In a scene out of the movie Goodfellas, this shows what the GOP has become. The Fuck you party of losers, criminals, and people only in politics for the money they can make out of it.
Business is bad? Fuck you, pay me. Had a fire? Fuck you, pay me. The place got hit by lightning? Fuck you, pay me.
There is an apocryphal belief that among the Indigenous people of the north there are more than 30 words for snow. Well, I’m from New Jersey and I can tell you that in America’s great Garden State we don’t need so many words. In fact, along our stretch of the I-95 corridor there are probably 30 different ways we deploy just a single two-word phrase: “Fuck you.”
It can be a greeting, an expression of disbelief, a paroxysm of surprise or awe, an expression of affection, a reaction to a particularly delicious meal, and an expression of anger in its many different forms. You get the idea.
All of which is to say, I am an expert in the use of the term. And, because I also am a denizen of Washington, D.C., I have come to understand how it has become central to the politics of our moment.
The Republican Party has become the party of “Fuck you.” “Fuck you” is the motivation of its alienated voters. It is its legislative strategy. It is its views toward the laws and Constitution of the United States. It is its reaction to morality and values. It is its foreign policy mantra with our allies. “Fuck you” is even its message to the historians of the future.
Sadly, we live in an age in which the political discourse of the United States results in every idea floated by Democrats, independents, and even the elusive “reasonable Republicans,” in which every constructive thought floated about the direction our country should take, or how we should behave, or why the law matters is met by a chorus of Republican leaders with their signature “Fuck you.”
As a New Jerseyite, I worry they will discredit the term so much that we will have to find another way to express ourselves. My concern is due to the fact that the MAGA-ized GOP has only gotten more outrageous… which is to say more committed to the politics of outrage, to obliterating norms of decency, as the signature activities to which they devote themselves.
They do it because their base is angry. They do it because it drives social media wild. They do it because they have no ideas and their leaders are profoundly immoral, disgusting people.
We have seen multiple examples of the politics of “Fuck you” this week. We have seen Donald Trump, the leader of the party, the high priest of “Fuck you-ism,” the commander-in-chief of the “Fuck your feelings” army, in a video-taped deposition saying, essentially, “Fuck you” to E. Jean Carroll’s lawyer. We heard him say “Fuck you” to anyone who may have thought sexual abuse was wrong when he doubled down on his famous pussy-grabbing brag, arguing that “stars” like him have been “fortunate” to be able to grab pussies for the past “million years” or so.
Then, when an undoubtedly disgusted jury found Trump liable for sexual assault and defamation in record time, he immediately said “Fuck you” to the American system of justice and to his own hometown in a series of social media posts that soon may be fodder for the next set of defamation suits against him.
He followed that up with a televised Trump rally that was carried on CNN in which he repeated some of his greatest “Fuck yous” to America of the past seven years. He doubled down on the Big Lie. He called Vladimir Putin a smart guy. He refused to condemn Putin as a war criminal. He equated Russia and Ukraine’s role in the former’s invasion of the latter. He promised to pardon Jan. 6 insurrectionists. He said he had a right to the classified government documents he stole. He said the GOP was right to threaten debt default, which he said might have no effect at all. He gloated about his role in making the Dobbs decision happen. And he once again defamed E Jean Carroll. It was a tour de force of what might be called the art of “Fuck you,” complete with an audience of fawning MAGA zombies and a big old “Get fucked” to fact-checkers in the form of his usual tsunami of lies.
While some leaders in the GOP actually had the decency to condemn Trump’s vileness at the conclusion of the Carroll trial, they were very much in the minority. Most GOP lawmakers offered their party’s patented silent “Fuck you” by refusing to say a bad word about their party’s leader after a jury’s verdict that he was a sex abuser. But some went further. Some said “Fuck you” to New York and the nine average Americans who did their duty on the jury (and in so doing offered a “Fuck you” to the entire American system of justice).
Some members of the F.U. Party were not content to merely demonstrate their contempt for our system of law or any modicum of respect for women. Some, like Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville, actually said things like the Carroll verdict “makes me want to vote for him twice.”
Tuberville, now vying for Ted Cruz’s crown as the most despicable member of the Senate GOP contingent is emerging as a poster boy for the Fuck you-ist movement on the right. He was off to a good start, of course, when he ran for the Senate despite having zero political or public service background, coming to the post from his prior role as the coach of the Auburn University football team. But having arrived in the Senate unencumbered by any sense of shame due to his off-the-charts ignorance, he has zeroed-in on the most Fuck you-iest possible positions and statements. Most recently, this has involved telling U.S. national security and our military leaders to go take a flying fuck by blocking the promotion of over nearly 200 officers for over two months (so far) as a way of making a point regarding his troglodyte, profoundly anti-woman views on abortion. Then, with a flourish that will have Fuck you-ologists studying his work for years, when asked about efforts to keep white nationalists out of the military he responded, “Well, they call them that. I call them Americans.”
After Trump, the most senior member of the GOP, is of course, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. He, too, has demonstrated where “Fuck your feelings, fuck your Constitution, fuck the world economy, fuck every American” gets you as a policy position by threatening to trigger a U.S. default on its debt for the first time in history.
He does this despite the GOP having held the view that paying the debt was sacrosanct under Trump (as it was for decades previous), and despite having voted for the big GOP measures that have contributed to America’s deficit. Oh, and the “plan” for cutting the deficit he proposes is not only completely unrealistic, it would be a big “Fuck you” to tens of thousands of Americans—like the 81,000 people at the Veterans Administration whose jobs he would put at risk or the hundreds of thousands of veterans they serve.
But what are tens or hundreds of thousands of jobs when the default you are flirting with would trigger a global recession, gut America’s standing on the world stage and possibly put as many as eight million Americans out of work?
“They do it because their base is angry. They do it because it drives social media wild. They do it because they have no ideas and their leaders are profoundly immoral, disgusting people.”
Doing his best Tony Soprano imitation—in response to criticisms of the risks he is undertaking or observations that the 14th Amendment to the Constitution prohibits such behavior—McCarthy’s response is, “Fuck me? No, fuck you!” (And he would add, to the voters of New York who were defrauded into voting for the pathological and now indicted fabulist Rep. George Santos, he adds a big “Fuck you, too, I’m going to keep him around as long as I need his vote!”)
When did all this Fuck-you-osity begin to happen? When did the last drops of decency or respect for our system or our people get sucked out of the leaders of the current GOP? It’s hard to say. Contempt for anyone but the donor class has been a clear theme among party leaders since the Reagan years. The message of contempt for our system and values was amplified further by the party’s decision to elevate a series of contemptible leaders in the Congress like convicted sex abuser and former Speaker Denny Hastert, ethically challenged former Speaker Newt Gingrich, or scandal-plagued GOP whip Tom Delay. Certainly, it was not helped by the George W. Bush administration’s chest-thumping about its embrace of torturing our enemies or slaughtering innocents in an illegal war.
But the real golden age of “Fuck you” politics was ushered in by the election of Donald Trump as president in 2016.
After all, by the time he was elected, the world had already seen and heard the Access Hollywood tape; they knew Trump had been accused of sex crimes by dozens of women; they knew of his shady business past; they knew he had reached out to our Russian enemies for help; they knew he was a racist; they knew he had no public service experience; they knew he was as despicable a human being as ever sought public office in the U.S.
They knew all that and their response was to elect him precisely because he sent a message of “Fuck you” to America.
Amazingly, of course, the reason so many Republicans wanted to tell the rest of the country to get fucked was because, of course, they had been fucked over by the system promoted, manned, defended, and advanced by the leaders of their own party and the donors that backed them. The fuckees elected the fuckers because they were tired of getting fucked by them.
What irony. What a scam. What a beauteous way for the GOP fat cats to cackle to each other over brandy and cigars about how well and truly they had fucked everyone but themselves.