The Exquisite Agony of Being Kevin McCarthy
“You talk to pretty much any lawmaker on the Hill, and there’s sort of just an acceptance, reluctant though it might be, but an acceptance that there will be a shutdown,” says [Abigail] Tracy, as a group of “rogue Republicans” keeps “making demands, shifting the goalposts, but nothing is going to placate them.”
Bomb throwers like Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Lauren Boebert are “not serious people,” says [John] Harwood, a Polis Distinguished Fellow at Duke University. “They’re on television, they have podcasts or whatever,” he adds, “but they’re not built to do what politicians have to do to make government work.”
link to podcast
Paul Krugman/The New York Times:
Why Kevin McCarthy Can’t Do His Job
The speaker of the House is the only congressional officer mentioned in the Constitution, other than a temporary Senate officer to preside when the vice president can’t. The speaker’s job isn’t defined, but surely it includes passing legislation that keeps the federal government running.
But Kevin McCarthy, the current speaker, isn’t doing that job. Indeed, at this point it’s hard to see how he can pass any bill maintaining federal funding, let alone one the Senate, controlled by Democrats, will agree to. So we seem to be headed for a federal shutdown at the end of this month, with many important government activities suspended until further notice.
Why? McCarthy is a weak leader, especially compared with Nancy Pelosi, his formidable predecessor. But even a superb leader would probably be unable to transcend the dynamics of a party that has been extremist for a generation but has now gone beyond extremism to nihilism.
And yes, this is a Republican problem. Any talk about dysfunction in “Congress,” or “partisanship,” simply misinforms the public. Crises like the one McCarthy now faces didn’t happen under Pelosi, even though she also had a very narrow majority. I’ll come back to that contrast. First, let me make a different comparison — between the looming shutdown of 2023 and the shutdowns of 1995-96, when Newt Gingrich was speaker.
Biden leads Trump in potential New Hampshire rematch, though dissatisfaction with both remains high
An early read of a New Hampshire rematch between Joe Biden and Donald Trump gives the incumbent president the advantage, amid signs that anger toward Trump could outweigh dampened enthusiasm for another Biden term, according to a new CNN/University of New Hampshire poll.
About 6 in 10 New Hampshire residents, 62%, say they would be dissatisfied or worse if Trump retook the presidency – with most, 56%, expressing outright anger at the prospect. A 56% majority say they’d be dissatisfied or worse if Biden won reelection, but fewer, 38%, say they’d be angry. About one-fifth say they’d be less than satisfied with either scenario
John Burn-Murdoch/Financial Times:
Are we destined for a zero-sum future?
A backdrop of slower economic growth may be shaping attitudes of tomorrow that cut across political divides
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You wouldn’t typically think of affirmative action advocates and anti-immigration nativists as being bedfellows. The former group skews young and is composed overwhelmingly of progressives, and the latter skews old and conservative. But according to a fascinating new study out of Harvard University, they have one significant thing in common: a predilection for zero-sum thinking, or the belief that for one group to gain, another must lose.The same way of thinking crops up on all manner of issues that cut across traditional political divides. Roughly equal numbers of US Democrats and Republicans agree that “in trade, if one country makes more money, then another country makes less money”. And while Democrats are more likely to say “if one income group becomes wealthier, this comes at the expense of other groups”, a third of Republicans agree.
New GOP ad campaign for control of Virginia centers on abortion limits
Democrats are campaigning against the GOP's proposed restriction at 15 weeks. Republicans are painting Democrats as the party of "no limits" in an effort to regain ground on abortion.
Republicans have high hopes of flipping Virginia’s state Senate and holding the state House of Delegates in November, which would give them full control of state government under GOP Gov. Glenn Youngkin. Youngkin, seeking the governing majority that would allow him to enact parts of his agenda he has struggled to push through a divided legislature, is leading what has become a massive investment in the statehouse races by tapping into a national donor network, attending fundraisers from Nantucket to Dallas.
And abortion has become a flashpoint, with Democrats campaigning on the fact that a GOP majority would threaten Virginia’s status as the last state in the South without significant restrictions on abortion rights.
The Washington Post:
DeSantis is in growing trouble. He’s betting big on Iowa to rescue him.
Abandoned by some donors, bashed by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and polling behind other Trump alternatives, DeSantis and his allies are increasingly focused on the first GOP caucus state
The pastor said she liked DeSantis. Soon she was recruited.
The Florida governor showed up at the door last month with his family for a home-cooked meal complete with Iowa corn. On Saturday, she drove two hours to see him again, huddling around DeSantis for a prayer at a church event. “I’m not that political of a person,” said the pastor, Joyce Schmidt, 70, laughing a bit at her involvement. “But all of a sudden … ”
The courtship illustrates the organizing underway as DeSantis banks heavily on evangelical Christians, far-flung campaigning and intensive fieldwork to revive the long-shot hopes of his struggling bid to best former president Donald Trump, who holds a widening lead over him in national and early-state polls.
Norm Ornstein and Donald J Ketti/The New Republic:
GOP Prez Wannabes’ Plans for Government: Dangerous—and Really Dumb
Each wants to shrink government more than the last. And none of them knows a lick about how the federal government actually works.
The congressional extremists may not be in the majority, even if they are driving the House train. But it is in the crowded Republican presidential field where blowing up the government is a common core theme, and there, Vivek Ramaswamy is taking it to another level in his bid to get attention through shocking proposals. None is more shocking than his pledge to slash a million civil servants in his first year as president—and by 75 percent in his first term. He also wants to shutter five federal agencies: the Department of Education, the FBI, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Food and Nutrition Service, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.
With Impeachment Push, Wisconsin GOP Tests Bounds of Political Power
GOP threats to impeach Justice Janet Protasiewicz blow past the constitutional guardrails over the process, but courts may be reluctant to step in. Democrats have some remaining leverage, though.
Margaret Workman is watching Wisconsin Republicans threaten Justice Janet Protasiewicz with impeachment from several states away. But she can relate to Protasiewicz like very few can.
Workman sat on West Virginia’s supreme court in 2018—one of the three Democratic justices in the court’s majority—when Republican lawmakers decided to impeach that entire court. The GOP had flipped the legislature in 2014 for the first time in decades, and it had seized the governorship in 2017; only the supreme court stood in the way of one-party rule in the state.
“All of a sudden, we had this right-wing legislature wanting to impeach everybody,” she recalls, “and they wanted in my opinion to get rid of us so they could put their own.”
When Workman read this summer that Protasiewicz may be impeached, shortly after her victory flipped Wisconsin’s high court to the left, she was struck by the parallels with what she herself went through. “The Wisconsin situation is a complete power grab to undermine democracy,” she told Bolts. “It shocks me because it even goes further than the one that I experienced.”
She added, “It’s this whole thing that’s scary going on in this country, that if you can’t defeat people’s votes then you do it in some other way.”
Cliff Schecter on Democratic fighting back: