Well, somehow it looks like enough of Washington came to their senses to raise the debt ceiling! We’re not quite sure that means Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer will be grabbing brunch this weekend, but it shows at least 14 Republicans aren’t completely on the Trump train. That’s where we begin before turning to yet another edition of “Georgil-vania.”
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So, even in today’s Trump-fueled Washington, while different sides started this debate a few months ago having thought they had a political advantage to a debt limit showdown, cooler and wiser heads prevailed. Smart for our economy and smart politics as history shows that no one comes out of letting the US default on its debt in a good way as it simply underscores utter dysfunction in a world in which paying one’s bills is not considered something extraordinary. It's something that everyday Americans do every day. And if politicians can't do it, it just leads voters to think (again) what a mess Washington is. Schumer got what he needed and so did McConnell. While some may say McConnell folded, he got three important things in my book. First, it doesn’t mean Democrats who are wary of changing the filibuster needed ammunition to reconsider and join the majority of their colleagues in wanting to usher in reform to endless legislative delay. Second, in the end, it will be Democrats only who have to vote to raise the debt limit. Lastly, and maybe most importantly, McConnell is looking at his hand of cards he’s been dealt and decides he likes them all. No need for the dealer to change the game now and no need to add additional unnecessary chaos into the future when no one knows what it could mean or how it plays out.
I agree; well played by Leader McConnell. Also interesting to see that the Senate can still put on its big boy pants once in a while. This was a good solve and both sides walk away with political ammo. And we avoid a huge economic panic. While that’s all like giving a Boy Scout a merit badge for telling the truth, in today’s crazy politics it’s a win and I’ll happily take it. I’m sure McConnell and Schumer are thinking, as they sit today in the memorial service for Bob Dole, that the ol’ Leader would have appreciated this one.
We told you we'd be talking about all of what’s happening in the truly fascinating states of Georgia and Pennsylvania, but we didn't realize we'd be back with the Georgia election so quickly into the race! Murphy, I bet the most given advice from political consultants and strategists to candidates, be they Democrats, Republicans, challengers or incumbents is that elections are always about the future. Enter the Georgia Republican primary for Governor to turn that entirely on its head right out of the gate. The first skirmish in the race has begun and it’s not about anything in the future, but about relitigating the certification of the 2020 election in Georgia. And let’s leave aside that the Governor has no actual legal role here (insert eye roll). This, scarily, is our current political state in one scene. On the Republican side, the very first punch thrown is to say the 2020 election (and one in which Perdue lost his Senate seat in) was rigged, unfair, and corrupt shows just how potent this message is and will continue to be in 2022 and perhaps beyond. And others, Democrats (and I hope some Republicans) see the absolute danger of what this rhetoric and the fears of real action to overturn fair elections in the future could mean for our democracy. Our entire system is predicated on free elections to choose those to represent us in making governing decisions. Even as Joe Biden hosts a global summit on democracy, it’s inescapable to see the slow but purposeful demise of our shining example. It shows the dark places next year’s campaigns are going to go not just in Georgia, but in other states like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Arizona, and we know these arguments are not going to adhere to any state border. It crystallizes the state of play and honestly makes you utterly fearful for what lies ahead.
Cut to Bart Gellman’s cover story in The Atlantic that January 6th was like a dry run for what's coming next. We've talked about this for a while, but we’re starting to see it all over again and with such shamelessness.
I have to tell you Gibbsie that none of us in the campaign racket could have imagined ourselves ten years ago telling a recently, if narrowly, defeated U.S. Senator considering a primary challenger to a sitting Governor… “OK, Boss… here’s the plan for your big comeback and it’s a duesy! One day, you come out loud and proud… for treason! That’s right, treason! Tear up the Constitution, ignore the election results! Come out against them!
“But, um, guys, that seems—”
“No listen, it’s fantastic. If we do that… we get a rich guy reality TV star, sure he’s pro-choice and gives a lot of money to Democrats, but he’ll endorse us and…”
At that point the candidate of ten years ago would call for the nice men in the white coats to take us away. But here we are in Georgia. And now in the GOP primary, it’ll be a crazy-off. Gov. Kemp would normally beat a slow mule like former Senator Perdue by two to one. But with the Trump factor, it’s a tied race in the early polls. Stand by for swinging axes and Peckinpah style slow motion blood sprays all over the state.
I think Kemp may fend this off – he’s not moderate – but it’ll be a battle and radioactivity should help the D’s in the vital Atlanta suburbs. But the midterm Democratic/Biden baggage isn’t going away either.
Then in Pennsylvania, there’s polling that Democrat John Fetterman’s campaign leaked that shows Dr. Oz is a strong candidate. If they polled other Republicans I didn’t see it. Makes me believe they’re setting up an argument that Oz is strong all the while hoping he’s the Republican nominee.
I’d warn team Fetterman, probably drunk with cockiness over the huge flood of low dollar lefty donations that are flowing into their campaign coffers, not to be too clever by half. Focus on the Dem primary where increasing numbers of party leaders are trying to figure out how to stop Fetterman; an oddball candidate they see as risky and unreliable in a vital Senate race like PA.
So, yes, the NY AG is seeking to depose our former President, but the more fascinating thing in that story for me is the AG deciding not to be an aspiring governor and instead wanting to remain attorney general. That was to me a bit of a shocker, which leads me to be cynical and think somebody did a poll and decided the path to being attorney general again was more likely.
I think there is a growing wave of concern bordering on despair rocking the Democratic party as they look to 2022 and beyond. Pols like NY AG Lettica James are trimming their sails and de-risking their careers. I smell a shaky poll as well. And former NY Lt Gov – now Governor – Kathy Hochul is running hard in her new job and is using her position to gather significant campaign money (with the ever effective incumbent’s message of “you had better be, for what is going to happen…” The primary probably looked a bit too daunting for James (though I think she might have won nonetheless.)
Have a great weekend and we’ll see you on Tuesday!
Murphy and Gibbs