Our Failed Political Press
I knew something was up this morning when the Politico email thingie seemed more off than usual, and this passage was the clue that made me by-pass the whole thing (emphasis theirs):
Many in the media seem bewildered that House Republicans didn’t unanimously join Democrats in supporting impeachment (looking at you, Playbook readers in the media) — after all, Republicans were in the building when rioters broke through, seeking to do them grievous physical harm. My Republican sources tell me that opposition to impeachment doesn’t spring from generalized sanguinity over Trump’s behavior: I’ve been receiving calls and texts for more than a week from elected Republicans heartsick over what they saw in the Capitol.
And this is where the old jaw hit the old chest chez Tengrain’s Little Hut:
Opposition to impeachment comes from a deep and abiding conservative belief that members of the opposing political tribe want their destruction, not simply to punish Trump for his behavior. Republicans believe that Democrats and the overwhelmingly liberal media see impeachment as an attempt to cudgel them collectively by lumping them in with the Capitol rioters thanks to their support for Trump.
What fresh hell is that? If Republicans oppose Lord Damp Nut’s incitement to insurrection and then hold him accountable, then they will be blamed for the insurrection itself.
I figured they wrote it drunk after the impeachment vote last night. And seriously, who could blame them. But I was not going to pay attention to Tiger Beat if the pre-amble was so completely nuts, so I closed the email.
Then this afternoon’s email thingie from Politico shed some light; it seems I missed a critical detail: Ben Shapiro was the guest editor for some reason!
Anyway, in the afternoon email thingie, someone from The Bulwark wrote something that sort of counts as an angry letter to the editor about Ben Shapiro’s agitprop this morning (emphasis theirs):
TIM MILLER, Jeb Bush’s 2016 comms director and a former spokesman for the RNC who now writes for The Bulwark, emailed with a few POLITICO editors about Ben Shapiro’s Playbook this morning. Here’s Miller’s response:
Ben argues the media is “bewildered” by Republicans’ refusal to impeach President Trump, saying they miss that “opposition comes from a deep and abiding conservative belief that members of the opposing political tribe want their destruction.”
This is A-plus rationalizing, but it ain’t the truth. Most in “the media” see GOP motivations quite clearly, while Shapiro — who was Never Trump in 2016 but changed his tune — is clouded by the need for a face-saving excuse.
The truth is simple. Only 10 Republicans voted to impeach the president after his attempt to steal the election resulted in five deaths because GOP voters don’t want them to. In fact, some GOP voters are so rabid in defense of Trump that members fear for their lives if they cross him.
The GOP members who know better voted against impeachment out of fear of their own voters, not the Democrats. The rest are so deluded that they share Trump’s sincere belief that the election was rigged. This is the same reason that 139 of them went along with the preposterous charade that led to the insurrection to begin with, voting to overturn the results of the election based on imaginary voter fraud.
Giving cover to congressional Republicans while their lies perpetuate the unfounded grievances of their base is how the Capitol got sacked, not how we get out of this mess. To their credit, MITT ROMNEY, LIZ CHENEY, ADAM KINZINGER and others are fighting against this degradation of the GOP and our institutions with truth while grounding themselves in genuine conservativeprinciple, not by excusing violent reactionary populism.
I love the win-win of 2 conservatives essentially shrieking at each other in the town square.
Anyway, I regret the error of not noticing that Tiger Beat on the Potomac (thanks Charlie!) has been having guest editors this week. I still have no idea why they would bring in Ben Shapiro. Seems like they must have broken child labor laws.
UPDATE 1: This is a pretty good tweet –