Thursday Night Bulwark is back!
Join me tonight with Bill Kristol, my best friend Sarah Longwell, and longtime buddy Adam White as we talk about what to expect for impeachment week.
And possibly have a giant argument about Tom Brady. Who can say.
1. Cheney, MTG, and the Voters
House Republicans voted 145-61 not to strip Liz Cheney of her leadership position in response to her voting to approve an article of impeachment against Donald Trump. That’s the headline. And it’s not nothing.
But the preponderance of evidence tells a different story.
(1) The Republican vote on Cheney was conducted via secret ballot.
(2) It will be interesting to see how many Republican House members will admit in public to having voted for Cheney. My guess is that this number will be < 145.
(3) Even when protected by the secret ballot, a third of the caucus did vote to remove Cheney. That’s extraordinary, all on its own.
(4) That same Republican conference refused to act concerning Majorie Taylor Greene.
(5) At some point today, Republicans will have to vote publicly on whether or not to strip MTG of her committee assignment. The number of Republicans who vote to support her will almost certainly be > 61. It well may be > 145.
Add it all up and what you have is a story about power: Who has it, who does not, and who is afraid of whom.
Secret ballots are designed to protect the voter from intimidation and retribution from the powerful.
Who did the secret ballot protect House Republicans from yesterday? Their voters.
The nature of the conflict within the Republican party right now is only superficially about Trumpism. At root, it’s between two types of power: Popular power versus institutional power.
And the way to know which side has the advantage is to watch how Republicans behave in private and contrast that with how they behave in public.
This dichotomy is why the Cheney/MTG votes suggest that elected Republicans know who the strong horse is. And it ain’t them.
If the institutions within the Republican party were strong, they would exert their will then their voters to follow it. They would shape popular opinion. Instead, these institutions dare only to assert their will under the cover of darkness, out of sight from their voters.
That’s the definition of weakness.
Unfortunately for Republicans, very few of their votes are made in secret. And so ultimately these weak men and women will be shaped by the preferences of their voters, who command a large bloc of popular power.
If you want to understand who is strong and who is weak in the Republican party, ask yourself this question:
What will the outcome of the Senate impeachment vote be? And what would it be if it were conducted via secret ballot?
A party that is afraid of its voters is not sustainable. Either the voters will leave or the party institutions will transform to their liking.
Real power is the ability to say what you believe. And that’s what we do at The Bulwark.
Stand with us.
2. Truth and Lies
This is an amazing thread from Thom Lambert, a professor at Missouri Law. You should read the whole thing.
I don’t want to spoil the answer for you. Like I said: You should read the entire thread.
But I want to take up something Lambert says further down, when he goes after First Things for publishing Hawley’s lie.
Lambert says that by participating in Hawley’s lie, First Things is inverting Lewis’s entire line about “first things” in pursuit of power. But I don’t think that’s quite right. Because while Josh Hawley knows that he’s lying, I doubt very much that the editors of First Things are aware of it.
Over the last decade or so First Things has become an embarrassment. Like Breitbart News, but without the self-awareness, joie de vive, or intellectual heft. This descent—as well as the number of scandals which have surrounded the magazine—can all be tied directly to the foolishness of the the magazine’s editor, Rusty Reno.
Reno once proudly proclaimed “I don’t do policy.” And that’s true! Reno has demonstrated over the course of a long career that his understanding of public policy is close to nil. Likewise, there is no reason to believe that he “does” finance, or economics, or technology, either. And so he almost certainly had no idea whether the Hawley piece his magazine ran was true or false.
3. Q and THE JOOOOOOOOS!
Fantastic piece in Mosaic:
As soon as 8kun was up and running Q resumed his mission there. And what exactly was that mission? Nothing less than to mobilize a movement of Godfearing patriots to help save America and the world. As Q told it, an evil cabal pulled the strings of power across the globe. At its apex was a triangle of three families: the house of Saud, worth six trillion dollars; the Rothschilds, worth four trillion; and the Soros family, worth one trillion. (There had been a fourth family, but it “was removed post Trump’s victory,” said Q, without ever revealing its identity or explaining his reason for not doing so.) The role of the Saudis was to control politicians by means of financial inducements and the exploitation of pedophilia. Soros, rather mundanely, controlled liberal advocacy groups. The most luridly powerful, even if not the wealthiest, of the three cabal families was the Rothschilds. They control the national banks of 166 countries, painstakingly listed by Q, including the U.S. Federal Reserve and the IRS, both of which, contrary to popular misimpression, are in fact private businesses, so Q explained. To boot, as a function of their financial power, the Rothschilds also control the Vatican. . . .
The channels where Q “drops” his revelations, and his followers exchange thoughts, are dotted with crude anti-Jewish effusions. As far as I can see, these are never rebuked. But neither are they often embraced or taken up for discussion. They seem to be treated as side points because QAnon is not primarily about the Jews. The cabal is joined and assisted by a variety of other important elements. Among them are the pope, the Dalai Lama, the Freemasons, the Illuminati, the CIA, the deep state, the mainstream media (which is controlled by the CIA), Antifa, John McCain, and the U.S.-Salvadoran gang MS-13.
Q’s wide-ranging animadversions seem manic to the point of bewildering. In post number 1,008, for example, he reminded readers that M is the thirteenth letter of the alphabet and that therefore MS-13 is another way of writing MSM, mystifyingly implying that the gang and the mainstream media are somehow identical. In another bewildering equation, spelled out at some length, Q explained that Facebook and DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) are not just both among the evil forces, but are one and the same.
The members of the cabal and its associates and helpers, whatever their nominal religions, are mostly Satan worshippers. As an example, Q posted separate photos of Hillary and Chelsea Clinton, each wearing a necklace bearing a pendant with a cross that appeared upside down, which, he explained, is a symbol of Satan worship that they felt compelled to flaunt. Together with this perverse religious devotion, these forces of darkness are also pedophiles.
Routinely, they ritually sacrifice children after using them carnally, to exploit their bodily fluids. The analogy to the libel that Jews slaughter Gentile children to bake matzah with their blood is obvious, but the Q version is more rococo. It is not blood the deep-state Satanists are after but rather adrenaline from which to produce adrenochrome.