Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: Focus on the immediate future of Republican anti-democratic policy

Walter Shapiro/Roll Call:

In game of congressional limbo, how low can the GOP go?

As bad as November has been for Hill civility, things may get still worse

It was bad enough that Arizona Republican Paul Gosar, in anything-for-a-laugh fashion, posted an anime on Twitter showing his avatar killing Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and attacking President Joe Biden with a sword. Gosar’s censure by the House, with only two Republicans voting “aye,” was more than justified.

What was galling was that as the censure resolution was read to Gosar, he stood in the well of the House as is custom, but with a group of far-right zealots behind him looking as remorseful as teenagers sent to the principal’s office for throwing spitballs during algebra class.

How hard is it to take a short elevator ride in the Capitol and maintain a veneer of civility? For Colorado Republican firebrand Lauren Boebert, it appears to be a daunting challenge.


Greg Sargent/WaPo:

How will the media cover Trump in 2024? Insiders are sounding the alarm.

More broadly, how do you cover a candidate who is explicitly anti-democracy while simultaneously maintaining both the media’s conventions of nominal objectivity and its small-L liberal commitments?

This debate has now been placed squarely on the public agenda by two mainstream journalists: Jon Karl of ABC News and Brian Stelter of CNN. Stelter recently asked Karl how the press should cover a Trump 2024 run, and Karl said this:

It’s an immense challenge because you’re covering — you’re covering essentially an anti-democratic candidate, you’re covering somebody running in a system that is trying to undermine that very system and somebody who is going to be perpetually lying.

Karl noted that he doesn’t have the answer to this yet. Stelter replied: “This is definitely the conversation that’s starting to happen in newsrooms.”

I think press critic Jay Rosen is right to hope this is a galvanizing moment. As Rosen noted in an important new thread, Karl and Stelter are plugged-in among establishment journalists, which means this debate is a live one among journalists with real influence.


Andrew Joseph/STATNews:

Scientists rapidly identified the Omicron variant. But firm answers about its impact could take weeks

“Right now there are many studies that are underway,” Maria Van Kerkhove, the World Health Organization’s technical lead on Covid-19, said Friday. “There is a lot of work that is ongoing in South Africa and in other countries to better characterize the variant itself, in terms of transmissibility, in terms of severity, and any impact on our countermeasures, like the use of diagnostics, therapeutics, or vaccines. So far, there is little information, but those studies are underway, so we need researchers to have the time to carry them out.”

She added: “It will take days to weeks for some of these studies to be undertaken.”


Jennifer Rubin/WaPo:

The Youngkin playbook won’t work for Herschel Walker

These Trump-backed candidates are a far cry from the amiable family man and business tycoon that Glenn Youngkin presented himself as during his successful run for Virginia governor. The Republican did so while managing to keep Trump at arm’s length. His sunny disposition and adept maneuvering convinced voters he would not be a Trump clone. But that approach cannot work if the candidate has serious personal flaws.

A warning to Republicans hoping to win back the Senate majority: Trump’s picks have not been vetted for character. After all, why should Trump apply standards of rectitude he and his rabid cult reject for himself? Playing the “Youngkin playbook” may therefore be near impossible for many Republican candidates.


Hugo Lowell/Guardian:

Trump called aides hours before Capitol riot to discuss how to stop Biden victory

Multiple sources, speaking to the Guardian on the condition of anonymity, described Trump’s involvement in the effort to subvert the results of the 2020 election.

Trump’s remarks reveal a direct line from the White House and the command center at the Willard. The conversations also show Trump’s thoughts appear to be in line with the motivations of the pro-Trump mob that carried out the Capitol attack and halted Biden’s certification, until it was later ratified by Congress.

The former president’s call to the Willard hotel about stopping Biden’s certification is increasingly a central focus of the House select committee’s investigation into the Capitol attack, as it raises the specter of a possible connection between Trump and the insurrection.

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