When Parody Becomes Reality…

by Jim Geraghty

On this day, thirty-six years ago, President Reagan survived an assassination attempt.

At the National Review Ideas Summit, Ricochet contributor James of England was kind enough to give me a copy of The Oxford Companion of the Year, which offers encyclopedic information about holidays, anniversaries of historic events, and other key days. From this fascinating tome I learned that tomorrow in Brazil is the day celebrating the 1964 overthrow of President João Goulart by part of the Brazilian Armed Forces. The event actually occurred on April 1, but it is celebrated the day before; the new government did not want to call it, “The Glorious April Fool’s Day Revolution.”

Actually, if you ever wanted to launch a coup, April 1 is probably the best day to do it. What better way to ensure no one took it seriously until it’s too late?

“Mr. President, troops are surrounding the presidential palace!”

“Sure, sure, and pigs are flying across the sky…”

When Parody Becomes Reality…

“Hey girl… It’s Neil Gorsuch.”

I had an interesting discussion about this with a few other conservative bloggers a little while back. When we see something like “Hey Girl, It’s Paul Ryan,” does that represent a parody of Tiger Beat-style swooning teenage girl crushes towards public figures? Or does it represent actual Tiger Beat-style swooning teenage girl crushes towards public figures?

I thought it was a parody, mocking the incongruence of adoration and worship of political figures, often driven by the same media that keeps telling us how fascinating Lena Dunham, Justin Bieber, the Beckhams, Lady Gaga, and the Kardashians are. (Recall Oprah declaring to a thrilled crowd in Iowa that Barack Obama was “the one!”, Will Smith calling the president “an evolutionary flash point for humanity,” Ezra Klein’s “He is not the Word made flesh, but the triumph of word over flesh,” the meme “Barack Obama Is Your New Bicycle,“ and all the other cult-of-personality aspects of the 2008-2009 campaign.) If the other side was going to describe thrills up their leg, swoon about figures for their perfect pant-creases, and so on, we would offer some tongue-in-cheek swooning about figures focused on tax rates and entitlement reform.

Or do people really find Neil Gorsuch… dreamy?

Is ‘Conservative Media’ Now as Divergent as Non-Conservative Media?

Politico writes about Tomi Lahren, and offers this unexpected phrase…

… in a blink of the eye, Lahren has gone from darling of conservative media to a thorn in its side. Just last month, President Trump himself called Lahren to praise her for praising him. Conservative publications like Freedom Liberty News raved about her “gorgeous” selfies taken in the name of veterans. But now, in spite of fans’ hopes that Fox would snap her up, Lahren remains, as the month ends, a pepperpot without a pulpit—and one worth watching.

Okay, raise your hand: Have you read Freedom Liberty News before? Are you sure you’ve read that site, and not one whose name sounds like it?

Are you sure you’re not thinking of the Liberty Alliance? Or the Liberty Conservative? These are different from Liberty News. Or Liberty Unyielding. Or The Liberty Beacon. And Restoring Liberty. Or Personal Liberty. Or Freedom Daily. Or Freedom’s Back. Or Freedom Outpost. Or Free Beacon. Or Free Republic.

How about WideAwakePatriot? Or Lib-Slaves.info? Trick question, those last two exist only in an Onion parody.

There are a lot of small conservative news sites out there with the words “Liberty,” “Patriot,” “Freedom,” “Right,” “Red,” and “American,” and almost all of them have a red, white, and blue visual design and an eagle in their logo. Some do fine work with exceptionally limited resources, and some… don’t.

Folks on the left used to grind their teeth at the phrase “Even the liberal New Republic [is agreeing with conservative position X]” because in their eyes, The New Republic wasn’t all that liberal (debatable, particularly today’s version) and traditionally enjoyed showcasing unorthodox or non-liberal voices (indisputable). Their fairest point is that finding one article by one writer in The New Republic was hardly representative of a liberal surrender on a particular issue. The phrase “Even the liberal New Republic” represented cherry-picking an idiosyncratic example to characterize an entire political movement and offering a fundamentally inaccurate picture of the debate.

So when someone writes “Conservative publications like…” and they don’t mention one of the big ones… it’s a good chance they had to reach deep to find an example of the phenomenon they sought.

How Democrats’ Trump-Hatred Will Help Out Conservatives

The boss with a key point on why we’re not likely to see a serious or lasting alliance between the Trump administration and congressional Democrats:

Now that the initial health-care bill has gone down, there’s loose talk from the White House of wooing Democrats, but a lot has transpired in the course of the past few months that makes this much harder. Most importantly, the left-wing “resistance” to Trump is fully activated and prepared to exact punishment on any quislings.

Trump’s style of politics is not well-suited to bipartisanship, regardless. Democrats tend to be fond of Republicans like John Kasich or Jon Huntsman, who are determinedly inoffensive and loath to touch hot-button issues. Trump is neither. He could propose a $2 trillion infrastructure bill funded by forced requisitions from Wall Street bankers and Democrats would probably say, “Hell, no.”

Lucky for us conservatives, Democrats just hate Trump too much to really reach out to him stroke his ego a bit, and coax him into enacting the Ivanka-Jared agenda, full of infrastructure spending and stimulus, mandatory maternity leave laws for employers, and other items that would thrill Manhattan Democrats.

ADDENDA: A statement from Russian President Vladimir Putin declares allegations that his country meddled in the 2016 U.S. election are “fictional, illusory, provocations and lies.”

As my brother put it, “Oh, well then, that’s settled.”

The Morning Jolt

By Jim Geraghty