Well, it had to happen. One of the local Republican Party branches who have been trying to be a little more edgy with their tweets caused some controversy – again. This time the Milwaukee County Republican Party re-tweeted an old meme that Abraham Lincoln once grabbed Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s ass.
The timing, of course, caused the usual suspects to have the vapors with some version of, “Of course the Republican Party doesn’t take sexual harassment/sexual assault seriously,” followed by more (unsubstantiated) attacks on Judge Brett Kavanaugh and (more substantial) attacks on President Donald Trump.
Hey, how many feminists does it take to screw in a lightbulb? “That’s not funny.”
We can dissect the joke for them: Hey, Ginsburg’s old, get it? And the probability of Abraham Lincoln grabbing her ass is pretty remote, just like the Kavanaugh accusations. Oh, and the incident would have to be really, really, old. And so on…
The meme the Milwaukee GOP used has been bouncing around for some time, along with some other memes about Ginsburg’s age and Lincoln.
So let’s see if we can improve the joke to make it more acceptable. Would it be funnier if it was former Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) grabbing her breasts? When he did it to a woman on a USO flight, that was supposed to be funny, and it was even funnier to see how many Democrats leapt to his defense. It was a joke, right?
Too new? Would it be funnier if it was President Bill Clinton? After all, Democrats still like Clinton, despite the credible accusations of rape and sexual harassment against him, and Democrats still voted for his enabler Hillary Clinton.
Still too new? How about Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT)? Maybe Ginsburg was working as a waitress?
Or any of the other Kennedy brothers?
What if it was President Thomas Jefferson? His relationship with Sally Hemings is certainly complicated since he actually owned her. Those Jackson-Jefferson Day Dinners are certainly a blast, eh? But a Ginsburg-Jefferson joke would have the advantage of an age joke and he’s a Democrat, unlike Lincoln.
Too national? Hey, what if the joke was Ginsburg saying state Rep. Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) asked her for a massage, and then some? Or state Rep. Josh Zepnick (D-Milwaukee) licked her face?
Since it was the Milwaukee County Republican Party that passed along the old joke, how about changing it to former Milwaukee Mayor John Norquist giving her an apple – “He told me it keeps the doctor away, but not him.”
Still not funny? Do we go to a Keith Ellison joke about domestic abuse? Too soon, as the cliché goes, or is it okay because only five percent of Minnesota Democrats believe his ex-girlfriend? “Believe Women” is now “Believe (some) women (except when they accuse Democrats).”
George Orwell’s pigs in Animal Farm at least waited until none of the other animals were looking before they added exceptions to the rules.
We’d probably all be better off if the local Republican Party branches weren’t trying to be edgy with their Twitter accounts. But given the amount of raw sewage posted on Twitter, and re-posted, one retweeted old joke that fell flat is hardly the worst thing that will be said about anyone, including Ginsburg, on social media. It’s a lesson that trying to be funny on Twitter should be left to the professionals, like Wendy’s.
There is plenty that isn’t funny about accusations of sexual harassment and sexual violence towards women. We’ve certainly seen the horror stories many women have been telling since the beginning of the #metoo movement. The sentencing of Bill Cosby, who was allowed to get away with drugging women and raping them for so long, was another reminder of the dangers to women from sexual predators who hide behind “nice guy” personas.
We’re also certainly seeing how little is funny about a good man having his reputation being torn to shreds by a last-minute attack without any substance upon his character – all because the Democrats want to stop his appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court while scoring points with swing women voters in the November election. We have seen shameless character assassination by the Democrats simply because Kavanaugh has the “wrong” judicial philosophy. No, this isn’t funny at all, either.
However, we’re betting that many of those that have had the vapors over a bad Twitter meme happily voted for Clinton in 2016, and maybe even that other Clinton in 1992 and 1996. Those Democrats can spare us the fake outrage.