Is Joy Hofmeister Pro-Choice Now? Does She Back Democratic Values?
This morning Mike DeBonis and Felicia Sonmez reported that Trump is attacking McConnell again, ostensibly for allowing the Democrats to prevent a national default. Lindsey Graham popped his head out of Trump's ass for long enough to lick the shit off his lips and lisp "I don’t understand why we as Republicans are folding here. This is a complete capitulation."
The renewed barrage by Trump and his allies is part of a bid by the former president to turn Republicans against the senator from Kentucky and oust him as the party’s leader in the Senate. And it marks the latest effort by Trump to retaliate against his critics, since McConnell said after the violent Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol that Trump was “practically and morally responsible.”
During Trump’s presidency, he and McConnell often had a mutually beneficial political relationship, especially when it came to confirming Trump-nominated judges.
But any amity came to an abrupt end after McConnell recognized Joe Biden as the duly elected president following the ratification of his victory by the electoral college on Dec. 15, 2020.
McConnell has hardly been an outspoken Trump opponent. He has not criticized Trump since his statement shortly after the Capitol assault, and has at times made conciliatory remarks, such as promising to support Trump if he is the Republican presidential nominee in the next election.
That has done little to placate the former president or his followers. Their fury erupted again when McConnell proposed a deal with Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) to avoid a looming government default by raising the debt limit for two months.
The pro-Trump camp viewed this as giving the Democrats an escape hatch from a political dilemma, since raising the debt limit is never popular. But economists say that if a default occurs, it would torpedo the economy and cause hardship for millions of ordinary Americans.
“This is what you get when you have hapless, feckless leadership,” Bannon said on Wednesday’s episode of his podcast, titled “McConnell’s Betrayal of America Will Create Debt Slaves.” Bannon told his listeners, “I want you to call his office-- call his office in Kentucky-- and I want you to let him know what you think.”
Joining Bannon on the podcast, Boris Epshteyn, a former Trump aide who is currently advising Missouri Senate candidate Eric Greitens, also tore into McConnell, describing his actions as “pathetic.”
“This makes me think: Does Mitch McConnell care more about opposing the Democrats or opposing the MAGA movement, opposing the MAGA posse, opposing Donald J. Trump?” Epshteyn said. “Because that’s what this is all about.”
Some sharply attacked the deal without naming the senator who crafted and promoted it.
“I believe it was a mistake to offer this deal,” said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), adding that two days ago “Schumer was on the verge of surrender. And unfortunately the deal that was put on the table was a lifeline for Schumer.”
Greitens, who resigned as Missouri governor in 2018 amid allegations that he hit, groped and coerced a woman into sexual contact, said last month that if he wins election to the Senate he will not support McConnell as Republican leader.
Many of the Republicans running in Senate primaries have gone out of their way to court Trump’s support, including by backing his false claims about the 2020 election, but so far only Greitens has joined him in condemning the Kentucky Republican.
It's almost as though Republican office holders never heard the phrase about either all hanging together or being hung one by one. Or maybe they actually do embrace the fascism Trump is offering. Very few have stood up and actually left Trump's orbit. Few but... some. I have very mixed feelings about these conservative Republicans who switch parties. Most of them are like Congressmen Tom O'Halleran (Blue Dog-AZ) and Charlie Crist (Blue Dog-FL). They both conservative Republicans whose career trajectories become unaligned with the Republican Party. Both switched to "independent," failed and, seeing a career opportunity, "became" Democrats-- in their cases very conservative Democrats who frequently vote for the GOP in Congress. O'Halleran and Crist are, if nothing else, political opportunists.
What I don't like about people like them being given the keys to the Democratic Party kingdom is that they drag the party inexorably away from progressivism and towards conservatism. Lately, the exiles from the GOP are Trump haters, not embracers of Democratic Party values. They have wrecked the Democratic Party brand and made it more difficult for voters to understand the difference between the two parties.
However, there are exceptions to the rule. On rare occasion, a Republican actually has a Saul-on-the-road-to-Damascus transformation and becomes a worthwhile true blue Democrat-- former Oklahoma Republican, current Massachusetts Democrat Elizabeth Warren is the best example. Yesterday we learned about a prominent Oklahoma Republican woman, state Supervisor of Public Instruction, Joy Hofmeister switching parties-- albeit (bad sign) specifically to run for governor. Watch:
Hofmeister, who is term-limited out of her job, suddenly says she's been concerned about "extremism in the Republican Party" for months. But as former Lt. Governor Todd Lamb (R) told Channel 4, "If she thought she could beat Kevin Stitt as a Republican, she would not have switched parties." That bothers the Democratic Party not at all, even though former state Senator Connie Johnson-- a real Democrat-- is already running.
Hofmeister is attacking Stitt for grossly mismanaging the pandemic-- which would certainly be can Achilles Heal in a state less locked in step with Trump. Remember, last year Trump won Oklahoma in a landslide-- 1,020,280 (65.37%) to 503,890 (32.29%). Only Wyoming and West Virginia were worse defeats for Biden. Trump won every single county in Oklahoma. Only 48% of Oklahomans are vaccinated, one of the worst rates in the country, as you might expect. And look at the counties where Trump did best:
Cimarron Co.- Trump 92.0% (25% fully vaccinated)
Beaver Co.- Trump 90.4% (26% fully vaccinated)
Ellis Co.- Trump 90.1% (31% fully vaccinated)
Dewey Co.- Trump 90.0% (23% fully vaccinated)
Harper Co.- Trump 89.2% (39% fully vaccinated)
Major Co.- Trump 88.9% (43% fully vaccinated)
Roger Mills Co.- Trump 88.8% (32% fully vaccinated)
I don't see anyone with a "D" next to her name winning many votes in any of them. What about the counties where Trump did worst? There were only 4 where Trump got less than 60% of the vote-- but their vaccination rates are better than the counties that were hung-ho on Trumpism:
Oklahoma Co.- Trump 49.2% (55% fully vaccinated)
Cleveland Co.- Trump 55.7% (46% fully vaccinated)
Tulsa Co.- Trump 56.5% (53% fully vaccinated)
Comanche Co.- Trump 58.7% (50% fully vaccinated)
Tulsa World quoted Hofmeister saying that she believes "Stitt is running Oklahoma into the ground. I am changing parties to run as a Democrat and that is because I also believe in the values of supporting public education, supporting quality and good access to healthcare, as well as rural infrastructure." Stitt is violently against mask mandates and has gone to war against local school boards over it. She's trying to run as a bipartisan "results-oriented" candidate, something many conservative Democrats try, especially in red states like Oklahoma. To me, this explains what it means to be a Democratic leader in 2021. None of it has anything to do with Joy Hofmeister and her party switch.