Being something of a barfly, Cockburn is used to overhearing tall tales, braggadocious orations, and outlandish accusations, also known as “fightin’ words.” So imagine his astonishment in learning that what he heard over his breakfast stout this afternoon was not the consequence of some riled-up Hill staffer who’d had a few too many, but was really and truly uttered by the (presumably sober) president of the United States.
“This MAGA crowd is really the most extreme political organization that’s existed in American history,” President Biden said. “Recent history,” he clarified.
“Recent” is a relative term. Perhaps the explosive hate crimes of the Ku Klux Klan that reached their height in the 1920s are not “recent” enough for Biden. Likewise the ideology of “extreme” Democrats of the same period who didn’t think women should have the right to vote, and who, over the decades, “defended slavery, started the Civil War, opposed Reconstruction, imposed segregation, perpetrated lynchings, and fought against the Civil Rights Acts of the 1950s and 1960s.”
All these inconvenient historical episodes aside, what “recent” means to Biden is irrelevant, as his claim about the Make America Great Again movement is preposterous any way you cut it. MAGA has only existed since 2015, when Donald Trump began campaigning for the presidency. Throughout its existence, MAGA has coincided with the likes of Antifa, the radical, so-called “anti-fascist” organization leading violent riots across the country. (A militant left-wing group affiliated with Antifa professes its intentions in its chilling name: “By Any Means Necessary.”)
MAGA has also co-existed with Black Lives Matter, whose co-founder has threatened “riots, fire, and bloodshed,” and whose members followed through on such promises by trashing, looting, burning, and destroying several cities over many months.
Biden ignores all this (or maybe he forgot, his cognitive abilities being what they are). Attempting to paint MAGA supporters (“a different breed of cat”) as evermore extreme, he stoked the partisan fires by wondering whether Republicans will ban “children who are LGBTQ” from classrooms with other children.
Recalling his own happy schoolboy days, Cockburn reminisces about a time when choosing a crayon color was as extreme as things got. These days, being a first-grader and choosing a sexual orientation is an extreme sport. And it’s not because MAGA made it that way.
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