Congressional Democrats know they screwed it all up and that the public is going to punish them at the polls next year. How severely depends on many factors-- inflation, the pandemic, the price of gas, prices of drugs... and countless unknowables. And Trump; the DCCC is counting on him
proving that the Democrats are the lesser evil.
Yesterday, Scott Wong offered this at The Hill: Trump's Revenge Cult Is Poisoning The Midterms For The Republicans. And is it ever! That's a story that can be written almost every day. This morning I saw an exchange from the Hugh Hewitt Show:
Señor Trumpanzee: So we have some big endorsements coming.
Hewitt: Please don’t, please don’t endorse Eric Greitens. That’s a nightmare, Mr. President. We’ll lose that seat. But that’s Hugh Hewitt’s opinion, not yours.
Señor Trumpanzee: Well, that’s an interesting opinion, that’s true. He’s right now leading by quite a bit.
Hewitt: I know, but he will lose the seat. We will lose the seat.
Señor Trumpanzee: I understand that. Okay, some people feel that.
Trump has inserted himself into all the GOP Senate primaries and more and more House primaries. It is freaking the Republican establishment out for two reasons: first and foremost because his extremist candidates may lose, even in heavily red states like Missouri, and secondly because his extremist candidates may win... and further stink up Congress, the way Marjorie Traitor Greene, Lauren Boebert, Matt Gaetz, Paul Gosar, Madison Cawthorn and the rest of the clowns do.
The impetus for Wong's story yesterday was about the contest to fill Kevin Brady's very red seat in Texas. Brady is retiring and Morgan Luttrell is the consensus GOP candidate-- tantamount to election in the R+25 district that Trump won with 70.6%. The fly in the ointment came when Luttrell called his fellow veteran and old friend-- and Trump enemy-- Adam Kinzinger, looking for a campaign contribution. Kinzinger was glad to accommodate-- with a check from his anti-Trump Country First PAC.
Trump loyalists went crazy and the politically gutless former Navy Seal, Luttrell returned the contribution. "The strange episode," wrote Wong, "highlights just how cautious inexperienced Republican congressional candidates need to be as they navigate a perilous campaign cycle where Trump-- the de facto leader of the GOP and its possible nominee in 2024-- is vowing to destroy any fellow Republican who opposes him or anyone who aligns with their cause."
“Rule one on a campaign is ‘do no harm,’ and I wouldn’t have allowed for that contribution to be accepted,” said one GOP campaign strategist who works with House candidates.
The situation also shows just how challenging it will be for Kinzinger-- who has raised more than $2 million this year-- to play in contested GOP primaries around the country. While GOP candidates are eager to receive donations, they may not want to accept money from Kinzinger if it results in vicious attacks from Trump and his loyalists.
Note: I wrote to Kinzinger and asked him to come out to California and do a campaign event for Bruno Amato, who's running against another Kinzinger bête noire, Kevin McCarthy. Kinzinger didn't reply.
Kinzinger is leaving Congress and says he will be focusing on the "broader fight nationwide" against Trumpism. Sex trafficker and Trump ally Matt Gaetz: "My suspicion is that Adam Kinzinger will become a lot more deft at concealing the way he’s deploying lobbyist and special interest money to try to remake the Republican Party in their image-- not President Trump’s. I wouldn’t want to run as a candidate in a Republican primary, taking money from Adam Kinzinger’s PAC, but I don’t suspect that he’ll be offering," he told Wong. Good guess; one of the reasons Kinzinger is throwing in the towel is because of fascist suck-ups and toadies like Gaetz and the rest of the Gang Greene.
The Luttrell campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
Luttrell’s twin brother, Marcus Luttrell, is a close ally to former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) and a retired Navy SEAL. He was depicted in the 2013 Mark Wahlberg film Lone Survivor about a failed counterinsurgent mission against the Taliban.
Kinzinger first met the Luttrell brothers in 2019 on the Luttrell ranch in Texas during the taping of a Fox News special called Modern Warriors.
The trio have been friendly ever since.
Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who has his eye on the Speakership, also has been friendly with Morgan Luttrell. While Luttrell, so far, is not one of McCarthy’s eight “Young Guns” for 2022, the GOP leader did invite and host the former Navy SEAL at the “Gold Caucus Summit,” McCarthy’s summer donor retreat in Jackson Hole, Wyo., a spokesman said.
“Leadership is high on him,” one House Republican lawmaker said of Luttrell. “Trump World is upset that [leadership] is pumping him up since he’s cozy with Kinzinger.”
Proxy battles are also being waged between the pro-Kinzinger and pro-Trump camps in other parts of the GOP conference. This week, a video emerged on social media showing Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), also a former Navy SEAL and decorated war vet, at an event with Luttrell and Texas GOP candidate Wesley Hunt, defending Kinzinger and taking aim at the Trump-aligned House Freedom Caucus.
“Why am I supporting these two? … There’s two types of members in Congress: There’s performance artists and there’s legislators. Now, the performance artists are the ones who get all the attention … They are the ones you think are more conservative because they know how to say slogans real well,” Crenshaw, who lost his eye in a roadside bomb attack in Afghanistan, told the crowd.
He explained that during the first two years of Trump’s presidency, when the GOP controlled all of government, there were Republicans who voted with Trump’s agenda and those who often broke with Trump.
“No. 2, this is probably going to make you cringe a little bit, is Adam Kinzinger. Voted with Trump almost 99 percent,” Crenshaw said. “You know who was at the bottom? Everyone in the Freedom Caucus, all of them.
“We have grifters in our midst … I mean in the conservative movement. Lie after lie after lie.”
Crenshaw’s remarks infuriated some Freedom Caucus leaders and Jordan or Biggs assigned some far right backbencher in their caucus, Warren Davidson (OH), to attack Crenshaw on Twitter. "Actual conservatives oppose bankrupting America, spying on Americans, and crony surveillance capitalism."