Dana Perino Says ‘Wokeism’ Can Be Whatever Republicans Want It to Be: ‘It Could Be a Feeling, It Could Be a Sense’


In an era where Republicans have blamed “wokeness” for everything from banks failing to the Taliban retaking Afghanistan, Dana Perino essentially admitted the term is whatever its detractors want it to be.

On Monday’s edition of The Five, the table reacted to recent comments from MSNBC host and former White House press secretary Jen Psaki.

“For Republicans, wokeness is public enemy number one,” Psaki said. “Whether or not they actually believe it, they clearly think it’s a winning message ahead of 2024… The Republican crusade against wokeness may not be as potent of a campaign issue as they may hope. And here’s why. Most people don’t think of the term ‘woke’ in the way Republicans would like them to. It’s simply not the boogeyman they’d have you believe.”

Perino took the opportunity to say wokeness doesn’t really have a “dictionary” definition, but instead is a “feeling” or a “sense”:

One of the things about woke is, can you explain it to your mom? Think about that. And I remember when President Trump was running and – this is before he won in 2016 – he used to get standing ovations initially when he would say political correctness is ruining our country. And everybody that was clapping knew exactly what he meant.

But it’s sort of like the Supreme Court definition of pornography. You know it when you see it. So, the Democrats want to get you in an argument where you’re having to define wokeism as if the Webster’s dictionary is defining it. And that’s not what it is. It could be a feeling, it could be a sense. And I wonder if Republicans or conservatives are going to have to define it more. She could be right. This will be tested.

Framing “woke” in this way perfectly reflects Republicans’ willingness to deploy “wokeness,” “wokeism,” and other “woke” terminology as cudgels against whatever individuals and policies they do not like, irrespective of the labels’ applicability or lack thereof.

This was on full display with the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank 10 days ago. The financial institution made a big bet on long-term, fixed-income securities, but didn’t hedge against rising interest rates. The more rates rose, the more precarious SVB’s financial condition became. Eventually, depositors began withdrawing their money en masse in a good old-fashioned bank run at an institution with major liquidity issues. The rest is history.

But in conservative circles, the bank’s failure somehow became a cautionary tale about the perils of “woke banking,” whatever the hell that is. No matter how many actual banking experts explained the incredibly mundane reasons for SVB’s failure, right-wing media plowed headlong into the very stupid narrative that a bank catering to libertarian-minded tech bros somehow woked itself out of existence.

In a rational world, there would be some universally agreed-upon definition of “woke,” but as far as conservatives are concerned, it will remain the Visa card of talking points and be anywhere they want it to be.

Watch above via Fox News.

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.

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Mike is a Mediaite senior editor who covers the news in primetime.