In his haste to save his hide, Sen. Hawley streaked his way to safety, boogity, boogity ….
“Don’t Look Ethel!”
Am I the only one who watched the latest J6 hearing and was reminded of the ’60s and 70s comic/singer Ray Stevens’ “The Streak” (see lyrics here)? Stevens was known for his novelty songs that actually riffed on what was then the cultural zeitgeist as seen through an adolescent mind. When running naked in public became a thing, Stevens, who had a string of comedy hits like “Ahab the Arab”. “Alley Oop”. and “Gitarzan” wrote this, after warning his wife Ethel to look away:
When Representative Elaine Luria pointedly directed her audience to watch as Josh Hawley, aka Senator Fist Pump, performed the “Hawley shuffle” as he raced for his life away from the crowd he had cheered on hours earlier. Hawley was caught-fleetingly- dashing through the halls of Congress and down the stairs to a “safe place” as his peeps were hot on his tail. This generation of Republican phony tough guys reminds us of George W’s boastful Mission Accomplished gaffe, or his administration’s chicken-hawks Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Dick Cheney, among others. The slim-wristed Hawley fits that mold, one who enthusiastically supports the wars that he leaves to others to fight. As Stevens might say, Hawley is a poseur, one who likes to “show off his physique” in public but who runs and hides when it benefits his sorry ass.
Hawley is shameless and proudly refuses to stop selling merchandise featuring a photo of him pumping his fist in support of the Capitol insurrectionists. The junior Senator from Missouri is one of those whose tough act is patently phony. He would never be a part of Trump’s angry mob, engaging in hand-to-hand combat with real heroes. Rather, he prefers the protection of privilege-and the Capitol Police who really deserved his fist salute. When the rubber hit the road, Hawley’s MAGA running shoes gleamed bright yellow.
Testes under Fire
In a deeper dive, however, Hawley is more culpable for his work in Congress. This is a guy who famously whined about the need for masculinity in the 2021 “Attack on Men” speech. Ron Brownstein wrote about the Senator’s take on men under siege:
Hawley’s warnings against what he called liberals’ “attack on men” could open a new front in the culture wars that Republicans have used to consolidate their support among the voters most alienated by social and demographic change. Polls consistently show that a significant majority of Republican men, and even as many as half of Republican women, believe that amid the reassessment of gender relations sparked by the #MeToo movement, men are being unfairly punished and discriminated against.
Ray Stevens — Brownstein saw him coming a few decades ago, as satirists are wont to do. Hawley, after all, is not unique. He fits in with a long line of hypocrites. The current “Abbott” to his “Costello” is one Tucker Carlson of toasted testicle fame, who is a nightly embarrassment who took up the right’s obsessions with masculinity. Their fears of a loss of manliness, that suspiciously lurks alongside their attraction to a none-too-subtle white nationalism, may be sui generis to the male Republican genus. Their dread of waning testosterone is evident in the prescriptions they use to overcome the malady. Mobs of bullies attacking legislators in heels and sneakers are one thing, but their lust for powerful weapons and their attacks on the rights of women conjure up their raging maleness to help mask their own insecurities.
As Brownstein writes later in his article on Hawley, the right has conflated politics and brawn:
Hawley’s speech intertwined two ideas. The first was that “the masculine virtues” or “manly virtues”-personal characteristics such as “courage and independence and assertiveness,” as he explained-were indispensable for “self-government” and “political liberty.”
The second assertion, which filled the bulk of his speech, was that the principal reason so many American men have dropped out of the labor force, failed to marry, or tumbled into depression and drug abuse is because “the left”-a diffuse constellation in which he placed Democrats, colleges and universities, Hollywood, the news media, psychologists, and even corporate advertisers-is engaged in an ongoing culture war against them.
“invitin’ public critique…”
If this is what their theory is, then we have come to the perfect definition of “shit-for-brains.” Again, if that were the case, then it is fair to ask Josh,” why are you running?” Standing up for those principles. it would seem, is not optional and doesn’t require mobs armed with sticks, spears, and AR-15s. Republicans like Carlson and Hawley use their tough talk and weird theories as a sort of Phallic-enhancement therapy — -a political viagra for cowardly and dim-witted white males. Does anyone consider Private Trump and his ragtag army of MAGA stormtroopers brave? Manly? Valorous? No, comparing his fist pump to the Josh Trot that followed that day suggests something deeper and far more sinister — -they are scared of their own shadows:
Apprehension about new dynamics in both race and gender “are correlated,” Erin Cassese, a University of Delaware political scientist who has studied gender and politics, told me in an email. “Essentially it’s a preference for the status quo in all things-gender relations, race relations, political and economic systems.”
As for Josh Hawley, paint his mad dash to safety pure yellow. Let’s compare his machismo that day to the bravery of those who protected him from the mob he fist-pumped his appreciation to earlier that day. In the immortal (to 16-year-olds) words of Ray Stevens, sometimes a man wearing nothing but his fear is hard for us to overlook. We are drawn to his shortcomings:
I’s standin’ over there by the tomaters and here he comes-
runnin’ through the pole beans, through the fruits ‘’n’ vegetables, nekked as a
jaybird. ’n’ I hollered over t’Ethel, I said “DON’T LOOK, ETHEL!!” ’n’ it’s too late-
she’d already been INcensed.
Originally published at https://www.dailykos.com on July 22, 2022.