Please don’t feel sorry for James Lankford…
10:34 AM EST on February 9, 2024
Over the past week or so, Oklahoma Senator James Lankford has received more fawning attention from the national press than a young, nubile virgin at the Falls Creek Church Camp.
Mainstream media outlets from The New York Times to CNN to The AP and so on have portrayed him as an innocent bipartisan victim in today’s vitriolic political age – a noble man who’s been eaten alive and bullied by the uncompromising, obstruction-at-all-cost political vultures in the ultra-right wing political party and MAGA movement he’s enabled and helped create.
The New York Times really played up the victim treatment.
They went overboard to portray Lankford – an ultra-social conservative who routinely plays along with the party obstruction line and panders to the psychos in his own party – as some sort of modern-day Henry Clay.
Via the Times:
About an hour before Republicans sank a breakthrough border security compromise on Wednesday, Senator James Lankford, the bill’s lead negotiator, rose on the Senate floor to plead with members of his own party to take the deal that they had demanded — and that he had delivered.
“This is a problem that needs to be solved,” Mr. Lankford said in his signature baritone, his voice brimming with frustration. “Today, we get to decide if we’re going to do that or not — if we’re going to do nothing, or do something.”
Republicans chose nothing, as Mr. Lankford by then knew well that they would. And the Oklahoma Republican, who had spent months in an agonizing round of bipartisan negotiations on one of the nation’s most intractable issues, was left with little but the political wounds he had sustained.
“I feel like the guy standing in the middle of the field in a thunderstorm, holding up the metal stick,” he told reporters last week. A few days ago, he likened the process to having been run over by a bus — and then having it back up over him again.
Sure, Lankford helped build, fuel and drive the bus that ran over him, but I’ll admit, I chuckled a bit at his quips.
That being said, who stands in a field during a thunderstorm holding a metal stick? Is that a weird Falls Creek tradition or something? A better analogy would have been “I feel like the guy on the roof of his trailer holding a beer while the tornado is coming” or something like that.
Here’s more from the gush piece:
He could have seen it coming. Weeks ago, Mr. Lankford revealed on Wednesday, a “popular” right-wing media personality vowed to do “whatever I can to destroy you” if he tried to “move a bill that solves the border crisis during this presidential year,” he said.
“By the way,” Mr. Lankford added, “they have been faithful to their promise, and have done everything they can to destroy me.”
The soft-spoken second-term Republican, who generally refrains from seeking the political limelight, did not volunteer to helm the border negotiations when they began in the fall. Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the minority leader, deputized him as the top Republican on the Senate’s border security subcommittee. Or as Mr. Lankford put it, he drew the “short straw when it came time to be able to negotiate all this.”
We all know that the primary platform of the right-wing fringe that runs and guides the GOP cares is to villainize, attack, and oppose Democrats and moderates at all costs, even if it means eating their young, so I understand the urge by the mainstream anti-MAGA press to paint Lankford as an innocent victim of that great hypocritical irrationality, and portray him as a noble Senator who was chosen by his political commanders to go on a suicide political mission, only to return as bloody and beaten ginger shell of himself.
But I don’t buy the “drawing the short straw” argument.
More than likely, Lankford – who doesn’t face re-election until 2028 and easily swatted back a MAGA-backed Christian nationalist primary attempt – was considered a safe choice to go on that mission, and swung a deal with his own caucus leadership to be the whipping boy on a border “compromise” that everyone knew would fail.
In return for that sacrifice, I assume Lankford was promised a heavy share of political capital, leadership consideration, and a sympathetic portrayal in the national press that would bolster his mainstream image and reputation, and hopefully make moderate Republicans feel there is still some hope left for the Grand Ole Party, even when there isn’t.
So, to go back to the headline of this post: Don’t fall for the trap and feel sorry for James Lankford. Although he’ll sometimes break character and do what’s right – like certify an election – he’s still awful. Everything that’s happened over the past few weeks was clearly planned, and we’re just seeing it play out in real-time.
Remember that if he hadn’t been chosen to be the party’s scapegoat on the issue, Lankford would have come out and opposed the bill like every other conservative politician, rambling on social media and in the press some stupid, nonsensical, hypocritical points that make no sense to justify his stance.
You know, kind of like Oklahoma Congressman Josh Brecheen.
Stay with The Lost Ogle. We’ll keep you advised.
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