s husband, they had a break-in last night in their house, and he was assaulted. There’s no room for violence anywhere,” Youngkin said, in what appeared to be a straightforward condemnation of the attack until he added, to the cheers of the crowd, that “we’re going to send her back to be with him in California.”
“That’s what we’re going to go do,” he continued. “That’s what we’re going to go do.”
Concerning the assault on Paul Pelosi, did Youngkin behave like one of the goblins? We can't really say that he did.
As you can see in the report to which Bouie links, Youngkin made his brief remarks about the assault at a political rally "just hours after it occurred." The seriousness of the assault wasn't yet widely known; indeed, it may not have been known at all.
We'll guess that most of the people at the rally didn't even know that the assault had occurred.
At the rally, Youngkin offered standard-issue political talk about sending Nancy Pelosi home after November's election. (You can see videotape of Youngkin's remarks at the link we've provided.)
That was standard-issue political talk. Our tribe is captured by the widespread desire to make it into an outrage.
After naming Youngkin, Bouie moves on to someone who did behave like a goblin. This is what he writes:
BOUIE (continuing directly): Kari Lake, the Republican nominee for governor of Arizona, used the attack on Pelosi—who underwent surgery to repair a skull fracture after he was struck on the head with a hammer by his assailant—as fodder for a joke.
“Nancy Pelosi, well, she’s got protection when she’s in D.C.—apparently her house doesn’t have a lot of protection.” According to Kate Sullivan, a CNN reporter, the joke landed: “The crowd burst into laughter and the interviewer was laughing so hard he covered his face with his notes.”
The ridiculous conduct by Lake and her allies occurred late Monday, three days after the assault. By then, everyone knew how serious the attack had been—but Lake behaved as a true goblin would.
Her "interviewer" played the fool—behaved like a circus clown.
Within our tribe, pundits rushed to demonize Youngkin for his remarks that day. This conduct captures the essence of our tribe, whose current motto might be this:
No name-calling left behind.
Bouie is a good, decent person. It seems to us that he went along with the crowd, and with the crowd's script, this time.
Alas! As a group, we're dumb and we're frightened and nobody likes us. We're eager to call everyone names. There's little grace left in our tribe.
Lake struck (and strikes) us as a goblin first class. Youngkin struck us as something different—as someone we wouldn't vote for.