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Never Trumpers Understood Kevin McCarthy’s Conference Better Than He Did
Plus, Why Moderate Democrats Are the Future of the Party
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For years Kevin McCarthy, a blow-dried, donor-class Republican, has tried to maintain a hold on his increasingly bedraggled, QAnon-class conference by prostrating himself before Donald Trump—in increasingly ostentatious ways, so as to prove to his flock that he was an authentic convert to the One True Church of MAGA.
McCarthy calculated that this public self-abasement would be worth it because he would be rewarded in the end with the gavel and bust he had long coveted.
This afternoon he was rewarded instead with the type of humiliation we have not seen on the House floor in a century: Being forced to smirk through repeated public beatings at the hands of his own members.
THEODORE R. JOHNSON: The Misleading Makeup of the New Congress.
The 118th Congress convenes today, with Democrats retaining control of the Senate and Republicans assuming the House majority by a slim margin. Once the session’s organizational details are hashed out—in particular, the election of a speaker of the House, which could be settled quickly or be contentiously dragged out—the House is likely to embark on a set of hyperpartisan adventures such as impeachments (Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is reportedly a likely target) and showy investigations into GOP punching bags Hunter Biden and Anthony Fauci.
The demographics of this Congress, however, also contain stories worth paying close attention to. It will be the most diverse in history, with nonwhite members composing a quarter of its members. The total number of veterans in the House and Senate will, for a second consecutive Congress, be at a post-WWII low. And it will have the most black Republicans serving at once—five—since the end of Reconstruction. But it would be wrong to extrapolate from those demographic facts any assumptions about how this Congress will act or what policies it will focus on.
The House Republican caucus is a jackal pack, with George Santos — the poster boy for our era of grift — along for the ride. Plus, 2023 is starting with green shoots of optimism, including a battered, bruised, and tired Donald Trump. Tom Nichols joins Charlie Sykes today.
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JILL LAWRENCE: Moderate Democrats Are the Future of the Party.
Remember how “this is the moment Donald Trump became president” was a running joke during his administration, just like Infrastructure Week? Neither ever happened, but Democrats look like they’re poised for a true transition: the moment they recognized that aggressively mainstream is a winning brand, and embraced it.
Key victories for Senate and governor, new House leaders and the primary calendar shakeup advanced by President Joe Biden all reflect the reality that centrists in battleground states and districts are the party’s majority makers, as former Speaker Nancy Pelosi calls them. She needed them and didn’t care if they got elected by attacking her. “Just win, baby,” she would say.
As a strategic matter, it’s no secret why moderates are crucial…
Happy New Year! We’re back. I wonder what John Boehner is up to today? How time flies.
Story Time with Kevin McCarthy… A look back on Kevin’s very long speech in 2021. And while we’re looking back, here are some predictions from seven former GOP House members on McCarthy, his chances, and what we can expect if he gets the job.
Making it through this year… Even if it kills us. Matt Labash on remembering those who didn’t.
I wasn’t watching… But the unsettling collapse of Damar Hamlin has yielded an unexpected outcome: an outpouring of donations to a GoFundMe he started as a college player for a non-profit in Pittsburgh. At the time of this writing, $4+ million donated. I also missed, because it was bedtime for the kids, the Cavs’ Donovan Mitchell scoring 71 points, a record, in an epic OT win over the Bulls.
Letterman / Zelensky… Live from Ukraine. And be sure to read this account of the what it’s like in the trenches.
How remote work… Is poised to devastate cities.
Iran’s protesters… Want regime change.
A Republican Congresswoman’s Lasting Regret… Elaina Plott Calabro talks to now former Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler.
Inside Louisiana’s Prison Labor scheme… And the controversy over the ballot initiative to reform it and why it failed.
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