It has fallen to me to announce that, yes, the 2024 Republican presidential nominating process is now open. First out of the gate is Senator Tom Cotton, the bobble-throated slapdick from Arkansas who, in 2019, leaped to the electric Twitter machine to announce:
From Tiananmen Square to Hong Kong, the CCP has used brutal force & threats of force to bend the people to its will. If Beijing imposes martial law in Hong Kong, we’ll be forced to reassess our relationship with China in fundamental ways.
Of course, the biggest problem is that the Red Chinese don’t have Freedom Tanks like we do. It is an important distinction, because Cotton wrote a disgraceful op-ed, which The New York Times disgracefully decided to publish, in which Cotton, an elected senator in what is putatively a democratic republic, explained why the totalitarian solution is the only answer to our current situation. Pinochet, can you see?
The pace of looting and disorder may fluctuate from night to night, but it’s past time to support local law enforcement with federal authority. Some governors have mobilized the National Guard, yet others refuse, and in some cases the rioters still outnumber the police and Guard combined. In these circumstances, the Insurrection Act authorizes the president to employ the military “or any other means” in “cases of insurrection, or obstruction to the laws.”
Somehow, Tom fails to mention that the president can’t do anything of the sort unless and until a state’s governor requests the help. Just an oversight, I’m sure.
For instance, during the 1950s and 1960s, Presidents Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson called out the military to disperse mobs that prevented school desegregation or threatened innocent lives and property. This happened in my own state. Gov. Orval Faubus, a racist Democrat, mobilized our National Guard in 1957 to obstruct desegregation at Little Rock Central High School. President Eisenhower federalized the Guard and called in the 101st Airborne in response. The failure to do so, he said, “would be tantamount to acquiescence in anarchy.”
More recently, President George H.W. Bush ordered the Army’s Seventh Infantry and 1,500 Marines to protect Los Angeles during race riots in 1992. He acknowledged his disgust at Rodney King’s treatment — “what I saw made me sick” — but he knew deadly rioting would only multiply the victims, of all races and from all walks of life.
I’m trying to figure out whether the comparison of intervening to protect students against racist mobs to siccing the army on demonstrators protesting racist policing is more ahistorical or tasteless. I’ll let you know when I figure that out. And, if you’re not factoring into your argument the reality that the current president* is a flaming madman, your proposal is not a serious one. Things seemed to be settling down a bit, and the Times decides to let this guy fly his freak flag on its op-ed page? Times like that, you find yourself hungering for the refreshing breeze of cool reason. Barack Obama always did have a sense of the moment.
Let me start by just acknowledging that we have seen, in the last several weeks, the last few months, the kind of epic changes and events in our country [that] are as profound as anything we have seen in our lifetime. I am now a lot older. I will be 59 soon. Let me begin by acknowledging that although all of us have been feeling pain, uncertainty, disruption, some folks have been feeling it more than others. Most of all, the pain experienced by families. George, Breonna, Ahmaud, and so many that we thought about during that moment of silence. And those families affected by tragedy. Please know that Michelle and I, and the nation, we agree with you. We are committed to the fight of making a more just nation. And we can’t forget that even as we are confronting the particular act of violence that led to those losses, our nations are in the midst of a global pandemic that has exposed the vulnerability of the health care system and the disparate treatment, and as a consequence, the disparate impact that exists in the health care system.
Loss-of-life in communities of color. In a lot of ways, what has happened over the last several weeks’s challenges, structural problems in the United States, it has been thrown into high relief. They are the outcomes, not just of the immediate moment in time, but the result of a long history of slavery, Jim Crow, institutionalized racism that have too often been the plague of the original sin of our society. And in some ways, as tragic as these last few weeks have been, as difficult, scary, and uncertain as they have been, they have been an incredible opportunity for people to be awakened.
He went on to talk about how young people had been at the forefront of important social movements over the past century. He is constitutionally incapable of not being hopeful, of not seeing through the smoke and past the flames and over the immediate horizon. His vision does not include tanks in the street and bayonets outside the Duane Reade. He will be the first person in any room to believe in the better angels of our nature, and to hear the strains of the mystic chords of memory. He is the Lincoln Memorial, walking.
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