Matt Gaetz is a bad man.

US Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL) speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference 2022 (CPA...
CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP/Getty Images
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Accused sex criminal and confirmed odious man Matt Gaetz has some thoughts on women

Let’s be clear, here: Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz is a bad man. He’s a bad man because he supports bad policies, and hangs out with bad people, and has been credibly accused of doing some extremely bad things. And yet every time I think I have a handle on just how bad Matt Gaetz really is, he goes ahead and gleefully launches himself face first into something even more depraved and grotesque, simply because — as an extremely bad person — he can’t help himself.

What Gaetz isn’t, however, is stupid. Or, at the very least, he possesses the same sort of shrewd instinct for maximum offense that pervades the MAGA-fied Republican Party. Which is why his tweet in response to the ongoing outcry over the Supreme Court’s impending repeal of Roe v. Wade sits at the exact nexus point between “brute force offensive” and “meticulously crafted” in terms of vaulting himself into the center of a public health crisis in no small part of his own making.

At first glance, Gaetz’s tweet is just as gross as it appears — that a man who has been credibly accused of having sex with a minor would deign to criticize women who are legitimately panicked at having their bodily autonomy taken away is pretty much bottom of the barrel, absolute scumbag shit. But if you look a little longer at Gaetz’s message, it becomes clear that it’s not just an off-the-top blurtation of coarse misogyny, but rather a carefully crafted litany of specific conservative tropes and dog-whistles for a particular right wing audience. “Over-educated” is a not-so-subtle nod to the ongoing right-wing effort to delegitimize American educational infrastructure; “under-loved millennials,” the same generation of which Gaetz, himself, is a member, reinforces conservative hand-wringing over the deteriorating 1950’s-style nuclear family; lonely microwave dinners with cats and no Bumble matches is all part of self-satisfied right-wing narrative about liberal women being unfuckable hags.

It’s not simply that Gaetz is being a dick about people horrified about their medical futures. It’s that he’s doing it in such a way as to minimize their legitimate fears and relegate an issue of urgent reproductive health to the self-satisfied right-wing miasma of toxic masculinity and hyper-fertility.

In other words: Matt Gaetz is a bad man.