Happy Friday (with the possible exception of those of you who own Twitter stock, or thought Elon Musk was going to be the savior of free speech).
Drudge gives a quick snapshot of how things are going this morning;
So this is going . . . about the way we should have expected.
Meanwhile . . .
When GOP Rep. LIZ CHENEY decided to risk everything politically and serve on NANCY PELOSI’s newly created Jan. 6 investigative panel in the spring of last year, she made something of a vow to herself, according to people close with the Wyoming Republican: She would follow the facts wherever they went, and privately press for the panel to leave no stone unturned to get to the truth of the siege of the Capitol.
No half-baked probes. No shrinking away from key witnesses, as Democrats had done in their past impeachments of Donald Trump. If she was going to do this, she was going to go all the way — even as some members of the panel, we heard back then, didn’t even want to investigate Trump’s actions that day.
On Thursday, Washington saw the latest fruits of Cheney’s labor…
Yes, this is an escalation, and yes, there are risks and downsides. The clock is running down on the committee, and the subpoenas raise the potential of GOP retaliation if and when they come to power.
But good for the Jan. 6th committee, because this is not a moment for the irresolute. (Spoiler alert: the GOP will retaliate no matter what the Dems do.)
Judge Luttig on the War for Democracy
In his latest video conversation, our colleague Bill Kristol sits down with former U.S. Circuit judge and SCOTUS short-lister Michael Luttig to discuss the extraordinary role that the judge played in advising Mike Pence to resist President Trump’s pressure to overturn the election results.
Some key excerpts:
On when he realized the efforts to overturn the election in 2020 posed a grave threat
I believed initially that all of this was just a bunch of kooks. Sidney Powell, people like that; and Giuliani. I was concerned about it, because if you have those people around the President of the United States of America, and they are bent on overturning an election, it’s a consequential thing. But, I guess probably my subconscious belief and hope was that because these were the people behind it, it was destined to fail of necessity. It wasn’t until much later when I began to understand that there were seriously intelligent people involved in the effort, that I began to appreciate the real gravity of the situation.
On helping Vice President Pence to resist President Trump’s pressure not to certify the election results January 6
I was working with [Pence’s] staff, in particular Mark Short, through Richard Cullen. Never the vice president personally until after January 6th. But there was no question in my mind, but that the vice president had made his decision. I didn’t know or believe this at the time, but he was marshaling as much support nationally as he could for what he had decided he must do.
On whether we have shored up our institutions since 2020
Well, the five-alarm fire has been going off continuously since January 6th.... That's why I am very concerned about where the country is today. In my view, we haven't even begun to address the problems. And as I said, as of this moment, I believe there's a complete unwillingness to address the problems. . . . Look, it's really important to show that we can come to some agreement on at least partial fixes [to the Electoral Count Act]….
We haven’t even begun [to do the necessary work]. The country is now completely politicized and politically polarized, that there’s a natural unwillingness for any of the players who can address the problems, to address them in fact.
What we experienced on January 6th was a full scale assault on our institutions of democracy, and the instrumentalities of our democracy. The former being literally our tripartite system of government and each part of that triumvirate of institutions. And by instrumentalities, I mean the constitution and laws that constitute the bulwark of our democracy.
And so, because of this frightening politicization of everything and of American society, and the complete polarization of our politics, I believe that we are in greater danger today than we were on January 6th. The reaction has been just the opposite of what it ought to have been. Namely, we have a complete denial of the 2020 election. We have a denial of the significance of January 6th for our country. And we have a continued war going on now over America over its institutions of democracy.
On the lack of leadership in protecting the integrity of our electoral system
Not one national leader with the moral authority, conviction, courage, and the willingness has spoken out and called to stop all of this nonsense. [I refer] to a leader with the moral authority first that can speak to the country and have the country listen. Not one leader in America has spoken out, frankly, for the past six years.
The Abortion Word Police
A follow-up to my post yesterday on Chuck Schumer’s political malpractice.
Why does his messaging fumble on abortion matter so much? Listen to Dimitri Melhorn here:
The fight about abortion is all about framing. Most Americans are in the middle.
Republicans ranged from moderately pro-choice to hardline pro-life but no one really cared because Roe was the law of the land. The hardline pro-life position in other words did nothing to bother most voters.
Democrats’ historic track record in attacking people with even soft pro-life sympathies and purging them from the caucus created this current moment of threat to women by helping associate Democrats with an extremely unpopular position rather than the Safe Legal and Rare positioning that could actually win elections….
Democrats are intensely skilled at allowing the GOP to get away with unpopular extremism by running to their own extreme.
But, wait. It gets worse.
Just in time for the post-Roe debate, the folks who brought us Latinx have joined their hive minds to come up with a new set of words that activists are urged to deploy.
Among the suggestions (and I kid you not) replacing “choice” with “decision,” and no longer using the phrase “safe, legal, and rare.”
Where, you ask, does this come from? Check out this Planned Parenthood website (from last year): “What’s wrong with choice? Why we need to go beyond choice language when we’re talking about abortion.”
“Choice” assumes that everyone can get an abortion, and someone just has to choose whether or not they want one. Not everyone can get an abortion when they want one. Black feminists and feminists of color have pointed out that this isn’t the case: the legal right to choose to have an abortion does not always mean someone can actually get an abortion. “Choice” ignores the lived realities of people, especially Black people and people of color, who face barriers that are often compounded by racist and classist policies that keep them from the care they need.
The advice of the word police?
So what can someone say instead of just “pro-choice”? You can absolutely say:
pro-abortion, pro-abortion rights, pro-abortion access, or pro-abortion equity — abortion isn’t a dirty word.
Here’s Josh Barro:
Samuel Lau @SamuelRLauThe "galaxy brain reason" is that they are listening to Black women & reproductive justice organizations, who have said for years not everyone in this country has a "choice" of whether or not to get an abortion. Read @monicarsimpson @SisterSong_WOC: https://t.co/1Jli9stTPm https://t.co/jqSrvrWxyy
And, as Daniel Foster points out, the logic of the new euphemism doesn’t really hold up very well:
Exit take: Legendary Democratic consultant Lis Smith writes, “If this debate devolves into policing of terms like ‘pro choice’ ‘pro life and ‘safe legal and rare’ - we will absolutely lose it.
“We cannot purify ourselves into oblivion on a majority issue like this but it seems like our side is doing everything to make that a reality.”
Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania
I fear we are going to have a popcorn shortage.
Via the DailyBeast: “MAGA World Melts Down as ‘Ultra-MAGA’ Barnette Blows Up in Pennsylvania.”
Sean Hannity took time on his show to slam her attacks on Muslims, including her claim that Barack Obama is a Muslim.
Newsmax’s Greg Kelly called her a “race card playing scammer.” Former Trump acting intelligence director Ric Grenell called her “unfit for office,” highlighting a 2015 tweet in which Barnette said “pedophilia is a cornerstone of Islam.” Pro-Trump accounts have circulated a misleadingly edited video meant to portray Barnette, who is Black, as a radical Black Lives Matter supporter.
Conservative media outlets have stirred up murky questions about her military service. Even Trump got in on the action on Thursday, putting out a vague press release claiming Barnette would lose a general election because of “many things in her past which have not been properly explained or vetted.”
1. Finland and Sweden Deserve to Be in NATO Now
Opinion among politicians and the public in Finland and Sweden is beginning to coalesce around the obvious benefits of NATO membership. NATO should see just as clearly how clumsy and costly it would be not to welcome them quickly into the alliance.
2. Republicans Suddenly Want Less Corporate Speech
3. The Bankruptcy of the Democratic Party Left
The thread that runs through all these failures is the Democratic Left’s adamant refusal to base its political approach on the actually-existing opinions and values of actually-existing American voters. Instead they entertain fantasies about kindling a prairie fire of progressive turnout with their approach, despite falling short again and again in the real world. It hasn’t worked and it won’t work.
Instead, what they need is a plan on how to win outside of deep blue areas and states (the average Congressional Progressive Caucus leader is from a Democratic +19 district). That entails compromises that, so far, the Democratic Left has not been willing to make. Cultural moderation, effective governance and smart campaigning are what is needed to win in competitive areas of the country. If democracy is in as much danger as the Democratic Left appears to believe, would not such compromises be worth making? And wouldn’t winning make a nice change of pace at this point?
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