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Normie GOP, R.I.P.
Jordan slouches toward the gavel.
“Moderates always cave. A tale as old as time.” —GOP member of Congress
Let’s start today with three stories:
Eight years ago, former Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal called then-candidate Donald Trump an “egomaniacal madman”; an “entertaining narcissist… full of foolishness and nonsense"; a “power-hungry shark” who “eats whatever is in front of him”; a “non-serious carnival act”; and “unstable”. Back in 2013, Jindal famously called for the GOP to “stop being the stupid party.”
On Monday, Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), the chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, endorsed election denying fabulist Kari Lake for a seat in the U.S. Senate. It was her first (but unlikely to be her last) major establishment endorsement. He fawned:
Kari Lake will shine brightly for Arizona. She is a generational communicator who is giving voice to Arizona citizens. Kari Lake is in this race to make Arizona and America stronger.
On Monday, one GOP “normie,” “moderate,” and “establishment-type” after another caved to pressure, moving the House GOP to the brink of naming Jim Jordan — a man described by a previous GOP speaker as a “legislative terrorist” — as Speaker of the House, and second in line to the presidency.
The state of play this morning:
As of last night, it seems as though many of his longtime critics are going to do what they’ve always done: fall in line while bitching privately about the hard right’s antics. But if things do fall apart today, it will be that dynamic driving the backlash — you either stand up to minority-of-the-majority rule now, or never.
Punchbowl, however, has some doubts: “Jordan is in trouble,” noting that there are still hold-outs and undecideds. Here’s Jake Sherman at 7:09 a.m.:
But we’ve seen this movie before, haven’t we?
So why did we expect that the mythical Normie Caucus would rise up, find its rumored moral courage, and at long last stand athwart the GOP’s crazy and say, “Stop”? Why did anybody think that this time would be different?
This is, after all, a party that is apparently about to renominate Trump for the presidency. For many in the GOP, the greater crazy trumped the lesser crazy. Why, after all, worry about running under the deeply deplorable and absurd Jordan, when you will already be on the ballot with the twice-impeached, quadruply indicted Trump?
It’s Trump’s party, so why not give him control of the house GOP as well?
Why risk a mean tweet? Why make Sean Hannity mad?
It’s been years since Jindal & Co. worried about the stupidity of the GOP or the dangers of electing an “egomaniacal madman.” One after another, they rationalized, surrendered, and bowed the knee. To the extent there is a “GOP establishment,” it, too, is bowing to MAGA extremism. The whimper is implied.
Because, of course.
The normies always cave. A tale as old as time.
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Michael Fanone would like a word…
The D.C. police officer injured in the January 6th insurrection is reacting to Jordan’s nomination as speaker:
“Jim Jordan is an insurrectionist who has no place being second in line to the presidency,” Fanone said in a statement Monday through Courage for America, an organization that pushes against an extremist, far-right agenda in the country.
“I witnessed the deadly assault on our democracy with my own eyes, which is why it absolutely disgusts me that extreme Republicans could choose an insurrectionist and election denier as their leader — someone who knew about January 6th ahead of time yet did nothing to stop it,” Fanone added. “This is a very dark time for our democracy and should serve as a wake up call to all Americans that we can never take our democracy for granted.”
Don’t Forget Who Jim Jordan Is
You can listen to the whole thing here. Or watch us on YouTube… here’s my favorite part:
Judge Chutkan lays down the law
U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan said she would not impose restrictions on Trump's statements about Washington, D.C., and its residents, nor on statements criticizing the government or the Justice Department generally. But she imposed a restriction on all parties, including Trump, that banned them from making or reposting any statements publicly targeting the special counsel or his staff, as well as court staff members or personnel.
“Mr. Trump may still vigorously seek public support as a presidential candidate, debate policies and people related to that candidacy, criticize the current administration and assert his belief that this prosecution is politically motivated,” Chutkan said.
“But those critical first amendment freedoms do not allow him to launch a pre-trial smear campaign against participating government staff, their families and foreseeable witnesses.”
"Mr. Trump can certainly claim he's being unfairly prosecuted, but I cannot imagine any other criminal case in which a defendant is permitted to call the prosecutor 'deranged' or 'a thug,' and I will not permit it here simply because the defendant is running a political campaign," Chutkan added.
"His presidential candidacy does not give him carte blanche to vilify and implicitly encourage violence against public servants who are simply doing their job."
Predictably, Trump is not taking it well: “Trump Lashes Out at Judge Tanya Chutkan Once Again.”
“WILL APPEAL THE GAG ORDER RULING. WITCH HUNT!” he wrote. “A TERRIBLE THING HAPPENED TO DEMOCRACY TODAY – GAG ORDER!”
Biden heads to Israel
President Biden plans to visit Israel on Wednesday, an extraordinary trip to the grieving nation as it prepares to invade the neighboring Gaza Strip, which has fallen into a desperate humanitarian crisis with two million people trapped and critical supplies dwindling.
The trip by Mr. Biden — announced by Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken early Tuesday morning in Tel Aviv, on the eve of a potential escalation of the conflict in the Middle East — will be a remarkable gamble less than two weeks after the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks that killed more than 1,400 people in southern Israel.
1. Hamas Uses Israel’s Humanity Against It
IF THERE’S ONE THING THAT WE’VE LEARNED about our culture in the age of social media, it’s that we have the memories of goldfish. Our critical faculties have atrophied as we consume clips of information (mostly visual) packaged to appeal to our lizard brains. We are forever in the moment.
Hamas is banking on that. Its sadistic attack on Israel constituted an encyclopedia of war crimes: targeting civilians, rape, parading of corpses, burning people alive in their homes, torture, killing children in front of their parents and vice versa, beheading babies, kidnapping, and more. But Hamas knows that those atrocities will fade quickly from memory. They will be replaced—they are already being replaced—by images of Palestinian civilians fleeing from their homes, or weeping over the bodies of their lifeless children, or surveying their smashed neighborhoods. After a few days of this horror, even people of goodwill will begin to forget their sympathy for Israel and demand that the killing stop. “What good does it do?” they will ask. “How can Israel claim moral superiority when its only answer to the suffering of its own people is to inflict the same thing on its enemies? Aren’t both sides equally at fault?”
2. How to Condemn Terrorism Done in Your Name
Today, as some governments, politicians, and progressive activists deflect blame, fault Israel, or defend Hamas in the wake of its horrific October 7 attack, it’s worth revisiting the massacre in Hebron. When a Jew deliberately slaughtered Muslim civilians, Israel and Jews around the world condemned the crime and the poisonous Jewish extremism that inspired it. That’s how any country and any faith should respond to such evil.
3. The Deep Roots of the Left’s Deafening Silence on Hamas
[The] double-standard that has in the past days become so obvious on parts of the left also has a more profound source, one that is ideological rather than practical or atavistic. Over the past decades, a new set of ideas about the role that identity does— and should—play in the world have transformed the very nature of what it means to be on the left, displacing an older set of universalist aspirations in the process.
This novel ideology, which I call the “identity synthesis,” insists that we must see the whole world through the prism of identity categories like race. It maintains that the key to understanding any political conflict is to conceive of it in terms of the power relations between different identity groups. It analyzes the nature of those power relations through a simplistic schema that, based on the North American experience, pits so-called whites against so-called “people of color.” Finally, it imposes that schema—in a fashion that might, in the academic jargon of the day, ironically be called “neo-colonial”—on complex conflicts in faraway lands.