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Jan 10 2020

Corrupt all the way down.

In The New Republic Alex Pareene makes the same argument I frequently do, which is focusing merely on the Criminal aspects of the Unindicted Co-Conspirator Bottomless Pinocchio’s RICO Gang misses the larger Criminality and Corruption of the Republican Party RICO Gang.

“I don’t know anything about ‘Five Families’ and ‘Our Thing’ but those Gambinos are nasty people.”

Who’s being naive now Kay?

The Most Popular Crook in America
By Alex Pareene, The New Republic
January 10, 2020

Larry Hogan is a Republican governor of a solidly Democratic state. He is also, according to one survey, the single most popular governor in the country. In a state where only 37 percent of likely voters approve of Donald Trump, 73 percent of Democrats approve of Hogan.

I’ve argued that, in many respects, the presidency of Donald Trump is more “normal” than some people would like to admit. That is, it’s a logical end point of where conservatism has been moving, rather than an inexplicable break from a system that was working as intended. But even so, in his personal behavior and incendiary rhetoric, Trump is aberrant—and, it should always be noted, he is deeply unpopular. The country, by and large, doesn’t want what Trump has wrought. His election was both overdetermined and something of a bizarre fluke, which would, arguably, not have happened had it not been for geography and our illogical modern interpretation of archaic founding documents.

Hogan, on the other hand, is exactly the “normal” to which politicians like Joe Biden promise to return us when they try to speak into existence a Republican Party that they can “work with.”

Here he is: a self-dealing crook whose racist policymaking will speed the destructive effects of climate change while making him even richer.

The key to Hogan’s appeal is as nakedly racial as Donald Trump’s, even if they sound nothing alike in other respects: Hogan’s project is to prop up the suburban and rural at the explicit expense of both the urban core and the next generation. He was fairly open about this project at the beginning of his time in office. As Washington Monthly puts it: “His most controversial policy to date was to cancel the Red Line—a planned $2.9 billion metro rail line through Baltimore, for which the state had already acquired land.”

Hogan took the “savings” from failing to invest in sustainable transit for Baltimore and spent them on road projects throughout the rest of the state, and bragged about doing so. “His office issued a map of most of the state showing where the money was going, with Baltimore left off,” The Washington Post reported. It was widely considered, at the time, to be part of a “war on Baltimore,” a deliberate policy of disinvestment in that largely black and poor city in favor of investment in the white suburbs and rural areas. And it has been a wild political success.

Hogan’s popularity shows how ultimately tenuous the progressive coalition that sustains the Democratic Party really is: Remove affective conservatism—reactionary culture-war-stoking and blunt appeals to white supremacy—from the plutocratic agenda, and well-off liberals may find themselves far more receptive to a right-wing politician.

As Washington Monthly points out, Hogan wins praise from ostensible liberals for being a “Republican who believes in climate change,” but his administration has devoted itself to constructing automobile infrastructure over public transit. This is one of the most difficult things to get American voters to believe, but if you support state politicians who constantly build and expand highways, you do not support mitigating climate change. Larry Hogan may “believe in” climate change, but he does not wish to do anything to stop it, especially if accelerating it is good for his own bottom line.

This has happened with the help of a Republican judiciary that has defined corruption practically out of existence. Once, robust local newspapers might have functioned as a kind of stopgap, exposing obvious wrongdoing and holding the powerful to account. But today, many of those newsrooms have shuttered, and the national political press, after four years of reporting on Donald Trump, no longer treats self-dealing as inherently scandalous. They operate in a feedback loop with a subset of fairly well-off American voters who no longer punish this behavior in the rare cases when they are presented with it clearly. Larry Hogan is crooked. Larry Hogan is popular. Being crooked doesn’t matter. So long as he’s good for our property values, he can graft his way to the apocalypse.