How Darren Beattie Fails Upward in MAGA World
Plus, why the Ukraine Crisis Could Be a Turning Point for Biden.
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LAURA K. FIELD’s lead item in today’s Bulwark: Even as His Big Conspiracy Theory Crumbles, Darren Beattie’s Star Continues to Rise in Trump World.
Last Friday, the White House demanded the resignations of six members of an obscure government body, the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad. All six of the individuals ousted by the Biden administration were Trump appointees—including Darren Beattie, a conspiracy-mongering darling of the far right.
The firing came at the end of a week that started with praise being lavished upon Beattie by the former president. Trump, via a statement, extolled Beattie and his website, Revolver News.
The story of how Beattie went from being an unknown speechwriter fired from the Trump White House in 2018 to a prominent propagandist fired by the Biden White House in 2022 is worth recounting for what it tells us about the chaotic Trumpian right. It is not a particularly encouraging story. Beattie rehabilitated his relationship with MAGA World not by cleaning up his act but by showing an unflagging commitment to Trump and demonstrating a real knack for promoting conspiracy theories. That Trump is eager to promote Beattie—that Trump finds Beattie useful—is yet another indicator of everything that is disturbing about the ex-president’s hold on the GOP.
Why Biden can't have a Kumbaya moment, and tangible things can't get done. Matt Yglesias joins Charlie Sykes on today's podcast.
CHRIS TRUAX writes, in the second part of a series, The Crazy, and True, Story of How America Got the Electoral Count Act.
There’s a point to this extended history lesson. Congress spent another decade debating the best way to count electoral votes before enacting the Electoral Count Act of 1887. To understand what the ECA is designed to do and whether it’s a good system for determining the winner of a presidential election today, we must understand the milieu in which it was written and how Congress viewed the problem of counting electoral votes.
First, it’s clear the Congress’s greatest concern was ensuring that there was some mechanism in place to resolve disputes and ensure that somebody, anybody, could be elected president. The elections of both 1872 and 1876 raised the specter of insoluble electoral counting disputes that might make it impossible to elect a president at all, especially when control of Congress was split between the parties.
Second, electoral count disputes in the nineteenth century often suffered from the “fog of election.” When there were allegations of fraud in South Carolina, or multiple slates of electors certified in Louisiana, it could be difficult and time-consuming to determine exactly what had happened. On top of that, both the legal system and the body of election law it enforced were far more rudimentary.
Finally, in the early nineteenth century, counting electoral votes was viewed as a political process, rather than as a ministerial or legal one. The consensus was that removing partisan considerations from electoral vote counting was impossible. As one congressman observed in 1882, “[It has been] demonstrated that, whether in a legislative body or in a judicial tribunal, we shall find judges and legislators on the side of their party—not always; but it is a tendency of human nature. I am not attacking anybody; I am not attacking the providence or wisdom of almighty God that has created us with our feelings of prejudice and sympathy.”
SHAY KHATIRI argues: The Ukraine Crisis Could Be a Turning Point for Biden.
The administration has made clear that it sees China as the single, all-consuming security challenge for the United State. The problem is that other adversaries, including and especially Russia, are not going to stand by for the United States to address the China challenge; rather, they see this distraction as an opportunity to be even more aggressive. Since 2006, Russia has invaded two of its neighbors (Georgia and Ukraine); continues to hold territory illegally in a third (Moldova); has launched cyberattacks and shut down the internet of at least one other (Estonia); has deployed troops to Syria, Belarus, and Kazakhstan to suppress anti-autocracy protests, contributing to genocide in the former; and has dispatched paramilitary organizations to Venezuela, Libya, and the Central African Republic—to say nothing of its interference in elections in the United States and Europe as a part of its ongoing disinformation campaigns in the free world. It now threatens a new offensive in Europe that could threaten, like so many European wars of the past, to broaden into a wider conflict.
One reading of the NBC report is that the Biden administration is getting the message that Russia can’t be ignored—and neither can allies. Another reading is that the administration is simply desperate to manage a crisis its inattention invited.
This could be the defining moment of Biden’s presidency, as American voters and the whole world watch to see whether he can be pushed around. But this is more than one man’s legacy. If Biden becomes the third president in a row to downplay and ignore the Russian threat, then the world will assume the era of American resolve is over.
Get your free COVID test kits from USPS… One set of four per household.
It’s sad to see what Dan Crenshaw has become… Agreeing that the insurrectionists are political prisoners? But then again, he’s been showing us for a great long while. He’s not that different than Marjorie Taylor Greene.
$1.25 Tree? Waiting to send some parcels, I dropped into Dollar Tree today to wait out ten minutes before the UPS store opened. I noticed that prices went up to $1.25. Inflation is up, but not 25%! I like the Dollar Tree because it always has cheap things my twins enjoy, like activity books or Hot Wheels cars. For those who rely on Dollar Tree, this price increase can really hit the pocketbook. But in reading about this, the CNN article about it quotes… YouTube and Instagram influencers? Seems odd.
How a PA teen found a COVID vaccine loophole. The kids are all right.
Saint Louis’s Little Bosnia. Despite having lived in Saint Louis, and knowing about the big Bosnian population there, I never have spent much time in “Little Bosnia.” It has continued to thrive, and that’s what makes America great. Read more about it here.
An error in Gorsuch’s concurrence. Patterico found one:
Contrary to Justice Gorsuch’s fictional paraphrasing of OSHA’s position, none of this even remotely concerns the issue of whether the “sweeping health standards” (to use Gorsuch’s phrase) “affect workers’ lives outside the workplace.” Not only is that not what OSHA said, there is no plausible construction of that language by which a reasonable reader could even argue that OSHA said what Justice Gorsuch claims they said. Justice Gorsuch’s characterization is pure fiction, with literally no basis in OSHA’s brief, whatsoever.
Who funded voter suppression in rural Virginia? Cardinal News investigates.
PAWS for Veterans Therapy Act… Who says Congress can’t pass any bills?
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