Rep. Katie Porter wins the day as she takes on Postmaster Louis DeJoy with her whiteboard
There are few things that can truly make a person palpitate in their pantaloons, but for conservatives, Rep. Katie Porter with a whiteboard is one of those things, or should be.
She should really start doing these demonstrations with a Captain America shield, because this woman is a bonafide superhero when it comes to making Republicans look corrupt and foolish.
Porter recently took aim at Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a Trump administration holdover who is to the Postal Service what Jared Fogle currently is to Subway. DeJoy, who apparently thinks the Postal Service should run as efficiently as a Trump business, has basically eroded trust in the USPS since taking over in June of 2020. And Porter has noticed.
During a House Oversight Committee hearing on Friday, she quizzed USPS Deputy Inspector General for Auditing Melina Perez about, well, what the fuck DeJoy thinks he's doing with the fucking Postal Service.
Watch … and enjoy:
On-time mail delivery has plummeted under Postmaster Louis DeJoy\u2014forcing veterans to wait longer for prescriptions, seniors to scramble to pay bills without their Social Security checks, and communities to feel less connected.\n\nPostmaster DeJoy needs to go.pic.twitter.com/NxVivkOQZt— Rep. Katie Porter (@Rep. Katie Porter) 1637025581
PORTER: "The audit found that, by the spring of 2020, mail delivery was right around 92%. That is, about 92% of the mail got there within the standard of on-time. That dropped to 80% by the fall of 2020, and by January of 2021 was hovering at around 61%. I realize this has gone up somewhat since then, but I wanted to ask you, when did Mr. DeJoy take over as postmaster? Do you know?"
PEREZ: "The summer of 2020."
PORTER: "The summer of 2020. So June of 2020. And what happened after he took over? Did the rate of on-time mail delivery go up or down?"
PEREZ: "Went down."
PORTER: "And, um, I'm a professor and I used to grade—do a lot of grading, and 92% is considered widely like an A-; 80 is considered hanging on to the lowest possible B; 60% is at best a D-. The Postal Service delivers 48% of the world's mail. It is an institution, it is a civic treasure, and we let it get all the way, what you found is, we let it get all the way to that D- level."
Whew. I'm glad she's on our side.
I'm actually being serious when I say this: If Democrats want to win the hearts and minds of voters, they need to bring Porter out more often, to hose away Republicans' frothy bullshit on every major, widely misunderstood issue.
You know Katie Porter is having an impact when a whiteboard becomes a verb.— Okey Dokey Corral (@Okey Dokey Corral) 1637091939
Whether it be marginal tax rates, inflation rates, Republican tax scams, or whatever CRT-like boogeyman the GOP is hoping to elevate this week, Porter cuts through the noise better than just about anyone else.
Of course, if you didn't know any better, you'd think DeJoy was deliberately trying to destroy the Postal Service. Even if you did know better, you'd probably think that. And it makes total sense: Republicans have been hammering away at the Postal Service for years. Bringing in a hammerhead like DeJoy to hasten its death—or its irrevocable transformation—is pretty on-brand.
DeJoy's brilliant plan for the USPS is to slow down service and increase prices. In other words, he appears to be launching the service into an ineluctable death spiral. And I can't speak to DeJoy's motivations, but that would definitely benefit private competitors like UPS and FedEx.
Of course, Congress basically shivved the USPS in 2006 by forcing the agency to fund its employees' retirement and health benefits 50 years into the future. And while Donald Trump famously feuded with the Postal Service, Republicans have had their knives out for the beloved institution for a long time.
As The Washington Post's Paul Waldman noted in an August 2020 column, the reason for this is likely that the USPS represents everything Republicans hate, and getting rid of it serves a goal they all tend to share.
If you were a highly ideological conservative, the Postal Service would be a problem. It serves every American, no matter how far-flung, with a low-cost, reliable service — and provides secure employment with good wages and benefits for a blue-collar, unionized workforce, many of them Black or members of other minority groups. Americans love it, which almost inevitably makes them feel warmer toward the government in general. Why, it's positively socialistic!
So there's a vision underlying these changes. It's of a Postal Service that no longer treats all Americans equally, but charges some more than others. It charges everyone more than it does now for some services, which would be a gift to its competitors such as UPS and FedEx. It values "efficiency" over getting the mail out to every address every day. It's less reliable, less certain, and eventually, less highly regarded.
Okay, sure. Well, if liberals want the Postal Service to get more Republicans' support, maybe they should green-light a $1.7 trillion delivery van that doesn't work.
The irony is that, if the Postal Service went away and private businesses were forced to fill in the gap, rural areas—the very places that boost Republicans the most—would get hit the hardest. Yeah, you could still mail a letter to an Alaskan backwater, but they'd likely charge you way more than the USPS does now (i.e., the same amount they charge for sending a letter across town).
So, naturally, this exciting (for the GOP) murder of an institution—one that has long been a path to stability and upward mobility for communities of color, as my colleague Denise Oliver Velez wrote in 2020—has to be done behind closed doors, but Porter, et al., aren't allowing Republicans to do that. If they're going to kill the Postal Service, they're going to have to do it in the harsh light of day. Then all those rural Trump voters will finally be able to see the consequences of their foolish decisions.
Ha ha! Like Trump voters will ever change their tune. Sometimes I crack myself up.
Some of us will see those consequences. I just hope enough of us wake up in time to save a government agency that few people outside of libertarian think tanks really want to see destroyed.
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