Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: 'Trump did it. All of it.'

Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: 'Trump did it. All of it.'

July 15, 2022 0 By Ellen Novack

Philip Bump/WaPo:

We have reached the apex of election-fraud debunking

For what little good that will do

Put another way, there are zero people who both have considered the available evidence with objectivity and who also believe the election was stolen. Having Danforth sit them down and walk them through everything will have no more effect than my doing so. It will probably have no more effect than if Trump himself were suddenly to recant his past claims; this would simply be chalked up to some ninth-dimension chess play by the former president.

Those who believe Trump’s claims that the election was stolen are participants in a torrid love affair with the idea. There’s no dissuading, no telling them that their partner is toxic, dishonest and deceptive. Over time, one hopes, their feelings will simply fade and, while they’ll always harbor positive feelings toward the idea that election was stolen, they’ll move on. Perhaps even trust another election in the future.

GOP agenda now includes forcing 10 year old rape victims to give birth, but since this is politically toxic, their new m.o. is to terrorize both children and doctors who provide them care, as much to discourage abortions as to frighten future victims from going public.

— Brian Beutler (@brianbeutler) July 14, 2022

It is somewhat ironic that, when presented with what appears to be a real story of a child rape, the party that spent part of this year fanning a panic about “groomers” decided that it must have been fake news.

— Jordan Weissmann (@JHWeissmann) July 13, 2022


Thursday briefing: Sunak leads and Mordaunt is surging – but what do the numbers tell us?

In today’s newsletter: Private backroom deals could swing the Tory leadership contest. But what if there was a way to predict who MPs will back before even they decide?

With the second round of voting today, the field will narrow a little further – and until the parliamentary party sends two candidates for the consideration of the membership next week, you’ll hear a lot about how horse-trading and backroom deals could influence the outcome. Today’s newsletter focuses on something more likely to shape the future of our country: what are the deeper factors that lead MPs to back a particular candidate?

That’s a question that can help us understand what’s happening in this leadership election – but its other use is probably even more important: it tells us who the next prime minister might owe their victory to. We’ll get under the bonnet after the headlines

Virtually every republican in Congress has voted against Baby formula Child tax credits Cheaper gas Cheaper insulin Stimulus checks Background checks Veteran cancer care Fair elections Ending domestic terrorism The GOP is cruel, incompetent, and doesn’t give a damn about you.

— Bill Pascrell, Jr. 🇺🇸🇺🇦 (@BillPascrell) May 26, 2022

Fraser Nelson/Spectator:

Blue murder: the knives are out in the Tory leadership fight

The Conservatives ought to be having a period of reflection. They had, in Boris Johnson, a proven election winner – but one who used his 80-strong majority to increase the size of the state and force his MPs to vote against their manifesto pledge and raise taxes. Lockdown made things worse, with No. 10 governing by edict at staggering expense. It was imposed with minimal parliamentary debate or scrutiny. This created a parliamentary pressure cooker in which MPs grew steadily angrier – ready to explode when the lid was lifted.

This is perhaps why the leadership election has ended up as a group therapy session rather than a competition of ideas. Of the 11 candidates, nine promised immediate tax cuts – but almost no one explained how they would be financed. By spending cuts? If so, where? By more debt? If so, is that wise when interest rates are surging? The tax rises happened in the first place because the Tories spent first and thought later. If they are to escape the high-tax, low-growth trap, they will need a plausible plan to do so. But at present it seems they’re more interested in blame – and turning the leadership race into the Hunger Games…

The problem is that Tories are so good at attacking each other that they have become addicted to this negative campaigning. They have forgotten how to build a positive case. It can work: the 2015 election was won after Ed Miliband was effectively portrayed as ‘Red Ed’, a socialist disaster ready to place price caps on energy companies etc. He was defeated, but his Red Ed ideas were adopted as Tory policy. The 2019 election was decided by an effectively manipulated fear of Jeremy Corbyn and his proposed ‘magic money tree’ – something that the Tories, back in office, never stopped shaking.

The Conservative infighting isn’t just interesting and relevant news from an important ally, it’s an object lesson on why the GOP fears abandoning Trump. The Trump loyalists and rebels would be at each other’s throats over such a move, with weapons of war. Moreover, a party that stands for nothing but lies has no other core to rally around.

Whereas I consider that outcome a win-win, I suspect that is not a unanimous opinion amongst Republicans.

The idea that armed teachers or armed “good guys” will stop a massacre with high-power weapons needs to be put to rest. There was little evidence for it, and now there is a mountain of evidence against it. Uvalde should have been the last, but it wasn’t.

— René F. Najera, MT(ASCP), MPH, DrPH (@EpiRen) July 14, 2022

Donald Ayer, Stuart Gerson, and Dennis Aftergut/Atlantic:

The DOJ Must Prosecute Trump

The January 6 committee has provided overwhelming evidence that the former president was not some bit player along for the ride, but the central driver of a nefarious plot.

The evidence is clearer and more robust than we as former federal prosecutors—two of us as Department of Justice officials in Republican administrations—thought possible before the hearings began. Trump was not just a willing beneficiary of a complex plot in which others played most of the primary roles. While in office, he himself was the principal actor in nearly all of its phases, personally executing key parts of most of its elements and aware of or involved in its worst features, including the use of violence on Capitol Hill. Most remarkably, he did so over vehement objections raised at every turn, even by his sycophantic and loyal handpicked team. This was Trump’s project all along.

Everyone knew before the hearings began that we were dealing with perhaps the gravest imaginable offense against the nation short of secession—a serious nationwide effort pursued at multiple levels to overturn the unambiguous outcome of a national election. We all knew as well that efforts were and are unfolding nationwide to change laws and undermine electoral processes with the specific objective of succeeding at the same project in 2024 and after. But each hearing has sharpened our understanding that Donald Trump himself is the one who made it happen.

Unsurprisingly to decent folks, the doctor did absolutely everything right, and yet was smeared and attacked as political leaders did, and continue to do, everything wrong.

— Peter A. Shulman 📚 (@pashulman) July 14, 2022

Greg Sargent and Paul Waldman/WaPo:

Dramatic moments from deprogrammed right-wingers indict the whole GOP

You know who else could have told [Stephen] Ayres — and countless others similarly deceived into following this doomed crusade — that there was no evidence for Trump’s claim? The vast bulk of mainstream Republicans who remained largely silent.

Another example came from Jason Van Tatenhove, a former high-level official in the extremist Oath Keepers who said he left the group in 2016. Some of its members are facing prosecution for seditious conspiracy.

Van Tatenhove was asked by Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.) why Stewart Rhodes, the leader of the Oath Keepers, kept calling on Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act. Van Tatenhove responded that Rhodes was looking for the trigger to carry out a violent insurrection, and said Trump himself kept Rhodes fully in the game by claiming the outcome could be reversed.

“The president was communicating, whether directly or indirectly, messaging that gave him the nod,” Van Tatenhove said.

Here again, a forceful and sustained declaration from most mainstream Republicans that the election was over and would not ever be reversed could have made a difference.

For those waking up on the east coast, some big US policy news as Senator Manchin has nixed a package that would contain major provisions on climate & EVs. Though the details remain vague on what they would have been; EV credits in particular were apparently up in the air

— Corey Cantor🪐 (@CoreyBCantor) July 15, 2022

Jonathan Weiler/Substack:

The January 6 hearings, continued

How a pathological culture of lying tills the ground for a coup attempt

That the rogue’s gallery of the impressively unrepentant Sidney Powell, John Eastman and Rudy Giuliani has taken clownishness to such new heights should not obscure the depths of dishonesty that has long been the GOP baseline. I’ve written before that the cheat code for the contemporary Republican Party is the 2011 statement from Arizona Senator Jon Kyl. In a speech on the Senate floor, Kyl denounced Planned Parenthood and said that abortions were 90% of their business. When fact-checkers quickly pointed out that the actual figure was *far* lower, Kyl’s press secretary told CNN that the remark “was not intended to be a factual statement.” This statement led to endless mockery, but it’s part of a sinister arc that has unfolded over many years. Karl Rove mocked liberals in the “reality-based community” to the journalist Ron Suskind in 2004. His point was that facts didn’t matter – all that mattered was imposing one’s political will for the purpose of perpetuating oneself in power.

From the Bush administration’s repeated falsehoods to justify its invasion of Iraq, to Kyl’s “not intended” statement, to Paul Ryan’s shamelessly fraudulent budget proposals, to Kellyanne Conway’s “alternative facts” comment in response to embarrassing photographic evidence that, no, Trump’s inauguration day crowd was not bigger than Obama’s, to the Big Lie, to the imbecility of Herschel Walker, whose own staff assumes he’s lying all the time, an avalanche of untruth continues to gather momentum. Some instances and exemplars of blatant disregard for reality might seem cartoonish. Giuliani, for example, is a blithering idiot at this point. But all of these lies, repeated over and over again, add up to a sinister attempt to undermine the shared understandings that make living in community possible. They’re the foundation of a nihilistic fantasy that the Bannons of the world, with their allies among the increasingly emboldened militias, are desperate to bring to fruition.

They found a willing instrument in Trump, whose election in the first place was made possible, in significant measure, by all the lying that came before. And that foundation of lying made a coup attempt, if not inevitable, an unnervingly viable possibility.

— Greg Dworkin (@DemFromCT) July 14, 2022

Charlie Sykes/Bulwark:

Timeline of a (Premeditated) Coup

Trump did it. All of it.

On Tuesday, the House January 6th Committee connected some dots. And even if you knew the basic outlines of Donald Trump’s plan to overturn the 2020 election, the committee drew a dramatic timeline of the attempted coup:

  • December 14 Electoral College votes —>

  • December 18 The Most Unhinged Oval Office meeting ever —>

  • Early a.m. December 19 Trump tweets about Jan. 6th “Be there, will be wild” →

  • Right-wing media amplifies Trump’s call —>

  • Mobilization of Domestic Violent Extremists (DVE) —>

  • Trump plans March to Capitol —>

  • Jan. 6th Insurrection…

Democrats seethed with anger at Manchin, accusing him of stringing them along for months. An environmental policy professor who advised congressional Dems sobbed. ‘He is condemning our own children,’ she said.

— Trip Gabriel (@tripgabriel) July 15, 2022