EDITORS' BLOG
Wired For the GOP

I’ve told you many times that elite DC journalism is wired for the GOP. That continues to be the case, notwithstanding the political shifts in the country over the last twenty years. It continues to be the case even as it is driven by stakeholders who in many cases are not themselves Republicans or conservatives.

Here’s a tweet this morning from Axios, the preeminent insider DC publication.

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More on Collins

Mainer TPM Reader AF follows up with some important detail and correction about my note on Susan Collins and her statement. I stand by the point I made last night. But it was an – I hope – uncharacteristic imprecision to call it a “promise”. As AF states, it’s definitely not. If Collins thinks it is in her interest I definitely think she will vote to confirm before the election. And I think it’s highly likely she’ll do so, win or lose, during the lame duck session after the election. But my same point holds, she’s judged it is strongly against her interest to vote at all before the election. It’s Democrats’ challenge to press her on this purported commitment and her history of breaking such commitments for the next six weeks. TPM Reader AF

Susan Collins’ statement is punditry, without any promised actions.

Collins said a vote on a nomination should wait until after the election. She didn’t say a word about what she would do or not do.

Take a closer look at Collins’ statement. She says Trump has the right to make a nomination. She says she has “no objection to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s beginning the process of reviewing his nominee’s credentials.” After that she says there shouldn’t be a vote before the election.

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Collins’ Move

Collins’ decision here on replacing Justice Ginsburg is very interesting. What’s notable here is her priorities: She wants to be reelected. And she sees – rightly – that a pre-election confirmation fight likely seals her fate.

Defeat is currently likely but not inevitable. Now she can spend the last six weeks of the campaign playing to what has always been her electoral strength: the principled moderate who isn’t beholden to her party. The alternative is absolutely lethal for her reelection prospects: closing the final six weeks of the campaign with an exercise that puts the lie to the whole premise of her candidacy.

If she thought it would help her I think she will go back on this promise in a second. But I’m not sure she will. Because this course seems clearly in line with preserving her seat.

In McConnell’s Grasp

Lindsey Graham is exactly who we knew him to be. Susan Collins? She’s not as she usually is, notoriously concerned. But let’s wait and see.

Actions Not Words

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death is a grave, sorrowful and ill-timed calamity in the escalating crisis of American democracy, the crisis of the American state. The only relevant and timely thing I can think to add is this: You can’t work this kind of problem or operate in this kind of environment unless you’re ready to say what you’re going to do. You can’t start by saying McConnell has to follow his rule. You need to say what you’ll do when he doesn’t. Otherwise you’ve got one side with words and the other with the ability to act. And that’s a loser’s hand.

The thing to do, if Republicans take this course and the Democrats take the presidency and the Senate, to add either two or four new seats to the Supreme Court, for a total of 11 or 13.

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McConnell Trashes McConnell Rule

Mitch McConnell just consigned the McConnell Rule to the same trash bin of history as the non-precedential Bush v. Gore ruling. Another shoddy expedience momentarily gilded until it was no longer expedient.

Monumental News

Justice Ginsburg is dead, and one can barely utter the words without thinking of the battle to fill her seat, not out of disrespect for her and her enormous imprint on the course of American legal history, but because of how quickly Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump will move – tonight – to lock down that Trump will fill the seat before his term ends. The mourning will inevitably be colored by the rush to lock in a historic conservative majority on the court.

Intentional

Federal judge rips Trump’s USPS “reforms” as a clearly intentional effort to undermine the pandemic election.

Long Violent History

To send you into the weekend with conviction, a striking bit of BLM music and oratory from Kentucky musician Tyler Childers:

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Week In Review
| News

Desperate To Help Trump’s Campaign

 

Kaput-o

  • Michael Caputo’s short-lived but controversial tenure as HHS spokesman came to an abrupt halt this week.
  • Caputo’s downfall began last weekend, when he went on a Facebook rant claiming that “seditious” scientists at the CDC were working to undermine Trump.
  • Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), the ranking member of the Senate Health Committee, called for Caputo to step down after his screed surfaced.
  • Caputo blamed his erratic behavior on a combination of personal medical issues and purported death threats against his family, acknowledging that his comments did not reflect well on HHS.
  • On Wednesday, HHS announced Caputo was taking a 60-day leave of absence “to focus on his health and the well-being of his family.” He insists he’ll be back in action.

 

Dam Breaks On Anti-Trumpers

  • This week saw another wave of former Trump administration officials coming out against the President. On Thursday afternoon, a former staffer for Vice President Mike Pence starred in a new anti-Trump video excoriating the administration’s COVID-19 response.
  • Olivia Troye, who was part of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said that Trump at one point expressed his happiness that he would no longer be forced to shake the hands of his “disgusting” (in the President’s words) supporters. Troye also announced that she was throwing her support behind Biden.
  • In an interview with the New Yorker, Troye said the political pressure being applied to the development of a COVID vaccine was just one of the reasons she had decided to speak out.
  • She wasn’t the only ex-administration official to publicly rebuke the Trump government this week. Josh Venable, former chief of staff to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, joined the anti-Trump group Republican Political Alliance for Integrity and Reform as an adviser.

 

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