You people are fantastic. As of early this morning, Bulwark readers have raised $74,000+ for World Central Kitchen. Our original goal was $5K, which we raised to $15K, and then $20K on the first day. . . .
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Note: I’m taking few days off — Morning Shots will be back Monday. (But we’ll have all the podcasts . . . and they are going to be great!)
Big question today: Will he or won’t he? Reuters is skeptical: “Elon Musk probably won’t buy Twitter.”
Who knows? Stay tuned.
So let’s start with wars and rumors of wars in the entertainment wing of the GOP, congressional caucuses, and the primaries. . . .
Tucker Carlson is attacking GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy — and Elise Stefanik — for having a short-lived spasm of decency after January 6: “Those are the tape-recorded words of Congressman Kevin McCarthy, a man who in private, turns out, sounds like an MSNBC contributor.”
At the same time, Matt Gaetz is lashing out at McCarthy and his #2, Steve Scalise:
Of course, the planets aligned:
Meanwhile, shots fired between GOP senator and GOP deplorable congresstroll.
Andrew Kerr @AndrewKerrNCNEW: Multiple government watchdog groups told @dcexaminer that Madison Cawthorn may have implicated himself in an insider trading scheme. The watchdogs said an SEC and DOJ investigation into this matter is warranted. 🧵 https://t.co/xQ8UGmL9FC
And in Ohio…
In today’s Bulwark, Jim Swift writes: “Vance vs. Mandel Gets Ugly”
Although there are seven candidates, only three matter now: Josh Mandel, J.D. Vance, and Mike Gibbons. And the fighting among them has gone nuclear over the past two weeks—since Donald Trump bestowed his blessing upon Vance.
And in Georgia…
Via NYMag: “Kemp and Perdue Get Nasty in Georgia Gubernatorial Debate.”
[Governor Brian] Kemp, who has made nastiness something of a personal brand, fired back in an uninhibited manner, calling [Trump-endorsed former senator David] Perdue a “weak leader” who blamed “everybody else for their own loss instead of themselves.” Perdue took the debate down a favorite Trump rabbit hole, alleging that there was a deal between the state and voting-rights groups over absentee-ballot signature-verification procedures. Kemp was having none of it, per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution…
“I was secretary of state for eight years and I don’t need to be lectured by someone who’s lost his last election about what the voting laws are in our state,” Kemp said.
ATLANTA — A new primary election poll released by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution shows Gov. Brian Kemp is building a strong lead over former U.S. Sen. David Perdue to the earn Republican nomination for Georgia governor.
Kemp led Perdue 53%-27% in the poll, which would put Kemp above the majority-vote threshold needed to avoid a runoff.
But, but, but . . . as this montage from Pennsylvania makes clear, the internal fight isn’t between Trump fans and skeptics — it’s between super-Trump fans versus super-super-Trump fans.
Join us tonight!
Forgiving student loans may not be the winner Democrats think it is
Brace for a lot of blowback if Biden does forgive a huge chunk of student loans. Here is the Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf:
NYC Angry Mom @angrybklynmomI'm genuinely wondering if the student loan relief proposal could backfire. It is destined for a poor implementation, and I suspect it won't cover all students, leading to inevitable bitterness. Not to mention those who sacrificed and paid their loans without government help.
And check out this tweet from Mitt Romney:
Exit take: Before you comment, look up the term “moral hazard.”
Meanwhile, in Wisconsin
Via Vice News: “Trump Just Bullied the Wisconsin GOP Into Continuing Its 2020 ‘Audit.’”
Wisconsin GOP Assembly Speaker Robin Vos announced Tuesday afternoon that he’ll continue to fund the office of former state Supreme Court justice Michael Gableman even though his contract had expired and Gableman’s work appeared to be complete…
Vos’ announcement came just a day after Trump implicitly threatened to help boost Vos’ primary challenger if he didn’t keep funding Gableman’s work….
Trump’s warning was his latest successful attempt to bully Vos into pushing along the audit, which he began as a way to try to appease the pro-Trump GOP base after Vos refused to try to block the certification of the 2020 election.
But Gableman’s “investigation” has morphed into a never-ending attempt to discredit the 2020 election. And Vos and other establishment-leaning Wisconsin GOP politicians have found out the hard way that Trump and his base will only be appeased by total capitulation.
1. Just Call Trump a Loser
“Why on earth would we hitch our wagons again to a crybaby sore loser who lost the popular vote twice, lost the House, lost the Senate, and lost the White House, and so on?” said Barbara Comstock, a longtime political consultant and former Republican congresswoman from Virginia. “For Republicans, whether they embrace the Big Lie or not, Trump is vulnerable to having the stench of disaster on him.”
Trump’s wasn’t an ordinary election defeat, either. Some nervy Republican challenger needs to remind everyone how rare it is for an incumbent president to lose reelection, and also that Trump was perhaps the most graceless loser and insufferable whiner in presidential history—the first outgoing commander in chief in 152 years to skip his successor’s swearing-in. And that he dragged a lot of Republicans down with him.
2. Meet the not-ready-for-prime-time Republican players
Even as Republicans lick their chops at a favorable political environment, some of their candidates are doing everything they can to squander winnable races. From several swing-state Senate races and pivotal gubernatorial contests to important downballot races, Republicans have either already nominated candidates who aren’t ready for prime time, or are on the verge of nominating exceptionally weak candidates.
3. Trump’s Garbage Men
So McCarthy and McConnell knew that Donald Trump was bad for their party.
They knew that Trump was bad for the country.
They knew that he was to blame for Jan. 6th.
And they talked about getting rid of him.
Yet neither man publicly called on Trump to resign. Neither man voted to impeach or convict Trump. In public, they attacked the proposal for an independent Jan. 6th commission. They said they would support Trump as the 2024 nominee. And their various fundraising apparatuses are now in overdrive praising and promoting the former president.
That makes them garbage men.