Was Governor Youngkin one of the goblins?


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.

In summation:

Lake struck (and strikes) us as a goblin first class. Youngkin struck us as something different—as someone we wouldn't vote for.


  1. "As a group, we're dumb and we're frightened and nobody likes us."

    True dat. And the incomparable colonel Gabbard recently shared her opinion on why that is.

    ...but then surely you find comfort in knowing that you and all your fellow dumb liberal cult members are good decent persons, while everyone else is a mentally ill sociopath. Nicht wahr?

    1. That's comrade Gabbard, Boris.

    2. What English speaker uses the phrase "nicht wahr" in casual speech? That became verboten during WWII and never regained usage here except among the Nazi wannabees. This is a clue that Mao is not just another commenter. He may actually speak German in his job on the troll farm, or he hangs with white supremacists, but either way, he has no business doing that here. It is provocative and that is his job as a troll.

    3. "As a group, we're dumb and we're frightened and nobody likes us." Thanks for the helpful messaging days ahead of the midterms, Bob.

      I don't think we're dumb, especially compared to the party of MAGA, Trump, MTG, Kevin McCarthy, Louie Ghomert, Lauren Bobert, etc. We're the party of Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Barack Obama, Warren Buffett, Paul Krugman, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigiege, Bob Somerby and many other smart people. We believe in facts, logic, education, science, and listening to experts.

      To the extent that anyone on our side is frightened, I'd say they are fully justified considering that an utterly corrupt and violent fascistic cult is on the cusp of taking power, due to a whole host of factors beyond our control, including unimaginable amounts of dark money, the unstoppable spread of mis- and disinformation via the internet, and undemocratic features embedded in our political system (the smallest state gets as many senators as the largest, gerrymandering, the electoral college, etc.).

      No one likes us? We won the popular vote for president 7 out of the last 8 times. Biden got more votes than any president in history, beating Trump by 7 million votes.

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. To paraphrase William Rehnquist:
    You spend your whole life creating obstacles to minority voting, yet no one calls you a vote suppressor. Get named Chief Justice of the Supreme Court just once, and you're known forever as..."

  3. “we’re going to send her back to be with him in California.”

    If he had not added the words "to be with him," this might have been standard campaign talk. But there are several reasons why it is not.

    First, the remark was made to a Virginia audience. Nancy Pelosi is not a national candidate and her reelection is being voted upon in San Francisco, on the West coast. There is reason for Youngkin to have mentioned her election at all, since no one in his audience can vote for or against her. That makes his remark gratuitous.

    Second, when he says she is being sent home to be with him (her husband), it implies that she belongs there and not in Congress. It makes it seem like she is the uncaring one to be out doing her job instead of in the home. Beyond that, having injured him and then telling her to go see to him, the right is clearly indicating the intent to have injured him, to damage him in order to hurt her and her prospects in Congress. Youngkin is saying that she needs to leave the field in order to tend to her husband, who was wounded in order to remove her from the scene. That makes the remark doubly spiteful, as if he were saying "take that" to her and also reinforcing a misogynist role about women's places in the home.

    Third, the absence of any sympathetic remark about his recovery and the injury done to them, the remark is highlighted as being antagonistic. If Youngkin were truly just making a campaign statement, he would have expressed condolences and dismay at the event before moving on the make an unnecessary and hostile campaign attack on her.

    Fourth, the wording of his remark, about sending her back to her home to be with him, conveys Republican instrumentality to both incidents. He was injured in his home and she is being sent back to be with him too -- implying that the same agency is responsible for both acts. He is subtly taking credit for what happened to Paul Pelosi and issuing a threat that the same thing will happen to Pelosi, forcing her to join him in his misfortune. It is both bullying and an attempt to convey an unearned strength (unless the Republicans did explicitly send DePape to attack Pelosi). He is taking credit for the attack, in so many words. Who else is the "we" that he refers to in that sentence? Is he really joining forces with the Republican vigilantes who attack Democrats by saying "we're going to..."

    1. Thanks for pointing out all the ways Youngkin is the most moderate, centrist Republican in American politics today.

  4. "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. "

    That is all the more reason why a politician wouldn't make this kind of remark without a reason. If Pelosi died, then the remark would seem more callous. That Youngkin went ahead and did it anyway suggesting that it was not a casual campaign remark, but was motivated and intentional. So that begs the question of why Youngkin would go out of his way to make such a remark about Pelosi.

    Note that Youngkin is a governor and not a member of the House. Why would he even care about whether Pelosi is reelected or not, unless he were advancing Republican script by rubbing in an assault against both Pelosi's.

  5. Jamelle Bouie seems to have a better grasp of language nuance than Somerby does.

    Note that once again Somerby is attacking a black journalist. It is almost as if white journalists never write opinion pieces any more. When Somerby does mention someone white, it is nearly always a centrist bothsiderist or Republican like Tucker.

    I'm sure Bouie can find his own ideas without cribbing them from the blue tribe script (how does one get on that mailing list). It makes a difference whether you are the one being attacked or the attacker. Perhaps Somerby cannot see the offense because he is on the wrong side and thus not sensitive to the way Youngkin adds insult to physical injury. We liberals don't need anyone to tell us when a nasty, mean-spirited remark is made against the wronged person after a politically motivated physical attack. There is no script necessary, except for someone like Somerby, who is clearly empathizing with the wrong guy.

  6. "This conduct captures the essence of our tribe, whose current motto might be this:

    No name-calling left behind."

    No, this is not the essence of our tribe. It is Somerby's essence, for quite some time now. He spends his daily essay applying labels to people, calling them names (after mockingly explaining that they are good and decent) without any evidence whatsoever.

    There is a great deal of irony that Somerby accuses the left of name-calling in an essay where he himself has casually labeled Kari Lake a goblin.

    Remember when Somerby took huge exception to Biden labeling some Republicans MAGA Extremists? Is the name goblin any better? Not to any of us liberals. Biden explained what he meant by his name-calling. Has Somerby explained yet what it means when he calls certain people goblins? Not that I saw. I find the term offensive, just like Somerby's tendency to dismiss all liberals as blue tribe members who are sliding us all into the sea. Somerby modus is to apply a label with slight evidence than generalize that label to an entire group without any evidence whatsoever, and then sign off with a promise to explain more, which he never keeps.

    Meanwhile he wants to let Youngkin off the hook, without focusing on how many of Youngkin's Republican rally attendees laughed and cheered at his remark about Pelosi. Here is the quote:

    "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.”

    If he had only left out the part about "to be with in California" it might have been straightforward. As spoken, it was not, and the crowd's response was the biggest clue.

  7. "Lake struck (and strikes) us as a goblin first class. Youngkin struck us as something different—as someone we wouldn't vote for."

    Does this mean Somerby would vote for Kari Lake? If not, how is she different? Sounds like Somerby is saying that both Lake and Youngkin are alike except he wouldn't vote for Youngkin's policies. If not that, is Somerby saying he wouldn't vote for Youngkin because he didn't behave enough like a goblin? There is a lot of ambiguity in Somerby's remark.

  8. "Still coming: Goblins of the disappeared past! A mainstream cable star came close to getting a journalist killed—in 1999!"

    Notice the things Somerby has promised and still not talked about:

    Ezra's interview with Rachel
    Those focus groups
    Professor Johnson (whose first name is Jason, but Somerby is too lazy to look up)
    Where goblins come from
    How many goblins are there?
    When Mika threw to George [Conway]. Also, what Bret Stephens said
    Where does a person start?
    Blue tribe, heal thyself
    Back to what Professor Johnson said
    Bogus beliefs

    Still waiting on this stuff, but as usual, Somerby teases and then moves on.

  9. Mao, credit where credit is due. As is so often the case, you are the first to comment, (kudos) with your cogent, if mind-numbingly repetitive and weak brained, points. I wonder how often you must click on the site! I have to admire your dedication. Is it possible, though, that you actually have a job, what with all that anxious clicking?

    1. He gets a msg telling hm when Someb has posted. You can get the same thing. Nothing wonderful about it, except he has nothing better to do than comment.

  10. While Lake’s comment was sick,
    Youngkin was merely dull witted,
    graceless and unfeeling. Youngkin
    offered no retraction when more
    news of the attack came in. Like
    Bob, his campaign took the view
    that he had done nothing wrong.
    Obviously, Bob holds these
    people to the low standard that he
    now himself generally embraces.
    This does illustrate how the “good”
    Republican now sets the standard
    for the sadistic sickos like Lake.
    Most Republicans now adhere to
    the Lake Standard, poor victims of
    MSNBC that Bob would have us
    believe that are.

  11. I don't disagree with Bob's POV, but I think there's something a lot more important. That is, how will the candidate's policies affect us Americans?

  12. Launched a thousand ships and now the shepherd’s crook.