You may know Statler as that cranky opinionated old man from “The Muppets” shown above. With his expressionless face and gravel voice, Statler spews his personal criticisms with hyperbole and supercilious arrogance. Statler is very funny because you can readily see the satirical silliness of his nature.
When I say that “Statler” is back, I am not referring to the Muppet puppet, but rather his real-life doppelganger – a guy named Richard Painter. To my eye, Statler is a visual caricature of Painter – in looks, voice and demeanor. I made the comparison a couple years ago when Painter was a frequent guest on the left-wing media programs.
Painter at one time was an ethics advisor to President George W. Bush. That is a dangerous job for a sanctimonious self-righteous person who seems to believe that his every opinion is the standard by which ethics and morality must be judged. Painter would have been ideally suited to serve as an ecclesiastical judge during the Inquisition.
After a very unsuccessful run for the United States Senate, Painter mercifully disappeared from the small screens. The folks running those shows on CNN and MSNBC found far better Trump and conservative haters. Painter dropped into the abyss of obscurity … thankfully. He wound up as a law professor in his home state of Minnesota – a position too well suited for people of his nature and views these days.
Well, yesterday it was déjà vu all over again. There was Painter being interviewed about the fall of the American democracy on CNN. It was obvious that the folks producing the propaganda for CNN saw a renewed use for Painter’s moral authoritarianism in support of the network’s mendacious narrative that the American democracy is on the brink of extinction.
Like that Inquisition judge, Painter summarily declared that we are in the midst of a major coup attempt – yes, a real coup (in case you did not notice) — against the government of the United States. We are in the most dangerous of times, he opined. And who is mounting that coup? The Republican Party, of course. And Painter went on to name names.
Painter called for Trump, General Michael Flynn and others to be tried for sedition. In Flynn’s case, he also suggested that he be court-martialled as a former member of the military. Painter would have them in jail – along with thousands of other Americans. I think he would have had them hanged, drawn and quartered if that practice had not gone out of favor.
Sure … it is fair to discuss and debate the issues. In fact, such DIALOGUE is essential to a democratic Republic. If engaged in fairly, dialogue can be both an educating and learning experience. That is my problem with characters like Painter. He exudes absolute intellectual and moral superiority. There is no other view, opinion or analysis to be considered. He does not discuss. He dictates. In Painter, you see the soul of authoritarianism.
Seeing Painter return to the network platform is scary – but not as scary as knowing he is a college professor crushing the free-thinking minds of vulnerable students.
So, there ‘tis.