Is There a Deal? and the Blowup in Texas

There’s a deal. It’s not great. It could be worse. Here are the major provisions. At least it gives us a two-year reprieve from going through this again. And the House Knucklehead Caucus hates it. That’s some comfort.

The Texas House has impeached Texas AG Ken Paxton. You’ll remember Paxton for his lawsuit to overturn the 2020 election, his tireless efforts to keep Texas women barefoot and pregnant, and his many creative excuses for why firearm regulations “don’t work.” So it’s astonishing to me that the Republican Texas House is turning on him. The Texas Tribune explains,

Paxton had faced few political consequences for years for his many public scandals. Allegations against him included taking bribes from a real estate investor, trying to protect that same investor from legal action, abusing the powers of the office and firing staff members who reported his misconduct.

Now the Texas Republicans are bringing up earlier bribery incidents that had escaped their notice, in spite of their being public knowledge. For example,

So asking for tax dollars to clean up one of his messes was the bridge too far. Another interesting complication is that Paxton’s wife serves in the Texas Senate and hasn’t said whether she will recuse herself. Note that one of the charges against Nate Paul is that he allegedly gave a job to a woman with whom Paxton was having an affair.

Pass the popcorn.

Update: See How Ken Paxton Went From Teflon Ken To Being Impeached By His Own Party at TPM.

8 thoughts on “Is There a Deal? and the Blowup in Texas

  1. If politics is auto racing, Paxton ain't NASCAR.
    He's a combo of drag-racing and Grand Prix (AKA:  Formula 1).

    NASCAR courses aren't "straight" enough, and they demand you have turn to the left.

    Drag-races are totally "straight."

    And Grand Prix courses are very, very crooked.


  2. I've been reading what happened and trying to figure out what it means. There's an interesting take quoted by Josh Marshall in TPM that may be right and is worth a read.

    The argument is that chicken-little (AKA Wall Street) was not running around screaming the world will end, possibly because the money expected Biden had options that he would exercise to prevent economic collapse. Joe, as the theory goes, was not sure he'd win, but he and McCarthy thought Joe had a stronger hand, and Joe was not going to panic. So Joe offered McCarthy a face-saving out because Joe did not want to risk economic repercussions – IF a cheap deal could be struck.

    WAS a cheap deal struck? You won't hear that from Joe until after a deal is passed in both House and Senate. McCarthy says he's sticking to the Hastert Rule – a majority of the GOP has to agree. So the whining of progressives gives Biden cover that this was a painful deal that hurt Democrats.

    The bad news seems to be some concessions in SNAP but they won't affect children or families with children or the elderly. There's gonna be some clawback of Covid funds that will have minimal effect. There will be a small reduction in the 80 million for the IRS. Student loan payments will resume, None of these were on my wish list of stuff I wanted, but compared to what the House passed (Save Limit and Grow) and believed was the "floor" of negotiations, it's a light slap on the wrist. 

    The good news seems to be that a downgrade of the global US credit rating was averted. How bad that might have been is not something I want to know. The showdown should NOT have happened – what the GOP did was unethical but there you go. If you identify with the harm that could have been done to the hostages, you look for an option. The downside of the compromise is less bad than the downside of a credit downgrade. By a huge margin.  

    The GOP (I think) really wanted an extension of the Trump Tax cuts. They didn't get it which means the cuts automatically expire, which will help in the future. The IRS gets the new money from a tax increase which will also help on the revenue side. A looooong list of draconian cuts in the Save Limit and Grow Act was rejected.

    The probable near-term consequences are interesting. The Freedom Caucus is freaking and will probably try to recall McCarthy and start negotiations from scratch with a new hangman. We're at the cusp of the default – there's no way to begin again without driving the country over the edge. I think most of the GOP expected a deal that would NOT drive the country into default. They take this deal now or they take the blame for rejecting the deal. Biden is off the hook. But McCarthy is now the enemy of the Freedom Caucus and if there's a showdown, McCarthy will keep his job because Biden Democrats save his ass. So who will McCarthy owe in the future?

    The biggest aspect of the deal is that there will be no hostage-taking and no shutdowns until AFTER 2024. As Trump trials become the center ring of the circus for the next 18 months, the attempts by the House to do attention-grabbing inquiries will be diminished. Yeah, Trump's ability to suck all the air out of the room will continue, but it will be bad news for Trump as the news cycle revolves around Trump's crimes. I do think Trump can get the GOP nomination but in a short time, I think it will be obvious that Trump is doomed in the general.

    I think Trump will be damaged by public disclosures (especially in GA regarding election fraud.) My personal expectation after charges are filed is that Rudy will turn state's evidence to save his ass in GA. If Rudy testifies in the summer of '24 that he and Trump KNEW that Trump lost the election and launched a fraud to steal the office of the president, only the MAGA faithful will stick with Trump. 

    In the election after Nixon resigned, Democrats picked up 49 House seats and 4 Senate seats. That's less than 2 years after Nixon won in a landslide. If the evidence in GA is overwhelming (and I do not know what Fani Willis has) that trial will (could) happen exactly in time to demolish Trump's claims of a stolen election AND prove willful fraud on Trump's part, which resulted in hundreds of believers participating in J6 and suffering the consequences for a deliberate act of insurrection.

    (Based on interviews ('ve seen, a lot of previous Trump supporters think that Trump is convinced he was the victim in the 2020 election. If he was the author of the fraud from the beginning, Trump's support will plummet.)

  3. Getting a message from God while at the Dairy Queen, can't beat that.  Good one Texas, now do Greg Abbott!

  4. It will be interesting to see how many Rs and Ds will pull together to get this thing passed. And if Kevin McCarthy will be able to keep his job.


  5. Once again, we got horse trading it seems, when fiscal conservatism was faked.  Oh well, as the almost great Bob Dole used to say, people just don't understand how politics works.  

     At least economic Armagedón has been averted for now.  I guess it's OK to negotiate with extortionists if they have a certain level of political status.  Let's just call it the Bob Dole exception.  

    The important thing is that republican tax cheats will have more time to gain power while they fail to shoulder their fair share of the taxes.  They need to get something for the sold-out politicians they own. 

    Now I read that MTG is being shunned.  What?  The queen of prolific poppycock being excluded from the big tent.  That is a royal shame.  She could just be throwing too much shade on Trump.  That could be the taboo she violated.  Still, is she not the image ideal for the party's future? 



  6. Well, well, well, looks like Texas AG Ken Paxton is finally getting a taste of karma-flavored justice. After years of scandals, from trying to overturn the 2020 election to his creative excuses for ineffective firearm regulations, it seems the Republican Texas House has had enough. The tipping point? Paxton asking for taxpayer money to clean up his mess. Talk about audacity! And let's not forget his divine Dairy Queen moment, where he received a "God-directed" donation of 100,000 shares of company stock. Guess divine intervention couldn't save him from those felony securities fraud charges. Pass the popcorn, folks, this Texas-sized drama is just getting started!

  7. If someone named Martha Stewart had done the Severgy deal,she would've gone to prison. Must be great to be a white boy in Texas.

    He also was on with Steve Bannon bragging about stopping 2.5 million mail ballots in Harris Co.

    Birds of a feather…

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