Wasn't it Putin who first started referring to the people arrested for the 1/6 insurrection as "political prisoners?" GOP spin doctors liked the way that sounded. Now almost all GOP elected officials are using the phrase. After all, Putin, a former KGB officer, is a master at that kind of thing. But they didn't need Putin to tell them to blame the whole sacking of the Capitol thing on Pelosi... that comes nature of Republicans. And that's how Kevin McCarthy wants to lead his party into the midterms-- sympathizing with the "political prisoners" and blaming the whole mess on Pelosi. Other than GOP zombies and Putin, will anyone buy it? This morning, Lisa Lerer and Nick Fandos poked around in the attempt to rewrite history, or at least their sad little campaign narrative, for the NY Times. Obviously Georgia numbskull Andrew Clyde's "they were just normal tourists" explanation wasn't going to work on its own.
"This past week," they wrote, "amid the emotional testimony of police officers at the first hearing of a House select committee, Republicans completed their journey through the looking-glass, spinning a new counternarrative of that deadly day. No longer content to absolve Trump, they concocted a version of events in which those accused of rioting were patriotic political prisoners and Speaker Nancy Pelosi was to blame for the violence. Their new claims, some voiced from the highest levels of House Republican leadership, amount to a disinformation campaign being promulgated from the steps of the Capitol, aimed at giving cover to their party and intensifying the threats to political accountability."
This rendering of events-- together with new evidence that Trump had counted on allies in Congress to help him use a baseless allegation of corruption to overturn the election-- pointed to what some democracy experts see as a dangerous new sign in American politics: Even with Trump gone from the White House, many Republicans have little intention of abandoning the prevarication that was a hallmark of his presidency.
Rather, as the country struggles with the consequences of Trump’s assault on the legitimacy of the nation’s elections, leaders of his party-- who, unlike the former president, have not lost their political or rhetorical platforms-- are signaling their willingness to continue, look past or even expand his assault on the facts for political gain.
...Behind the Republican embrace of disinformation is a calculus of both ambition and self-preservation. With members of the select committee hinting that they could subpoena Trump aides, allies on Capitol Hill and perhaps Trump himself, the counterfactual counterattack could pre-emptively undercut an investigation of the riot.
...House Republicans’ desire to bury the attack on their own workplace has created a dysfunctional governing atmosphere. Pelosi has increasingly treated them as a pariah party, unworthy of collaboration or trust, and has expressed deep disdain for Representative Kevin McCarthy, the minority leader, whom she called a “moron” this past week.
...McCarthy, the California Republican, responded differently at first: He angrily demanded that Trump stop the rioters, according to an account he gave fellow Republicans at the time. A week later, as the House moved to impeach Trump, McCarthy said that “the president bears responsibility” for the “attack on Congress by mob rioters” and called for a fact-finding commission.
But in the months since, that early resolve has given way to an out-and-out intent to bury the attack. McCarthy, who is trying to win back the majority in 2022, moved quickly to patch things up with Trump, gave latitude to far-right members of his caucus and worked furiously to block the creation of an independent 9/11-style commission.
This past week, just before the officers began to deliver anguished testimony about the brutality they had endured, McCarthy repeatedly laid blame not with Trump, the rioters or those who had fueled doubts about the election outcome, but with Pelosi, one of the invading mob’s chief targets.
“If there is a responsibility for this Capitol, on this side, it rests with the speaker,” McCarthy said.
Representative Elise Stefanik of New York, the recently selected House conference chairwoman, went even further, saying Pelosi “bears responsibility” as speaker “for the tragedy that occurred on Jan. 6” and deriding her as “an authoritarian who has broken the people’s house.”
Pelosi is not responsible for the security of Congress; that job falls to the Capitol Police, a force that the speaker only indirectly influences. Republicans have made no similar attempt to blame McConnell, who shared control of the Capitol at the time.
Outside the Justice Department, meanwhile, a group of conservative lawmakers gathered to accuse prosecutors of mistreating the more than 500 people accused in the Jan. 6 riot.
No one knows how this will play out in the 2022 congressional elections. The Democrats, who have broken virtually every campaign promise they made and don't have any substantial accomplishments to run on-- this being just the latest-- have proven themselves, once again, to be an utterly worthless vehicle for the legitimate aspirations of working families, happily donning the label of "lesser of two evils"-- and proud of it.
Yesterday John Stoehr wrote wrote that though everyone presumes a backlash is coming for the Democrats, they could be saved by a changed electorate. He focused on the other side of the lesser of two evils dichotomy, the greater evil, pointing out that congressional Republicans are taking "an enormous electoral risk" by sticking with the toxic Señor Trumpanzee. He sees a backlash-- but against Trump and the GOP, not against Biden and the toothless Democrats.
He wrote that in the past midterm backlashes haven't happened "in the wake of an incumbent having his ass handed to him, nor in the wake of an attempted coup d’etat, nor in the wake of a once-in-a-century pandemic that will kill a million before it’s over because the losing president’s supporters keep sabotaging the recovery. The Republicans, in going all-in with a losing president, seem to be hoping the electorate has a very short memory. Matter of fact, the Republicans seem to be banking on the idea that history is as stuck in time as the Republicans are stuck with a losing president. Consider 'law and order.' Most people are familiar with 'law and order,' because the Republicans have been calling for it since Richard Nixon’s reelection campaign in 1972. Recent spikes in crime rates have given Republicans a reason to think the old slogan will work again. A strategist told the AP he expects the Democrats 'to remain on the defensive' while the Republicans blame them for rising crime. Sure, he said, the Republicans are behaving badly with respect to the investigation into the January 6 insurrection, but that only gives the Democrats a way of distracting 'from some of their real shortcomings.'"
What he draws from that is that "Some Republicans think they can call for 'law and order' and no one will remember the disgraced former president’s attempt to overthrow the republic by sending paramilitaries to the United States Capitol. Voters have notoriously short memories, but they’re not that short! Moreover, 'law and order' includes putting down sedition. It includes bringing insurgents to justice. Treason is a crime. If anyone is going to be the party of 'law and order,' well, it’s not the GOP. Furthermore, the very people who enforce 'law and order' are feeling betrayed. The party of 'law and order' has abandoned them. US Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell, a Army veteran, said as much during his testimony this week. 'You’re talking about people who claim that they are pro-law enforcement, pro-police, pro-law and order,' he said. 'Yet when they have the chance and the opportunity to do something about it, to hold people accountable, you don’t, you pass the buck, like nothing happened.'"
Stoehr's wrote that his point "isn't that stale messaging will prevent the Republicans from winning the midterms. My point is the presumption of a backlash delivering for the Republicans is just that, a presumption. It is not ordained. It needs reconsidering. Matter of fact, there’s a presumption inside that one: that the beneficiaries of midterm backlash are going to be the Republicans this time around. It very well could be the opposite. And yet virtually no one has questioned the wisdom of going all-in with a losing president."
On Wednesday The Economist published the new YouGov poll, which measured favorability/unfavorability of political figures among registered voters. Said voters seem kind of surly towards our shitty political class:
Biden- 50% favorable, 46% unfavorable-- net +4
Kamala Harris- 46% favorable, 48% unfavorable-- net -2
Pelosi- 39% favorable, 54% unfavorable-- net -15
Kevin McCarthy- 25%, 47% unfavorable-- net -22 (28% don't know who he is)
McConnell- 23% favorable, 62% unfavorable-- net -39
Schumer- 34% favorable, 47% unfavorable-- net -13
Señor Trumpanzee- 43% favorable, 54% unfavorable-- net -11
The Democratic Party- 42% favorable, 52% unfavorable-- net -10
The Republican Party- 35% favorable, 59% unfavorable-- net -24
Obviously, registered voters think the Democrats are the lesser evil. The DCCC has done the only job it has ever known how to do. Do you think they are proud of themselves? [Spoiler: they are.]