One of the little-remarked-on dynamics of the 2020 post-election is how many Republicans, mostly at the state level, didn’t go along with The Big Lie or efforts to overturn the result of the 2020 election. The key in most cases was that it’s one thing to mouth off or make a protest vote. It’s another to break the law or specifically refuse a legal responsibility of office. Would Brad Raffensperger have stood his ground against overturning a free in fair election if he’d been a Republican member of Congress rather than Georgia’s top election administrator? I tend to doubt it. The same applies to Gov. Kemp, though he took much less of a clear stand.
A new episode of The Josh Marshall Podcast is live! This week, Josh and Kate discuss the current intra-GOP warfare, former President Trump’s new blog, and the debate around mask-wearing as more people get vaccinated.
Watch below and email us your questions for next week’s episode.
You can listen to the new episode of The Josh Marshall Podcast here.
The Labor Department reported today that the US economy added 266,000 jobs last month. Normally that would be a healthy number. But it’s roughly three quarters of a million jobs short of what most economists were expecting. In other words, it’s a massive miss and as economist Justin Wolfers puts it, it is a “big miss that changes how we think about the recovery.”
The small club of Republicans shamelessly touting COVID-19 relief they voted against in March has grown steadily every week since.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), preemptively annoyed that this would happen since before the American Rescue Plan even passed, has been diligently blasting out press releases calling out the GOP lawmakers for their hypocrisy. She’s been kept busy.
I think TPM Reader AM somewhat clouds the issue by using the old money/new money analogy. It sounds too snooty and snobbish. But I think he’s really on to something. One of the things about Liz Cheney is that she clearly has as much or more contempt or lack of respect for Kevin McCarthy as she has for Donald Trump. She’s repeatedly and gratuitously embarrassed him in public. She likes disrespecting him publicly. As I mentioned in yesterday’s discussion with Kate in the podcast, Cheney has literally been around the highest echelons of the GOP since early childhood in the 1970s. Through her parents and her own life and political experience, she sees herself as part of the older, grown-up GOP.
I take her core conviction here – Trump’s danger, the danger of The Big Lie and the insurrection – as very genuine. But her refusal to ‘look forward, not back’ is, I think, both characterological and rooted in her deep-seated belief that guys like Kevin McCarthy and especially Donald Trump are just beneath her.
Here’s TPM Reader AM …
From TPM Reader DT …
I am a research active scientist and have been doing my best to “follow the science” with how I behave during the pandemic. It is another story entirely about how that has been hard, even with a very rigorous scientific training at the best institutions in my field.
What shouldn’t be forgotten here is the history of the current moment. During the first 10 months of the pandemic, we were essentially left out in the cold. With the notable exception of Dr. Fauci (who very understandably flubbed the mask question at first), where could you go to figure out what to do? It was nothing but quackery and disinterest from the White House, a weak, compromised, subservient CDC director, a scarf-wearing clown show of a coronavirus task force, and on and on and on. All the state and lower levels of government had to define and address the problem in their own ways, with many falling victim to politicization that came straight from the top. News journalism was largely on point from the good typical outfits, but there were many messaging issues in headlines and some stories that made many scientists roll their eyes, not to mention the misinformation peddled by the bad typical outfits.
From TPM Reader RE …
My wife and I are both fully vaccinated. She is having a hard time adopting new behaviors, and still seems truly frightened at the possibility of mutant strains taking over. Even though there is no evidence of this currently happening, it shows the lasting trauma people are feeling. But I don’t understand how Nate Silver’s tweet could get someone like JG so wound up. And I don’t understand why people get vaccinated if it doesn’t help ease their felt trauma. To start healing the wound will require behavioral adjustments. This is understandably uncomfortable for some people, but it’s necessary.
Kevin McCarthy has plenty of motives to cater to Trump and keep the congressional party united behind the Big Lie. But this report focuses on one of the most fascinating ones. McCarthy is apparently highly worried about being compelled to testify before any possible Jan 6th Commission. He should be, for two key reasons.
Aaron Blake of the Post dug up these statements from Elise Stefanik, the representative from New York State who is likely to replace Liz Cheney once she’s ejected from the House GOP leadership. Stefanik was a garden variety Upstate New York Republican before she hitched her wagon to Trump around 2018 and went all in with the Trump personality cult.
In the lead-up to the January 6th insurrection most congressional Republicans were careful to avoid repeating Trump’s most outrageous lies about a stolen election. They focused on the purported unconstitutionality of pandemic-related changes to election regulations. In other words, they weren’t directly claiming a stolen election in the sense of stuffed ballot boxes or dead voters or other similar stuff. They were arguing that states had exceeded their constitutional authority in doing things that making voting by mail easier. So those votes were illegitimate though not ‘fraudulent’ in the way most of us understand the term. This allowed them to back Trump’s claims of an illegitimate election by hanging their hat on a very weak constitutional argument rather than racist lies about ‘inner city’ vote fraud and other conspiracy theories.
But Stefanik wasn’t so careful.
From TPM Reader JS …
Strongly disagree. Science is science. You can’t wrap yourself in it to justify the shutdowns and then appeal to “trauma” to be for them.
And from TPM Reader MH …
Thank you, Josh, for your humane defense of people feeling cautious and traumatized, and for pointing out that most of the country is still not vaccinated.
The case numbers didn’t start dropping in New York until the first week of April. I didn’t get my “fully vaccinated” card until a month ago, and the data on variants and vaccine escape was also slow to arrive. We didn’t know *what* was keeping the cases up, but if you listened to the epidemiologists, they said “variants” a lot.
Information about the criminal investigation into Rudy Giuliani continues to drip out, most recently in the form of a request from the Justice Department for a special master to sort through evidence in the case.
The letter making the request gives a few hints as to the nature of the probe into Giuliani.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is staring down a recall effort that will likely lead to an election for his political survival sometime before the end of the year.
Federal investigators executing a search warrant on Rudy Giuliani’s home and office this morning raises a big question: How did Giuliani get here?
It’s a sordid tale, that I’ll try to explain here. Some of it you’ve heard before, but there’s a lot of moving pieces, so buckle up.