Kevin McCarthy's Revisionism
Plus: What Biden's poll numbers tell us
ICYMI: In his column last week, David Brooks laid out the challenge ahead for centrists in both parties, but especially for conservatives who face a growing (post-Trump) radicalism on the right.
Republicans and conservatives who believe in the liberal project need to organize and draw a bright line between themselves and the illiberals on their own side. This is no longer just about Trump the man, it’s about how you are going to look at reality — as the muddle its always been, or as an apocalyptic hellscape. It’s about how you pursue change — through the conversation and compromise of politics, or through intimidations of macho display.
That is exactly what we are trying to do here at the Bulwark. And we agree that it is more important than ever to draw those lines. Please consider joining us.
Kevin McCarthy’s pathetic revisionism.
As new polls remind us, the GOP continues to have a base problem — the vast majority of Republicans still refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of the 2020 election.
But the GOP also, quite obviously, continues to have a leadership problem as well. Case in point: the feckless, possible future House speaker, Kevin McCarthy.
After a brief spasm of candor in the wake of the January 6 insurrection, McCarthy has spent the last few months scrambling back from his unwonted show of independence.
Sunday morning we got a look at where that has led him. Via the Daily Beast:
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) repeatedly dodged Fox News anchor Chris Wallace’s pointed questions on Sunday about the top Republican’s Jan. 6 call with former President Donald Trump, insisting his conversations with the former president are a personal and private matter.
As McCarthy squirmed, Wallace pressed him:
The Fox anchor specifically referenced Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler’s claims about the call.
“She said while the January 6th riot was in full force, you phoned President Trump and ask him to call off his supporters and, according to you, she said, the president responded, ‘Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election then you are,’” the veteran anchor explained. “Is she right? Is that what President Trump said to you?”
McCarthy immediately deflected, instead claiming he was the first person Trump spoke to after the seditious crowd broke into the building and that the then-president promised him on that call that he’d do something to stop the violence.
“And that’s what he did,” the congressman added. “He put a video out later.”
“Quite a lot later and it was a pretty weak video,” Wallace retorted, referencing Trump’s statement in which he told the rioters “we love you” while still peddling the election lies that led to the riots.
“But I’m asking you specifically: Did he say to you ‘I guess some people are more concerned about the election than you are’?” Wallace once again pressed McCarthy.
“No, listen, my conversations with the president are my conversations with the president,” the California Republican replied. “I engaged with the idea that we could stop what was going on inside the capitol at that moment in time, the president said he would help.”
And then we got this intriguing — and suggestive — exchange:
“Has the president ever reached out to you since that report came out to discuss what you and he talked about in the Jan. 6 phone call and did you say to him ‘I can’t because we are under oath’?” Wallace asked.
“No,” the House minority leader answered, prompting Wallace to wonder aloud if he was saying this never happened.
“Never happened—never even close,” McCarthy insisted.
“And if it did happen, you agree that would be witness tampering?” Wallace pushed back.
“Yeah, but it never happened,” the congressman again denied. “Never even came close. Never had any conversation like that. Never even heard that rumor before today.”
BTW, in case you forgot:
Woke Joe Walsh sums it up nicely:
Biden polls: pick your adventure.
On Sunday we got a slew of polls to mark Biden’s 100 days. Depending on which one you like, Biden is either up +10, +14, or +16.
Obvious takeaways: his numbers are low compared to many previous presidents, but substantially higher than Trump’s. The polls also show that pretty much nothing seems to dramatically move the needle these days.
NBC’s poll has his approval at 53-39.
WASHINGTON — As President Joe Biden nears his 100th day in office, slightly more than half of Americans say they approve of his job performance. Biden gets his highest marks on handling the Covid-19 pandemic and his lowest on the situation at the southern border.
The Wapo/ABC poll has Biden at 52-42.
President Biden nears the end of his first 100 days in office with a slight majority of Americans approving of his performance and supporting his major policy initiatives, but his approval rating is lower than any recent past presidents except Donald Trump, with potential warning signs ahead about his governing strategy, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.
The CBS poll has most bullish numbers for Biden: 58-42.
Approaching one hundred days in the presidency, President Biden maintains fairly strong approval ratings for what look like fairly straightforward reasons: most Americans like the way he's handling the country's top priorities, with especially strong marks on the pandemic and vaccine rollout; his major legislative pieces are popular so far. And then, more stylistically perhaps, a majority of Americans pick words to describe him like "presidential," "focused" and "competent."
But the CBS poll also has this:
Most Republicans still do not say Biden was the legitimate winner of the election, and six in 10 of former President Trump's voters now want to see their congressional representatives oppose Biden at every turn. This isn't just politics. That particular group who wants opposition — while constituting a minority of Americans — also has very different views on issues from most Democrats, moderates and independents as well. For instance, most of them think efforts at racial equality are making American society worse; they say illegal immigration should be the top priority, as opposed to the pandemic or even the economy.
As Joe Biden closes in on the 100-day mark of his presidency, a Fox News poll finds a 54 percent majority of voters approves of his job performance. That’s lower than Barack Obama’s 62 percent and George W. Bush’s 63 percent approval at their respective 100-day points, but higher than the 45 percent Donald Trump received four years ago.
No, Biden is not going to ban meat.
How about some accountability? Via CNN.
An anti-Trump conservative group is launching an effort to track and evaluate whether Republicans in Congress, in the group's view, have acted to either undermine or uphold democracy and democratic values and what role, if any, they played in attempts to overturn the 2020 election.
The Republican Accountability Project has created what it's calling a "GOP Democracy Report Card," which assigns grades to Republican members of Congress ranging from an "A," which the group describes as excellent, to an "F," which it describes as very poor. The details of the report card were first shared with CNN ahead of its release on Monday.
Washington — Congresswoman Val Demings, a Democrat from Florida and former chief of the Orlando Police Department, said Sunday the police officer who fatally shot 16-year-old Ma'Khia Bryant in Ohio last week appears to have responded in accordance with his training.
In an interview with "Face the Nation," Demings reflected on her time as a patrol officer and said those working in the community have to make split-second decisions.
"Everybody has the benefit of slowing the video down and seizing the perfect moment. The officer on the street does not have that ability. He or she has to make those split-second decisions and they're tough," Demings told "Face the Nation." "But the limited information that I know in viewing the video, it appears that the officer responded as he was trained to do with the main thought of preventing a tragedy and a loss of life of the person who was about to be assaulted."
Isn’t this…. socialism?