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Tipsheet

AOC: These Hypocritical Right-Wingers Should Stop Whining About the Harassment of SCOTUS Justices

It's not only the more excitable leftist types who are justifying harassment and intimidation against conservative Supreme Court justices.  Downplaying aggressive agitation, threats, and even violence is now emerging as the official, normalized position of the Democratic Party.  President Biden couldn't be bothered to comment on an assassination plot against Justice Kavanaugh, after his former spokesperson shrugged off the practice of left-wing mobs doxxing justices and gathering outside their family homes.  Chuck Schumer effectively did the same thing, noting that demonstrators have also descended upon his residence in the past (I'll just note that they were not MAGA types).  'Progressive' nuts chased a female Democratic Senator into a restroom stall, proudly filming the confrontation, because she wouldn't vote for legislation they wanted.  The president mused that this was merely 'part of the process.' Nancy Pelosi pointedly refused to even half-heartedly denounce or distance herself from a domestic terrorism campaign targeting crisis pregnancy centers, on which other prominent Democrats are trying to 'crack down,' amid those organizations are being firebombed and vandalized.

A Biden cabinet secretary generated virtual applause on social media for arguing that agitators gathering outside restaurants where justices are dining is fair game.  The current White House spokesperson has adopted the same view, calling it 'democracy' in action.  One powerful Democratic House Chairwoman famously urged he followers to badger Republican officials they encounter in public.  One 'comedian' member of the Left's media echo chamber explicitly endorsed the idea that members of the high Court should never experience a moment of peace again ("We have to raise hell in our cities, in Washington, in every restaurant Justice Alito eats at for the rest of his life. Because if Republicans have made our lives hell, it’s time to return the favor”).  Another actually blasted Kavanaugh -- again, fresh off an assassination attempt that was memory-holed at light speed -- for being a 'hypocrite' because he didn't wade into the mob waiting for him as he ate dinner.  For good measure, this person also effectively victim-blamed Republicans for the attempted mass shooting that nearly killed Steve Scalise in 2017.

The self-proclaimed party of 'norms and institutions,' which has declared itself terribly concerned about the political violence of January 6th, harbors ever-decreasing regard for norms and institutions that stand in the way of their power and desired outcomes (we know they enjoy election denialism when it suits them).  And they evidently also have a growing soft spot for intimidation and thuggery when the 'correct' sorts of people are in the crosshairs.  Are we going to see widespread and passionate condemnations of bounties like this?  It's a rhetorical question.  It will largely be ignored:

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Which brings us to AOC.  The New York Congresswoman was one of multiple 'blue checkmark' types who gleefully reveled in the news that Justice Kavanaugh had to be shepherded out of a DC steakhouse because angry activists were assembling outside:


This tweet is a work of art.  Despite Twitter's supposed policy of seeking to stop the spread of 'viral misinformation,' there was no warning label slapped on this one, nor was its author suspended.  Such rules are applied unevenly, to put it very diplomatically.  Some viral misinformation is just fine, it seems.  Regardless, AOC was dead wrong in spreading her fear-mongering ectopic pregnancy lie, as many people pointed out:


Also, the cavalier attitude about harassing and intimidating government officials at their homes, or wherever they go, is disturbing.  There's a scale of propriety on protesting, in my view.  Showing up outside the Court, for instance, to picket and chant is all-American free speech.  Peaceful gatherings outside restaurants is creepier and more intrusive, but probably still on the acceptable side of the line.  Aggressively hounding people inside restaurants (this isn't a hypothetical) crosses that line.  So is harassment at people's family residences, which is actually illegal, in the case of federal judges.  Worse still are threats, property destruction and violence.  Blurring these lines, and consolidating all of the above into the category of 'political action,' is dangerous and dishonest.  Amidst this climate, writer Matt Lewis makes the howlingly obvious point that if the ideological roles were reversed in this environment -- i.e., if right-wingers were the ones responsible for this moment of escalating agitation and resulting apologias -- the reaction and discussion around all of it would be...different.  Unrecognizably so, I think.  Read:

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AOC responded to this point by sneering that conservatives don't have a leg to stand on in this regard, because she's experienced that same phenomenon "since day 1."  Her evidence on this point was a few tweets with photos snapped of her dining with a colleague, poking fun at what the other person was eating.  I'll acknowledge that AOC -- who loves the limelight and actively cultivates controversy/victimhood cycles -- does attract weird and invasive attention sometimes.  I have no doubt she's also faced myriad threats, which is both terrible and depressingly commonplace for people in the public eye these days.  But what she's citing is qualitatively different than, say, the Proud Boys circulating her address online and organizing flash mobs to follow her around in her daily life.  If that were happening to her, or to 'progressive' Supreme Court justices, the media outcry and overall reaction would be night and day.  But it's not (yet).  So it's no big deal.  Satisfyingly amusing. Affirmatively good, even.

Don't forget that AOC often appears to relish clapping back at slights and critiques, famously suggesting that her detractors are sexually frustrated men who just want to date her.  But more relevant to this discussion, she often frames disagreement and criticism as dangerous.  For instance, when a number of House Democrats expressed public disapproval of one of Squad member Ilhan Omar's anti-Semitic outbursts, AOC assailed the pushback against Omar's bigotry as the problem.  "Danger:"

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If you're keeping score: (1) Normal, deserved criticism of a member of Congress' bigotry is outrageous and puts the bigot in danger.  (2) Chasing a Supreme Court Justice around Washington, within weeks of an assassin showing up at his doxxed home address, is good, and objections deserve scorn and ridicule.  The bad faith and double standards at play are both shameless and entirely unsurprising.  American politics is in a deeply unhealthy place, and some of the people who are most self-righteous about that toxicity often seem to have an uncanny ability to seamlessly transition into being poison purveyors whenever the mood hits.

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