The Corey Lewandowski "womp womp" clip

Seeing the usual mix of online reaction to this today between “fake news/he was misunderstood/he was taken out of context” and “hell yeah!” Plus a new one: “The little girl mentioned in the clip wasn’t separated under Trump’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy!” Right, but Corey didn’t know that, did he? His intent is clear.

No doubt when Trump saw it he thought, “That looks like chief-of-staff material to me.”

If only we’d had some inkling, some clue that Corey was a bad guy.

An old friend of his who knows firsthand what sort of character Lewandowski is wasn’t surprised at the clip:

He was back on Fox this morning and offered a chance to apologize, which you never do if you’re looking to work for Trump. So he didn’t. “My comments were specifically about Zac trying to politicize the use of children as a political football in this discussion because the law is very clear,” he claimed, which is nonsensical. You don’t “politicize” a policy by complaining about how it affects the people it’s designed to effect. It’d be like gun owners complaining about a gun ban and being told, “You’re politicizing this.” What Lewandowski means to say, I think, is that he was mocking the Democrat, not the little girl. But that’s nonsensical too. The Dem was just sympathizing with what the girl’s going through.

Anne Applebaum ably explains the logic at work here: “In Trump’s world, morality is for losers.”

More recently the British journalist Nick Cohen has identified another way of sending social messages. This is something he called “vice-signaling,” and it is precisely the opposite tactic. It applies to politicians who do something evil — deliberately — with the aim of proving they really are very sincere indeed…

[T]he president and his team persist in pursuing [child separation]. Why? Because it signals to their base that they are really serious about stopping immigration — so serious that they will abuse children, damage families, and shock anybody who cares about civil rights or human rights in the United States or elsewhere. It’s not an accident that this policy has been attributed to Stephen Miller, the Trump adviser who has made a career out of using scandalous language and creating “happenings” designed to shock his peers. This kind of trolling is often a form of vice-signaling too. “Look,” it tells supporters, “here’s how nasty I am prepared to be.”

“Womp womp.” What Applebaum calls “vice-signaling” is usually framed in terms of political correctness. The logic is this: It’s the rare politician, even on the right, who has the strength of will to resist liberal cultural pressure to conform to political correctness. The only people you can trust to have that strength are the complete douches who are inclined to behave boorishly in basically every situation. Josh Barro put it more elegantly in the context of a different example, Trump’s weird admiration for what he sees as Kim Jong Un’s “toughness”: “It’s the logical extension of what Trump proved in winning the nomination — Republican voters believe cruelty is a conservative virtue, because decency is some politically correct nonsense.” Not all Republican voters but too many. “Decency is politically correct nonsense” might as well have been in a thought bubble above Corey’s head in this clip. His performance is a cinch to land him a White House job.

So. On the one hand we have the party of baby jails. And on the other we have the party of open borders, of abortion up to the moment of crowning, of campus mobs and “anti”-fascists:

I don’t know why anyone votes in American elections anymore.

David Strom 6:41 PM on September 26, 2022