I think it’s time to be done treating this guy like he’s purposefully saying outrageous things that he doesn’t believe for the sake of publicity. And it’s past time for demanding apologies out of him unless we’re fine with them being disingenuous.
Dude believes what he’s saying. Dude wants what he’s saying to be upsetting to other people. Dude likes using other people’s discomfort and unhappiness as a way to feel powerful. And dude likes feeling powerful. He straight-up believes that he is a moral man adrift in an immoral hell, surrounded by lesser immoral beings whose suffering is deserved, because of their immorality. It is, from his perspective, his job to increase the suffering of lesser immoral beings until they shape up and become disciplined and moral like him.
I will give it up to the Tennessee Republicans in that they have done as good a job as they can with a colleague of marginalizing him. (What Hardaway’s excuse is, I haven’t a clue.) But he needs to be put in his place hard, and publicly, by someone who can make him hurt and who he can’t best. And whoever does that needs to be aware that he will then be scheming against him or her for the rest of the time he’s in office, which is, apparently, going to be forever.
We treat him like a joke, but I advise you to go back and reread my second paragraph here. The scariest thing to me about him is that the best alternative for the people he knows in real life (or encounters in real life) is for him to have a large public platform where he can get his jollies hurting and upsetting people out where everyone can see it and he can get national attention for it.
I really wonder what happens when a man like him still has those impulses and doesn’t have the spotlight to both feed the impulses and keep them in check. And I’m afraid/certain we’re going to find out.