Reading Time: 6 minutes Natureofthought, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Senator Josh Hawley and Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene have become infamous representations of a large part of the Republican base. Some have distanced themselves from such insanity whilst many more seemed to have closed ranks around these two and the ideas they have espoused. My next piece will be on the Republican base, but for the purposes of this, I want to just point out a great piece in The Hill that illustrates how these two are essentially driven by pocketing huge sums of money from very gullible people. As Juan Williams reports:

There is no way to say this politely.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) is making money by telling lies.

So is Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.).

Both are playing the grievance game by complaining that they are victims of “cancel culture,” and a “radical mob” seeking their “silence.”

Their lies work.

Last week, the senator announced he fooled enough people to get donations of $969,000 in January. That is more money than he has raised in any single month since coming to the Senate.

The total included about $300,000 pulled in for Hawley by the Senate Conservatives Fund, according to Axios, after the deadly attack on the Capitol.

Greene claims to have raised $325,000 in just two days last week, even as the House voted to take away her committee assignments.

So even as former President Trump is impeached for telling lies about a stolen election, Hawley and Greene are stuffing their campaign pockets by pushing more lies.

Both politicians are lying to prevent people from holding them accountable for lying about the November election being stolen from Trump.

“This is all retribution because they know I still question the results of the 2020 election and I filed my bill to impeach Joe Biden last month,” Greene said in asking for donations. “This is how the swamp treats people who stand up to them, because we work for YOU.”

Hawley is pushing the same lie.

“I will never apologize for giving voice to the millions of Missourians and Americans who have concerns about the integrity of our elections,” Hawley said after the violence.

The courts, the attorney general, state and federal officials have said there is no question about the integrity of the election.

Hawley also followed Greene’s strategy of telling potential donors that he is being silenced.

He complained that in the days after five people died in the Capitol riot, a publisher decided they didn’t want to release his book and The Kansas City Star said Hawley had “blood on his hands” for supporting the attack.

The other big paper in his home state, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, also held him accountable for his actions. They hesitated to call him a liar but said he has a “substantial list of phony, smarmy and politically expedient declarations.”

Both papers called on him to resign.

To avoid accountability, Hawley is portraying himself as a right-wing martyr, being silenced by the Washington power-brokers.

Again, the same strategy is being used by Greene.

“You see, this cancel culture is real,” said Greene in a recent townhall meeting with constituents, “And when you are not agreeing and saying what the left wants you to say, they scream ‘Twitter safety’ non-stop as if they are calling the police, and try to ruin your life. And now they are targeting conservatives all over the nation.”

These bold lies prevent gullible populists from focusing on the truth that Greene and Hawley misled them about the election.

In the words of the Kansas City Star, Hawley wants people to forget that he “led the parade to the edge of a cliff,” and watched as the Capitol fell under siege.

Some on the right are not buying it.

Here is Isaac Schorr writing in the conservative outlet, National Review:

“The objective of Hawley’s statement [about being silenced] is obvious: to take this personal event, which has occurred as a direct result of his own behavior, and to make Republicans feel as if this was a personal attack on them and their beliefs. It was not.”

And Hawley is lying about being censored. His false charges won him front page coverage in one of the nation’s biggest papers, The New York Post.

Oh, and his book contract was picked up by another publisher.

Where is the silencing, senator?

It’s always a good idea to take note of the maxim “follow the money”. I get the impression that Greene probably does believe at least many of these things, but Hawley probably not. He is calculated and cynical, in my opinion – he knows what side his bread is buttered.

He is also very much the sort of “elite” he spends so much time bashing. As The Intercept pointed out almost a year ago:

Natureofthought, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

This is nonsense. Yes, Hawley is no Ted Cruz or Rand Paul. And, yes, “Trumpism without Trump” is a good line. But, in fact, most of the available evidence suggests that Hawley, like Trump, is a fraud and an opportunist.

Anti-elitist? Hawley may constantly rail against “elites” and talk up his own “small-town” background, as he did in a much-discussed keynote address to the National Conservatism conference last July, but he himself is the son of a banker and a graduate of two of this country’s most elite universities, Stanford and Yale. Following Stanford, he went to teach at one of England’s most prestigious private schools, St. Paul’s; following Yale, he went to work for one of the world’s biggest law firms, Hogan Lovells. He met his wife while clerking for Supreme Court Justice John Roberts. Josh is no regular Joe.

Anti-tech crusader? The Missouri senator, as Stoller and others point out, has joined with progressives like Sen. Elizabeth Warren to lambast big tech for its “business model of addiction.” Warren, however, goes after Facebook and Google because she wants to curb their financial and monopoly power; Hawley goes after them not just because of their economic clout but also because, like every other elected Republican, he thinks they’re mean to conservatives. In 2019, the GOP senator introduced a deeply flawed bill to challenge their alleged political bias and even stopped by at Trump’s ridiculous White House Social Media Summit to address an audience of far-right extremists and conspiracy theorists. (For the record, there is zero empirical evidence of an anti-conservative bias on the major social media platforms.)

Economic populist? His boosters on the left point to legislation that Hawley has introduced to try and tackle the electronic gaming industry, drug pricing, and college debt. But how do such (worthy) bills stack up against the rest of Hawley’s policies and positions? Wouldn’t you expect an economic populist to back higher wages and stronger labor unions? While running for the Senate, Hawley opposed ballot measures to raise the minimum wage for Missouri workers and to get rid of the state’s “right-to-work” legislation. (Thankfully, a majority of Missourians disagreed with him on both measures!)

Wouldn’t you expect an economic populist to try and guarantee health care for low-paid workers? As Missouri’s attorney general, Hawley joined a lawsuit brought by 20 GOP-led states aimed at overturning the Affordable Care Act, including its protections for people with preexisting conditions. He then campaigned for his Senate seat while claiming that he would protect such people.

Wouldn’t you expect an economic populist to challenge America’s oligarchy? While running for the Senate, Hawley took donations from right-wing billionaires such as the Koch brothersPeter Thiel, and Bernie Marcus, while enthusiastically endorsing Trump’s tax cuts for the superrich as “the right way forward.”

Hawley is a faux-populist. Nevertheless, he is a threat to the left because, like far-right ethno-nationalists in Europe such as Marine Le Pen and Viktor Orbán, he spins his reactionary welfare chauvinism as concern for the working poor. Hawley advocates for deep cuts to legal immigration and then — like Stephen Miller, Tucker Carlson, Steve Bannon, and others on the U.S. far right — pretends they will help the “great American middle.” (They won’t.) This proud evangelical Christian and culture warrior — who has a rather alarming and theocratic vision for the United States — even backed Trump’s horrific “zero tolerance” policy at the border in 2018, which led to the kidnapping and caging of migrant kids.

There is nothing moderate or nuanced about Hawley’s — as opposed to Trump’s — brand of conservative nationalism. Last July, Jewish groups denounced him for his obsession with “cosmopolitan elites” — a longstanding anti-Semitic dog whistle — in his National Conservatism speech. His keynote also referenced “cosmopolitan” Jewish academics by name, as well as “money changing on Wall Street.” Yet three months later, the Missouri senator slammed a Jewish journalist — Greg Sargent of the Washington Post — as a “smug, rich liberal elitist.”

So don’t be fooled, progressives. Josh Hawley is not your friend. He may be polished and persuasive, well-read and well-groomed, but he remains your standard right-wing wolf in the clothing of a populist sheep.

Remember: Trumpism without Trump is still Trumpism.

And, of course, there is the worrying aspect that there are so many very gullible people willing to part with their hard-earned cash to support adherents to (or drivers of) their cult.

To unpick this mess, we’re gonna need a bigger needle.

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A TIPPLING PHILOSOPHER Jonathan MS Pearce is a philosopher, author, columnist, and public speaker with an interest in writing about almost anything, from skepticism to science, politics, and morality,...

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