“What we come twenty thousand miles to get is worth saving, Sir.”
“So it is, so it is; if we get it.”
“I was speaking of the oil in the hold, Sir.”
“And I was not speaking or thinking of that at all. Begone! Let it leak! I’m all aleak myself. Aye! leaks in leaks! not only full of leaky casks, but those leaky casks are in a leaky ship; and that’s a far worse plight than the Pequod’s, man. Yet I don’t stop to plug my leak; for who can find it in the deep-loaded hull; or how hope to plug it, even if found, in this life’s howling gale?”
— Captain Ahab (Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chapter 109)
As I looked upon the visage of Rudy Giuliani at a recent press conference with hair dye running down his cheek, I recalled the exchange from Moby Dick, above.
Our very own oily, contemporary Ahab on a mission to find his white whale, namely fraud in the 2020 presidential election on behalf of his desperate client. Not just any fraud, mind you. Democratic fraud – urban Democratic fraud.
“Show me where the black people live and I’ll find a landscaping business at which to host a press conference to discredit their votes.” And so, planet Earth was regaled yet again via the assembled international press corps with tales of massive voter fraud, election interference, binders full of affidavits and evidence beyond anyone’s wildest dreams.
In Melville’s classic tome, Ahab lets the crew know that the whaling vessel’s goal wasn’t to catch and kill whales, per se, as they’d been told before boarding but to catch and kill one whale – the skipper’s personal nemesis.
He proceeds to nail a gold coin directly to the ship where all crew aboard can see it and promises to give it to the first person to sight the whale. Casting aside all reason and common sense, the crew joins him on this mission of madness. A senseless, twenty-thousand mile, vision-quest of vengeance.
Likewise, Republicans across the country generally, and swing states specifically, have absolutely zero interest in election fraud on the whole, they have been enlisted in this ride or die mission to find Democratic fraud.
Wherever the fight, whatever the cost – they’re in. Well, sort of.
The crack legal team, headed by the Grand Imperial Wizard of the Coup Klutz Klan, Mr. Giuliani himself, has lost nearly every courtroom engagement in which it has found itself.
In fact, when pressed in open court and on the record, they’re the first to admit this matter has nothing to do with fraud, can present no evidence in support and is seemingly losing lawyers faster than cases. A stunning deviation from suburban landscaping parking lot declarations? Perhaps. But this is an article of faith now and the ship has left the port.
According to the newly client-less lawyer for the Trump legal team, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp was bribed by a Venezuelan front company that coordinated with the CIA to throw elections to communists.
But only where Trump lost, black people live and, even there, had no effect on Republicans elected down-ballot. Got it? Ok, great. Because that’s where we are. I’d say they teach you that “argument plus allegation does not equal evidence” in law school. But that would be wrong. They teach you that in grade school and there is still no evidence, whatsoever.
Pennsylvania’s own evidence-free Republican ship of fools is content to stay the course on Ahab’s mission, of course. All save one, it would seem. Just as Starbuck asked Ahab what the owners of the Pequod would say about their hapless, unauthorized, global foray into the watery wilds in blind, disastrous, vainglorious pursuit, so it would seem our own U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., has had something of an epiphany with regard to what the owners of the republic, the citizen-voters themselves, would say.
He insisted “it’s over” and implored Trump to concede. Starbuck went down with Ahab and the Pequod which bodes poorly for Toomey, but credit must be given where credit is due.
Of course, the irony of the last few weeks of casting endless aspersions on the electorate and the methods by which their votes are cast and counted is that we are now face to face with what is widely regarded as the most secure and fraud-free election in modern American history.
Still, despite Rudy’s bumbling, the very real threat to our democracy has not passed.
On the contrary. Though his rank incompetence seems to be a comfort to evidence-lovers everywhere, since election day the White House has forced out three top Pentagon officials, including the Defense Secretary Mark Esper.
Meanwhile, another three senior Department of Homeland Security officials were removed. And U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr accepted the high-profile resignation of the Justice Department senior prosecutor responsible for election fraud prosecutions.
Astonishingly enough, the purge somehow managed to pass over the head of the General Services Administration, Emily Murphy, who only recently decided to do her job facilitating the handoff between administrations in the midst of a deadly pandemic and economic meltdown.
Make no mistake, to paraphrase Melville, this is a moment of extreme peril and what we’ve come 244 years of peaceful transition since 1776 to get is worth saving.
Opinion contributor Sean Quinlan, an attorney, writes from Camp Hill, Pa. His work appears biweekly on the Capital-Star’s Commentary Page. Follow him on Twitter @SPQ_ESQ.