Politics In Today’s GOP, Congress Is Just Where You Prep for a TV Gig
No ‘Dreamers’ allowed: DACA recipients still can’t work for Congress
Like a lot of congressional interns, Sara had her five-year plan all mapped out. First, she’d find a staff assistant position, “then work my way up to legislative correspondent, then legislative assistant and then try to get a legislative directorship under my belt.” She had already interviewed a few times when she found out. As […] The post No ‘Dreamers’ allowed: DACA recipients still can’t work for Congress appeared first on Roll Call.
In the hours before news broke of an ongoing investigation intoinvolving Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, the Trump-loving congressman was he was ready to leave Capitol Hill behind. His safety net of choice? A lucrative job as a pro-MAGA pundit on far-right cable network Newsmax. That thirst for celebrity from Gaetz, who has empathically denied any wrongdoing and , would be scandalous if the GOP hadn’t already become the political equivalent of a TikTok house for publicity-hungry conspiracy theorists and sex pests.
Congress looks to rein in Biden's war powers
Congress is wading into a messy fight over President Biden's war powers after years of ceding authority to the White House.The legislative effort is blurring political lines by testing the balance of power between two branches of government and creating strange bedfellows, with hawkish Republicans who disagree with Biden's policies wary of attempts to limit presidential authority on the issue.Proponents of change are hoping Biden's ascendancy,The legislative effort is blurring political lines by testing the balance of power between two branches of government and creating strange bedfellows, with hawkish Republicans who disagree with Biden's policies wary of attempts to limit presidential authority on the issue.
A grudging few years of public service is the entry fee for young Republicans aiming for the real prize of celebrity within the right-wing media. Freshman Reps. Madison Cawthorn and Marjorie Taylor Greene are bumbling their way through ineffectual careers in Congress while burnishing their media bona fides. Benghazi conspiracist and former Rep. Trey Gowdy walked the same path to hisat Fox News.
The Republican Party’s twisted cinematic universe doesn’t care about legislating—in fact, its new role as a pundit-printing machine survives only if our government is kept artificially gridlocked by ever-escalating GOP political stunts. That behavior earns prized bookings on Sean Hannity, but it’s also putting the most corrosive elements of American politics in charge of public discourse. That’s a terrifying prospect for democracy.
Matt Gaetz said he's talked to every conservative network about a post-Congress gig, but Fox News denied his claims, saying it had 'no interest in hiring him'
No one with any level of authority has had conversations with Matt Gaetz for any of our platforms and we have no interest in hiring him," Fox said.Gaetz told the Daily Beast he had been talking to major right-wing news networks including Newsmax, the One American News Network, and Fox News, over the past weeks.
The GOP has always had its share of fame-hungry politicos who couldn’t wait to translate their minor political notoriety into a kaleidoscope of humiliating media ventures, from Sarah Palin’sto Mike Huckabee’s God-and-guns-heavy chat show. And try as one might, who can forget disgraced Texas pol Tom DeLay’s on Dancing With the Stars?
What a difference a decade and a reality television star president made. In the late 2000s, even Republicans recoiled at Palin’s transparent efforts to parlay her brush with political fame into a TV revenue stream for her assorted family members. Huckabee’s ratings-fueled right turn on Fox occasionally led to GOP lawmakershis more extreme outbursts. Now an eagerness to debase oneself across the conservative media landscape is practically essential for any conservative Twitter grifter hoping to crowdfund a run for Congress in the hopes of eventually flipping that seat into a sweet gig as a talking head.
There’s a new lawsuit attacking Obamacare — and it’s a serious threat
The legal arguments in Kelley v. Becerra aren’t exactly good arguments, but five justices have signaled that they agree with them.A team of conservative activists filed a lawsuit last year which asks the courts to strike down several key provisions of the Affordable Care Act. The plaintiffs’ legal arguments are at odds with longstanding precedents, but the case is assigned to a very conservative Republican-appointed judge. And that judge has already signaled that he’s likely to rule in those plaintiffs’ favor.
All of this might be worth a laugh if the right’s all-outrage, no-ideas approach wasn’t elevating obstructionist cranks like Greene and Cawthorn into positions of power they couldn’t care less about except as a bigger platform from which to hawk their branded merch.
“I have built my staff around comms rather than legislation,” Cawthornin a Jan. 19 email extolling the value of abandoning lawmaking in favor of publicity. That’s made clear by Cawthorn’s constant stream of Twitter and Instagram posts, which consist largely of mocking Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez—always a great way to get the attention of guest bookers at OAN—and touting a heavy schedule of Fox News bookings. Cawthorn’s admission is also correct: Republicans have lost the ability to govern, but boy can they whine.
Take Ted Cruz. You likely won’t find Cruz in the Senate, where he’s missedas most of his colleagues. Instead, you’ll find Cruz shooting from the southern border designed to worldbuild a fictional immigration crisis of Joe Biden’s making. The video was bogus, but it had the intended effect: Fox News snapped up the videos and into breathless, panicked reality.
The 10 Senate seats most likely to flip in 2022
Senate elections typically happen only every two years -- except sometimes they're three years in a row.Democrats picked up two seats in November 2020. They won two more in Georgia runoffs in January 2021. And in 2022, they'll be fighting to keep control of the evenly divided chamber, where Vice President Kamala Harris is the tie-breaking vote.
Left unsaid is the fact that Cruzblocking Senate efforts to build a better and more effective immigration system. That’s legislating, and it doesn’t drive the Twitter clicks and Newsmax coverage hours that now determine who qualifies as a serious Republican presidential frontrunner. Instead, Cruz, Cawthorn, Gaetz and their ilk choose to sit outside the arena offering cable news play-by-play as if they were not also elected officials chosen to serve a public most Republicans now divide into “our audience” and “not our problem.”
Making the transition into the cushioned world of elite right-wing media isn’t just a play for cash, though that’s a real consideration in an industry where even mediocre personalities like Huckabeerecycling Hillary Clinton jokes and playfully skirting explicit racism. And as Gaetz may soon learn, nothing sells on cable news quite like a conservative targeted by an FBI witch hunt. Running away to the circus offers Gaetz an attempted escape from accountability.
And while Republican legislators plot futures free from the hard work of actually governing, work in Congress remains at a crawl. That’s thanks in large part to clout-chasers like Greene, who has built a media mini-empire of her own through a network of Twitter, Facebook, and media appearances so tightly branded that she has become the GOP’s. That Greene doesn’t understand or care about governing is irrelevant when her constant digital drumbeat of imagined victimhood for her campaign and GOP-aligned groups.
Why some Republicans switched votes on bills they previously supported
Twenty House Republicans switched from voting “yes” last Congress to “no” this year on Democrat-led bills dealing with issues such as gun sales, women’s rights and immigration. Of roughly a dozen bills Democrats brought back to the House floor this year because they died in the GOP-controlled Senate last session, most still received some GOP […] The post Why some Republicans switched votes on bills they previously supported appeared first on Roll Call.
Trump helped Republicans perfect their message-over-results approach, and in doing so created a powerful world of alternate facts and negotiable reality. But that devil’s bargain also saddled Republicans with an addiction to disinformation. Enabling that dependency means turning a blind eye to outrages like Greene’s conspiracy theories and Gaetz’s alleged misconduct. What remains is a party where accountability means nothing and Twitter virality is the only standard for success.
This survival of this sad Trumpian party depends on loyalist media personalities portraying Cawthorn’s inadequacy or Cruz’s self-aggrandizement as bold protests against unnamed leftist “elites.” The constantly flowing river of right-wing media reinforcement shouted out nightly by Carlson and Hannity and a host of lesser ghouls like Dan Bongino is the lifeblood keeping the post-Trump Republican Party alive.
For do-nothing grifters like Gaetz, ascending into the firmament of Newsmax klieg lights, if that offer remains on the table after this newly revealed investigation, may be the best possible career move. But it comes at a terrible cost to our politics and our public discourse.
Voting Restrictions Aren’t the Primary Threat to U.S. Democracy .
The GOP is better at denying Democratic voters equal representation than it is at denying them access to the ballot.Less than six decades ago, Georgia was an authoritarian white ethno-state. At that time — and for the bulk of the state’s post-emancipation history — the preferred political party of white Georgians subordinated democracy to racial hierarchy by enacting facially neutral voting laws that disenfranchised virtually all of the state’s African Americans.