If Dick Cheney wasn’t a fascist, he would be a queen, and if Dick Cheney was a queen, he would be an East Village bottom. But, he’s not a queen and he is a fascist.
But mercifully, he is not in power.
Generally, Nixon confined his psychotic and fascist utterances to the Oval Office and other places where he could speak into a hidden mic.
But mercifully, he’s still dead.
The difference is one of scale. Nixon and Cheney were unhinged and dangerous. So were the assortment of thugs and fascist goons with which they surrounded themselves. Usually couched in the leaden and purposely ambiguous language of politics or diplomacy Nixon could sound as if he was a fascist while insisting he wasn’t. After all, he could dispose of genocidal bombing campaigns in Vietnam and Cambodia and also talk about setting up the EPA. There are advantages to that especially in the event you have to dodge a subpoena or a bullet. Or both.
In the case of Scaramucci and Trump the vomit filter, the fascist gangster filter, the psychotic filter, the professional pol filter was never there and isn’t there now.
This is what unencumbered American fascism looks like. This is what it sounds like.
Fascism is usually both hilarious and terrifying. Springtime for Hitler is funny but in a perverse indirect ratio to the terror it ridicules. This is both the advantage and the liability of fascism. It is on the one hand Charlie Chaplain in The Great Dictator and it is also a violent out of control barbarian who cannot keep himself in check and in being out of control disrupts the essential working of the state and replaces it with the cult of the leader.
This is not to suggest that the government of the United States is a cotillion or a night of bridge at a country club or in the burbs and that it is suddenly shocked to discover it has a vulgar, racist, pedophile alcoholic uncle. It is, and has been, a vast archipelago of torture, mass surveillance, blackmail, extortion, drone warfare, covert executions, support for tyrannical sadistic despotic terror regimes, genocide, cover ups, lies, distortions, half-truths and money laundering… and it is also the Reporter at The New Yorker refusing to reveal to Scaramucci who his source is…but America is in the midst of a nervous breakdown because for too long all the things about it that are putrid and decadent and depraved have either been ignored or justified by hacks and cynics and fanatics.
There was a coup and the gangsters have taken control of critical pieces of the machine.
If the resistance were genuine, if it were more than a Pepsi commercial and a series of self-aggrandizing self-referential chat shows then by the beginning of next week the White House would be surrounded by citizens demanding the resignation of Scaramucci as he poses a clear and present danger to the national security of the country. And have succeeded in ridding ourselves of that malignant troll, next to go would be Trump.
But instead the utterly feckless republicans will wring their hands and say bloodless and collaborationist crap and the soulless democrats will moan and groan and Colbert and Bee and the rest of them will make funny jokes and then SNL will show that the departure of Spicey did not cost them a thing. And there will be no organized dissent from the public which is cowed and disorganized and disrupted by mass surveillance and intimidated into lethargy by the endless bombardment of icrap culture and its distractions.
The question now is how long can this continue and how much stress can the machine take before it breaks and Bannon’s fascist vision of the destruction of the system is realized.
The dust has settled a little since Scaramucci was sacked. While it is for the better that he is gone it is troubling, to say the least, that the only way to ensure a semblance of stability in the current regime is by placing military veterans in positions of power. The Chief of Staff, the Secretary of Defense and the National Security Advisor are all ex-generals.
By any reasonable definition this is a junta. Trump is an unhinged dangerous figure-head. Without genuine leadership there is nothing but factionalism.
The sham republic is hanging by a thread and we now have the war of the factions. Having precipitated a rolling series of crises, coups, counter coups and political nervous breakdowns the country is leaderless and at the mercy of whichever coalition of expedient allegiances can prevail.