As an expression of the populist id circa 2022, this tweet can’t be topped. Fittingly, it came from the House GOP’s most embarrassing member and was aimed at three of the very few Republicans in Congress willing to hold Trump accountable for anything.
Murkowski, Collins, and Romney are pro-pedophile.
They just voted for #KBJ.
— Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (@RepMTG) April 5, 2022
It’s got it all. It’s cartoonishly demagogic. It’s combative — “she fights!” — to the point of outright smears. It’s tribalistic, targeting Republicans who refuse to go along with crowd instead of focusing on the other party. It’s conspiratorial, echoing the core theme of QAnon. And it’s faddish, as accusing critics of being “groomers” or sympathetic to child molesters has become the tool of choice lately to demonize opponents among some activists.
If you’re against the Anti-Grooming Bill, you are probably a groomer or at least you don’t denounce the grooming of 4-8 year old children. Silence is complicity. This is how it works, Democrats, and I didn’t make the rules.
— Christina Pushaw 🇺🇸 (@ChristinaPushaw) March 4, 2022
The only new info since he voted against her a few months ago was increased awareness of her “soft-on-pedos” approach, which makes this new Romney position super interesting. https://t.co/n0oWhqiZUz
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) April 5, 2022
Now that Rufo has decided to use grooming/predators as his new frame, this is too far for some of his former supporters and boosters. But he kept being rewarded for alleging that extreme and unrepresentative behavior was the norm, so why should he stop? https://t.co/Yd1fNoMwcp pic.twitter.com/DuMN3cUt6l
— Don Moynihan (@donmoyn) April 4, 2022
The “thought leader” of the anti-CRT movement calls a conservative writer a “groomer” for saying the use of the word “groomer” is bad for business pic.twitter.com/elKHlmBtM8
— Anthony L. Fisher (@anthonyLfisher) April 5, 2022
It’s not the first time lately that Greene has implied that a political opponent is preying on children either. At Trump’s last rally in Georgia, she warmed up the crowd by warning Pete Buttigieg and his husband to “stay out of our girls’ bathrooms,” which makes no sense except by broadly reasoning that “gay” = “pervert” = “molester of little girls.”
All this for an allegation against Ketanji Brown Jackson that was so thin and cheap that National Review felt obliged to debunk it on her behalf. The new rule in populist politics seems to be, as it has been in QAnon for years, “Everyone whose politics I don’t like is pro-pedophile.”
And the corollary: “If I do like their politics, their pedophilia doesn’t matter.”
That’s one of the reasons Romney ended up voting yes on Jackson, I suspect. He was asked about it today and made a point of saying that he concluded she’s firmly “mainstream”:
.@SenatorRomney: "As a result of our meeting for an hour together and reviewing [Judge Jackson's] testimony before Congress, I became convinced she's within the mainstream. She's also highly qualified, intelligent capable person. I wish her the very best." https://t.co/WkvWCSkDB9 pic.twitter.com/MLEKav3qHu
— The Hill (@thehill) April 5, 2022
He was asked a few weeks ago about Josh Hawley’s insinuations that Jackson was soft on child abusers on the bench and said he had looked into it and found “no ‘there’ there.” The fact that it was Hawley who spearheaded that attack probably stuck in Romney’s craw since he’s seen before how low Hawley is willing to stoop to try to jumpstart some presidential buzz on the populist right. When senators were being rushed out of the chamber on January 6, Romney reportedly screamed at him, “You have caused this,” a reference to Hawley’s announcement days earlier that he would object to certifying the votes from certain swing states. That gave the “stop the steal” push momentum and inspired Ted Cruz to announce his own effort to object, not wanting to be out-pandered by Hawley on the right.
With Senate populists suddenly promising fireworks on the 6th, Trump and his protesters were galvanized. The rest is history. He won’t admit it publicly but my guess is that Romney tilted towards Jackson partly to rebuke Hawley’s latest grandstanding. It’s hard otherwise to explain how he believed she wasn’t mainstream when he voted no on her appellate court confirmation last year but reconsidered in time for this week’s vote.
Although partly too I think he’s eager to get back to the days when well qualified nominees were confirmed by comfortable margins despite their clearly conservative or liberal predispositions:
C) Romney: We're going to have to reconsider the the process that we're going to pursue in the future, in part because you could have a setting where you had a president at one party and a Senate of another, and maybe there'll be a change
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) April 5, 2022
If neither party can support a qualified nominee with whose judicial philosophy they disagree then Supreme Court vacancies can’t be filled unless the same party controls the White House and the Senate. The country can’t function that way. So he’s setting an example.
As for using “groomer” as a light insult on the order of “RINO,” consider the implications:
The slinging of the word "groomer" or insinuations of sympathy for pedophilia by the same people who spent *years* stanning for the man who appeared in "Playboy Video Centerfold: Playmate 2000 Bernaola Twins" (and that might be the least worst thing he did) is just too much. /1
— David French (@DavidAFrench) April 5, 2022
Redefining grooming and slinging false accusations of sympathy for pedophilia is pure malice. Blue checks doing it on this website know better, but lots of ordinary folks don't. They hear the words and apply their ordinary meaning. That's incredibly dangerous. /end
— David French (@DavidAFrench) April 5, 2022
“The point isn’t to protect children. It’s to weaponize concerns about their safety in the service of conservative political power,” wrote Joel Mathis about “groomer” becoming the political weapon du jour. It’s simple McCarthyism in most cases except with child molesters subbed in for communists. No wonder Greene took to it like a fish to water.
I’ll leave you with this.
Instead of a tweet thread about the unseriousness of some members of Congress in this serious time, I just decided to tell you on video: pic.twitter.com/TPJfofOKra
— Adam Kinzinger (@AdamKinzinger) April 5, 2022
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