We hope you enjoyed our predictions for the new year. We’ve got a few more where those came from – especially a few predictions and guesses about what might be our favorite 2022 topic: Georgil-Vania. But we begin with recognizing the solemn anniversary of January 6th – a day we should never forget despite many in the GOP trying to do just that.
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MURPHY: For all the talk of the omicron surge and everything else, we all need to take a beat this week and think about what actually happened one year ago. A violent mob, inspired by a lunatic President, tried to seize the US Congress to stop the results of a completely legitimate and Democratic election, as well as commit general mayhem. It was an act of war against our democracy. Still, most House and Senate Republicans have just run for the tall grass like cowards, or even worse, tried to whitewash the whole thing. It is disgraceful. And disqualifying. I was proud to see Rep Liz Cheney and her father (a far better man than the cartoon the Left happily painted of him) both standing there in the House – an institution they both have served in with distinction and both love – at a Memorial moment for the police officers killed defending our democracy. Yet, they stood there mourning those cops alone; no other Republican House Members showed up. It sickened me. It should sicken you too, and you should vote like it, despite the pain we conservatives feel about liberal policy. Kudos as well to Karl Rove. We haven’t always agreed, but his WSJ ep-ed was spot on, Karl punches through the sophist sludge so many Republicans now peddle about January 6th and tells the truth. We own this and need to fix it. Read Karl Rove here.
One last thing; Biden’s tough and honest speech was excellent. Joe fighting for a cause most of us believe in is the best Joe. We should see much more of it.
GIBBS: Agree with you wholeheartedly Murphy on the Biden speech. I do, however, continue to be worried that like a lot of other aspects, incidents and events of the Trump era these things cause great interest and great shock, and that they wear off all too quickly. In a world of really one long news cycle, not several news cycles a day, this kind of stuff all too often fades quickly and even becomes somewhat normalized. The pictures of that day should shock us on the one-year anniversary, the 10-year anniversary and the 100-year anniversary. I will not forget just the sheer anger I felt that day. My first job in politics was as an intern in the House of Representatives. One big part of that job was giving tours of the Capitol and I loved doing it. I can, many years later, still give a pretty good tour of the Capitol from remembering the typed pages I was told to memorize before showing up for the first day at work. (It's interesting giving a tour of the Capitol not having been in it for 10 years, when I did it at the age of 21.)
And just so we never forget, I think the idea being bounced around by the January 6th Committee of doing some of their hearings in primetime is a very good and intriguing idea. National TV audiences for stuff like this aren’t what they once were, but this is good a way of bringing this roaring back into the public consciousness in a world in which I feel like we forget these events, all too quickly. Doing so would bring some real drama and some genuine news value that I think could capture the public's imagination in a way in which quite frankly a lot of closed-door hearings and interviews have really yet to accomplish (even if Fox News and Newsmax won’t carry them). I'm not faulting the Committee for most of their hearings being quiet because that’s how you conduct a true investigation. But, I think as we get into the report delivery phase of this, the public part of this is going to be really, really important.
No, I think that's a really good idea. We have to knock the country over the head with what happened, otherwise the debate just reverts back as always to the price of cheese etc. Haul ‘em in front of the hot TV lights in prime time and let Liz Cheney fry them as they deserve to be fried. Many House R’s know in their hearts that some of the nuttier offices were in on January 6 in some way and they need to be frog-marched out of their hidey holes and forced to confront the evidence of their crimes in public. It’s important not for partisan reasons but because the stakes for our flagging democracy are so damn high. There is a bunch of troubling new polling data out that shows the toxic currents swirling under our politics. My friend the political scientist turned GOP political pollster Dr. David Hill – an Auburn man like you Gibbs, as well as a former rock concert promoter who first brought the Rolling Stones to Alabama (more on that another time) – is out with a fascinating new poll. Hill asked a bunch of political science driven and (peer reviewed) questions that test people’s perceptions about authoritarianism. You can read about the data here and here. I suggest you accompany your reading with a stiff drink. While the battle is far from lost, have no doubt the sewer is backing up and starting to overflow. It requires strong action.
Now back to some predictions for the future…
MURPHY: There will be a lot of races to watch next year but we both think, and have said, that Ground Zero is likely to be big races in Pennsylvania and Georgia (what we have famously coined Georgil-vania). We’ve covered the races before; but here is one (contrarian) prediction/guess from me: I think GOP miracle candidate David McCormick is likely to run (and would easily be the most capable Senator); he’s a very successful hedge fund magnate who has served with distinction in high government offices in the past. So, Hallelujah, a sane Republican! So, what’s my prediction? I smell a potential Humpty Dumpty scenario emerging. In the Trump era, McCormick is understandably afraid to run as what he is, so he’s been undergoing a major MAGA re-paint and wax job. (Think bad Batmobile conversion… )
He’s apparently hired Hope Hicks, Stephen Miller and a few more Trumpy factotums. It’s a crafty inside play to keep Trump at least neutral in the primary, but these dregs bring absolutely nothing to running a smart general election campaign. Their main gift is toxic infighting. Consultant Jeff Roe is also involved and unlike the others he does know what to do but this whole caper is starting to look way too clever by half to me. The danger is McCormick runs as something he is not; primary voters can easily smell a big, forced, fake. Plus, despite his topnotch Master of the Universe credentials, McCormick has never been a candidate before; running for office at a high level is a performance job and his skills to date have been far more boardroom than Broadway. So, we’ll see. Plus, the whole hedge fund titan thing is tricky enough to begin with. Maybe I’m wrong. I hope he wins and I’d vote him in a second, knowing the real McCormick could be a great Senator. And who knows, Dr. Oz could himself become a real disaster as a candidate. But the MAGA doc does know how to be a performer, particularly in a Republican primary. So, my Spidey Sense is tingling about McCormick.
Meanwhile the Democratic field is also interesting. Conor Lamb is the easy general election winner on paper, but he’s running behind in the Democratic primary. His opponent, blue-collar lefty Lt. Gov John Fetterman, may be hard to beat in the Dem primary and a bit underrated in the general. Fetterman does have a unique anti-politics shtick that may be more appealing than pundits are assuming. (Remember, Bernie and Trump attracted some of the same alienated voters in the past…). The problem for both Dems (and dark horse third Dem candidate Dr. Val Arkoosh as well) is President Biden’s so far relentlessly weak polling numbers. If they don’t improve, a B level GOP candidate – even Doc Oz and his trained leeches – could still prevail.
GIBBS: In Georgia, Trump’s continued and outsized impact on the party result in sitting Governor Brian Kemp losing the GOP Primary for Governor to former Senator David Perdue in late May. It sets up the biggest general election matchups in Georgia history with Stacy Abrams facing Perdue in the Governor’s race and U.S. Senator and Rev. Raphael Warnock running for re-election against Herschel Walker. Georgia has a chance to be the first state ever to have both a Black U.S. Senator and a Black Governor at the same time. Both races are too close to call going into the last week of the campaign and Georgia, easily, becomes the center of the political universe. Unfortunately, I just can’t see through the fog of my crystal ball to tell you who wins! (Oh, and I have Dems winning in the Pennsylvania’s Senate race.)
MURPHY: I’m predicting Vice President Harris’s problems will get worse, not better. She'll be at least somewhat scapegoated for political failures the White House is likely to endure this year, and my guess is she’ll pile up another gaffe or two along the way. It’ll be both a bit unfair – the political struggles are hardly her fault alone – as well as deserved because a clumsy performance up on the Vice Presidential high wire cannot help but begat trouble. As the worried murmurs grow in Democratic circles there will be open talk and speculation about Biden, if he runs, selecting a new VP.
GIBBS: On the GOP Leadership front, I predict Kevin McCarthy is no shoo-in for House Speaker should the Republicans gain control. Sure, other Members in the GOP caucus say all the right things and he’d be the favorite given he’s the leader now and is raising a lot of money for the 2022 elections, but what looms is, of course, the Trump factor. Where loyalty is the only test, McCarthy has a big strike against him, calling out Trump after the events at the Capitol last year. IF he becomes Speaker, it will only be by giving Trump some big concessions by bringing more Members he feels more comfortable with closer to the lead role. One thing is certain, McCarthy will do virtually anything he’s asked by Trump to do now to protect his chances. Watch this one.
MURPHY: Agreed, totally could be a coup. I’d be happy even if the next guy is even a bit worse. Appeasers deserve failure.
Before we go, I’ve got one tidbit as we all continue to navigate this latest COVID wave and that’s on the continuing bumpiness of the COVID messaging from the CDC. At some point we have to fix this. We're heading into year three, and we ought to be able to figure out the public health messaging in a better way that helps the public. You can't navigate the public health crisis without effective public communication and public engagement. I think it's frustrating for parents. I think it's frustrating for everyone to try to listen, to read the guidance from the CDC and be able to make any sense of it. All too often we've got a lot of people out there from the administration that seem to think the policy process happens on cable news, but it doesn't and it shouldn't, as it doesn't help people gain more confidence that the country has an inkling of what they're doing in formulating a cogent pandemic response.
Stay safe and healthy out there! Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend and we’ll see you on Tuesday!
Murphy and Gibbs