Who Gets To Define What-- And Who-- A RINO Is?
In their analysis of where the Senate is with Biden's infrastructure package, the folks over at Punchbowl News, wrote exactly what they could have written 4 months ago without changing a word: "But some Republicans privately told us that they’re worried that the size and cost of the Democrats’ budget resolution-- paid for at least in part by tax increases on corporations and wealthy Americans-- could push [actually that can be changed to will push] Republicans outside the G10 to oppose the bipartisan infrastructure deal. Undecided Republicans would see a 'tidal wave' of new federal spending and 'get turned off by it,' in the words of one GOP senator close to the issue."
Yes, conservatives do not want to spend money or raise taxes on corporate profits or on the rich and Republicans want to make sure the Democrats fail at governing in the run up tp the midterms. The rest is just a dance around the conservative-- but not Republican-- sensibilities of Joe Manchin and around the severe psychosis of Kyrsten Sinema.
A couple of funny lines from the analysis: "Now, we know what you’re thinking-- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and his GOP colleagues are already trying to find a way not to support the G10 deal. And there could be an element of that here." Is "(R-KY)" really needed? Maybe if the reader is from Mars. In fact the whole notion that "McConnell and his colleagues are already trying to find a way not to support" something is strictly for someone from Mars.
Because of Manchin's and Sinema's reticence, Biden and Schumer have basically had no choice but tallow the conservatives to drag this out so that the Republicans could run out the clock and-- if not that in the end-- at least put the Democrats who vote for reconciliation-- in the worst possible light. My own thought is that the Democrats should have been spending theist few months fortifying their position that what they are doing for the American people is a BIG WINNER electorally and they should be as aggressive in championing it as the Republicans are in predicting doom and gloom if it passes.
Yesterday CNN reported that the all-conservative deal that everyone keeps referring to as "the bipartisan infrastructure compromise," is going to be sabotaged by the Republicans. Oh who didn't see that coming from even before the "compromise" was even announced? Manu Raju and friends wrote that Several of the 11 GOP senators "who initially endorsed the deal are warning they may ultimately vote against it as it moves through the legislative process, a sign of the daunting hurdles ahead as proponents try to push the massive proposal through the evenly divided chamber by next month." Jerry Moran (R-KS) has been threatened by Trump and he's up for reelection and has no backbone at all, so he's a no. Same goes for Todd Young (R-IN). Mike Rounds (R-SD) will also never stand up to Trump, who has already declared that any Republican who backs it is a RINO. Lindsey Graham's participation in this was always a pointless joke and a waste of everyone's time but Richard Burr (R-NC) is retiring and even he's afraid to piss Trump off! In the end, the only Republicans who will back this will be Colins, Murkowski, Romney and Portman, not even close to the 10 needed to get around McConnell's filibuster.
This morning Alexander Bolton wrote that Trump's iron grip on the party’s grassroots is making it tougher and tougher" for any Republican senators who might want to, "to keep ignoring him. Latest conservatives to be called RINOs for not licking Trump's ass fervently enough: Jim Lankford (R-OK), Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and John Boozman (R-AR). Boozman and Lankford now have neo-fascist primary opponents. Boozman, who already had one Trumpist running against him, is, as of yesterday, also being challenged by football player Jake Bequette who announced his campaign with an ad saying "What’s happening in Washington these days is a disgrace. Democrats have been taken over by radical socialists, and too many Republicans just go along to get along." Bequette's case is that he's the "a true conservative who will advance the Trump conservative agenda" while Boozman has "been in Washington for over 20 years. He’s going on his third decade in Washington, in the swamp. I just think it’s time for a change, it’s time for someone new." Trump made one of his pro-forma endorsements of Boozman a few months go.
Lankford not only has a Trumpist nut and 29-year old pastor, Jackson Lahmeyer challenging him, but the chairman of the state Republican Party, John Bennett, a severely mentally ill former state legislator best know as the freak who demanded Hillary Clinton be executed by firing squad, endorsed the Trumpist nut.The Trumpist nut has also been endorsed by MAGA influencers Mike Flynn and Lin Wood. (What's take Giuliani and Trump Jr's girlfriend so long?). Lahmeyer's platform may sound like the stuff for an involuntary commitment to an insane asylum but we're talking about Oklahoma, where demanding Trump be reinstated and every state be subjected tp an audit for the Nazi Ninja Turtles and that the FBI is in cahoots with Anifa and were the real 1/6 culprits.
Bolton wrote that "Trump on Monday warned that Republican candidates who don’t publicly embrace him are setting themselves up for failure in the next election."
“Four years ago, a man named Ed Gillespie ran for Governor of Virginia without ‘embracing’ MAGA, or the America First movement. He tried to skirt the issue by wanting my endorsement, yet walking on both sides of the fence. The Trump base is very large in Virginia, they understood his game, and they didn’t come out for Gillespie, nor did I do anything to help or hurt. He got creamed!,” Trump said in a statement through his PAC.
Republican leaders have continued to urge their party members to focus on policy instead of Trump’s favorite topic, relitigating the results of the 2020 election.
“I think looking backward is a mistake. If Republicans are relitigating the last election, it means they’re not focusing on the next one,” Senate Republican Whip John Thune (SD) told reporters Monday when asked about heat Senate GOP colleagues face for not supporting efforts to overturn the 2020 election results.
Thune suggested that while rehashing the results of the November election might rev up some primary voters, it’s not likely to be a winning message in a general election.
“And we have a job to do and if we want to put a check and balance in place against the Biden agenda, we’ve got to try and figure out how to get the House and Senate back in 2022 and that’s going to entail speaking to, speaking to those voters in the middle,” he said. “You’ve got a third of the voters who think that the last election ought to be relitigated, you got a third on [the Democratic] side who want to turn us into Europe, but there’s a big third in the middle who are going to decide this election.
“Most voters in the country are going to want to know what you’re doing to solve economic challenges, what you’re going to do to deal with safety in our streets and stronger borders,” he added. “I would hope that state parties all across the country, at least on our side, stay focused on those.”
Another key development came this weekend when the Alaska Republican State Central Committee endorsed Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-AK) Republican primary challenger, Kelly Tshibaka, whom Trump endorsed in June.
Murkowski didn’t vote for Trump in November and was one of seven Senate Republicans to vote in February to convict him on an article of impeachment for the role he played in inciting a crowd that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6.
On Saturday, Trump took a shot at retiring Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) over his support for his former chief of staff Katie Britt in that state’s Senate Republican primary.
"I see that the RINO Senator from Alabama, close friend of Old Crow Mitch McConnell, Richard Shelby, is pushing hard to have his ‘assistant’ fight the great Mo Brooks for his Senate seat. She is not in any way qualified and is certainly not what our Country needs or not what Alabama wants," Trump said in a statement, reiterating his support for Rep. Mo Brooks in the primary.
Brooks helped lead the charge of House Republicans who objected to the Electoral College results earlier this year.
Shelby on Monday bristled at the notion that he’s a "Republican in name only."
"I'm a Republican and I don’t think anybody questions that," he said, adding that Britt is the "the best qualified" candidate in the race.
...Trump’s power within the party is also clear in the Ohio Senate Republican primary, where candidate J.D. Vance, who previously called Trump “reprehensible,” is now styling himself as a pro-Trump Republican.
Vance apologized last week for saying “critical things,” telling Fox News: “I regret them and I regret being wrong about the guy.”
He candidly acknowledged in an interview with Tim that “I’m a flip-flop-flipper on Trump” and needed “to just suck it up and support him.”
Some Republican strategists think that McConnell and other Senate GOP leaders should follow Vance and do more to show their fealty to Trump.
One Republican who can laugh off Trump's barbs is Supreme Court Justice-for-life Brett Kavanaugh. In Michael Wolff's new book, Landslide-- The Final Days Of The Trump Presidency, Trump, who rarely cops to making any errors, admits Kavanaugh was always just a 3rd rate nominee. "There were so many others I could have appointed, and everyone wanted me to. Where would he be without me? I saved his life. He wouldn't even be in a law firm. Who would have had him? Nobody. Totally disgraced. Only I saved him... Practically every senator called me... and said, 'Cut him loose, sir, cut him loose. He’s killing us, Kavanaugh.' ... I said, 'I can’t do that.'... I can’t even believe what's happening. I'm very disappointed in Kavanaugh. I just told you something I haven’t told a lot of people. In retrospect, he just hasn't had the courage you need to be a great justice. I’m basing this on more than just the election."