Thursday, April 28, 2022

Republicans behaving badly (Spring 2022 edition)

 Not long ago, I played devil’s advocate and told you why the Republicans were going to screw up this year’s elections. Even though everything seems to be going in their favor, the party has had a long history of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Folks, it’s happening. Here are a few examples of the Republican Party just not being able to keep it together.

In the first and one of the most egregious examples, Marjorie Taylor Greene (Q-Ga.) was interviewed by Church Militant, a right-wing Catholic organization. The interview is behind a paywall, but Right Wing Watch posted a clip on Twitter in which the Georgia congresswoman says, “Satan is controlling the church” and “not adhering to the teachings of Christ” because some Christians are too easy on illegal immigrants.

Per the article, Greene is asked about Christian organizations receiving federal funds to aid illegal immigrants. Here is her full reply:

I thought we had a separation of church and state.

What it is, is Satan’s controlling the church. The church is not doing its job, and it’s not adhering to the teachings of Christ, and it’s not adhering to what the word of God says we’re supposed to do and how we’re supposed to live.

We are supposed to love one another, but their definition of what love one another means, means destroying our laws,” she continued. “It means completely perverting what our Constitution says. It means taking unreal advantage of the American taxpayer. And it means pushing a globalist policy on the American people and forcing America to become something that we are not supposed to be.

We should hold those countries accountable. “Oh, I’m sorry, Guatemala, you’re not getting a check this year because you’ve sent X number of thousands and tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands and millions of people to illegally invade our country as if they’re an army. They may not have guns, but they’re the numbers of a regiment of an army. We won’t be able to send you your foreign aid until you bring your people back.”

The bishops of Catholic relief charities and services, they should be all in support of that. If the bishops were reading the Bible and truly preaching the word of God to their flock and not covering up child sex abuse and pedophilia, loving one another would have the true meaning and not the perversion and the twisted lie that they’re making it to be.

This is straight-up QAnon conspiratorial ramblings that invoke a Satanic conspiracy connected to pedophilia. Greene was an avowed QAnon believer in the past but said last year that she regretted that she was “allowed to believe things that weren’t true” before she faced a censure vote. She obviously has not kicked the habit.

As someone pointed out, Jesus did not say “love one another, but…”

Rather, when Jesus was asked what was the greatest commandment, he answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.”

No buts.

In contrast to the anger and vitriol that too often comes from the church these days, Jesus also told us, “Love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you.”

In case there is any confusion, the Bible also instructs us to be welcoming of strangers and aliens and to give them the same aid and respect that we would give the native-born. This instruction comes in not one verse but many.

Marjorie Taylor Greene’s version of the Gospel faults churches for following the admonitions of Jesus and loving poor immigrants without a “but.” That sounds like something that Satan introduce into the church to distract it from its good works.

We are a nation of laws and those laws need to be enforced. Those laws also need to be just, however. Our immigration laws are not just when wait times are often measured in decades even for the most desirable immigrants.

Current laws can be enforced humanely, however. Those who demonize immigrants (illegal or legal) and intentionally abuse them are not acting in Christian love. You might even say they are doing the work of Satan.

In Madison Cawthorn news, the North Carolina Republican was cited for bringing a loaded gun into an airport for a second time, and he may also be in trouble for insider trading. Repeatedly walking guns past security is not being a responsible gun owner.

The allegations of insider trading involve Cawthorn’s public statements around a virtual “Let’s Go Brandon” coin. The situation looks bad enough that even fellow Tarheel Republican Thom Tillis is calling for an investigation.

And then we have the leaked Kevin McCarthy comments in which the House Minority Leader said that he thought Trump should resign. The revelations have touched off intraparty squabbling between the MAGA caucus and the not-so-MAGA Republicans.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fl.) is one of the Republicans sniping at McCarthy after it came to light that McCarthy criticized Gaetz’s behavior on January 6. Gaetz responded by saying, “This is the behavior of weak men, not leaders.”

The news of insufficient loyalty to Donald Trump also increases the chance that The Former Guy will get involved. He’s already seeking revenge against several sitting Republicans. He might well add McCarthy to the list.

Further dribbles of information about January 6 are continuing to come forth as well. MTG features in another of these revelations as someone who called for “Marshall [sic] law” more than a week after the insurrection and just before Joe Biden’s inauguration. Some people say voters don’t care about January 6, but I don’t think most Americans like the idea of a congresswoman calling for martial law to overturn an election.

There is a lot of silliness on the Republican side along with an increasing amount of infighting. Will it be enough to stem the red wave that seems to be building? I’m still betting on Republican gains, but I do believe the behavior of Greene and many of the others is going to act to blunt its force.

Republicans said in 2020 that all Democrats had to do was not be crazy, but they couldn’t pull it off. That was true then and it impacted Democratic gains in what could have been a much bigger year.

The reverse is true going into 2022. All the Republicans had to do was not be crazy, but they just can’t help themselves. For those like MTG, it’s in their DNA.

There are still several months to go before the election and a lot can happen. A lot of the actions that shape the election won’t be on the national radar but will be happening at the local level. The more MTGs that Republicans nominate this spring, the worse their results will be this fall.

From the Racket

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

What does Herschel Walker have that David Perdue doesn't?

 The Georgia gubernatorial candidates had a debate last weekend. If you ever wondered why they use the term “gubernatorial,” I like to think it’s because most of the candidates are a bunch of goobers. That was true of one of last weekend’s debaters in particular.

David Perdue in the debate (YouTube screenshot)

David Perdue, one of Georgia’s recently defeated senators, showed that he learned nothing from his 2021 runoff loss to Jon Ossoff. Perdue came out of the gate with claims about the election being stolen and illegal immigration, the same platform that cost him his Senate seat.

In fact, David Perdue is only running for one reason that I can see and that is because Donald Trump wants revenge on Brian Kemp for failing to “find” enough votes to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in Georgia. Never mind that tipping Georgia would not have changed the outcome of the election (Don’t bother him with details!), Kemp’s disloyalty has to be punished.

The sparks flew in this clip in which both candidates call each other liars and nitpick the details of the 2020 post-election. I could fill an entire article with a fact-check of Perdue’s claims, but suffice it to say that the Georgia governor does not have the authority to call a special session to overturn an election that the president didn’t like and the consent decree, which settled a lawsuit related to the absentee ballot system, did not pave the way for fraudulent ballots to steal the election.

Gov. Kemp is right. Perdue is lying. And what’s more, it isn’t working. The most recent polling (taken before the debate) shows Kemp with a 20+ point lead over Perdue. (Kemp also performs better in a head-to-head against Stacey Abrams.)

So Trump’s handpicked revenge candidate is flaming out and Kemp, a sane and somewhat moderate Republican looks like he’ll be the standard-bearer once again despite directly challenging Donald Trump. That’s a good thing and shows that the party is breaking free of Trump’s hold, right?

Not so fast.

There’s another big statewide race in Georgia. Senator Raphael Warnock, elected to fill the remaining term of Senator Johnny Isakson, who resigned for health reasons, will be defending his seat against a Republican challenger. That challenger looks certain to be Herschel Walker, a former UGA football star who has lived in Texas for the past few decades. Walker is a 50-point favorite in the Republican primary.

Walker is also a devout Trumpist. His association with Donald Trump goes back to the USFL and “Celebrity Apprentice.” The former tailback supported Trump in both 2016 and 2020 and even spoke at the Republican National Convention in 2020 on behalf of Trump, as well as touting stolen election conspiracy theories.

The point here is that the Republican primary voters are clearly not backing candidates solely based on their allegiance to Trump or their stance on the 2020 election. I’d say that there are a variety of factors at play.

First, Kemp is a popular governor. He signed a fetal heartbeat bill before the pandemic and took a middle path between lockdowns and ignoring the pandemic. Kemp was pro-mask and pro-vaccine but often shied away from mandates. More recently, Kemp signed a constitutional carry law. Economically, Georgians are doing pretty well. These are all popular with Republicans.

Herschel Walker’s main advantage is his celebrity. For any Georgian old enough to remember 1980, the last time Georgia won the NCAA championship until last year, Herschel Walker was a household name. I saw him play several times and can still see him sailing over defensive lines to land in the end zone.

Herschel’s nearest competitor is Gary Black, the state Agriculture Commissioner. Black is a longtime Republican officeholder who has served under two Republican governors, but he isn’t exactly a household name. Even if he was, the Republican base doesn’t necessarily know and love longtime Republicans just because they have an (R) after their name.

People know Herschel, but they don’t necessarily know much about him since he left UGA in 1983 to play for the USFL. Since then, Herschel’s personal life has been a mess. He has been untruthful about both his academics and his businesses as well as struggling with mental illness that at times threatened to turn violent.

Would Republican voters shy away from Herschel if they knew about his underlying problems? Maybe and maybe not. But there’s a really good chance that general election voters will watch ads targeting Walker’s history and decide that they shouldn’t risk their Senate seat on the unstable political neophyte.

The question is what does Herschel Walker have that David Perdue doesn’t since they both have Donald Trump’s backing. The answer seems to be that Herschel has a relatively unknown opponent.

This is more evidence that candidates matter. This is true in several respects. First, Brian Kemp is a known quantity and many Republicans are happy with the job that he is doing. This may even extend to his refusal to steal the election for Trump.

Candidates also matter when it comes to name recognition. Herschel has very little going for him except the fact that he was a football star. This is enough to allow him to tower over other candidates who have faithfully served the State of Georgia and the Republican Party for years.

Finally, candidates matter in that Herschel’s celebrity may get him the nomination, but there is an excellent chance that it won’t get him into the end zone. General election voters are not as enamored with conservative celebrities as Republican voters are.

I predict that if Walker finds himself in a debate with Raphael Warnock, he will likely implode quicker than the USFL after the league lost its antitrust suit against the NFL. Ideology aside, Walker just isn’t a good candidate and has no place in the Senate (not that similar shortcomings haven’t stopped candidates in other states; Tommy Turberville, I’m looking in your direction).

It is a good sign that Republicans are willing to look beyond Donald Trump’s endorsements, but the party has a long way to go in restoring sanity to its ranks. It’s probably going to take more than a few more MAGA losses to purge the GOP of Trump’s influence, but conservatives should support good Republican candidates where they can find them.


In Utah, Democrats voted to support independent candidate Evan McMullin rather than field a Democratic candidate who was certain to lose. McMullin is trying to unseat Mike Lee, ostensibly a constitutionalist, but who has been implicated in the effort to throw out state electoral results and notably failed to do much of anything to hold Trump accountable or rein in The Former Guy’s abuses of power.

The coalition of independents and Democrats is a smart move. If Democrats really believe that MAGA is a serious threat, they should be willing to put partisan squabbling aside to address the greater threat.

Full disclosure: I supported and did some campaigning for McMullin in his 2016 presidential campaign.

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From the Racket