Florida Man Rundown

Florida Man Makes Announcement, Wyoming Woman Does Endzone Dance

I love this

… and this

I’ll try to remember “Florida Man” as the perfect way to Voldemort/circumlocute him.

[O]f the Democrats who received Cheney’s endorsement this year, all won tight races.

Nick Catoggio, Liz Cheney’s Revenge?

Will a populist GOP without [Florida Man] be a big enough tent to accommodate disaffected Republicans like Cheney, or will they become Independents (or even, rarely, Democrats)?

Yes, but what about Paula White?

As [Florida Man] launches new presidential bid, will former faith advisers back him?

There’s always a danger of cherry-picking in ventures like this, but the answer appears to be “no.” (I note, too, how undistinguished this list of former supporters appears to me — even without prosperity gospel heretic Paula White on the list).

Too toxic for present company

Bret Stephens thinks Florida Man is Toast:

[Florida Man] is finally being abandoned by many of his usually unflagging apologists and enablers in right-wing media, whose influence will be felt downstream.

That includes Fox News’s Laura Ingraham: “If the voters conclude that you’re putting your own ego or your own grudges ahead of what’s good for the country, they’re going to look elsewhere.” It includes Townhall’s Kurt Schlichter: “[Florida Man] presents problems and we need to face them,” he admitted. “We owe [Florida Man] nothing. He’s a politician.” It includes Victor Davis Hanson: “Will an unapologetic [Florida Man] instead now escalate his slurs, bray at the moon, play out his current angry Ajax role to the bitter end, and thus himself end up a tragic hero — appreciated for past service but deemed too toxic for present company?”

They just don’t care

It’s not just that [Florida Man] doesn’t care about what’s good for the party (if it’s not also good for him), it’s that he wants the GOP to embrace strategies and messages that affirmatively hurt Republican candidates. [Florida Man] has infected the right with a suite of self-destructive habits—among them, defending the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, spreading the election fraud myths, rejecting early voting as somehow illegitimate, and thinking that being obnoxious is good politics.

This has long been obvious. If Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had picked Senate candidates for the 2022 midterms, without interference from [Florida Man], the GOP would have picked up several seats it lost.

The problem is that members of the [Florida Man’s] faction of the party don’t care. They’d rather be the leaders of a new minority party than risk that status in pursuing the power of the majority. That’s why they’re trying to scapegoat McConnell, even though McConnell-aligned PACs spent almost $250 million trying to salvage various MAGA races, while [Florida Man] mostly sat on his dragon’s hoard, refusing to help his hand-picked candidates.

Rachael Larimore, The Double Standard Driving GOP Dysfunction

Florida Bonaparte

There was also something decidedly Bonapartist in the attitude of [Florida Man]’s early partisans, who seized upon his rhetoric about “American carnage” with the same eagerness that supporters of Bonaparte welcomed an end to the chaos of the immediate post-revolutionary era. [Florida Man]’s avowal of socially conservative causes seemed to carry roughly as much conviction as Bonaparte’s rapprochement with the Catholic Church, but in both cases doctrinal purity was not the point. The consolidation of power was.

On this understanding, [Florida Man]’s defeat in 2020 was merely a kind of exile, with Mar-a-Lago as his Elba. Spied on by the federal government before the 2016 election, declared “illegitimate” as president by prominent members of the opposition party even before his inauguration, subject to a special counsel investigation (based on a patently absurd theory of Russian “collusion”) and two impeachments, announced as a loser in an election in which he won 11 million more votes than he had in 2016 (despite state-level rule changes that benefited his rival), [Florida Man] found himself assailed by a domestic counterrevolution that he could not overcome. “Stop the steal” was not a precise theory about voter fraud but an existential affirmation of [Florida Man]’s thwarted prerogative. Vive L’Empereur!

What [Florida Maniacs] have intuited is an essentially illiberal understanding of authority, one based not upon the deliberative processes of electoral majorities but upon a romantic conception of a leader who embodies the essence of a nation. They believe that he should be restored to his office because it belongs to him, regardless of who currently occupies 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. His right to rule is not diminished by temporary abeyance because it is derived not from the Electoral College or the written Constitution but from something like history itself. [Florida Man] the emperor was the world-soul descending the escalator, the instrument of the Absolute who realized the unconscious aspirations of his age.

This, I think, is why for [Florida Man]’s most enthusiastic partisans, his faults are not merely excusable but appear beneath discussion or even notice. Those features most commonly derided by his opponents — his economical relationship with facts, his disregard for procedural norms, his ambivalent attitude toward the separation of powers, his rhetorical fixation on the supposed perfidy of his opponents — confirm that he is the man of destiny whose conduct cannot be evaluated by ordinary standards.

Matthew Walther, The Real Case for [Florida Man] Is About Justice

If you don’t know who the patsy is, you’re the patsy

One of the things the [Florida Man]-aligned Republican populists are going to have to account for before they can move on from the midterm fiasco: They got took.

[Florida Man] epigones such as Steve Bannon and his acolytes think of themselves as hard-headed, cynical, scheming Machiavellians—you’ve heard all the stuff about “12-D chess” and thinking five moves ahead—but they are, almost to a man, suckers. And, like suckers everywhere, they always get took.

The Democrats rolled the dice in a big and bold way in the midterms, putting more than $40 million into the campaigns of the nuttiest nut-cutlets contesting the Republican primaries, hoping to advance the worst of the crackpots, coup-plotters, and conspiracy kooks to the general election …

The best kind of mark for a con artist is a dumb person who thinks he is smart—or a smart person who isn’t quite as smart as he thinks he is. The right-wing populists who got behind these Democrat-funded candidates knew what they were doing—it wasn’t a secret who was controlling the money that was deciding those primary races. But they went along with the con, turning out in the primaries to elect the people the Democrats spent tens of millions of dollars trying to support. That’s because they believe their own bull: that they are super-clever grandmasters of 12-D chess who can see five steps ahead of the Democrats’ gambit and then counter it to win.

And they got took.

Kevin D. Williamson

[S]ubordinating truth to politics is a game which tyrants and bullies always win.

Jonathan Rauch, The Constitution of Knowledge

The Orthodox "phronema" [roughly, mind-set] cannot be programmitized or reduced to shibboleths.

Fr. Jonathan Tobias

You can read most of my more impromptu stuff here (cathartic venting) and here (the only social medium I frequent, because people there are quirky, pleasant and real). Both should work in your RSS aggregator, like Feedly or Reeder, should you want to make a habit of it.

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