Politics

Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: The day that mattered most this week was Friday

“Dems lost ground in an off year election where the party in power usually loses, fueled by the pandemic, so I’m right about this other thing” is a helluva drug.

OOT the BIF → BIL is now on the way to be Bilateral Infrastructure Law when it lands on the president’s desk. And that’s a BFD.

Manchin and Sinema took their Oscar turn on the red carpet. As for reconciliation? That’s the hard part but do not bet against Nancy Pelosi. It’s not unreasonable to think that no other Speaker could have done this. She even got the Problem Solvers caucus to solve a problem (she got 13 R votes last night, however many Rs were in the derided caucus). And she got the Rule passed to govern debate for the reconciliation bill on a party line vote. That’s a lot of wins.

Oh, and here is what is in the BFD bill, among many things:

Electric vehicles: The bill would provide $7.5 billion for zero- and low-emission buses and ferries, aiming to deliver thousands of electric school buses to districts across the country, according to the White House. Another $7.5 billion would go to building a nationwide network of plug-in electric vehicle chargers, according to the bill text.

It’s the chargers that are the BFD part.

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Marcus H Johnson/Twitter:

The funny thing is people think the CRT discourse is something new. No, this is the same cultural-political fight going back 200+ years. Over the level of political power Black people can have in society. Black people gain something politically, there’s a conservative backlash. 

Abolitionist movement — secession.

Reconstruction — jim crow and state sanctioned vigilante violence. lost cause propaganda.

Civil rights/Voting/Immigration — southern strategy, modern gop realignment. tough on crime, conf monuments

Obama — Trump

BLM/Floyd Protests — anti CRT 

So when you say, “CRT is not being taught in our schools,” conservatives will respond with, “Well what about this teacher who told students about the Tulsa Massacre?” or “What about this textbook that includes a description of systemic racism?” 

These are good things to be telling children about! And it’s true that teaching these subjects is becoming more common. If you define CRT as something totally reasonable, then CRT *is* being taught in public schools. 

But CRT also has an unreasonable definition. It means segregated diversity trainings where white kids are told that they should feel bad for slavery forever and ordered to burn copies of Dr. Seuss books. An absolute cartoon of liberal views on race. 

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Will Bunch/Philadelphia Enquirer:

These women are white, with no college degrees — and in the driver’s seat of American politics 

It’s not clear how many 2021 voters knew a lot about current anti-racism education in schools beyond hearing the fright-toned invocation of “critical race theory” nightly on Fox News. A video went viral Tuesday of an older Virginia voter in an Air Force cap telling the political humor site The Good Liars that “getting back to basics” and “not teaching critical race theory” was his most important issue, adding “I’m not going to get into the specifics of it [CRT] because I don’t understand that much.” Ironically, that anonymous man is bonded in that ignorance with Fox News’ nightly race-baiter-in-chief, Tucker Carlson, who admitted on camera this week that “I’ve never figured out where ‘critical race theory’ is, to be totally honest, after a year of talking about it.”

That’s because the specifics of “critical race theory” — an idea about racism built into the legal structure of America that’s really only taught in law schools — aren’t as important as a moral panic about children being indoctrinated, which clearly moved voters in a year in which the GOP not only recaptured the governor’s mansion in Virginia but threw a scare into New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy and swept Pennsylvania’s statewide judicial races

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Amanda Carpenter/The Bulwark:

“Family Values” and the GOP Class of 2022

How are Herschel Walker, Eric Greitens, Sean Parnell, and Max Miller going to run the Glenn Youngkin playbook?

Republican Glenn Youngkin won in Virginia primarily by positioning himself as a solid parental advocate, a model that many GOP strategists are eager to replicate for the midterm elections. That might not be as easy as they think.

For that template to work, the Republican party needs candidates who live up to the image of kindhearted, family-minded people. But while Youngkin was the most visible Republican in the 2021 off-year cycle, 2022 will bring a bevy of candidates to the fore. And some of the highest-profile GOP primary candidates for the 2022 races have a history of allegations of violence against women.

Herschel Walker, Eric Greitens, and Sean Parnell are all considered serious contenders to win the Republican nominations for Senate seats in, respectively, Georgia, Missouri, and Pennsylvania. Each of them has been accused of aggressively threatening and violating women in their lives.

If they win their party’s nominations, it may complicate life for the aspiring Youngkins of 2022.

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Steve Benen/MaddowBlog:

GOP candidates win, despite having participated in Jan. 6 events

Several Republicans who participated in Jan. 6 events sought elected office. Most of them won. This shouldn’t be seen as normal.

The article added, “While ten of these candidates went to the Capitol on Jan. 6, all have either denied entering the building or not spoken about their involvement. None has been charged for their activities on Jan. 6. The other three candidates have said they solely attended the ‘Stop the Steal’ rally that preceded the insurrection and did not go to the Capitol. But that rally was explicitly premised on attempting to overturn the 2020 election.”

In an unsettling sign of the times, many of these candidates won. HuffPost reported yesterday:

At least eight Republicans who attended the Jan. 6 rally in Washington, D.C., that turned into a deadly insurrection were elected to office Tuesday. Three were elected to state legislatures, and five won positions at the local level.

There’s apparently some debate about the precise figure of wins — a Washington Post report said the number is “at least seven,” while HuffPost puts the total at eight — but either way, we can safely say that most of the Republicans who sought elected office after having participated in Jan. 6 events were successful.

Mike the Mad Biologist/blog:

Some Thoughts on COVID ‘Off Ramps’: They Should Involve More Than Hunches

Over the last couple of weeks, there have been several articles discussing COVID ‘off ramps’, that is, when and how will we decide to (start to) return to ‘normal.’ What I find depressing about most of these articles is that most seem to have not learned a damn thing over the last twenty months. We need an approach grounded, not in some pundit’s instincts–because that worked really well when too many of them were acting as if the pandemic was over in March and April 2021–but in what is an acceptable level of disease. And we need good metrics for that acceptable level so we can have clear guidelines.

For me, there are two metrics we should be using: the percentage of the total population that is vaccinated, and the prevalence of infections (i.e., how many people are infected). Let’s deal with vaccination first.

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