Politics

Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: Is this the week the logjam breaks?

Robert P. Jones/substack:

Shutting Down the Manufactured Critical Race Theory “Debate”

Beyond the rhetoric, there’s a surprisingly broad consensus about the importance of teaching a more honest version of American history.

On the home stretch of Virginia’s nail-biter of a governor’s race, Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin has been looking for a way to simultaneously present himself as part of the old corporate wing of the GOP who might have crossover appeal, while not alienating the base of the party that is now wholly owned by Donald Trump. A key rhetorical move, now a standard applause line in his stump speech, is a promise to “ban” critical race theory from Virginia public schools “from Day 1.” …

These efforts, because of their perceived effectiveness at energizing a white conservative and Christian Republican base, are likely to dominate not only the 2022 mid-term elections and the 2024 presidential elections but also state and local elections and hyperlocal gatherings like school board meetings.

I have labeled the “hyperinflation.” pic.twitter.com/UtBlUBsGFO

— Max Kennerly (@MaxKennerly) October 23, 2021

Walter Shapiro/TNR:

Pundits Have a Terrible Track Record of Predicting Midterms a Year in Advance

Looking back on elections from the past three decades, it turns out political reporters aren’t clairvoyant.

These historical excavations offer mixed news to Democrats brooding about 2022. The prognosticators correctly picked up signs that the incumbent president’s control of Congress was in jeopardy before the wave elections of 2006 (when Nancy Pelosi first became House speaker), 2010 (the Obama-era shellacking), and 2018 (Pelosi’s comeback as speaker). But too often the political narrative in October of odd-numbered years overreacted to ephemeral events and wrongly portrayed them as pivotal turning points. The problem with many of these prior electoral assessments was that the analysts failed to imagine the political terrain changing.

Why aren’t people working? Some answers according to a Census survey in late Sept.: (1) 4 million were sick with Covid symptoms or caring for someone who was. (2) 5 million were caring for kids not in school or daycare. (3) 3 million more say they are worried about Covid. pic.twitter.com/aolDciD0Tf

— Michael R. Strain (@MichaelRStrain) October 23, 2021

David Rothkopf/Daily Beast:

Thanks to This ‘Biden Whisperer,’ the World Knows America’s Back

At the center of this effort is U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Not just the country’s chief diplomat, Blinken is, in the eyes of one senior White House official, the senior foreign policy and national security team’s one true “Biden whisperer.” Blinken’s closeness to Biden, which dates back two decades to when Blinken served as his top aide on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff, enables him to be the most credible messenger of the foreign policy of a president who has more international affairs experience than any previous occupant of the Oval Office. It also makes him Blinken just a trusted adviser but one who foreign leaders know has the ear and the full confidence of the president.

Michael Flynn posted a video with him and his family taking the QAnon oath, tried to trademark a QAnon slogan, was a featured speaker at QAnon events, and sued CNN for defamation for calling him a “QAnon follower.” This says a lot about a certain category of media criticism. https://t.co/0t6tyiAXJy

— Nicholas Grossman (@NGrossman81) October 23, 2021

FiveThirtyEight:

Why Democratic Gains In Texas’s Big Metro Areas Could Outweigh Republican Success In South Texas

The state as a whole has long voted reliably Republican, but about two-thirds of Texas’s population lives in one of the state’s four huge metropolitan areas — Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio and Austin. If you combine all the votes there, Democrats improved their margin by more than 5 percentage points between 2016 and 2020, carrying these areas 52 percent to 47 percent in November. This shift is significant because even though Texas’s border counties moved sharply to the right in 2020 — Starr County, for instance, swung a staggering 55 points toward Republicans — Democrats’ gains in those four big cities and their suburbs added almost five times as many votes as Republicans’ gains in 28 counties along or near Texas’s border with Mexico.1

How big are these loans? Some cab drivers paid $600k, some more than $1 million, for medallions — the city permit that allows them to drive a yellow taxi. Today, these same medallions are worth about $75k. Cab drivers barely make $40k a year.

— Rozina Ali (@rozina_ali) October 22, 2021

Susan J. Demas/Michigan Advance:

The soul-crushing fight of parents battling right-wing COVID nihilism

No amount of evidence will convince Republicans to keep our kids safe in the pandemic

But if seeing other parents proudly yell about endangering their kids and yours leaves you revolted and shaken, that’s completely natural. Of course images of people holding “Unmask our children” signs and protesting overworked hospital workers over vaccines will burrow into your brain. But it’s important to remember these are deeply damaged people who are vastly outnumbered by the sane majority.

Ahead of Jan. 6, Willard hotel in downtown D.C. was a Trump team ‘command center’ for effort to deny Biden the presidency, by @JaxAlemany, @emmersbrown, @thamburger & @jonswaine https://t.co/jpChvUT9KQ

— Rosalind Helderman (@PostRoz) October 23, 2021

Matt Viser/WaPo:

Biden’s meeting with the pope carries resonance as disputes divide U.S. Catholics

But it is with Pope Francis — the longtime Jesuit priest Biden will see Friday in a historic encounter at the Vatican — that Biden shares the deepest bond. It was Francis who comforted the Biden family in 2015 after Biden’s son Beau died. It was Francis who met privately with Biden to talk about cancer research. And it was Francis whose photo Biden has displayed prominently in the Oval Office.

Biden’s meeting with the Pope in the Vatican, shortly before he heads off to a pair of international summits, will carry deep political, religious and symbolic significance, as the nation’s second Catholic president greets the worldwide leader of the Catholic Church.

They, to a person, said they had no expectations for republicans

— Sam Stein (@samstein) October 23, 2021

EJ Dionne//WaPo:

True conservatives should support filibuster reform

Do not underestimate the significance of Biden’s statement at a CNN town hall Thursday that he has reached the end of his rope on a Senate filibuster that has been used to increasingly destructive effect in the years since Barack Obama came to office.

“We’re going to have to move to the point where we fundamentally alter the filibuster,” said Biden, a longtime skeptic of changes in the filibuster.

Biden asserted his willingness to push for bypassing the filibuster to allow Senate Democrats to enact a voting rights bill — and went on to say he might favor lifting it on behalf of other measures as well.

Until now, the asymmetry of our nation’s political contest seemed to defy Newton’s proposition.

Jan. 6 organizers say Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, Mo Brooks, Madison Cawthorn, Andy Biggs, Louie Gohmert or their staff were involved in planning meetings Paul Gosar reportedly assured the organizers a “blanket pardon” https://t.co/qFhczKclg9

— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) October 25, 2021

Hunter Walker/Rolling Stone:

EXCLUSIVE: Jan. 6 Protest Organizers Say They Participated in ‘Dozens’ of Planning Meetings With Members of Congress and White House Staff

Two sources are communicating with House investigators and detailed a stunning series of allegations to Rolling Stone, including a promise of a “blanket pardon” from the Oval Office

As the House investigation into the Jan. 6 attack heats up, some of the planners of the pro-Trump rallies that took place in Washington, D.C., have begun communicating with congressional investigators and sharing new information about what happened when the former president’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol. Two of these people have spoken to Rolling Stone extensively in recent weeks and detailed explosive allegations that multiple members of Congress were intimately involved in planning both Trump’s efforts to overturn his election loss and the Jan. 6 events that turned violent.

Rolling Stone separately confirmed a third person involved in the main Jan. 6 rally in D.C. has communicated with the committee. This is the first report that the committee is hearing major new allegations from potential cooperating witnesses. While there have been prior indications that members of Congress were involved, this is also the first account detailing their purported role and its scope. The two sources also claim they interacted with members of Trump’s team, including former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who they describe as having had an opportunity to prevent the violence.




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