True believers are convinced that what they are doing is the will of a higher power. None of us act without believing we are right, or at least justified, in doing what we do. You will search life and literature in vain for an example of a character who acts without believing he is, at least in some way, justified. But true believers are convinced they’re also serving something higher and infinitely more important than themselves, than the petty little concerns of regular people going about their ordinary lives. In every case they are motivated by dedication to an infinitely higher power, a dedication that allows them to justify doing anything necessary to serve this thing so far greater than themselves. True believers are moralizers.
Sometimes they moralize in the name of an all-powerful deity– as Bagpiper Bill Barr, Boof Kavanaugh , Mike Pence and others do when using the high standards of Jesus Christ Himself to justify their pursuit of a moral order far higher than dirty, mundane politics. Sometimes a true believer’s zealotry is couched in the name of an ideology: liberty, freedom, democracy. Often (though rarely here in the land of the free and the home of the brave) their honor and their bond, and all of their hopes for a better future, are tied to loyalty to a supremely powerful, infallible leader.
Here is one reason the most loyal defenders of openly corrupt president Trump are essentially Nazis. Their beliefs, such as they are, like the beliefs of the man they follow, are completely transactional. Their views and positions can change on a dime, and often do. The talking points they repeat are based strictly on the real-time calculation of what they feel will advance their leader’s cause, which is their own. Their fates are intertwined. These loyalists act purely out of belief in the righteous power of the leader himself, as diehards who’d taken a personal loyalty oath to the leader did up until the collapse of Nazi Germany.
Last week every last Republican in the House went on the public record as a loyal Trumpist, all of them voted in lockstep: the invalid, unfair, unconstitutional witch hunt of a partisan impeachment inquiry must not be allowed to go forward!
Their reasoning goes like this: the president did nothing wrong, OK, if it was wrong it wasn’t impeachable, these secret witness depositions are a witch hunt that denies the president due process — we demand public sessions, we will not support public sessions, which are a lynching, Mueller was a conflicted partisan traitor who should never have been appointed to conduct a totally unfair, likely criminal (Barr is actively investigating the investigators in his own department) witch hunt (although the conflicted Mueller totally exonerated the president), the whistleblower is a traitor who must be revealed and vigorously, yea, publicly interrogated, the Ukrainians helped Crooked Hillary win! Ukraine has the DNC email servers! Benghazi! etc.
This ever-shifting series of contradictory rationales is wrapped in the larger one: these unfair attacks are all brought by deranged traitors motivated by irrational hatred of Donald J. Trump and anger over the Electoral College ass-whupping they received in 2016.
Conservative Opus Dei member Bill Barr, the nation’s current top law enforcement official, is the most dangerous of these blind loyalists, because he is smart, and unscrupulous and charged with faithfully enforcing the laws that would constrain a president who abuses his powers. In abusing his power as Attorney General (as when he refused to make lawful disclosures pursuant to a credible and urgent whistleblower complaint) Barr will usually raise lawyerly defenses he knows could take years to resolve in court. As when he advised Trump to assert blanket protective privilege over any request for documents or witnesses that could lead to evidence of his wrongdoing, an absurd claim of absolute privilege that will eventually be dismissed by the courts. In a year or two, as Barr knows.
At the heart of Barr’s unfailing advocacy for the president, Barr will say, is his unshakeable core moral and philosophical, deeply held Christian belief that a strong president, an “imperial” or “unitary” executive, is necessary for the operation of a moral Christian nation that is not a debased and godless place. He will defend this belief in a supremely powerful president as rooted in his moral conscience and unchanged in him since before he helped president George H.W. Bush cover up, finally and for all-time, a lingering scandal called Iran-Contra.
OK, fine. There is a branch of conservatives who believe that the president needs to have more power than the other two “co-equal” branches of government, be unaccountable to them and act as a practical CEO who can speedily carry out a higher will than his own. I may find this an insane and dangerous belief, an anti-democratic, authoritarian-leaning one, but you can make an intellectual case for why it makes sense, I suppose. The president, elected by the will of the People, must have sweeping powers to do what must be done, without undue delaying interference from other branches. Fine. That’s our general operating principle then, right, conservatives?
… unless that president is a lying fornicator (Bill Clinton), or a lying Negro not even constitutionally eligible for the office he usurped (Barack Obama), or someone completely distorting the teachings of Jesus Christ to try to curtail free trade, job creation and liberty itself (Jimmy Carter). In the case of these presidents, you know, these are not fitting unitary executives. Tie their hands, fuck them, hard, humiliate them, render them powerless, and, if possible, make them one terms losers. While they’re in office, block their policy initiatives, undermine them, bend them to our political will by any means necessary. Break them any way we can, as the brilliant Newt Gingrich showed us the way.
Say, Opus Dei, what happened to the Imperial Presidency?
(It’s obviously not for unAmerican presidents! We highly moral individuals decide, as the Founders did, who is a real American president entitled to absolute constitutional deference in all matters, thank you!)
Trump is currently on the pedestal, an object of inviolable loyalty by these “unitary executive” types, as well as by every craven opportunist in the party Trump now suddenly leads. As long as the transactional president does whatever his wealthy donors want, radically cut taxes on them and their businesses, destroy inconvenient regulations made to protect endangered owls at the expense of free enterprise and American greatness, mockingly deny the mounting climate catastrophe as a baseless hoax, promote other useful conspiracies, prosecute endless war vigorously and lucratively, appoint lifetime federal judges off a list of Federalist Society vetted uber conservatives, all while provocatively pandering to religious bigots (to keep the giant evangelical voting block solidly Republican) and racists in a way that keeps the working masses divided and enraged at each other, well, that president has earned and deserves every bit of the power and loyalty the Republican party gives him.
Make no mistake about what we are watching now. These lockstep marching, investigation-thwarting, simple logic-despising motherfuckers are the moral descendants of their proud Nazi forebears. Just sayin’.
That said, and call me Anne Frank, I still believe that in a nation of law (however unfair many of those laws might be), the law will prevail against a cult of extremists, temporarily united behind a bully they rightfully fear, that is determined to enforce only laws that advance their dream agenda — a dissent-free dictatorship of the corporate elite serving the inviolable, impeccably moral will of Jesus Christ Himself.
 As for Kavanaugh, he shouldn’t necessarily have been forced to withdraw his nomination strictly over a few drunken sexually awkward adolescent moments of excess, no matter how disgusting. He is obviously not the man he was as a pampered teenager.
Kavanaugh should have been disqualified from sitting on the Supreme Court for the partisan screed he gave in denying allegations. He should have been disqualified for his unbroken, hyper-partisan career as a right wing zealot, as underscored by the angry conspiracy theory remarks he snortingly made while defending himself against the “calculated, orchestrated” revenge of the “Clintons” and a shit ton of “dark money”.
An entitled and ambitious young man, as a law student Kavanuagh was a charter member of the doctrinaire Federalist Society, was Kenneth Starr’s most zealous assistant in the Clinton impeachment, was part of the legal goon squad sent to Florida by the Dubya Bush campaign to stop the recount of the 2000 election, was a dependably partisan lawyer in the Bush White House whose many legal opinions were kept secret, to avoid revealing the extent of his loyal partisanship. His record as a federal judge should also have been disqualifying, though only in context with the rest of his lifelong bias in favor of one side– the powerful, and one party– and seen in light of his tearful, snorting partisan rant about the vast left wing conspiracy (and their unlimited outside money) to destroy his life.
A giant entitled partisan dick in a robe, who may well be nothing like the teenaged drunk who sometimes had too much, acted like a creep and passed out in his own puke.