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Cockburn US Politics

Rudy Giuliani’s masterpiece of embarrassment

Maybe it’s madness. Maybe it’s postmodern art

November 20, 2020

3:03 AM

20 November 2020

3:03 AM

Thursday afternoon was a devastating blow to the theory that the press is systematically biased against conservatives. Both CNN and MSNBC refused to broadcast Rudy Giuliani’s press conference purporting to expose a vast conspiracy to steal the 2020 election. In doing so, they kept millions of Americans from seeing one of the most embarrassing moments ever for the Republican party and the Trump movement in particular. Then again, Fox News did broadcast the press conference, so right-wing theories that the network has been co-opted by its enemies are very much alive.

As far as Cockburn can tell, the Trump team’s claim is that the 2020 election was fixed by a grand alliance of Hugo Chávez, Nicolás Maduro, Cuba, the Chinese Communist party, George Soros, the Clinton Foundation, and some small-time gangsters in Philadelphia and Detroit. All very impressive, especially since the lead conspirator, Chavez, has been dead for seven years (and seemed to have an IQ of 80 while alive). The campaign swears it has evidence of this, but they can’t show it now, because press conferences are really just ‘opening statements’ and the rest will have to be shown in court.

Cockburn isn’t happy, for several reasons. First, he’s angry because Giuliani has forced him to agree with Karl Rove, which should always be avoided if possible:

Second, Cockburn is irritated that My Cousin Vinny, a great film by all measures, will now forever be associated with Rudi Giuliani’s bizarre podium performance:


Meanwhile, Clash of the Titans, a ghastly film by most measures, is now forever associated with Trump legal jujitsu-ist Jenna Ellis:

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But last of all, Cockburn is irate by all the new questions he is forced to ask, all of them stupid. If this massive voter fraud scam has been in the works since Hugo Chávez was alive, why didn’t it work in 2016? If Dominion voting machines are so crucial to the plot, then what does it mean that the machines aren’t used in the key parts of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania that swung away from Trump two weeks ago? And most important of all, if it’s so clear that Dominion Voting Systems is a global communist plot, why didn’t the Trump administration ever mention that before the election? Wouldn’t that have been helpful to avoid looking like a desperate sore loser? Granted, Trump hasn’t shown much command of his own Justice Department, but couldn’t he at least have sent out an impotent tweet over the summer insisting that somebody ‘do something?’ He’s done it before, after all.

But as he wrote this, Cockburn had a moment of clarity: thinking about these questions is misguided. They imply attachment to the basic coherence of America’s government, and as Siddhartha Gautama taught us 2,500 years ago, attachment causes suffering. Having achieved enlightenment on this subject, Cockburn now sees the Giuliani press conference for what it is: one of the greatest works of postmodern performance art in American history, the crown jewel of the most postmodern political regime ever. It will achieve nothing, and ultimately means nothing. Those who come later will be baffled by it, while those who saw it in person will remember it their entire lives. Would that we could all achieve such greatness.


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