Our Nation, Our Heritage
July 8, 2020 10:08 AM   Subscribe

Over the past few days, Senator Tammy Duckworth (IL) has been smeared as a “vandal” and “coward” in nativist attacks (NYT) by Fox News host and bow-tied racist Tucker Carlson, which were shared by current U.S. President and former victim of bone spurs, STD warrior, and liker of soldiers who aren’t captured Donald Trump. Purple Heart recipient Duckworth lost her legs and the use of one arm (NYT) when the helicopter she was piloting in combat near Baghdad in 2004 was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade.

Duckworth is the first Thai-American woman elected to Congress and the second Asian-American woman elected to the U.S. Senate, following Mazie Hirono of Hawaii and (just barely) preceding Kamala Harris of California. She is also the first Senator to give birth in office. In 2018, she called out Trump’s hypocrisy after he accused Democrats of holding the military “hostage” during negotiations to end the federal government shutdown: “I spent my entire adult life looking out for the well-being, the training, the equipping of the troops for whom I was responsible.... Sadly, this is something the current occupant of the Oval Office does not seem to care to do — and I will not be lectured about what our military needs by a five-deferment draft dodger.”

Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden, who voted to authorize the war in which Duckworth sustained her combat injuries, and who is rumored to be considering her as his running mate, rejected Trump and Carlson’s attacks. On Twitter, Duckworth herself asked “Does @TuckerCarlson want to walk a mile in my legs and then tell me whether or not I love America?”

Carlson and Trump’s racist and nativist comments echoed an earlier attack on Duckworth by Mark Kirk, her Republican opponent in her 2016 Senate race, who said during a debate in which Duckworth discussed her family’s record of service in the U.S. military stretching back to the American Revolution, “I had forgotten that your parents came all the way from Thailand to serve George Washington.”

In pre-Trump era, Duckworth’s service record inspired plaudits from Republicans including former House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa.
posted by sallybrown (98 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
 
Surely this.
posted by chavenet at 10:12 AM on July 8 [18 favorites]


I'm assuming the focus of attack has landed on Duckworth because the reactionary propagandists are coming to the same conclusion I am about the Biden camp being pretty close to settled on her for VP.

Leaving aside the reasons it's a bad idea to move someone out of the Senate who's doing good work there, Duckworth would be pretty alright. She's certainly the preferable of my two Senators.
posted by PMdixon at 10:17 AM on July 8 [12 favorites]


Surely this. Yes, you need to go no further than Sen Duckworth to see that the core of Republican values are not love of country or military service, but racism and misogyny.
posted by CostcoCultist at 10:17 AM on July 8 [70 favorites]


And let’s not forget that Duckworth’s family has served this country since pre-revolution.
posted by misterpatrick at 10:18 AM on July 8 [16 favorites]


They're clearly terrified of her.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 10:18 AM on July 8 [22 favorites]


Bring back the duel.
posted by Balna Watya at 10:23 AM on July 8 [24 favorites]


Two additional notes I should have added: Trump infamously attacked the family of late Captain Humayun Khan, who was killed in action in Iraq in 2004, and has sought to withdraw protections against deportation for family members of active-duty U.S. troops.
posted by sallybrown at 10:25 AM on July 8 [19 favorites]


As to why a United States Senator wouldnt debate a Fox News "personality", it's because she's a United States Senator and he's a Fox News "personality".
posted by Billiken at 10:26 AM on July 8 [57 favorites]


Leaving aside the reasons it's a bad idea to move someone out of the Senate who's doing good work

true, but JFK picked LBJ for his experience in both houses. But Biden knows both houses well also.
posted by clavdivs at 10:31 AM on July 8 [2 favorites]


Tucker Carlson is heir to a fishstick fortune and could do anything he wants with his time. That he chooses to spend it on a nightly racist tirade certainly is a choice.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 10:37 AM on July 8 [94 favorites]


JFK picked LBJ for his experience in both houses.

And party predicted voting outcome much less strongly then, and the Senate in particular AFAIK tended to less often be the controlling veto point. There's no plausible gain to picking someone out of the Senate relative to the best non-Senatorial option, and there's nonzero possible downside in taking someone out who's demonstrated a predictable, desirable voting record. Even accepting Biden's age means the VP pick means more than usual, is there really anything we can say about Duckworth that makes her so clearly superior to whoever the counterfactual VP pick would be that it's worth the friction and risk inherent in replacing a Senator?
posted by PMdixon at 10:43 AM on July 8 [2 favorites]


Surely this. Yes, you need to go no further than Sen Duckworth to see that the core of Republican values are not love of country or military service, but racism and misogyny.

Their hypocrisy and dishonesty regarding military service was laid pretty bare when they gleefully smeared John Kerry's military record. Now they get to combine that with racism.
posted by star gentle uterus at 10:46 AM on July 8 [39 favorites]


From Independent Sen. Angus King: "Tammy Duckworth is an American patriot; grit and courage personified. Political differences shouldn't diminish what she gives to our nation."
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 10:55 AM on July 8 [8 favorites]


The big difference between Swiftboating and the current era to me is that it seemed clear that the Swiftboat attacks were purely political/insincere, like the GOP would never have gone after Kerry’s service had he not been the candidate.

Whereas now, you might argue that Carlson and Trump are targeting Duckworth because she’s a likely VP candidate, but it’s part of a much larger pattern of behavior by Trump to denigrate non-white U.S. military members and divide them off as “other.” I know there is a long history of racism within the U.S. military, including the fight against integration, but I also feel like the 90s/00s were different from the nativist/racist streak the current GOP is pushing or at least permitting.
posted by sallybrown at 11:01 AM on July 8 [15 favorites]


Nothing shocks me anymore. This is evolved swift-boating: attacking the target's strengths rather than their weaknesses. Throwing up a bunch of bad-faith chaff so that more people “don't know what to think” when a pollster calls them and asks if they have a favorable opinion of Tammy Duckworth.

Not sure this one will work, though. Swift-boating got mainstreamed because it was ostensibly being advanced by a group of combat veterans. The mainstream media will not fall for a he-said/she-said when the “she” is a former combat pilot and the “he” is a dipshit with a bowtie who couldn't get into the CIA.

Tucker's show is dangerous because it understands the power it has to control the president's attention and influence policy. Hannity and Dobbs will just follow Trump's gaze around the nursery, but Tucker will jingle the car keys to distract him from something that might hurt him.

Tucker himself is dangerous because I can't tell what he believes and doesn't believe. I know most liberals think Republicans are operating in bad faith most of the time; I've long felt that their problem is one of rampant delusion rather than rampant dishonesty. I think they largely believe the things they say, and have arrived at these feelings through a scary process of epistemic closure and an unwillingness to deal with cognitive dissonance. Tucker challenges my thesis. I can't tell if he thinks this is all a game. Some zealot is going to tattoo “TUCKER” onto his forehead and commit a spree killing at an inner-city polling place and Tucker will be on the air that night to blame it on Cole Tucker and the Pittsburgh Pirates' recent mediocrity.
posted by savetheclocktower at 11:08 AM on July 8 [24 favorites]


Their hypocrisy and dishonesty regarding military service was laid pretty bare when they gleefully smeared John Kerry's military record. Now they get to combine that with racism.

And misogyny!
posted by mr_roboto at 11:08 AM on July 8 [26 favorites]


If Tucker wants to debate her, id think his best bet would be to appear across from her on a 2024 ticket (the fact that this is not an impossibility makes me want to start happy hour at 2:10pm).
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 11:10 AM on July 8 [3 favorites]


Look, let's just admit that anyone still watching Tucker Carlson at this point in history is necessarily a scumbag. It's filth TV for filthy racists, and the only reason it still exists is that too many companies find it useful to advertise to scumbags.

...like, seriously, if you hear someone say "did you see Tucker Carlson last night?" then you know that person is a racist piece of shit, even if they seem like maybe they're just being open-minded or something.
posted by aramaic at 11:15 AM on July 8 [58 favorites]


Tucker himself is dangerous because I can't tell what he believes and doesn't believe

He, and Bill O'Reilly before him, remind me of Howard W. Campbell Jr. from Vonnegut's Mother Night. Except without the excuse of being a double agent. "We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be."
posted by jzb at 11:20 AM on July 8 [9 favorites]


...like, seriously, if you hear someone say "did you see Tucker Carlson last night?" then you know that person is a racist piece of shit, even if they seem like maybe they're just being open-minded or something.

Counter-argument - my father will occasionally hate-watch for a couple minutes. (However, it usually only lasts a couple minutes before he growls and switches back to MSNBC.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:21 AM on July 8 [8 favorites]


I also have a Carlson/Maddow watching father, who will not stop because he thinks “this way I know what the Trumpers are thinking.” Luckily we aren’t a Nielsen family and no one is buying MyPillows. But I still really hate it.
posted by sallybrown at 11:24 AM on July 8 [11 favorites]


Yes, this period is a shift in the GOP.
Here, I'd mark it out by Trump going after McCain in 2016, mocking his military experience.
posted by doctornemo at 11:25 AM on July 8 [2 favorites]


I can't tell if he thinks this is all a game.

The opposite. I think he thinks this is all so serious that literally the only thing that matters is to win. If he has to shred his own integrity, outright lie in the face of obvious facts, make himself a despised laughing-stock, well then that's what he's going to do. I'm sure he sees it as throwing himself on the grenade for the cause. He would literally murder someone if he thought it would help Republicans win. But that's unlikely because he knows how to get others to do it.
posted by ctmf at 11:27 AM on July 8 [3 favorites]


Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden, who voted to authorize the war in which Duckworth sustained her combat injuries

The absurd contradictions of white supremacist empire contained in just one sentence fragment.

I look forward to the day where military service in illegal and immoral wars like the Iraq or Vietnam War isn't valorized by Americans, particularly liberals who claim to be against white supremacy.
posted by Ouverture at 11:35 AM on July 8 [20 favorites]


Leaving aside the reasons it's a bad idea to move someone out of the Senate who's doing good work there, Duckworth would be pretty alright. She's certainly the preferable of my two Senators.

I'm sure she could do more good work as veep. Her move out of the senate would create an open seat, but I believe in Illinois her successor would be appointed by the governor, who's a democrat.

More concerning is that she isn't a natural born US citizen. In the current climate, who knows what the outcome would be if this was challenged in the supreme court?
posted by SteveInMaine at 11:42 AM on July 8 [3 favorites]


Anybody who thinks the GOP has a lick of respect for the military doesn't remember the truly fucked-up Purple Heart bandages at the 2004 convention. Or the way they treat the VA on top of the sheer neglect of those who've served in Afghanistan, Iraq, or the many other shadow wars we've been in since the 90s.

Said before, I will say it again. When Hillary used "deplorables" it was not strong enough of a word.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 11:42 AM on July 8 [29 favorites]


A text search on the comments so far proves what a quick scan suggests, which is that nobody has mentioned the case of Max Cleland, Democratic Senator from Georgia (and recipient of the the Silver Star, Bronze Star with “V” Device, Soldier’s Medal, and Purple Heart, and paraplegic due to that last. Not to mention various attendance awards) v. Saxby Chambliss in the election of 2002. Chambliss shamelessly accused Cleland of voting to provide chemical weapons to terrorists. The media reported the accusation without bothering to point out that it was BS, and Cleland, who'd been sailing to an easy victory over an obvious nutcase, was defeated.

For Republicans this is not a new low. Trump is not the problem, Trump is a symptom. Republicans are the problem.
posted by Aardvark Cheeselog at 11:44 AM on July 8 [77 favorites]


More concerning is that she isn't a natural born US citizen.

Natural born citizen has long been understood to mean someone who was born a U.S. citizen, and thus did not have to be naturalized. As the daughter of a U.S. citizen father who spent more than the requisite amount of years living in the United States, Duckworth is a natural born U.S. citizen.
posted by sallybrown at 11:49 AM on July 8 [64 favorites]


I have watched Carlson's show recently, in the same spirit as watching videos of police violence, or indeed of watching the president speak -- it's important to see the ugliness for yourself, and it's important for the revulsion you have towards these ideas to feel personal and tangible. So I have that going for me?

But one thing that came out of watching the show at length, and not just reading/talking about snippets, is that the cartoonishness of Tucker Carlson becomes almost comical the longer you watch, even as his face makes me want to punch the screen.

And it reminds me, oddly, of Jack White's explanation of The White Stripes' aesthetic -- the stark red and white color scheme, the simple drum parts, the Sears-catalog instruments -- it was all a deliberate decision to appeal to the child-like and naive in each of us. Not that Jack White is a fascist, but he did understand that his audience wants a simple message.

Fox News + Trump are almost comically cartoonish in their own way, and their language and aesthetic appeal to the scared children inside a large part of the population. Tucker Carlson is not going to debate anyone, he doesn't need to. His job is to paint pictures of fear and hate in his audience's mind, in broad strokes, impressionistically at times, and the fact that he happens to debate an invisible strawman every day shouldn't imply that he'd go to face to face with a real person, a person with feelings, ideas, and courage.
posted by swift at 11:50 AM on July 8 [16 favorites]


More concerning is that she isn't a natural born US citizen.

She's as natural born as Ted Cruz, arguably moreso as she's not a collection of cockroaches in a human skin suit that refers to itself as "Ted Cruz".
posted by nathan_teske at 11:56 AM on July 8 [85 favorites]


Of course no one is surprised that the right is going after a veteran. The surprise should be that anyone believes having a vet on a ticket would sway a single vote one way or another.
posted by gwint at 11:58 AM on July 8 [7 favorites]


FWIW I never felt like Ted Cruz or George Romney were natural born citizens either. But I'm not on the Supreme Court.
posted by great_radio at 11:59 AM on July 8


The media reported the accusation without bothering to point out that it was BS, and Cleland, who'd been sailing to an easy victory over an obvious nutcase, was defeated.

For Republicans this is not a new low. Trump is not the problem, Trump is a symptom. Republicans are the problem.

The media is also the problem.
posted by overhauser at 12:04 PM on July 8 [30 favorites]


More concerning is that she isn't a natural born US citizen. In the current climate, who knows what the outcome would be if this was challenged in the supreme court?

Ted Cruz and John McCain were not born in the United States and were still granted natural-born status to allow them to run for office. Precedent has been set. The only difference here is that she was born in Thailand, and not Canada or Panama.

I'd love to see her dismantle Pence in a debate. I hope she gets the nod. There are many possible nominees who are much, much worse options for rebuilding after Trump.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 12:05 PM on July 8 [5 favorites]


She would make a very compelling candidate for VP. I'm not surprised that Fox News is slandering her.
posted by vitout at 12:10 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


Why stop at racism and misogyny when a true man would attack a multiple amputee veteran in the spirit of patriotism.
posted by infini at 12:19 PM on July 8 [10 favorites]


I was thinking of Cleland as well, Aardvark.
posted by tavella at 12:25 PM on July 8


She's as natural born as Ted Cruz

And as McCain, and George Romney.

edit: ah, as others have already said.

and were still granted natural-born status to allow them to run for office

Well, perhaps in the realm of public opinion. I don't think anything "official" was granted. It's possible some court shenanigans could have gone down if either dude actually won the elections since (as far as I know) the actual language in the Constitution has never been tested in court.
posted by sideshow at 12:37 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


"As to why a United States Senator wouldnt debate a Fox News 'personality', it's because she's a United States Senator and he's a Fox News 'personality'."

Laurie Penny, Longreads: No, I Will Not Debate You: Civility will never defeat fascism, no matter what The Economist thinks.
posted by bz at 12:38 PM on July 8 [15 favorites]


The mainstream media will not fall for a he-said/she-said when the “she” is a former combat pilot and the “he” is a dipshit with a bowtie who couldn't get into the CIA.

2016 would like to disagree. The mainstream media is all too happy to talk up inflammatory bullshit. Look at how current day media is all too happy to present "both sides of the story" on basic medical stuff with covid.
posted by Candleman at 12:42 PM on July 8 [27 favorites]


Well, perhaps in the realm of public opinion.

Perhaps. But the GOP decided on McCain as its 2008 nominee, and they probably have lawyers on retainer to hash over these kinds of issues and help them make decisions. Maybe they would risk running a ticket whose election would be nullified, but that doesn't seem likely.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 12:57 PM on July 8


Well, perhaps in the realm of public opinion. I don't think anything "official" was granted

Again, nothing need be “granted”—that’s the whole point of “natural born.” Those who are born United States citizens are natural born citizens. This is not a serious legal debate among scholars.
posted by sallybrown at 1:08 PM on July 8 [8 favorites]


the GOP decided on McCain as its 2008 nominee
This assumes policy consistency between parties though, which is far from proven. Given their track record, it's entirely expected that 2008-GOP would heartily advocate that McCain is a valid nominee, but that 2020-GOP with its freshly stocked roster of federal judges would go the other direction if it gave them any advantage (or even just to fill the air with noise).
posted by CrystalDave at 1:12 PM on July 8 [7 favorites]


Tammy Duckworth is my personal favorite for Biden’s running mate. She has the grit and the experience to be an excellent president. As a grievously wounded veteran, she understands what too many of our men and women in uniform have endured.
posted by haiku warrior at 1:18 PM on July 8 [2 favorites]


that 2020-GOP with its freshly stocked roster of federal judges would go the other direction if it gave them any advantage (or even just to fill the air with noise)

But if this is the standard, then there’s no limit to the ridiculous and illegitimate attacks: oh no, the nominee was a Caesarian birth! How do we know Duckworth’s father was her REAL father, she must consent to a DNA test! Etc.
posted by sallybrown at 1:18 PM on July 8 [5 favorites]


The VP issue is surely relevant, but it seems that Trumpworld has decided that the whole election should be about statues being pulled down by "radical left mobs", so that explains a lot of why this is happening too.
posted by thelonius at 1:19 PM on July 8


Is this Carlson doing Trump's dirty work to sully Duckworth as a VP candidate or is this Carlson broadcasting to his most important viewer and driving Trump's agenda?
posted by jindc at 1:33 PM on July 8 [3 favorites]


Probably both. Ratings for ad revenue, and talking points for WH access. A vote for President Biden is also, by virtue of his relative age, a possible vote for Duckworth in the same role, and the GOP are exploring how to dogwhistle her background, in order to make that case to voters, were she to be given the nod. The natural-born American stuff is almost certainly part of that narrative.

But in addition to her own record as Senator, I suspect she can easily draw pretty straight parallels between herself and McCain, in a number of ways that can cut through that nonsense and reach to centrist voters and military families, which makes her an appealing choice for Biden's campaign.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 1:39 PM on July 8 [7 favorites]


Yes.
posted by rp at 1:40 PM on July 8 [4 favorites]


From last fall: Republicans smear a military combat veteran — because that's just what they do

Why do members of the military support Republicans? I have absolutely no idea.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 1:45 PM on July 8 [4 favorites]


she's not a collection of cockroaches in a human skin suit that refers to itself as "Ted Cruz"

Just quietly, that's not a skin suit.

it's three little skin suits in a long overcoat
posted by flabdablet at 1:47 PM on July 8 [7 favorites]


I'd love to see her dismantle Pence in a debate

This. I would actually pay money to watch that debate. Especially if it’s on foreign policy or national security. I mean - I’m at risk of going seriously down a FanFic hole even thinking about it - but does mother have to supervise him if he’s on stage debating a woman?
posted by inflatablekiwi at 1:52 PM on July 8 [9 favorites]


I had her more as Secretary of Defense, but whatevs.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:17 PM on July 8


natural born citizen

For future reference, the relevant portion of US Code:
(g)a person born outside the limits of the United States and its outlying possessions of parents one of whom is an alien, and the other a citizen of the United States who, prior to the birth of such person, was physically present in the United States or its outlying possessions for a period or periods totaling not less than five years, at least two of which were after attaining the age of fourteen years: Provided, That any periods of honorable service in the Armed Forces of the United States, or periods of employment with the United States Government or with an international organization as that term is defined in section 288 of title 22 by such citizen parent, or any periods during which such citizen parent is physically present abroad as the dependent unmarried son or daughter and a member of the household of a person (A) honorably serving with the Armed Forces of the United States, or (B) employed by the United States Government or an international organization as defined in section 288 of title 22, may be included in order to satisfy the physical-presence requirement of this paragraph. This proviso shall be applicable to persons born on or after December 24, 1952, to the same extent as if it had become effective in its present form on that date
Will this stop racists from quibbling over the meaning of the term? No. Will it allow you to dismiss them as anarchists who don't respect the rule of law? Yes. Will that annoy them? Oh my, yes.
posted by Panjandrum at 2:19 PM on July 8 [11 favorites]


Tucker Carlson is heir to a fishstick fortune

I feel like I'm trapped in a political satire with no ability to revise the narrative.
posted by mecran01 at 2:22 PM on July 8 [34 favorites]


The electoral impact of vice presidential candidates, unless they're an embarrassment like Sarah Palin, don't have much impact on the election. The VP pick should be the person the presidential candidate thinks would make the best president.

Given Biden's age, the VP would run as the presidential candidate in 2024, and hopefully run for reelection in 2028.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:22 PM on July 8


It's insane how fast the Republicans have gone from the party of "of course they support the military" to "mild jokes about being overthrown by a military coup".
posted by meowzilla at 2:22 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


But if this is the standard, then there’s no limit to the ridiculous and illegitimate attacks: oh no, the nominee was a Caesarian birth! How do we know Duckworth’s father was her REAL father, she must consent to a DNA test! Etc.
I don't disagree, and this isn't me saying this should be any sort of barrier to Duckworth (as you astutely note, they'll throw anything at the wall to see what sticks); I'm more thinking that appeals to legalism only work with an adversary that binds themselves by it.

It's like that old saw about how liberals keep trying to catch the GOP on hypocrisy, and then they shrug and ignore it. All the rhetorical power of a cream pie dropped from a stepladder.
posted by CrystalDave at 2:24 PM on July 8 [7 favorites]


The VP pick should be the person the presidential candidate thinks would make the best president.


Which kind of sucks because he wasn't the best candidate in the Democratic field and I don't think his choice for next president is going to be someone who is any better than he is.
posted by great_radio at 2:25 PM on July 8 [3 favorites]


From a purely politically mercenary angle, Duckworth has an advantage over most of the other man names being floated. The criteria seem to be a) a woman, b) a viable candidate to replace Grandpa Joe in 2024, and c) preferably a woman of color.

Warren and Whitmer fail on the last point. Also, I'm pretty sure Warren would rather poke Biden in the eye than play second banana to him, for both political and personal reasons. She also has the issue of age.

Susan Rice and Stacey Abrams have both never held national elected office. Rice has the additional anchor of Benghazi smears to deal with. I really like Abrams (she was my state rep for years), but going from state rep to VP with the potential for President may be too much for people. Also, our political discourse is juvenile and stupid and I've already seen attacks on her personal appearance.

Kamala Harris would seem to fit, but she's also "Kamala the Cop," which is not a good look in the current cultural conversation. Picking her risks alienating more progressive voters.
posted by Panjandrum at 2:40 PM on July 8 [2 favorites]


Just because Republicans launch disgusting, racist, misogynistic, and hypocritical attacks on Duckworth doesn't make her a great politician. She just inserted a lobbyist-written provision to privatize public water systems into the infrastructure bill.
posted by head full of air at 3:06 PM on July 8 [13 favorites]


Look, y'all, just because Trump isn't playing whatever-dimensional-chess, doesn't mean the rest of his cohort and toadies are. Sure it's fun to speculate on "is it long game for Duckworth as VP?", but in the last week Duckworth 1) threatened to hold up Senate military confirmations until she got some assurances that Lt. Col. Vindman would receive the promotion he was in line & qualified for (and is now doing the same because she wants an investigation into his claim that he was forced to retire) 2) had nasty things to say about Trump's knowledge of the Russian Taliban bounty and 3) supported tearing down Confederate statues and announced her willingness to consider removing statues of non-Confederate slaveholders, like George Washington.

These are all reason enough for Tuck Tuck's swivel-eyed opportunistic hackery to swing her way for a news cycle or two. I dunno that I would take it as evidence of how seriously Biden may be considering her.
posted by soundguy99 at 3:21 PM on July 8 [7 favorites]


Duckworth to halt military confirmations until she receives assurance Vindman promotion won't be blocked (CNN, July 2, 2020)

On Monday, Senator and Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth said she had still not been assured by Secretary of Defence Mark Esper that the White House would not interfere with Lt Col Vindman's promotion to full colonel. However, one senior US defence official told Reuters on Wednesday that Mr Esper had approved Lt Col Vindman's promotion on Monday, and that the list of promotions was to be sent to the White House in the coming days. (BBC, July 8, 2020)

Today I officially requested retirement from the US Army, an organization I love. My family and I look forward to the next chapter of our lives. - Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, @AVindman July 8 tweet
Congratulations to @AVindman my twin brother on a glorious military career. Love you bro! - Yevgeny (Eugene) Vindman, @YVindman, July 8 tweet (This Vindman was a senior ethics lawyer for the National Security Council, until he was fired in February alongside Alexander)
posted by Iris Gambol at 3:43 PM on July 8 [3 favorites]


Re: Max Cleland: folks should be reminded that Rick Wilson of the Project Lincoln crew was one of the people behind the trashing of Max Cleland and he refuses to apologize for it. Project Lincoln is made up of people who hate Trump, but have learned basically nothing else.

Also, purely because we're talking about Tammy Duckworth: In the long-forgotten days of June 2016, Democrats held a sit-in on the House floor to push for gun control legislation. Among all their other shitty tactics to block legislation, Republicans did everything they could to block video of the sit-in. Tammy Duckworth smuggled a cell phone in one of her prosthetic legs because she's a bad ass.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 3:53 PM on July 8 [34 favorites]


The NYT use of the word "nativist" annoys me because it implies that whites are the natives in this country. Can't they use "xenophobic" or "white nationalist" instead?
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 4:15 PM on July 8 [33 favorites]


NYT strikes again. Just call Carlson racist, why beat around the bush? 'Nativist' plays into racist attacks on Duckworth's citizenship.
posted by eustatic at 4:24 PM on July 8 [8 favorites]


My guess is they used nativist to tie it to the through-line U.S. Nativist movement but the point is exactly right. The Know Nothings actually called themselves “Native Americans” at one point, which is where the term “nativism” came from.
posted by sallybrown at 4:30 PM on July 8 [2 favorites]


The NYT use of the word "nativist" annoys me because it implies that whites are the natives in this country. Can't they use "xenophobic" or "white nationalist" instead?

The Wiki entry on the darker aspects of the NYTimes is pretty good background reading.

I grew up reading about liars like Judith Miller and Jayson Blair, but they've avoided major conflicts with power over most of the paper's history, all the way back to the Holodomor, as much as they've recently collaborated with fascists like Tom Cotton to spew his bilge.

Not once has this paper called Trump a liar or a racist, despite him being both, often, and especially during his term as president.

I hope they do a better job reporting about this election than they did in 2016. Their conduct — as much as that of the media at large — was an absolute disgrace. They could start by being honest about how Republicans and state media (FOX) talk about Americans who aren't white or male, like Senator Duckworth.

From previous Metafilter mail messages, I know for a fact that at least some of their journalists have accounts here, as well. I can't imagine being on here is always pleasant for them, but for lack of a public editor, I hope they are at least paying some attention.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 5:21 PM on July 8 [5 favorites]


It's particularly telling that Carlson views Nelson Mandela as a bad guy.
posted by brundlefly at 8:21 PM on July 8 [2 favorites]


Re: Max Cleland: folks should be reminded that Rick Wilson of the Project Lincoln crew was one of the people behind the trashing of Max Cleland and he refuses to apologize for it. Project Lincoln is made up of people who hate Trump, but have learned basically nothing else.

And we can get back to discussing that when Trump is out of office.

Let's wait to get everyone onto the life rafts and off the TITANIC before we start accusing the crew of things.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:33 PM on July 8 [4 favorites]


The NYT use of the word "nativist" annoys me because it implies that whites are the natives in this country. Can't they use "xenophobic" or "white nationalist" instead?
I am not a Know-Nothing. That is certain. How could I be? How can any one who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor of degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we begin by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes." When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty--to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy.
-- Abraham Lincoln
posted by kirkaracha at 11:02 PM on July 8 [19 favorites]


Why do members of the military support Republicans? I have absolutely no idea.

White supremacy, misogyny, homophobia, a whole slate of isms and the bizarre belief that they are temporarily embarrassed millionaires. Also some gun ranting.
posted by Mitheral at 11:24 PM on July 8 [10 favorites]


Why do members of the military support Republicans? I have absolutely no idea.

I had the same thought, and I do every time some news story or whatever mentions a gay or Black or female republican. Then I remember, it's always the other stuff. They like the other stuff that comes along with republicanism more, enough that they can suppress or deny the part of republicanism that hates that aspect of who they are. Democrats hate aspects of who people are, but it tends to be things like Mitheral lists, and the circular Democratic firing squad comes from making a sticking point out of the one thing you're not in line about. Republicans are happy to co-opt, say, a gay man so long as he is OK with white supremacy and guns. Dems start the hand wringing much sooner.
posted by axiom at 12:28 AM on July 9 [3 favorites]


I think natural-born citizen refers to those who didn't have a Cesarean section.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:15 AM on July 9 [3 favorites]


C-sections are okay too; the natural-born thing was intended to prevent golems and living objects from becoming President. The Framers were thinking more in terms of Galatea but presumably Chuck Tingle living objects or living personified abstract concepts would also be prohibited, which unfortunately means that The Actual Concept Of The Philosopher-King can't pound us in the White House. Frankenstein-style patchwork creatures have never been tested and there's a lively scholarly dispute about whether they're prohibited like golems or whether they count as whoever their brain came from.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 5:56 AM on July 9 [22 favorites]


I've mentioned this before, but Tammy Duckworth is the reason I no longer tolerate the Republican party. I'd been drifting away for a while, and the Mark Kirk thing was the exclamation point.
posted by kevinbelt at 6:13 AM on July 9 [2 favorites]


As a nation, we begin by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes." When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty--to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy.

Today I learned Abraham Lincoln was a time traveler.
posted by Gelatin at 6:28 AM on July 9 [6 favorites]


Why do members of the military support Republicans? I have absolutely no idea.

In some part because the Democrats are always trying to defund their socialist way of life! The last I lived at home as an active duty military brat was under Clinton. Oh, how my parents and all their military friends hated him (and that harridan wife, too). And, hey, it felt close to home. I was part of the last graduating class of my DoDS High School before it went k-12 and then disappeared entirely. They were closing down military bases and moving people back home. Plum assignments became harder to come by and the flight crews were always complaining about budget cuts, etc.. And here come the Democrats with their peace treaties and hand-wringing about the price of the world's most impressive military jets and talking about avoiding wars and what is the real price of oil, etc.. And there's no other safety net system for Americans families like the military. Top-notch healthcare (though everyone does complain), free and high-quality education, subsidized housing, fairly decent retirement benefits (if you stick it out long enough) and a ladder of success that is clear and can appear to be completely meritocratic. There's no other job in the world like it. When "going after the military" is going after your family and livelihood, you have no choice but to go with the man who promises to keep it for you. It's a lie, of course, it's all lies but that's how we are.
posted by amanda at 8:15 AM on July 9 [9 favorites]


If one wants to question her on war perhaps the Feb 4th 2019 vote To express the sense of the Senate that the United States faces continuing threats from terrorist groups operating in Syria and Afghanistan and that the precipitous withdrawal of United States forces from either country could put at risk hard-won gains and United States national security. is a good starting point to ask questions about why America is still there and what the effective plan to get out is?
posted by rough ashlar at 9:51 AM on July 9


People can be imperfect people and still victims of racism and misogyny. There's absolutely no reason to question Sen. Duckworth on war when discussing how she's being attacked by racists for racists reason.
posted by Gygesringtone at 10:58 AM on July 9 [11 favorites]


Bring back the duel.

Seattle's county has the "mutual combat" rule.
posted by NoThisIsPatrick at 3:53 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]


Senator Duckworth writes in the NYT:
Our nation deserves leaders mature and secure enough not to race-bait or swift-boat anyone who dares disagree with them. After these past four years, and especially after these past four months, it’s clearer than ever that we must choose public servants who will focus on the serious issues facing our country — from the spread of the coronavirus to systemic racism to foreign adversaries threatening our troops’ lives — rather than cynical bullies who use schoolyard tactics to distract from their own shortcomings.

So while I would put on my old uniform and go to war all over again to protect the right of Tucker Carlson and Donald Trump to say offensive things on TV and Twitter, I will also spend every moment I can from now until November fighting to elect leaders who would rather do good for their country than do well for themselves.
posted by sallybrown at 6:26 PM on July 9 [8 favorites]


Why do members of the military support Republicans? I have absolutely no idea.

Because Republicans spent half a century using Communism as justification for massive military build up and the use of the military to "advance American interests" around the world. Any time Democrats raised even the slightest objection to this or just not high enough levels of rabid enthusiasm Republicans and conservative pundits beat them with the "Democrats Hate The Military!!!" stick. All of this clicked into high gear post 9/11, with the enemy switched to "terrorism."

At this point "Republicans support the military" is baked into the culture deeply enough that it's going to be extraordinarily difficult to dislodge it, and any evidence to the contrary gets ignored or excused as a momentary aberration.
posted by soundguy99 at 6:35 PM on July 9 [2 favorites]


Why do members of the military support Republicans? I have absolutely no idea.

Was going to attempt an answer as a military kid since I was born and having retired from my own military career. But I see amanda already fully covered it. Probably some are Trumps-base Republicans in their own right, but huge numbers just know the democrats want to question and/or cut funding for the sacred cow. It's not pro-republican, it's anti-democrat.
posted by ctmf at 8:37 PM on July 9 [2 favorites]


I think natural-born citizen refers to those who didn't have a Cesarean section.

I wonder what type of corporation would be considered natural-born enough to run for president. Harley-Davidson, Inc. might have a shot.
posted by ctmf at 8:42 PM on July 9


There is also Duckworth's support for Lt. Col Alexander Vindman, the marine who testified to the Muller Commission. "Vindman, 45, will retire after 21 year of Army service. Lawmakers in recent weeks expressed concerns the White House could attempt to block his scheduled promotion to colonel. Last week, Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., blocked the scheduled promotion of 1,123 military officers until Defense Secretary Mark Esper provided her a guarantee in writing he would not block Vindman from his expected promotion and the soldier would not face further retaliation in the Army.... Duckworth, who lost both legs after her Army Black Hawk helicopter was shot down in Iraq, said Wednesday that she never received such notice from Esper and she would keep her hold in place until the defense secretary provided transparency on the issue.... Vindman’s twin brother, Army Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman, also was ousted from his job as an attorney on the National Security Council by Trump in February after the president was acquitted by the Senate on impeachment charges."
posted by zaelic at 3:38 AM on July 10 [4 favorites]


I wonder what type of corporation would be considered natural-born enough to run for president. Harley-Davidson, Inc. might have a shot.

They’re 117. I don’t want to seem ageist but I think we shouldn’t elect corps/folks President if they’re over 100 years old. Let’s call it 110 to future proof it. We have a minimum age requirement but corporations don’t necessarily die. When is the last time Harley-Davidson really had to innovate to adapt?

Seems to me like natural-born Microsoft or Costco might have ran the last four years comparatively better had their executives just been kidnapped and forced to figure it out versus what we got with the Trump Organization. But who runs the companies while the corporations are retasked?

o this is not a serious idea .
posted by floam at 3:44 AM on July 10 [1 favorite]


Putting aside the contrast between Duckworth and Trump as human beings with stories and experiences, I... dunno. Duckworth’s legislative history isn’t ugly or anything but it is lacking in major accomplishments. How do folks feel about Duckworth’s policy chops and executive ability compared to Biden’s primary rivals? It seems like a stretch. I would prefer Warren 😭.
posted by floam at 4:07 AM on July 10 [4 favorites]


There's a more witty analysis of this comparison to be made, but I couldn't quite nail it:

"Black Lives Matter" really means "Black Lives Matter Too" but the right likes to pretend the last bit isn't implicit.

"Republicans Support The Military" really means "Republicans Support The Military-Industrial Complex" but the right likes to pretend the last bit isn't implicit.
posted by bcd at 6:29 AM on July 10 [6 favorites]


What I really like about both Duckworth and Warren is they didn’t grow up with the ambition to run for office or be part of a high-profile political job, like so many other politicians. Both came to understand one specific issue very well (veterans health care for Duckworth and family bankruptcy for Warren) and decided to run for office to try and fix the problems they saw. Because of that I think they understand that politics can be a means to the end of good policy, not just “career where I’m a VIP.”
posted by sallybrown at 6:31 AM on July 10 [16 favorites]


"Black Lives Matter" really means "Black Lives Matter Too" but the right likes to pretend the last bit isn't implicit.

My best retort I’ve been managing when someone says “All Lives Matter” and I wonder if they really don’t get it is: “But all lives won’t matter until Black lives start to.”
posted by floam at 7:16 AM on July 10 [3 favorites]


"they didn’t grow up with the ambition to run for office or be part of a high-profile political job"

I like Elizabeth Warren for many reasons, but this is one of the biggest things I like about her. I'm a little sick of Ivy Leaguers who went through the cursus honorum.

Imagine: with Warren or Duckworth (or Kamala Harris, for that matter), we'd have two major-party tickets and zero Harvard or Yale alumni. That has never happened in my lifetime, and I'm almost 40.
posted by kevinbelt at 8:07 AM on July 10 [9 favorites]


The NYT opinion piece by Sen. Duckworth linked by sallybrown above brought a lump to my throat. Here are two highlights.
But what I actually said isn’t the reason Mr. Carlson and Mr. Trump are questioning my patriotism, nor is it why they’re using the same racist insults against me that have been slung my way time and again in years past, though they have never worked on me.

They’re doing it because they’re desperate for America’s attention to be on anything other than Donald Trump’s failure to lead our nation, and because they think that Mr. Trump’s electoral prospects will be better if they can turn us against one another. Their goal isn’t to make — or keep — America great. It’s to keep Mr. Trump in power, whatever the cost.

It’s better for Mr. Trump to have you focused on whether an Asian-American woman is sufficiently American than to have you mourning the 130,000 Americans killed by a virus he claimed would disappear in February. It’s better for his campaign to distract Americans with whether a combat veteran is sufficiently patriotic than for people to recall that this failed commander in chief has still apparently done nothing about reports of Russia putting bounties on the heads of American troops in Afghanistan.

And my favorite part:
They should know, though, that attacks from self-serving, insecure men who can’t tell the difference between true patriotism and hateful nationalism will never diminish my love for this country — or my willingness to sacrifice for it so they don’t have to. These titanium legs don’t buckle.
(Apologies to the mods about the length of the excerpts.)
posted by haiku warrior at 11:19 AM on July 10 [11 favorites]


The senator's opinion, in America's #1 daily. Duckworth on Russia bounties: How dare Trump still call himself our commander in chief? (USA Today, July 7, 2020) Trump should be outraged and we should be outraged that he’s not. Whether he's incompetent or putting Russia first, he's a national security threat. "While President Donald Trump has spent the past couple of weeks golfing, campaigning and making sure the buck stopped anywhere but with him, American service members in hot spots around the world likely were wondering whether there might be a bounty hanging over their heads — and whether the president of the United States would even care enough to respond if that were the case."
--
Throwback shout-out: Tammy Duckworth Brings Her Newborn To Senate Floor After Rule Change (NPR, April 18, 2018) Maile Pearl Bowlsbey is just over a week old and already is helping force more change in the Senate than most seasoned lawmakers can even dream. On Thursday she joined her mother, Illinois Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth, on the Senate floor for a vote. [Maile was born on April 9. Duckworth had celebrated her 50th birthday on March 12.] Babies now allowed on the US Senate floor following rare move to change rules (CNN, April 18, 2018) There are a whole host of Senate rules that would make voting difficult for a senator while caring for her baby -- being unable to hand the baby off to a staffer, being unable to bring a child onto the floor and being unable to vote via proxy. Duckworth has been working behind the scenes for months to change the rules -- the likes of which have not been changed for quite some time. The last time the Senate granted additional floor privileges was in 1977 when it voted to change Senate rules to allow service dogs.

A year later: How Tammy Duckworth Set A Historic First For Moms In The Senate, (Bustle, May 22, 2019): No U.S. senator had ever given birth while in office before Duckworth, which meant Senate rules weren’t designed for her. Members of the House were already allowed to take their children onto the floor, but Duckworth found out when she joined the Senate that the same rules didn’t apply. Not only was it forbidden to bring children onto the floor, but if a senator took maternity leave, they couldn’t introduce new legislation or vote for the duration, either. [...]

Because the Senate was split down party lines 51-49 when Duckworth was pregnant with her daughter, Maile, she knew taking three months off wasn’t an option. There was also the issue of how she would cast votes with a newborn, because it’s against conflict of interest rules for a senator to leave their child with a staff member. “If she wasn’t allowed to come on the floor, what do I do — leave her in her little basket outside the door? That doesn’t even make sense,” Duckworth tells Bustle. “And that’s when we decided to pursue the rule change.”

--
A high-risk, later-in-life pregnancy, and Duckworth remained in DC and kept plugging away -- retaining her own rights to vote and sponsor legislation, and working to make a public service career more practicable for all parents of young children.
posted by Iris Gambol at 5:41 PM on July 10 [8 favorites]


Thanks, Iris Gambol, for the reminder about how Sen. Duckworth handled her Senate duties during her pregnancy and after the birth of her child, and for the link to her opinion piece in USA Today. My already high regard of her continues to grow. She would make a terrific VP and a great a President, if Biden could no longer serve.
posted by haiku warrior at 6:58 PM on July 10 [2 favorites]


The best thing about Senator Duckworth (and I've been a fan since her first, unsuccessful campaign, and met her a few times) is that she makes conservative white chickenhawks LOSE THEIR FUCKING MINDS.

"Why stop at racism and misogyny when a true man would attack a multiple amputee veteran in the spirit of patriotism."

One of her early opponents -- I want to say Roskam? -- went into the all-time gaffe hall of fame when he complained bitterly that she really ought to "stand on her own two feet" instead of just bragging about her military service all the time. YES THAT'S RIGHT THE SILVER-SPOON REPUBLICAN WITH NO MILITARY SERVICE TOLD THE WOMAN WHO LOST BOTH OF HER FEET IN SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES TO STAND ON HER OWN TWO FEET. (She said something sharp and hilarious along the lines of "if he goes to Iraq and manages to locate them, we'll talk!")

Joe "You Lie!" Walsh (also not a vet) echoed basically the same complaint when he complained that it was unfair she "got" to use her wheelchair to show off how she was a veteran, and how "true American heroes" like John McCain don't EVER talk about their military service, unlike Duckworth who's always "showing off" with her prosthetics and wheelchair. (He was trailing in the polls so this was apparently a shot in the dark to gain some ground, but in a moment to restore your faith in voters, his polls TANKED after that dumbassery.)

My favorite tiny Duckworth anecdote is, when she was at Walter Reed, rehabbing after her injuries, she had to set functional goals. And one of her functional goals was, "I want to be able to put my hair in a ponytail by myself," and man that was SO RELATABLE.

"I'm sure she could do more good work as veep. Her move out of the senate would create an open seat, but I believe in Illinois her successor would be appointed by the governor, who's a democrat. "

Wouldn't matter either way; there are NO Republicans in statewide elected office in Illinois (Gov, Lt. Gov, Sec'y State, Treasurer, Comptroller, 2 Senators), the Democrats have a supermajority in both houses of the state legislature, IL has 18 congresspeople of which only 5 are GOP, and the state GOP is generally in spectacular disarray. So elected or appointed, it'll be a Democrat. (I have a lot of inside-baseball thoughts on WHO might be in the running for the appointment, but on reflection they're not that interesting unless and until she's picked as VP.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:44 PM on July 10 [10 favorites]


I think Duckworth is fantastic, but I'd much rather see her replace Mitch McConnell as a fresh-but-acceptable-to-the-establishment Senate Majority Leader than serve as VP. I just can't see what she'd be adding to Biden's campaign, whereas losing her in the Senate would be a real risk. Who would be voting for Biden + Duckworth who wouldn't be voting for Biden anyway?
posted by Anoplura at 10:31 PM on July 10 [3 favorites]


If Dems take the Senate, then Schumer will be Senate Majority Leader. Duckworth does not have the seniority to take that position.

An important consideration is that Biden will likely be a one-term President or perhaps not even complete his term (should he be elected), because of his age. So the VP choice is more likely than usual to become President, either by election or succeeding a President that can no longer serve.
posted by haiku warrior at 1:38 PM on July 11 [5 favorites]


« Older The Muppets Take on Hamilton   |   My story​ will be that John Harvard gave it to me. Newer »


You are not currently logged in. Log in or create a new account to post comments.