Expect Hawley to hawk MATA hats as a fundraiser. Expect Barrett to wear one.
Missouri Republican Josh Hawley has much more in common with Justice Amy Coney Barrett than he does with Donald J. Trump; and if you believe in the rights of man and the principles of democracy as more than just a political spiel to garner votes, that fact should bother you.
For what drove Senator Hawley to question the voting in the recent presidential campaign was not a desire to preserve transparency for the American voter, but to exercise the power of his particular brand of religious fanaticism. The obvious irony that he would use that extremism to defend an unreligious and completely unprincipled thug like Donald Trump is lost on no one, but a clear understanding of Josh Hawley makes the connection obvious and unambiguous.
(For a fuller explanation of Hawley’s intentions, read The Roots of Josh Hawley’s Rage
by Katherine Stewart in today’s New York Times, 1/11/21.)
In short, as Ms. Stewart says in her piece. Mr. Hawley’s idea of freedom is the opportunity for us to conform to what he and his preferred religious authorities know to be right. He once said his duty was "To take the Lordship of Christ...into the public realm, and to seek the obedience of the nations. Of our nation!”
Obedience, the man said. Let that register for a moment and you can see why, after the terrorist attack on the Capitol, Hawley continued to urge recounts and investigations into the already verified votes. He was able to compartmentalize so well—to act as if nothing untoward had happened—because the terrorist attack was an assault on democracy, and democracy for Hawley is a clear and present danger to obedience.
Some of you may remember Bill Barr’s off-the-rails speech at the Notre Dame Law School in the fall of 2019, when he blamed American secularism for all our social pathologies, adding that “free government was only suitable and sustainable for a religious people.” Hawley moves in lockstep with that belief—and sees the world as being in so much trouble that even Donald Trump’s complete amorality and depravity are acceptable. And while I trust two of Trump's Supreme Court appointees, Kavanaugh and Gorsuch, to hew close to the Constitution, I would think Hawley has found a kindred spirit in Barrett (and for that matter in Samuel Alito who seems too much at home with the Federalist Society.) Neither Hawley nor Barrett can be expected to choose the Constitution over their fundamentalist dogma.
Fortunately, Josh Hawley did himself no favors last week when he raised his fist in sympathy with a gang of terrorists; still, he’s a symptom, not a cause. There are plenty others like him—religious fanatics and garden-variety extremists—lying in wait for the next opportunity to dilute our democracy with their Bibles and weapons. We should be grateful that Hawley (along with his fellow traveler Ted Cruz) showed himself for what he is. What we do with that knowledge is up to us.