Adam Schiff might be a little conservative for CA-28, the district he and I live in. When first elected he joined the Blue Dog caucus, then left that and became a New Dem... but in the last few years he's been one of the more progressive-leaning New Dems. I heard him on the radio a few weeks ago-- I don't remember the topic-- but I e-mailed him and suggested he dump the New Dems and join the Progressive Caucus already. He ignored me. Anyway, the point I wanted to make is that his popularity in this district-- Hollywood, Burbank, Silverlake, Glendale, West Hollywood, Los Feliz, Sunland-Tujunga, La Cañada-Flintridge, La Crescenta-Montrose, Atwater, Echo Park-- is mammoth, regardless of his ideology.
Schiff ousted Republican James Rogan-- a Clinton impeachment manager-- in 2000 in what was, at that time, the most expensive congressional race in history. Schiff won with 52.7%. His popularity headed right for the stratosphere, winning subsequent with totals in the 70s and even over 80% in one race. His on-going battle with Señor Trumpanzee has made him a political superstar. Last cycle he beat Republican Eric Early, a former-- and current-- candidate for California Attorney General, 244,271 (72.7%) to 91,928 (27.3%). For sake of comparison, Biden only won the district with 70.9%.
From the northernmost tip of our district you could hike through Mike Garcia's district and into the southernmost tip of Kevin McCarthy's in a few hours of steady trekking. But McCarthy was anything but neighborly yesterday. At a press conference, he said he would boot Schiff off the Intelligence Committee, of which Schiff is chair, if the Republicans win the House majority. (He has made similar threats against Ilhan Omar and Eric Swalwell in revenge for Democrats-- and some Republicans-- voting to kick Marjorie Traitor Greene and Paul Gosar off their committees.) This was the same presser where McCarthy said that though he still wants Madison Cawthorn to win reelection, the young North Carolina Nazi was wrong to call Zelenskyy a "thug" and that it is Putin who is the thug. But as I'm sure McCarthy is well-aware, Cawthorn, isn't the only pro-Putin Republican in the House Republican conference.
Yesterday, conservative pundit Charlie Sykes wrote explicitly about the GOP's pro-Putin wing. His party, he wrote "is experiencing some severe cognitive dissonance right now. Consider this mixed messaging: (and rank hypocrisy): 'More than two dozen Senate Republicans are demanding that President Biden do more to aid war-torn Ukraine and arm its forces against Russia’s brutal assault, after voting last week against $13.6 billion in military and humanitarian assistance for Ukraine.' Perhaps the confusion reflects the shift in the GOP base, which continues to disapprove of most anything President Biden does, but wants a more robust response to the Russian invasion. Here are the latest Pew numbers:
Which brings us to this interesting moment in GOP politics."
Right now, the pro-Putin (or anti-anti-Putin) faction is clearly in the minority, but they continue to have out-sized influence, especially on Russian state TV, where they provide aid and comfort to the Kremlin.
As the Republican Accountability Project notes, “Only 5 percent of Republicans support Russia over Ukraine, but the MAGA wing of the GOP has continually sided with Putin and against Ukraine.” RAP has helpfully collected some of the MAGA commentary. It’s worth bookmarking.
These are some of the quotes, many of which you've no doubt already seen."
Señor Trumpanzee: "So Putin is now saying it’s independent, a large section of Ukraine. I said, 'How smart is that?' And he’s gonna go in and be a peacekeeper. That’s the strongest peace force."
Señor Trumpanzee: "[Putin is] taking over a country for two dollars worth of sanctions. I’d say that’s pretty smart."
Madison Cawthorn (R-NC): "Remember that Zelenskyy is a thug. Remember that the Ukrainian government is incredibly corrupt and it is incredibly evil and has been pushing woke ideologies."
Marjorie Traitor Greene (R-GA): "NATO has been supplying the neo-Nazis in Ukraine with powerful weapons and extensive training on how to use them. What the hell is going with these #NATONazis?"
Tucker Carlson (R-FOX): "I think we should probably take the side of Russia, if we have to choose between Russia and Ukraine."
JD Vance (R-OH): "I gotta be honest with you, I don’t really care what happens to Ukraine one way or the other."
Candace Owens: "Every American who wants to know what’s actually going on in Russia and Ukraine, read this transcript of Putin’s address…WE are at fault."
Steve Bannon: "No Republican should vote for any money for Ukraine. $0 for Ukraine."
Peter Navarro (not a history-- or English-- professor): "The Soviet Union back before Russia when it broke up contained all of Ukraine including Crimea. The country itself is not really a country."
Matt Gaetz (R-FL): "I’m more concerned with the US-Mexico border than the Russia-Ukraine border. Not sorry."
Charlie Kirk: "It feels as if Putin is going into places that want him. They have voted overwhelmingly to be part of it. It is a family dispute that we shouldn’t get in the midst of, that’s for certain."
Laura Ingraham (R-Fox): "We had kind of a really pathetic display from the Ukrainian President Zelenskyy."
Mike Flynn: "[Putin is] a very strong leader. He’s been in charge for a long time. And he’s not going to put up with the nonsense he’s seeing in Europe."
Wendy Rogers (R-AZ): "Zelenskyy is a globalist puppet for Soros and the Clintons."
Nick Fuentes: "I wish Putin was president of America."
Add to this list: the eight (8) GOP representatives who voted yesterday against removing Most Favored Nation status from Russia and Belarus: Biggs (AZ) Bishop (NC) Boebert (CO) Gaetz (FL) Greene (GA) Grothman (WI) Massie (KY) Roy (TX).
...All of this is merely prologue to the much more fundamental choice that Republicans will have to make. And this is not about Trump’s “mean tweets” or his “personality.”
Once again, the party faces a time for choosing: Will they continue to back their party’s most voluble Putin defender? Or will they stand with the rest of the world?
Who speaks for the GOP?
UPDATE From Adam Schiff
A few hours after this was posted, Adam Schiff told me what most Americans who have been paying attention already know-- but needs to be repeated for those who don't: "After appointing Devin Nunes to the Intelligence Committee, insisting on a Benghazi Select Committee to take down Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers, and refusing to support an independent commission to investigate January 6th, McCarthy says he wants to change the democratic composition of the Intel committee to make it….less political? McCarthy does nothing but cater to the worst elements of his conference, and the immoral leader of his party."