Well, that was embarrassing.
In the end, Biden is still likely to get his spending deal. Late Thursday, key members of the Progressive caucus signed onto his BBB “framework,” so as Politico Playbook says this a.m., “Biden gets it done in spite of himself.”
The day began with the president spiking the football prematurely, declaring victory before he had the votes. Bold move. And one that threatened to be a political FUBAR for the ages, when the progs told their president “Hell, no.”
Despite massive pressure and huge political stakes, the Biden-Pelosi plan for a vote on the Bipartisan Infrastructure plan had to be scrapped. As the Wapo noted: “The renewed stalemate denied Biden the victory he had hoped to achieve as he traveled abroad Thursday.”
But, as Playbook notes, “the dispute over sequencing masked a major achievement for the president: Hill progressives now appear ready to swallow this deal — and that means it’s likely a matter of when, not if, it passes.”
Still, it was uhhhgly.
Mediaite @MediaiteNew Fox News Poll Has Glenn Youngkin Leading Terry McAuliffe in Virginia by 8 Points https://t.co/BsWULLlb1z
John Bresnahan @bresreports.@RepEspaillat is a “No” on BIF over immigration. He’s talked to Pelosi about it, no resolution yet
Exit take: Democrats reminded us that they have a penchant for doing things in the hardest and most painful way possible.
The Fuq Your Feelings Crowd Pivots
If you are more than five minutes old, you probably remember the moral panic over the “banning” of Dr. Seuss. The “cancel culture,” was coming for your children’s books which we were told was, indeed, a very bad thing.
For a while there, protecting Dr. Seuss — even if his books included images that might offend some sensibilities — was the forward edge of the culture war, because FREEDOM must always trump feelings.
Do I have that right? Because it now seems so long ago — especially since the same folks are busy cancelling not just books, but words. Because they might hurt feelings.
It’s a helluva flex. As Paul Waldman writes:
Conservatives love to mock liberals as soft, wimpy, and insistent that everyone take account of their feelings. But as they whip up anger and fear over what students are taught in schools about race, something unexpected is happening to Republicans: They’re getting in touch with their own emotional vulnerability, and making policy demands based on ensuring that people’s feelings don’t get hurt.
In Texas, a state representative is demanding that school officials identify any “material that might make students feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress because of their race or sex.”
And, helpfully, he passes along a list of 850 problematic books.
But this is mere child’s play compared to Republicans from Wisconsin who are banning specific words.
The legislature has already passed a bill banning certain concepts related to race and gender from the state’s schools. Lest this be in any way ambiguous, the bill’s sponsor provided a list of words — including “equity", “racial justice”, and “cultural awareness” —that were prohibited under the law.
Here’s the whole list for your delectation. Breathe deep the gathering gloom…
Additional terms and concepts below that either wholly violate the above clauses, or which may if taught through the framework of any of the prohibited activities defined above, partially violate the above clauses in what is otherwise broadly defined as “critical race theory”:
Critical Race Theory (CRT)
Social Emotional Learning (SEL)
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)
Culturally responsive teaching
Centering or de-centering
Conscious and unconscious bias
Critical ethnic studies
Culturally responsive practices
Free radical therapy
Free radical self/collective care
Internalized racial superiority
Internalized white supremacy
Oppressor vs. oppressed
Protect vulnerable identities
Racial sensitivity training
Representation and inclusion
Systems of power and oppression
White social capital
Robert Tracinski writes about this snowflake pivot in today’s Bulwark: “Cancel Cultural Appropriation.”
Conservatives are “fighting” wokeness by copying it. In the famous mantra, “Facts don’t care about your feelings,” it turns out the key word was not “feelings,” but “your.” Facts don’t care about your feelings, but they sure as heck care about ours.
The ADL writes to Murdoch (again)
Tucker Carlson @TuckerCarlsonStarting Monday https://t.co/MRbx5FKVAc
In a letter to Fox’s Lachlan Murdoch, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League wrote:
“Let’s call this what it is: an abject, indisputable lie and a blatant attempt to rewrite history. As an organization committed to fighting antisemitism and all forms of hate, we remain deeply concerned that the false narrative and wild conspiracy theories presented by Carlson will sow further division and has the potential to animate violence.”
Bonus from Liz Cheney:
Infuriating story of the day
The dog died after the man went to jail for exercising his First Amendment rights.
Frum sounds the alarm.
In Trump’s first term, the country was protected to some degree by his ignorance and ineptitude. He kept trying to do bad things, but it took him a while to figure out how the controls operated, where the kill-switches were located. By the time of his attempt to extort the Ukrainian president, in 2019, Trump had achieved a higher degree of mastery. But by then it was too late. Then the pandemic struck, and Trump bumped into a new wall of failure.
In a second Trump presidency, however, the burglars will arrive already knowing how to bypass the alarms and disable the locks. He’ll understand that it’s not enough to install an ally as attorney general—he must control the secondary and tertiary ranks of the Justice Department too. He won’t allow himself to be talked into another chief of staff with an independent sense of duty, such as John Kelly, who averted much harm from the middle of 2017 to the beginning of 2019. It’ll be Mark Meadows types from day one to day last. And he’ll bring with them a new generation of Republican officeholders whose top priority will be rearranging their states’ election laws so that Republicans do not lose power even if they lose the vote.
That’s the future Trump is preparing.
1. The Self-Isolation of the American Left
Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson and Martin Luther King Jr. were among the great champions of progressive ideas in the 20th century. But they didn’t exist within an insular, self-validating community whose values and assumptions were often at odds with those of the rest of society.
Increasingly, that cannot be said of modern progressivism.
Modern progressivism is in danger of becoming dominated by a relatively small group of people who went to the same colleges, live in the same neighborhoods and have trouble seeing beyond their subculture’s point of view.
2. When ‘Jesus’ Came to Q
No one expects to see a once-prominent actor, fallen from the limelight, delivering a crusade sermon in Las Vegas, yet these are the times we live in. Jim Caviezel is most famous for his portrayal of Jesus in Mel Gibson’s 2004 film The Passion of the Christ (a film and director both widely denounced as anti-Semitic). Last weekend, Caviezel was one of a long list of QAnon-affiliated speakers at the “For God and Country Patriot Double Down” conference at the Ahern Hotel in Las Vegas. And his speech was both the most dramatic—a performance that reminded the viewer that the man can in fact act—while also being the most militant and wild talk possible. In its content, and its speaker, the speech was a microcosm of Q: still a partisan murder fantasy, with all of the religious overtones of holy war, still seeking to shepherd delusions into reality. And who could be better suited to be the shepherd of Q than the actor known for playing the shepherd of man?
3. Trump’s Entire Platform Might Now Be DOA
Donald Trump’s latest business venture, Truth Social, is a brand-new social media platform that is going to be a publicly-traded company via a reverse merger with a SPAC. Consequently, it sits at the intersection between finance, law, and technology. When you combine Trump’s legendary financial acumen—he has only six bankruptcies on his record—with his uncanny eye for legal talent like Rudy Giuliani and tech wizards like Brad Parscale, what could possibly go wrong?
You would be surprised.
Meanwhile, in Georgia…
Burgess Everett @burgessevStatement from Gary Black, Herschel Walker's primary opponent in Georgia: “Herschel has threatened women, choked them, stalked them,” Black said. "He has put knives to their throats and guns to their heads, and he claims that he must be innocent because he never went to jail."
And in New York…