HCR: On covid, Biden’s relief bill and news on Trump insurrection

Heather Cox Richardson | Letters from an American | March 5

Heather Cox Richardson

In coronavirus news today, there were a record 2.4 million vaccines administered.

Florida governor Ron DeSantis (R) is denying any involvement in a vaccine drive in a private, gated community after which a resident of the community, former Illinois governor Bruce Rauner (R), made a donation of $250,000 to the Friends of Ron DeSantis Political Action Committee. This appears to be part of a pattern in Florida, where vaccine administration seems to track with wealthy communities whose members donate to the governor’s campaign funds.

News about the January 6 insurrection continues to mount, with a mid-level Trump appointee from the State Department, Federico Klein, arrested yesterday on several felony charges, including assaulting police officers, stemming from the riot. Tonight the New York Times revealed that a member of the far-right Proud Boys organization was in contact with someone at the White House in the days before the insurrection.

Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) has catalogued almost 2000 pages of public social media posts from those representatives who voted to overturn the election. The material reveals that a few representatives were active indeed in pushing the idea that the election was stolen and Trump supporters must fight. Especially active were Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Mo Brooks (R-AL), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Billy Long (R-MO) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA).

Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) is slow-walking the confirmation of Merrick Garland as attorney general, an odd stance at a time when one would think we would want all hands on deck to investigate the insurrection and ongoing domestic terrorism

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HCR: Q-uacks expect Trump will be sworn in for a second term today

Heather Cox Richardson | Letters from an American | March 3

Heather Cox Richardson

We’re in this weird eddy where Republicans are trying to cling to past politics to gain advantage and the Biden administration is trying to move forward. On top of this struggle are stories about how the previous administration pushed the boundaries of our laws or, worse, broke them.

Yesterday, two Republican governors, Greg Abbott of Texas and Tate Reeves of Mississippi, ended the mask mandates and other coronavirus restrictions for their states. So far today, the Johns Hopkins University tracker has reported 88,611 new cases and 2,189 new deaths. The numbers are dropping, but they are still wildly high compared to other nations. Texas and Mississippi are both in the top ten states in terms of deaths per capita.

It is hard not to see the reopening of Republican-led states as a deliberate affront to President Joe Biden, who asked for a 100-day mask mandate and who has sped up vaccine production to end the pandemic before new variants throw us back into a crisis. The Biden administration has tried to take politics out of the national response to the coronavirus, and made it a point to respond quickly to the crisis in Texas two weeks ago, when the unregulated Texas energy system froze. Health officials worry that a rush to reopen will undo all the progress we have made against the virus, and they are begging Texas and Mississippi to reconsider.

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Marjorie Taylor Greene ovation shows why Democrats shouldn’t deal with GOP

Republican members of Congress have not shown the necessary respect for their oaths of office to be treated as the loyal opposition.

By Max Burns, Democratic strategist

After a week trying to bring Senate Republicans into a bipartisan deal, Democrats are moving unilaterally to advance President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief plan. In other words, they’re doing what they should have been doing all along.

So long as that unpunished extremism remains, Democrats owe it to the American people to shun the party.

Until congressional Republicans show accountability for their role in the inciteful rhetoric and conspiracies that led to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, Democrats shouldn’t be engaging with them. For all of Biden’s laudable talk about unity, and the upsides to passing major legislation in a bipartisan manner, as of now the Republican members of Congress have not shown the necessary respect for their oaths of office to be treated as the loyal opposition.

Seeking bipartisanship with the GOP as it exists today is a threat to good government. Negotiating with the party hitches Democratic — and American — interests to a group whose members include people not only disinterested in but hostile to the workings of democracy.

It’s a far cry from the party of George H.W. Bush, who in 1991 led the GOP in booting Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke over his lifelong white supremacy and unapologetic anti-Semitism. In its place is a party willing to condemn extremism in general while Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a freshman Republican from Georgia, weaves another variation on Duke’s anti-Semitism even as she carries on the fight to undermine trust in the 2020 election. Biden is under no obligation to extend a drop of legitimacy to such demagogues.

The GOP can start the process of reform by expelling Greene from the House. Greene has harassed a teenage survivor of the Parkland mass shooting, endorsed violence against Democrats both generally and by name, and cheered on the right-wing extremists who killed a police officer and injured 140 others at the Capitol. Not only has Greene violated her oath of office, she is mocking its exhortation to protect the United States from “all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

Prominent Republicans like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have been uncharacteristically direct about the threat Greene poses to both the GOP and democratic norms. In a statement Monday, McConnell criticized Greene’s “loony lies and conspiracy theories,” calling them “cancer for the Republican Party and our country.” (Though even in condemnation, McConnell places damage to the Republican brand ahead of the risk Greene and her fellow insurrectionist apologists pose to the country.) Continue reading

HCR explains Q-Anon nuts and Covid relief

Heather Cox Richardson from Letters from an America 2/3/21

While Republican lawmakers continue to grab headlines with outrageous behavior and obstructionism, President Biden has been derailing them in the only way no one has tried yet: ignoring them and governing. Only two weeks into his administration, this approach appears to be enormously effective.

The two Republican factions continue to compete for control of the party. That struggle has been personified this week by the relative standing of new Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene and established Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney, the House Republican Conference Chair, who is the third person in the line of Republican House leadership.

In her two weeks in Congress, Greene has made the news with her support for the extremist QAnon movement, harassment of school shooting survivor David Hogg, and past support for executing Democratic politicians, among other things. After news emerged that she had agreed with a Facebook commenter that the 2018 Parkland school shooting was a “false flag” operation, Democrats were outraged that Republican leadership assigned her to the House Education and Labor Committee. They demanded House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy strip her of committee assignments.

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