The GOP Is Monkeyed Up

 

There comes a point when even the most indulgent listener must doubt whether political figures deserve the benefit of the doubt. Ron DeSantis, that means you.

In what should have been a celebratory interview after his victory in the Republican primary for governor of Florida, DeSantis seemed spooked by the upset win of Democrat Andrew Gillum, the black mayor of Tallahassee. DeSantis called Gillum “charismatic,” and an “articulate spokesman” while also warning that he was too left for Florida. “I watched those Democrats debate,” he said “and none of that is just my cup of tea, but he performed better than the other people there, so we gotta work hard to make sure that we continue Florida going in a good direction.” So far, so good. But then DeSantis added “The last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases bankrupting the state.”

He could have said “mess this up.” In our rude era, he could even have said “screw this up.” But he chose the word “monkey.” His spokesman says those taking offense are crazy to imagine that he intended a dog whistle. Maybe that’s true. I hope it is. A couple of years ago, I suspect I would have vehemently insisted that it was so. But I’m no longer so sure. I live in Virginia, where Republicans have actually nominated alt-right friendly Corey Stewart for the U.S. Senate. I’ve seen the Republican Party look down and kick the dirt as President Trump has poked his stick into one sensitive racial issue after another. Picking fights with black NFL players over the national anthem is a dog whistle that all of us can hear. Tarring all immigrants with MS-13, ditto.

Well, Republicans counter, there’s no purchase in criticizing Trump. See what became of Bob Corker, Jeff Flake, and Mark Sanford? We don’t approve of Trump’s cruel and dehumanizing language, but what good does it do to criticize him? If we speak up, we’ll just be replaced by a Trumpier Republican. Thus does cowardice masquerade as pragmatism.

What if an opportunity arises to make a point about racial harmony that doesn’t even involve Trump? Consider the proposal floated earlier this week by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to rename the Russell Senate Office Building after the late John McCain. You would have thought this was a no brainer. Senator Richard Russell was a segregationist Democrat who helped filibuster civil rights legislation and signed the Southern Manifesto. Here was an opportunity for Republicans to withdraw the honor from a Democrat who didn’t merit it in favor of one of their own, who did.

How did Republican members of the Senate respond? Senator Richard Shelby (R. AL), himself a Democrat until the convenient year of 1994 when Republicans took control of Congress, was sentimental about Russell. “Senator Russell was a well-respected man from the South and up here too,” said Shelby said, adding that he was “a man of his time. If you want to get into that you have to get into George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and all of our — most of our Founding Fathers, maybe with the exception of Hamilton,” he said. “It’s easy to prejudge what they should have done.”

Georgia Senator David Perdue, a Republican mind you, sprang to Russell’s defense in an even more surprising way. “This was an icon in the United States Senate. He was Lyndon Johnson’s close adviser. They did the Great Society together. So, people would criticize Richard Russell for maybe being on the wrong side of the integration movement, but my goodness he turned around and got the school lunch program done. He did that himself.”

Actually, the school lunch program was passed in 1946, long before Russell’s filibuster of the civil rights act. And it wasn’t an act of beneficence by Uncle Sam. It was a way to dispose of the surplus food that other government programs, namely farm subsidies, had created. But never mind the historical error, focus on the fact that a supposedly conservative Republican is praising Lyndon Johnson and the Great Society! Is it any wonder that their budget has exceeded the fondest wishes of Barack Obama?

Great swaths of Republicans are not just biting their tongues about Trump, they are convinced that his white nationalist path is the right one.

Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana didn’t want to insult McCain’s memory, but suggested that they find another way to honor him.

Maybe they will, but do they recognize how they have dishonored themselves?

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There are 375 comments.

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  1. Member

    “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American presidential candidate who is articulate and bright and clean-cut and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man,”

    • #1
    • August 29, 2018, at 2:03 PM PDT
    • 27 likes
  2. Member

    This is a common expression. That should be the end of it. 

    • #2
    • August 29, 2018, at 2:07 PM PDT
    • 37 likes
  3. Member

    Mona Charen: Great swaths of Republicans are not just biting their tongues about Trump, they are convinced that his white nationalist path is the right one.

    Go on. Anyone, please go on. 

     

     

     

     

    • #3
    • August 29, 2018, at 2:09 PM PDT
    • 12 likes
  4. Thatcher

    This column is a disgrace. I don’t expect Mona to be familiar with a monkey wrench.

    But the verb “monkey” is now racist? As well as monkey around, monkeyshines, not my circus not my monkey ad infinitum.

    Again, just disgraceful.

    WFB is up there wincing at such stupidity.

     

    • #4
    • August 29, 2018, at 2:11 PM PDT
    • 49 likes
  5. Member

    Mona Charen: Consider the proposal floated earlier this week by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to rename the Russell Senate Office Building after the late John McCain. You would have thought this was a no brainer.

    I heard that this was tactical on Schumer’s part. He knows it will be divisive and controversial because McCain wasn’t much of a conservative. Mona loves the ACA, obviously. 

    • #5
    • August 29, 2018, at 2:11 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  6. Member

    I’d like to post a picture of The Mona Gorilla, but that would be wrong.

    • #6
    • August 29, 2018, at 2:12 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  7. Member

    Quake Voter (View Comment):

    This column is a disgrace. I don’t expect Mona to be familiar with a monkey wrench.

    But the verb “monkey” is now racist? As well as monkey around, monkeyshines, not my circus not my monkey ad infinitum.

    Again, just disgraceful.

    WFB is up there wincing at such stupidity.

     

    I want anyone to tell me how Quake Voter is wrong. Have at it. 

    • #7
    • August 29, 2018, at 2:13 PM PDT
    • 19 likes
  8. Member

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    Mona Charen: Great swaths of Republicans are not just biting their tongues about Trump, they are convinced that his white nationalist path is the right one.

    Go on. Anyone, please go on.

    I suspect many of us are too disgusted to “go on.” This has been coming (and apparent) for a good while, but it’s better that the cat is more out of the bag than it has been. It will be interesting to see if the author’s very limited amen chorus here steps up to defend this “column.”

    • #8
    • August 29, 2018, at 2:16 PM PDT
    • 21 likes
  9. Member

    RufusRJones (View Comment):
    Mona loves the ACA, obviously. 

    I want Mona or anyone that likes this column to explain the economic and political effects of the ACA. 

    • #9
    • August 29, 2018, at 2:17 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  10. Coolidge

    If his comment was a dog whistle, why isn’t this: “DeSantis seemed spooked by the upset win of Democrat Andrew Gillum.”

    • #10
    • August 29, 2018, at 2:17 PM PDT
    • 33 likes
  11. Member

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    Mona Charen: Great swaths of Republicans are not just biting their tongues about Trump, they are convinced that his white nationalist path is the right one.

    Go on. Anyone, please go on.

    I suspect many of us are too disgusted to “go on.” This has been coming (and apparent) for a good while, but it’s better that the cat is more out of the bag than it has been. It will be interesting to see if the author’s very limited amen chorus here steps up to defend this “column.”

    I want anyone that likes Mona’s views to make sense of this. Do it. 

    • #11
    • August 29, 2018, at 2:18 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  12. Thatcher

    This may be a cheap shot but then again maybe not.

    It takes a condescending, paternalizing mind to immediately associate the use of the verb monkey with African Americans.

    There are mental steps there and they are steps into the sub-basement.

    • #12
    • August 29, 2018, at 2:20 PM PDT
    • 33 likes
  13. Member

    Almost forgot:

    DeSantis seemed spooked by the upset win of Democrat Andrew Gillum, [Italics mine]

    Will the author be apologizing for this dog-whistle? Or at least redacting the wording? I think an unconscious bias workshop may be in order, but perhaps Ms. Charen is just being a part of those great swaths of Republicans she seems to know so well.

    • #13
    • August 29, 2018, at 2:22 PM PDT
    • 16 likes
  14. Member

    There are two kinds of Trump haters. I understand Kevin Williamson and Jonah Goldberg and probably David French. If they were dictators of everything I wouldn’t care. Then there are the Niskanen Center Republicans.

     

    • #14
    • August 29, 2018, at 2:24 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  15. Thatcher

    Mona’s editor at NR in the top left:

    The offending word, of course, is monkey, used in a common expression as a verb meaning to mess something up. I’m sure if DeSantis had it to say over again, he’d simply say “mess it up,” not because there’s anything wrong with the way he put it, but because our political culture is so insane. There was nothing racist in content or intent in his statement and this episode says more about DeSantis’s detractors than him.

    Thank you Mr. Lowry.

    • #15
    • August 29, 2018, at 2:24 PM PDT
    • 36 likes
  16. Member

    Um, maybe it is just that there are a large number of people out in the country, not in the North East or the West coast that still use the same language that they have for decades. 

    We still say illegal immigrant, rather than the new approved Undocumented Immigrant. 

    We say monkey around with its actual meaning. 

    https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/monkey%20around

    I might have hoped that knowing his opponent was African American the Republican candidate might have picked his words better. It would imaging he would have used that same phrase running against about a white opponent and no one would think about it for a second. This case just allowed the credulous an chance to scream Racist about a Republican.

    I am old enough to remember that the main reason anyone disagreed with Obama is that we are all racist.

    A CNN analyst just claimed that Trump speaking against the mostly white Antifa was racist against blacks.

    http://tammybruce.com/2018/08/cnn-analyst-trumps-criticism-of-antifa-is-racist-attack-against-african-americans.html

    Why don’t we save our outrage for actual racism, rather than going out of our way to find away to proclaim everything is Racist.

    • #16
    • August 29, 2018, at 2:25 PM PDT
    • 15 likes
  17. Member

    This is why Trump won. Lois Lerner et. al. screwed with the Tea Party, so now you get Trump good and hard. God Bless America. 

    • #17
    • August 29, 2018, at 2:25 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  18. Member

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Almost forgot:

    DeSantis seemed spooked by the upset win of Democrat Andrew Gillum, [Italics mine]

    Will the author be apologizing for this dog-whistle? Or at least redacting the wording? I think an unconscious bias workshop may be in order, but perhaps Ms. Charen is just being a part of great swaths of Republicans.

    Mona’s just up to her usual monkeyshines.

    • #18
    • August 29, 2018, at 2:27 PM PDT
    • 31 likes
  19. Member

     

    Quake Voter (View Comment):

    I don’t expect Mona to be familiar with a monkey wrench.

    But the verb “monkey” is now racist? As well as monkey around, monkeyshines, not my circus not my monkey ad infinitum.

    I’ve always liked Mona, and agree with her in many ways about Donald Trump. This column, however, shows her distress over Trump’s ascendancy is bringing her once-mighty intellect to its knees.
    I started reading her piece without bothering to look at the author’ name. I got down just a few paragraphs and wondered, “Who is writing this nonsense?” I was shocked when I scrolled up and saw her name.

    • #19
    • August 29, 2018, at 2:28 PM PDT
    • 28 likes
  20. Thatcher

    Basil Fawlty (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Almost forgot:

    DeSantis seemed spooked by the upset win of Democrat Andrew Gillum, [Italics mine]

    Will the author be apologizing for this dog-whistle? Or at least redacting the wording? I think an unconscious bias workshop may be in order, but perhaps Ms. Charen is just being a part of great swaths of Republicans.

    Mona’s just up to her usual monkeyshines.

    Just aping Kristol and Company.

    • #20
    • August 29, 2018, at 2:32 PM PDT
    • 21 likes
  21. Member

    But it’s not just progressives questioning democratic outcomes. Neoconservative Bill Kristol tweets that he’d rather be governed by an unaccountable deep state than Trump. Mild-mannered conservative moralist Dennis Prager, a reasonable and likeable right winger in my view, argues quite seriously that we are in the midst of a second civil war with those who simply reject their electoral defeat. And the libertarianish jurist Richard Epstein, writing for the somnambulant Hoover Institution, unloads a litany of grievances against Trump that would make Bill Maher blush.

    link

     The future of liberty is decentralized, and will be led by smaller breakaway nations and regions where real self-determination and real consensus is not an illusion. Jefferson and Hoppe were right about democracy, but it took Trump and Brexit to show the world how quickly elites abandon it when they don’t prevail.

    • #21
    • August 29, 2018, at 2:35 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  22. Member

    “…DeSantis seemed spooked by the upset win of Democrat Andrew Gillum…”

    “Spooked”, Mona? Really?

    Oh, the cognitive dissonance…oh, the irony.

    • #22
    • August 29, 2018, at 2:35 PM PDT
    • 32 likes
  23. Member

    Blood libel is not civil conversation.

    • #23
    • August 29, 2018, at 2:36 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
  24. Member

    If you are rightly worried about nationalism watch this

    • #24
    • August 29, 2018, at 2:37 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  25. Member

    Quake Voter (View Comment):

    Mona’s editor at NR in the top left:

    The offending word, of course, is monkey, used in a common expression as a verb meaning to mess something up. I’m sure if DeSantis had it to say over again, he’d simply say “mess it up,” not because there’s anything wrong with the way he put it, but because our political culture is so insane. There was nothing racist in content or intent in his statement and this episode says more about DeSantis’s detractors than him.

    Thank you Mr. Lowry.

    Yeah the Editor of National Review called this an idiotic attack.

    https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/ron-desanctis-monkey-this-up/

    I guess that makes Lowry a racist too.

    • #25
    • August 29, 2018, at 2:38 PM PDT
    • 15 likes
  26. Member

    T-Fiks (View Comment):
    I’ve always liked Mona,

    Mona and Jay’s podcast is excellent, but I can’t listen right now 

    • #26
    • August 29, 2018, at 2:39 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  27. Member

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    T-Fiks (View Comment):
    I’ve always liked Mona,

    Mona and Jay’s podcast is excellent, but I can’t listen right now

    It’s not as strident as her columns, but I find it far from excellent. Jay’s, on the other hand, is very good.

    • #27
    • August 29, 2018, at 2:42 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  28. Member

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    T-Fiks (View Comment):
    I’ve always liked Mona,

    Mona and Jay’s podcast is excellent, but I can’t listen right now

    It’s not as strident as her columns, but I find it far from excellent. Jay’s, on the other hand, is very good.

    I always found both of them to be incredibly interesting. 

    • #28
    • August 29, 2018, at 2:44 PM PDT
    • Like
  29. Member

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    Mona Charen: Consider the proposal floated earlier this week by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to rename the Russell Senate Office Building after the late John McCain. You would have thought this was a no brainer.

    I heard that this was tactical on Schumer’s part. He knows it will be divisive and controversial because McCain wasn’t much of a conservative. Mona loves the ACA, obviously.

    Everyone needs to get on their hands and knees tonight to express gratitude for the centralized power that makes this an actual tactic for commandeering society’s resources.

    Mises.org is right about everything.

    • #29
    • August 29, 2018, at 2:50 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  30. Thatcher

    Why in the world would anyone think the word monkey refers to race? I don’t get it. Unless my education was a complete farce, I learned in elementary school that monkeys are primates and are not a race. Nobody I know or have ever known thinks monkeys are a race. Is the press trying to make monkeys a pejorative? If so, that’s really unfair to those darling little guys I see at the zoo.

    • #30
    • August 29, 2018, at 2:51 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
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