On Monday, in a Washington Post guest opinion column, right-wing radio host and frequent nonsense-speaker Hugh Hewitt blasted away at the “media elites” locked in their “blue bubbles” who fail to accept that Donald Trump won the presidency in 2016 not by deception or by colluding with Russia but because the majority of Americans AGREE with him on the major issues of the day.
Two problems with that: most Americans disagree with Trump on almost every major issue we face as Americans, and most of the people who DO agree with Trump have no idea what the issue they agree with him on even is.
For example, President Trump held a press conference the other day to take a victory lap on USMCA, the “replacement” for NAFTA. Except almost all the changes would have already been incorporated into NAFTA had the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) not been tossed in the garbage by Donald Trump. President Obama and his team had already won almost all the concessions Trump is not touting. So little changed that the body of the new trade agreement repeatedly reads “NAFTA 2018” instead of “USMCA” as Trump is identifying it. And some of the newer concessions Trump was so proud of are absolutely worthless. For example, the percentage of North American parts in a vehicle for it to be considered “domestic” and not subject to tariffs rose from 62% to 75%. The average the last two years was 76% and 78%. So Trump’s biggest victory on the trade deal was getting in writing a standard which was already achieved and requires no concessions from our trading partners?
Turn on Fox News and you might hear the hosts suggest a new Nobel category should be added, for trade negotiations, and that Trump should be the unanimous winner. That so many Americans cannot fact-check, or have only the intellect to process what comes out of their television speakers does NOT mean that they understand the issues and agree with President Trump. Trump’s message, blared at ear-piercing volume by Fox News and by radio hosts like Hugh Hewitt, is carefully crafted to tell a segment of the population what they want to hear and what they will celebrate is dramatically different from telling them the truth and having them like it anyway. It is not news, it is propaganda, state-run propaganda.
But back to Hugh Hewitt. In addition to the standard insults from the right, Hugh decided to play the “Trump” card, meaning project the behavior you are most guilty of on the other side, as if THEY are the guilty party. Hewitt had to go all the way back to the 1950’s (sort of ironic as that is where most of the Republican minds are stuck anyway) in an attempt to compare the current onslaught of sexual assault and alcoholism accusations levied at Brett Kavanaugh as the Democrats modern-day equivalent of McCarthyism.
Well, Joe McCarthy was a Republican. And he spoke against the subversive influence of Russian communists infiltrating our government while the modern Republican Party (and NRA) fill their coffers with Russian money and help install Russian puppets in Congress and the White House.
So maybe a bad example to choose.
But then Hewitt really went off the rails.
“The Rosenbergs and Alger Hiss didn’t make Hollywood screenwriters traitors, and Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby and all the other such alleged predators don’t make the Georgetown Prep Class of 1983 into their accomplices by assertion.”
See what he is trying to do there? Alger Hiss was convicted and sent to prison. The Rosenbergs were convicted and executed. They WERE traitors. The argument Hewitt is making not only tries to defend Kavanaugh, that just because so many young men at Georgetown Prep drank to excess and sexually abused or demeaned women (and despite both Kavanaugh and Mark Judge bragging about it) does not mean Kavanaugh actually did it.
Plus, this fits the narrative Republican politicians and pundits have been trying to craft: sure, plenty of people around Donald Trump, or who worked for the Trump Organization or the Trump campaign, or who did his bidding personally or professionally, have been convicted of crimes related to dirty money and Russian influence on our elections, but that does not mean HE is guilty.
Also, the trial is over. Bill Cosby is a convicted sexual predator and will have to register as such the rest of his life, which will likely be spent behind bars. People can stop using “alleged” when discussing him.
Hewitt then throws another “Trump” deflection out there by discussing the “new Roy Cohns of the left” who are so hell-bent on accusing Trump and Kavanaugh and others who have found their sexual behavior in the spotlight since the #MeToo movement began. For those who do not know, Roy Cohn was Senator Joseph McCarthy’s chief counsel. He also was the prosecutor at the Rosenberg’s trial.
Roy Cohn would eventually leave government and set-up a private law practice in New York City.
Among his clients?
The Catholic Archdioceses of New York, mafia kingpins Tony Salerno, Carmine Galante, and John Gotti, Rupert Mudoch, and…Donald Trump.
Roy Cohn became Trump’s right-hand man. Cohn taught Trump how to behave. Deny, deny, deny. When you are caught red-handed? Deny. Muddy the water with baseless accusations. When guilty and caught, hit back twice as hard rather than apologize. Money and power mean everything. Women and weaker men who work FOR you, who do you bidding, are worthless and easily replaced. Better to buy your way out of a jam, especially if you can use someone else’s money, than to ever allow yourself to be held accountable. And everyone in your orbit signs a confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement before they every speak a word to you or hear a word from you, with crippling financial penalties spelled out and maybe more serious consequences merely implied and understood. Cohn certainly did not his time working for mobsters go to waste.
Maybe most importantly, Cohn introduced Trump to Rupert Murdoch and introduced Murdoch to Ronald Reagan: a New York con man, an actor auditioning for the role of President of the United States, and a wannabe media mogul meet just as cable TV is taking over the airwaves and media manipulation of gullible people no longer required getting them first to buy and then to read your newspapers. What could go wrong, right?
But Hewitt implies (well, states) that it is those on the left who are behaving like Roy Cohn while ignoring that Donald Trump is Roy Cohn’s greatest creation, his Frankenstein monster, and his greatest legacy.
Roy Cohn was disbarred before he died. Roger Stone (a close friend of both Trump and Cohn, imagine that?) said of Cohn after his death, “Cohn’s absolute goal was to die completely broke and owing millions to the IRS. He succeeded in that.”
Cohn was also notoriously vicious to homosexuals, using threats of “outing” people to coerce confessions of communist ties and convincing President Eisenhower to sign an executive order banning homosexuals from federal employment. It was long believed Cohn was himself gay, something that is alleged to have caused tension with Trump, and which was further questioned when Cohn contracted AIDS and dies of the disease in 1986. His old friend Roger Stone offered this gem, “Roy was not gay. He was a man who liked having sex with men. Gays were weak, effeminate.” See what I mean?
I will end where this all began, with the fallacy that the majority of Americans agree with Donald Trump.
To folks like Roger Stone, being gay meant being limp-wristed and flitting around like Tinkerbell. Roy Cohn liked bending guys over and having sex with them, but he did it like a MAN. So that must make him straight. Because to men with that mindset, sex was not about gender. It was about power and control, and if necessary, brute force. By that measure, all the things Donald Trump has been accused of, and all the things Brett Kavanaugh has been accused of, are not sexual assault or attempted rape. As long as you are rich, powerful, and white, the person you are doing things TO is irrelevant. What matters is how YOU and your associates (who think just like you do) perceive the event.
How many people like Trump, and Kavanaugh, and Weinstein have sexual encounters in their past that they call “hookups” but that their partners would absolutely call “rape?”
Just don’t ask Hugh Hewitt.
He would not understand the question. Rich and privileged white guys seldom do.