Laura Clawson

Teachers union makes move that will make Republican heads explode

The nation's largest teachers union voluntarily put itself in the crosshairs of Republican attacks on critical race theory. At its annual representative assembly, the National Education Association passed a business item pledging that the union "in coordination with national partners, NEA state and local affiliates, racial justice advocates, allies, and community activists, shall build powerful education communities and continue our work together to eradicate institutional racism in our public school system."

In addition to the addition of a task force that "that identifies the criteria for safe, just, and equitable schools, including exploring the role of law enforcement in education," the NEA plans to join campaigns to, among other things, tackle the school-to-prison pipeline, press for funding formulas that reduce racial and wealth disparities, push for hiring of more educators of color, and—and here's the part where Republican heads explode—"Result in increasing the implementation of culturally responsive education, critical race theory, and ethnic (Native people, Asian, Black, Latin(o/a/x), Middle Eastern, North African, and Pacific Islander) Studies curriculum in pre- K-12 and higher education." In short: Oh, you want to demonize something that's not even really being taught in K-12 schools? Fine, we'll make plans to actually teach it.

Introducing the business item, Illinois high school science teacher Eric Brown said it would "address the issues that politicians have sought to divide us over, but more importantly, it will define what we mean by 'just, safe, and equitable,' and it provides the supports our members, locals, and states need to continue to lead on racial justice in spite of those politicians."

You take a six-dollar pay cut and what do you get? Five years older and no respect for the sacrifices you made to get your employer out of bankruptcy, say the striking Alabama coal miners who protested outside the Manhattan offices of three hedge funds on June 22.

"They told us, since we bailed them out, they would take care of us," says Brian Kelly, president of United Mine Workers of America Local 2245, one of more than 1,000 miners who've been on strike at two mines in Brookwood, Alabama, since April 1. But instead, he says, "they're bringing in scabs to work and trying to get rid of the older workforce."

Pelosi announces select committee to investigate Jan. 6

You cannot say House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rushed this decision but now, almost a month after Senate Republicans filibustered a commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, Pelosi announced that she's launching a select committee to investigate.

"This morning with great solemnity and sadness I'm announcing that the House will be establishing a select committee on the January 6th insurrection," Pelosi said.

On Tuesday, similar reports emerged that Pelosi would form a select committee, only to have Pelosi call it a "false report," with a spokesperson saying: "Speaker Pelosi told Members she plans to announce WHETHER she will create a select committee THIS WEEK. Her preference continues to be a bipartisan commission which Senate Republicans are blocking."

Senate Republicans have forced Pelosi's hand: It's a select committee, investigation by standing committees, or nothing. Pelosi and other Democrats really held out, promoting the idea of another Senate vote even though there was no reason to believe the needed Republican votes would materialize.

Following the Republican filibuster in which 35 Republican senators opposed to the creation of an independent investigatory commission defeated 48 Democrats and six Republicans in favor of it (with 11 senators not voting), Pelosi declared, "Honoring our responsibility to the Congress in which we serve and the Country which we love, Democrats will proceed to find the truth."

It's time to proceed. Past time, really.

In the effort to win Republican votes for a commission, Democrats made major concessions as to the shape the commission would have taken. They don't have to make as many concessions this time. It's a given that Republicans will try to paint anything a select committee does as a partisan witch hunt, so it might as well be an aggressive effort to find the truth as a weak tea effort to look nonpartisan. The weak tea investigation would get the same Republican treatment without the same chance of uncovering important information.

We need a select committee to find out as much as possible about how the attack on the Capitol unfolded, from the earliest planning stages to the days immediately leading up to it to the attack itself to the aftermath and any cover-up attempts. That means getting to the bottom of failures to gather and respond to intelligence about what the crowd of Trump supporters was planning, how the Capitol Police were so unprepared, and why the National Guard was delayed. It includes what Donald Trump was doing during the attack. It includes what Trump told House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who has been so opposed to an investigatory commission. It includes which extremist groups were involved, and how, and how far-reaching their conspiracies were.

Federal prosecutors are at work on individual defendants and some conspiracies among the mob, but something this big can't be answered just through prosecution of the people on the scene. This was a violent effort to prevent Congress from doing its part in the peaceful transition of power, and it did not just happen organically.

Republicans have made clear that they don't want it investigated. They're engaged in an active campaign of downplaying and covering up, to the extent of 21 House Republicans voting not to award police responders the Congressional Gold Medal. Their participation in and response to a select committee to investigate has to be reported and assessed through that lens.

Paging Joe Manchin: Senate Republicans set to filibuster voting rights bill

The Senate is set to vote Tuesday on the For the People Act, but, with Republicans already enacting one vicious voter suppression bill after another in the states, a federal voting rights bill will fall to the filibuster. If Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin decides to vote for it—after proposing changes last week which other Democrats largely embraced—Republicans will nonetheless be able to block the bill using the filibuster as a tool of minority rule.

Former President Barack Obama endorsed Manchin's proposal Monday, and hammered home the importance of the legislation, saying on a call with supporters, "We can't wait until the next election because if we have the same kinds of shenanigans that brought about Jan. 6, if we have that for a couple more election cycles, we're going to have real problems in terms of our democracy long-term."

Manchin has insisted that he doesn't want to see voting rights legislation treated in a partisan way, as if he can't see Republicans doing exactly that in the states. He suggested that his watered-down version of the bill might be enough to garner some Republican votes, but thus far no Republican rush has materialized to end gerrymandering, introduce automatic voter registration, and expand early voting. How surprising.

"The real driving force behind S. 1 is the desire to rig the rules of American elections permanently—permanently—in Democrats' favor," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. "That's why the Senate will give this disastrous proposal no quarter." Two things here are old news that remains noteworthy: McConnell sees anything that makes it easier to vote and harder to gerrymander as rigging elections for Democrats, which tells you something, and McConnell is deeply committed to rigging the rules of elections, just for Republicans.

Sen. Lindsey Graham has been whipping up the Republican base's fear of the bill by lying about the anti-gerrymandering provision, claiming it "would take away from states the ability to draw congressional lines, and give it to an independent commission created in Washington." In fact, the provision would task states with creating their own independent, nonpartisan redistricting commissions. But to Republicans who have gained power in recent decades through ruthless gerrymandering—in Wisconsin in 2018, Scott Walker lost reelection as governor statewide but won in 63 of 99 state Assembly districts, for instance—making the process nonpartisan and independent is almost as bad as putting it in the hands of partisan Democrats.

Democrats are moving forward with the vote, though. Right now, the hopeful outlook is, "We won't get 10, but we may get a couple" Republican votes, as Sen. Jeff Merkley said on CNN Tuesday morning. And that is a very optimistic scenario, with McConnell out there declaring the voting rights bill "disastrous."

This is the power of the filibuster to give Republicans a veto: Unless something can be passed through budget reconciliation, which most Democratic priorities cannot be (but most Republican priorities can be, go figure), all Republicans have to do is hold 40% of the Senate, at a time when Republicans can hold an outright majority of the Senate while still representing fewer overall voters than Democrats do. In the current 50-50 Senate, Democrats represent 41 million more people than Republicans do. And they're using that minority power to continue to solidify minority power for themselves, by blocking voting rights, blocking statehood for Washington, D.C., and packing the courts in their favor.

Manchin finishes negotiating with himself over voting rights legislation

It's feeling like Groundhog Day: Sen. Joe Manchin has emerged to announce voting rights provisions he would support, and for which he has reportedly suggested he could win Republican support. Up next, Republicans will refuse to support Manchin's modest, centrist proposal, followed by questions about whether or when Manchin will consider reforming the filibuster so that all these things he claims to support can actually pass.

Maybe this will be the straw that breaks the camel's back and Manchin will admit, in deep sorrow, that 10 Republicans are never going to support anything Democrats want, and that therefore, though he wishes it could be otherwise, he is left with no choice but to back changes to the filibuster. Much more likely, he will whine and complain about how sad it is that few or no Republicans will join him, but will continue insisting that the filibuster is a requirement of bipartisanship which must never, ever be changed.

Crucially, Manchin supports the For the People Act's ban on gerrymandering. He also supports instituting 15 days of early voting, automatic voter registration, making Election Day a holiday, and disclosure of dark money.

Those are good or potentially good things. In the middle ground, Manchin supports a voter ID requirement, a measure often used by Republicans to make voting more difficult. But Manchin explicitly says he'd allow for things like utility bills to be used as ID, which would dramatically lower the barrier. (Or, as Stephen Wolf suggests, Democrats could think big and offer a free national ID to meet the requirement.)

On the negative side, Manchin opposes no-excuse absentee voting, same-day voter registration, and public financing of elections. He is just fine with voter purges. He wants to continue disenfranchising people over past felony convictions.

But of course none of what Manchin supports or opposes here matters unless he can either find 10 Republicans to support his plan (ha) or is willing to make significant changes to the filibuster so that Republicans cannot painlessly filibuster everything other than budget reconciliation bills. At present, Manchin is offering Republicans veto power even over things he strongly supports, like a Jan. 6 commission. Is he going to shift position on the filibuster over voting rights? Or infrastructure? Is there a point when Manchin will acknowledge what every honest observer can already see: that Republicans are not acting in good faith and will not suddenly begin acting in good faith?

At the exact same time he's supporting these voting rights provisions, Manchin is crankily equivocating on his support for infrastructure spending on exactly the same bipartisanship grounds he's used to hold up every other thing. So maybe he's doing a truly masterful job laying the groundwork for that sorrowful turn against the filibuster due to the endless bad faith of Republicans. But does Joe Manchin really seem that nimble and adept to you?

Fallout from Trump Justice Department data seizures on reporters and members of Congress continues

Attorney General Merrick Garland is meeting with leaders from CNN, The New York Times, and The Washington Post, and he's going to have some explaining to do. All three media organizations have recently learned that, under Donald Trump, the Justice Department seized email records of some of their reporters, and stories about other questionable records seizures—including of Democratic members of Congress and even the underage child of a member of Congress—were in the headlines over the weekend.

President Joe Biden has said he won't allow secret seizures of reporters' records, but one big question is what's stopping the next Republican administration from doing so. "What we're asking the attorney general tomorrow is to try to bind future administrations," CNN Washington Bureau Chief Sam Feist said. "Don't just send a memo. Change policy."

But seizures of reporters' records aren't the only questionable thing the Trump Justice Department was up to, and there are also big questions about what's been going on there. The DOJ inspector general has opened an investigation into the the use of subpoenas "and other legal authorities" to obtain phone records of members of Congress and their families.

Trump White House counsel Don McGahn was also swept up in the records seizures, The New York Times reported, but Marcy Wheeler argues that that report is largely a distraction from the truly problematic subpoenas—and buries the key information that a House Intelligence Committee staffer appears to have been the actual target of the investigation that pulled in Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell.

And, Wheeler argues, the issue here goes beyond the fact that Schiff and Swalwell's records were seized to begin with. First, once prosecutors realized that they had records for members of Congress, the records should have been sealed. Second, William Barr's denials of involvement don't hold up, because he's denied things he can deny without addressing what he did do. The records were seized before Barr became attorney general, but he returned to them for a later investigation of … something.

"Barr never denied having focused on Members of Congress when he resuscitated his investigation in 2020 (nor has he said for sure that it remained a 'leak' investigation rather than a 'why does this person hate Trump' investigation, like so many others of his investigations," Wheeler writes. "Barr denied telling Trump about it. But he didn't deny that Members of Congress were investigated in 2020."

She adds that this incident exposes problems with Schiff's own approach to intelligence investigations: "That's why Adam Schiff's reassurances that Section 702 of FISA doesn't 'target' Americans have always been meaningless. Because once FBI ingests the records, they can go back to those records years later, in an entirely different investigation. And no one has denied such a thing happened here."

There's a lot that needs investigating here—and denials or no-comments from Barr, fellow former attorney general Jeff Sessions, and especially former deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein cannot be allowed to stand unchallenged. But just as it's not enough for the Biden administration to say that it will not secretly seize reporters' records, the responses to this need to go beyond saying it won't happen during this administration. The protections people get, whether reporters or members of Congress or regular people, can't depend on the goodwill of a presidential administration. The rules and policies themselves need to be stronger.

JP Morgan: 'Politics, not economics' is leading Republican governors to cut off unemployment aid

New unemployment claims fell to a pandemic low for the fourth week in a row, with a still-high but rapidly dropping 406,000 people filing for unemployment. But unemployment remains high, and 4.1 million people are on the brink of losing federal unemployment benefits that should have continued into September, thanks to Republican governors making the predictable political decision to scapegoat workers for the economy not recovering at jet-propelled speed. If you don't believe worker advocates when they tell you the Republican governors cutting off federal unemployment benefits early are doing it because of politics, would you believe it from an icon of unfettered capitalism?

"It therefore looks like politics, not economics, is driving decisions regarding the early ends to these programs," according to a document from JPMorgan. "The 23 states announcing early ends all have Republican governors, and while some of these states have tight labor markets and strong earnings growth, many of them do not." (Note: It's now 24 states.)

Pointing out that the nation as a whole is still 8.2 million jobs short of where it was in February 2020, with 10 million people looking for work and not finding it, the Economic Policy Institute's David Cooper breaks down the state data. The national unemployment rate is 6.1%, and four states—Alaska, Arizona, Texas, and Mississippi—are cutting off the $300 a week in federal unemployment aid despite having higher unemployment rates. Another four states—West Virginia, Wyoming, South Carolina, and Tennessee—have unemployment rates at 5% or above.

But that's not all: Seven of those eight states—and 20 of the 24 total states rejecting federal unemployment benefits—have also seen labor force participation decline. That means people have given up looking for work, whether because they've retired early, or because child care obligations keep them out of the paid workforce, or because the jobs just aren't there. Declining labor force participation is a red flag. Between unemployment and reduced labor force participation, "Employment is down by an average of 3.5% since February 2020 in these states. Factoring in the jobs that these states would have needed to keep up with working-age population growth, employment is 4.8% lower, on average, than where we might expect it to be had there been no recession," Cooper writes.

And that's the average across 24 states. A few of them are strikingly worse: "Texas's unemployment rate is still three percentage points above its pre-pandemic unemployment rate. The state has nearly one million people that are officially unemployed—people actively looking for jobs, but unable to find work. Florida's unemployment rate is 1.5 percentage points above its pre-pandemic rate, with nearly half a million people officially unemployed. Since February 2020, 150,000 people have left the labor force in Texas and nearly 220,000 have exited in Florida."

The economy is on its way back, and thanks to vaccination, the U.S. is unlikely to have another major COVID-19 spike (barring a variant that escapes the vaccines). But it's not there yet, and taking money from people who can't find work doesn't just hurt those people, it also hurts the economy by reducing their spending. Logic doesn't work on Republican governors, though. Neither does basic morality. So 4.1 million people are about to lose out on tens of billions of dollars in needed aid, with millions of them in states where the numbers clearly show that the jobs just aren't there.

Joe Manchin is embarrassing himself by letting Mitch McConnell play him for a chump

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is determined to keep the Senate from getting anything done—and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin is handing him leverage.

Oh, Manchin is trying to pretend that's not what he's doing. Maybe some part of him even believes it. But he is.

McConnell's opposition to an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol is "is extremely frustrating and disturbing. I know he's an institutionalist. I would like to think he loves this institution," Manchin said Tuesday. "There's a time when you rise above. And I'm hoping this would be the time he would do that. What I'm hearing is, he hasn't."

No, Joe, he hasn't. Because he's not an institutionalist if the institution in question is the U.S. Senate. McConnell's one and only priority is Republican power. He will never rise above that ruthless drive.

McConnell, 2010: "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president."

McConnell, 2021: "100% of my focus is on stopping this new administration."

But Joe Manchin thinks McConnell is suddenly going to start operating in good faith?

An institutionalist would not have held a Supreme Court seat open for nearly a year on the supposed principle that it was an election year, then rushed to fill another Supreme Court seat weeks before an election. But McConnell did.

An institutionalist would back an investigation into a deadly attack on the Capitol building intended to stop the Congress from fulfilling its constitutional duty of a peaceful transition of power. But McConnell opposes it.

Meanwhile, McConnell—surely smirking every time he thinks about it—is using Manchin to give Republicans near-total control of the Senate's agenda. Sen. Elizabeth Warren speaks the truth when she says McConnell "believes that he should have a veto over anything that the president of the United States and the majority elected to Congress want to do. It's wrong. This was his playbook when Obama was president, and he's dusted it off again."

McConnell is on his way to filibustering an independent Jan. 6 commission, which Manchin claims to so value. He's using Manchin's insistence on finding some imaginary "moderate, reasonable middle" on infrastructure to drag that priority out, to a lingering death if McConnell has his way, even as Manchin probably does want some infrastructure bill to pass. Again and again, Manchin is a very useful tool, creating the room for Republicans to pretend to good faith they manifestly do not have, giving them the leverage to exercise veto power even on things Manchin supports. Whatever else Manchin thinks is going on, he needs to understand that he's being played for a chump, and when he loses in 2022 after having given Republicans so much of what they wanted, it's that chumphood that will be his legacy.

Infrastructure talks have been rendered a joke by GOP bad faith and whatever Joe Manchin thinks he's doing

Negotiations between the White House and Senate Republicans over an infrastructure and jobs package are a predictable mess of Republican obstruction and dishonesty, but Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer claimed Tuesday that the legislation, whatever it looks like, will move on the planned timeline.

"It has always been our plan—regardless of the vehicle—to work on an infrastructure bill in July," Schumer said. "That's our plan, to move forward in July."

But key Democratic swing vote Sen. Joe Manchin sounded an ominous note, saying, "There's no magic date and there's no magic time." Since delay is a key Republican tactic for killing Democratic plans, Manchin's apparent willingness to drag things out could be a death knell. "We have to find something reasonable, and I'm always looking for that moderate, reasonable middle, if you can," he added, as if "reasonable" can be found in the middle between Republicans categorically opposed to anything Democrats want to do and President Joe Biden, a longtime moderate.

The question—aside from whether Schumer is accurate or Manchin helps Republicans delay an infrastructure plan to death—is what will move forward. The baseline here is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's pledge that "100% of my focus is on stopping this new administration." Against that backdrop, various Republican senators have been negotiating, or pretending to do so, but mysteriously that hasn't gone much of anywhere.

Biden has dropped his ask from $2.3 trillion to $1.7 trillion, while Republicans haven't moved nearly as much. They're playing games with numbers, claiming to be offering $600 billion or $1 trillion deals without admitting that much of their proposed spending is basically fictional. In some cases, Republicans are offering funding that already exists for those purposes while trying to make it look like new spending. Most recently, though, Republicans are trying to shift COVID-19 relief funds passed in the American Rescue Plan into their infrastructure proposal, stripping hundreds of billions of dollars from aid to state and local governments and payments to rural hospitals and other providers.

And even with all that trick accounting and plans to rob one priority to pay for another, Republicans are only claiming to offer $1 trillion. They're also steadfastly clinging to a 20th-century vision of U.S. infrastructure needs, in which roads and bridges count but a national charging network for electric vehicles does not, and care for the elderly and people with disabilities does not either.

These people can't be negotiated with because they are not operating in good faith. Will Manchin be willing to see that as Biden tries and tries and gets nowhere, or does he believe that if he helps Republicans block the infrastructure and jobs spending the U.S. so desperately needs, they will give him a break in his reelection? If so, does he also believe in unicorns, Santa Claus, and the tooth fairy?

Republican governors embrace lies and longtime racist tactics in cutting off unemployment aid

The flood of Republican-controlled states cutting off the federal unemployment benefits supplement will lead to nearly 2 million people losing payments before the September cutoff passed by Congress. The nearly 1.4 million people in the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Assistance programs will lose everything they're currently getting, while people on traditional unemployment insurance will lose the $300 a week above their state's regular benefits.

"These changes have the potential to drastically scale back assistance to jobless workers far too early in the recovery," Andrew Stettner, senior fellow at The Century Foundation, told CNN. "Nationally, there are still 16.8 million workers on one of the unemployment programs, and the nation is still short 8 million-plus jobs from the start of the pandemic."

According to Stettner's calculations, the early cutoffs will strip billions of dollars from jobless workers. If every state that has announced it's refusing the federal supplement did so starting on June 12, it would be $10.8 billion, but several states have announced later cutoff dates.

The Republican message is that this is what's needed because too many people are sitting home living large on unemployment aid and are too lazy to work. In reality, writes Adam Chandler at The Washington Post, "In the past year alone, study after study has debunked the myth that the emergency benefits and occasional payments provided by the government are disincentivizing people from returning to the labor force en masse."

Back when the federal government was adding $600 a week to unemployment benefits—a measure passed by a Republican Senate and signed by Donald Trump—a study by Yale economists found "no evidence that high UI [unemployment insurance] replacement rates drove job losses or slowed rehiring." Also last summer, University of Massachusetts economist Arindrajit Dube looked at unemployed workers without a college degree. "Overall," he concluded, "these findings do not provide evidence supporting the claim that the [Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation] has held back the labor market recovery."

And, Chandler notes, even these supposedly lavish unemployment benefits are not eradicating hunger: "According to a Census Bureau survey last month, nearly 1 in 3 Americans on unemployment said they were still failing to cover routine expenses such as food, housing and medical treatments."

So studies show that the emergency benefits aren't keeping lazy people from looking for work. Surveys show that people are not living large, or even necessarily making ends meet. But history gives us a context for the persistent claims that that's what's going on, as AFL-CIO economist William Spriggs pointed out:

Republicans can't reproduce those conditions, but they can use low or no unemployment benefits to force people back into minimum-wage and unsafe jobs—and the present-day effort also echoes the past in the disproportionately Black and Latino workers it targets, after 14 months in which Black and Latino people have disproportionately suffered and died as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

So far, Montana, South Carolina, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, North Dakota, Missouri, Iowa, Idaho, Tennessee, Wyoming, South Dakota, Utah, Georgia, Arizona, and Ohio have announced cutoff dates ranging from June 12 to July 10. More states could follow, raising the number of people in economic pain as a direct result of Republican lies about the unemployment situation.

Kevin McCarthy is totally flailing: He 'doesn't have the backbone to lead'

Kevin McCarthy has "leader" in his title, but the House minority leader is showing what a failure he is on that front. McCarthy has been flailing as Rep. Liz Cheney, currently the third-ranking House Republican, has outraged Trumpists with her insistence that the results of elections should be honored and insurrection is bad. McCarthy has joined the anti-Cheney camp, but clumsily, constantly playing catch-up rather than leading, and members of his own caucus are noticing.

McCarthy first went public with his opposition to Cheney in a probably fake "hot mic" moment on Fox News, then swiftly got behind Rep. Elise Stefanik's leadership bid. Stefanik is less conservative but more loyal to Trump and more opportunistic than Cheney. McCarthy followed that up with a laughably weak letter in which he argued for purging Cheney from leadership while claiming Republicans as "a big tent party" where "unlike the left, we embrace free thought and debate." (And, as a side point, made a hilarious reference to his "first small business," which was a deli counter in the corner of his uncle's frozen yogurt shop, and which he ran for a year before leaving to go to college.)

Getting on the anti-Cheney bandwagon may stave off the rebellion against McCarthy that would have been likely if he'd stuck with Cheney—because House Republicans are all in on Trump—but it's not winning him any loyalty or points for leadership.

A House Republican "long seen as an ally of leadership" vented to Politico that if Republicans take the House in 2022, he might not support McCarthy for speaker. "I'd be worried if I was him … You have people like me—who are here to do the right thing for all the right reasons and have an expectation of leadership—that are, shall we say, disgusted with the internal squabbling that results from having weak leadership. And it is weak leadership. Straight up."

According to a senior aide to a conservative House Republican, McCarthy has "flip-flopped on [Jan. 6 and whether it's] Trump's fault, it's not Trump's fault … It seems like he doesn't have the backbone to lead. He bends to political pressure. It's tough to do when you're speaker. You have to lead."

The fact that McCarthy immediately threw his weight behind Stefanik may turn out to be a problem for him as well, since Stefanik's coronation has angered some Republicans, from the Club for Growth to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. After all, Stefanik didn't get elected as a Trumpist—in fact, she not only didn't embrace him as the 2016 Republican nominee but opposed some of his key priorities in 2017—so the scent of opportunism is extremely strong around her 2019 conversion. She has committed to only serve in leadership through 2022, but the dissatisfaction (and, again, failure of leadership by McCarthy) is clear.

With McCarthy and Stefanik, House Republicans will have the leadership they deserve, combining opportunism and craven sucking up to Donald Trump with … well, not much else. But they've made clear that they find this immensely preferable to Cheney, who is if nothing else a principled (in all the worst ways) conservative in addition to her principled (in an admirable, if inadequate, way) commitment to ensuring that the winners of elections are the people who take office, and avoiding violence along the way. This is how we know the likes of Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar are not aberrations within the Republican Party. They are its leading edge.


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