History tells us that normalization is the key way, over a variety of eras, that fascism spreads. If you’re not a part of the group(s) that the fascist wants to put down, their very best ideological sales pitch is to gussy up what they’re doing as rational, to gaslight you into thinking that what they’re really doing is very much for the benefit of everyone.
And as the GOP slides further into the quicksand of “Whoops we’re accidental fascists now!,” keeping up this ruse has been increasingly an issue. Many GOP leaders of conscience simply don’t know what to say, and thus say as little as possible; those who have spoken out against the Big Lie and COVID conspiracy theories and the rest of it, the Liz Cheneys (and the… anyone else?), have often paid dearly, and as a result, are now even in shorter supply than they were to begin with.
This is the line that Brian Fitzpatrick has been towing for as long as we’ve been studying him; he wants to, needs to appear reasonable. He needs you, the Purple Bucks voter, to believe that he’s not one of those Insurrection wackadoos, but he also — and this is key — needs to not alienate said wackadoos in the telling, because they’re now the narrative frame of his base, and like to make sure that no one else gets a word in edgewise. (For instance, have you been to a school board meeting lately?)
As of yesterday, Fitzpatrick had made a full time job out of talking out of both sides of his mouth; today, it has come to pass that this may be a job that can no longer be done. As the explosive reporting coming from Rolling Stone this morning shows, Fitz has always been mucked up with the wackadoos — from local MAGA megadonor Joe Worthington on up to Pompeo. Even as he’s simultaneously been working overtime to tow this line, to seem like he’s not a part of the problem but of the very reasonable solution which will be coming along any day now.
As this information comes to light — and surely the soft-shoeing that is likely to follow — it’s not surprising so much as it is banal. As a politician, there’s nothing original about Fitzpatrick. What is surprising is that it took this long for him to wheeze out of the dance marathon that he and so many others like him are still participating in.
Knock yourselves out, guys.