Begun, the MAGA Wars Have
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Note: I’m taking few days off — Morning Shots will be back Monday. (But we’ll have all the podcasts . . . and they are going to be great!)
Big question today: Will he or won’t he? Reuters is skeptical: “Elon Musk probably won’t buy Twitter.”
Who knows? Stay tuned.
So let’s start with wars and rumors of wars in the entertainment wing of the GOP, congressional caucuses, and the primaries. . . .
Tucker Carlson is attacking GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy — and Elise Stefanik — for having a short-lived spasm of decency after January 6: “Those are the tape-recorded words of Congressman Kevin McCarthy, a man who in private, turns out, sounds like an MSNBC contributor.”
At the same time, Matt Gaetz is lashing out at McCarthy and his #2, Steve Scalise:
Of course, the planets aligned:
Meanwhile, shots fired between GOP senator and GOP deplorable congresstroll.
And in Ohio…
In today’s Bulwark, Jim Swift writes: “Vance vs. Mandel Gets Ugly”
Although there are seven candidates, only three matter now: Josh Mandel, J.D. Vance, and Mike Gibbons. And the fighting among them has gone nuclear over the past two weeks—since Donald Trump bestowed his blessing upon Vance.
And in Georgia…
Via NYMag: “Kemp and Perdue Get Nasty in Georgia Gubernatorial Debate.”
[Governor Brian] Kemp, who has made nastiness something of a personal brand, fired back in an uninhibited manner, calling [Trump-endorsed former senator David] Perdue a “weak leader” who blamed “everybody else for their own loss instead of themselves.” Perdue took the debate down a favorite Trump rabbit hole, alleging that there was a deal between the state and voting-rights groups over absentee-ballot signature-verification procedures. Kemp was having none of it, per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution…
“I was secretary of state for eight years and I don’t need to be lectured by someone who’s lost his last election about what the voting laws are in our state,” Kemp said.
BTW, if you are keeping score at home:
ATLANTA — A new primary election poll released by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution shows Gov. Brian Kemp is building a strong lead over former U.S. Sen. David Perdue to the earn Republican nomination for Georgia governor.
Kemp led Perdue 53%-27% in the poll, which would put Kemp above the majority-vote threshold needed to avoid a runoff.
But, but, but . . . as this montage from Pennsylvania makes clear, the internal fight isn’t between Trump fans and skeptics — it’s between super-Trump fans versus super-super-Trump fans.
Join us tonight!
Forgiving student loans may not be the winner Democrats think it is
Brace for a lot of blowback if Biden does forgive a huge chunk of student loans. Here is the Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf:
And check out this tweet from Mitt Romney:
Exit take: Before you comment, look up the term “moral hazard.”
Meanwhile, in Wisconsin
Via Vice News: “Trump Just Bullied the Wisconsin GOP Into Continuing Its 2020 ‘Audit.’”
Wisconsin GOP Assembly Speaker Robin Vos announced Tuesday afternoon that he’ll continue to fund the office of former state Supreme Court justice Michael Gableman even though his contract had expired and Gableman’s work appeared to be complete…
Vos’ announcement came just a day after Trump implicitly threatened to help boost Vos’ primary challenger if he didn’t keep funding Gableman’s work….
Trump’s warning was his latest successful attempt to bully Vos into pushing along the audit, which he began as a way to try to appease the pro-Trump GOP base after Vos refused to try to block the certification of the 2020 election.
But Gableman’s “investigation” has morphed into a never-ending attempt to discredit the 2020 election. And Vos and other establishment-leaning Wisconsin GOP politicians have found out the hard way that Trump and his base will only be appeased by total capitulation.
1. Just Call Trump a Loser
Mark Leibovich has a suggestion for a “nervy Republican challenger.”
“Why on earth would we hitch our wagons again to a crybaby sore loser who lost the popular vote twice, lost the House, lost the Senate, and lost the White House, and so on?” said Barbara Comstock, a longtime political consultant and former Republican congresswoman from Virginia. “For Republicans, whether they embrace the Big Lie or not, Trump is vulnerable to having the stench of disaster on him.”
Trump’s wasn’t an ordinary election defeat, either. Some nervy Republican challenger needs to remind everyone how rare it is for an incumbent president to lose reelection, and also that Trump was perhaps the most graceless loser and insufferable whiner in presidential history—the first outgoing commander in chief in 152 years to skip his successor’s swearing-in. And that he dragged a lot of Republicans down with him.
2. Meet the not-ready-for-prime-time Republican players
Josh Kraushaar, in the National Journal:
Even as Republicans lick their chops at a favorable political environment, some of their candidates are doing everything they can to squander winnable races. From several swing-state Senate races and pivotal gubernatorial contests to important downballot races, Republicans have either already nominated candidates who aren’t ready for prime time, or are on the verge of nominating exceptionally weak candidates.
3. Trump’s Garbage Men
Amanda Carpenter in today’s Bulwark:
So McCarthy and McConnell knew that Donald Trump was bad for their party.
They knew that Trump was bad for the country.
They knew that he was to blame for Jan. 6th.
And they talked about getting rid of him.
Yet neither man publicly called on Trump to resign. Neither man voted to impeach or convict Trump. In public, they attacked the proposal for an independent Jan. 6th commission. They said they would support Trump as the 2024 nominee. And their various fundraising apparatuses are now in overdrive praising and promoting the former president.
That makes them garbage men.
Moral hazard - thank you, Charlie, for making me think a bit. My initial reaction has always been to give a break to those kids who, for whatever reason, borrowed funds for college education and find themselves under water. In my mind the entire federal student loan program needs a hard look to assess when and whether to extend credit for education.
No doubt there are institutions out there that have taken advantage of students who are left with debt and a worthless degree of some kind. Those institutions should pay the price - be closed down - if they can’t deliver. By the same token our kids need to be better counseled to avoid what are really scams.
I know that there are specific programs where student debt is “forgiven” for public service- no doubt military veterans and military service should qualify. Query, can this programs be expanded so that the debt maybe forgiven but there is public service associated with the debt reduction? It is not a “free lunch” to the debtor.
I agree, we should not be “bribing” young people for their votes and this certainly looks like that fact pattern. Again, thanks very much for making me think - moral hazard here is very real and as a society we need to be very cautious.
I'm a political moderate, and I'm opposed to forgiving student loan debt except in dire circumstances. The people who took out those loans knew what they were taking on, and they did it anyway. In doing so, they also reaped the benefit from them - a college education. But now that it's time to start paying them back, they're whining about how hard it is and how it's cramping their lifestyle, preventing them from buying a home, etc.
My husband and I know all about that. We took on a massive amount of student loan debt so that he could get his master's degree from one of the Ivies and find a better job. During the subsequent repayment term, the economy crashed, my husband lost his job, we had to sell our house and relocate, twice, so he could pursue job opportunities - which meant I had to quit my job and find new work, too. We downsized everything in our lives just so we could meet our financial obligations, including his student loan debt. It took 10 years to get out from under it.
I completely sympathize with people facing a mountain of student loan debt. Been there. But I also know they took on an obligation to repay those loans, and they have to suck it up and do it - just as we did.
One thing I will not tolerate, though, is being lectured by the likes of Thurston Romney III about 'bribes' when he was perfectly happy to take his own in form of tax giveaways to people like him over decades. But then I haven't forgotten his crack about 47% of the country not carrying their load, while those same people were carrying him. My response to Romney isn't printable.