Maniacally right-wing Virginia congressman Dave Brat, who kneecapped (formerly maniacally right-wing) congressman Eric Cantor in 2014, intimates fake Republicans like Paul Ryan better remember the bloodthirsty Republican base will totally crush members of Congress who don’t entirely eviscerate Obamacare.
Prior to his upset defeat of Cantor, Brat received a Masters in Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary and a PhD in economics from American University, and subsequently worked as an economics professor at Randolph-Macon College, where he taught classes on the morality of capitalism funded by financial octopus Branch Banking & Trust (BB&T).
As this Politico interview indicates, Brat is one of those preening former professors who likes to remind everyone he was a professor and has a PhD. Which is usually a bad sign. Brat sees himself, like Donald Trump, as a direct channel to “the people”. And on their behalf he warns Paul Ryan and others who don’t know and respect “the people” as he does, that they better kowtow or face the same carnage that greeted Eric Cantor when he wandered from his flock.
Which of course doesn’t prevent Dave Brat from talking down to the rest of us. Here’s an example of how Congressman Brat would apply his deep professorial knowledge to establishing the law of the land. In 2011, when he was still just world-renowned professor of morality and economics at Randolph-Macon, Brat published an essay that included this passage:
“Nietzsche’s diagnosis of the modern Christian Democratic man was spot-on,” he said. “Jesus made things happen. Jesus had faith. Jesus actually made people better. … Hitler came along, and he did not meet with unified resistance. I have the sinking feeling that it could all happen again, quite easily.”
When queried by the Politico reporter, Brat indicated (quite cheerfully, apparently) that, oh yes, he still had that sinking feeling.
“We’ve become weak, and our kids don’t know what human rights are anymore,” he said, expressing disgust at children being taught that every opinion is equal and valid. “In a classroom setting, you mention tyrants, like Hitler and other tyrants in history, and you say, ‘What if they oppose you? Are they welcome to their opinion? In this modern, secular society, where all opinions are equal, do you really believe all rights and all opinions are equal?’ And they say, ‘Well, I guess not.’ And I say, ‘Well, I guess you better study hard and pick a system that you like here, right?’”
Ah yes. Markets, Hitler, Jesus, Nietzsche. Obamacare. It all makes sense now.
But here’s the problem. Brat’s confused moralizing and patronizing pedantry does nothing to help real people deal with real problems in the real world, which is presumably his real job. Brat’s Tea Party / Freedom Caucus obsession with “the base,” the true believers for whom politics is a search-and-destroy mission, is entirely at odds with this concept of the (pretty mundane but more noble) job of the legislator.
Brat’s threats to impale deviants on the spears of “the base” subverts, undermines, and essentially destroys requirements of governing. In this sense, Brat’s weak impersonation of an intellectual mostly functions as a Trojan Horse to mask the importation into Congress of an incredibly divisive and self-defeating politics of gaslighting and agitation.