Republicans Don’t Do Persuasion Any More

Yesterday the House passed a weird CR that kicks the can down the road a bit, past the holiday season at least. I am optimistic the Senate will pass it also, but you never know. Mike Johnson had to resort to the same tactic that got Kevin McCarthy axed as Speaker, which was to leave spending levels alone and get the thing passed with Democratic votes. Because there was no other choice.

The Freedom Clown caucus is furious as well as utterly obvlivious to the public outrage that would have fallen on their heads were the government to shut down right before the holiday travel season. Word is that the clowns are not planning to oust Johnson — yet — but they are thinking of gumming up the works in other ways to get revenge.

One tactic under discussion is the same one they used against McCarthy after he struck a debt deal they hated: holding the House floor hostage by tanking procedural votes.

“There is a sentiment that if we can’t fight anything, then let’s just hold up everything,” said Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), one of several frustrated Freedom Caucus members who has huddled with the speaker multiple times this week.

If this were a ball game, they aren’t exactly taking the ball and going home. It’s more like they plan to just sit in the outfield and refuse to play.

And then yesterday was brawl day at the Capitol. Chris Hayes has highlights. The best part was when Sen. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) tried to pick a brawl with Teamsters President Sean O’Brien and Bernie Sanders had to tell him to sit down.

Someone yesterday — it may have been Chris Hayes — commented that Republicans have given up on persuasion. They know only how to try to get their way by bullying, temper tantrums, and resorts to violence. For example, Marjorie Taylor Greene has been campaigning to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas because she doesn’t like his policy decisions. Which, of course, is not what impeachment is for. It somehow doesn’t occur to her that the House could, in theory, draft laws directing the Administration to handle border security differently. Indeed, as I understand it the past several administrations have more or less been winging it on the border in the absence of clear direction from Congress. And, frankly, if you were to sit MTG down and ask her to write the border policy she wants into a bill, I doubt she could do it, because she’s a moron. What she’s doing really is grandstanding for the cameras.

But it occurred to me also that the clowns can’t do persuation because their policy preferences are not based on facts or reason. For example, cutting the IRS budget is a top priority with them. One assumes they have wealthy benefactors who are pushing for this. Otherwise, it makes absolutely no sense. The Congressional Budget Office keeps trying to tell them that cutting the IRS budget would lead to a big loss in federal revenue and a net increasse in the budget deficit, but the clowns are not listening. Or they don’t care, because their reasons for cutting the IRS budget have nothing to do with saving money. Which is why those reasons must remain unspoken, I assume.

The clowns want draconian cuts in safety net programs. If you ask why, they will tell you something about forcing people to be more self-reliant and not depend on government. But that’s the excuse, not the reason, since they can’t demonstrate that cutting those programs would cause the steady jobs and affordable housing that weren’t available before to magically appear. The reason is that they want to punish the poor for being poor, especially the nonwhite poor. Why that is so must have something to do with ugliness deep in their own ids. It’s not something that can be expressed to make it sound benevolent.

And if there really aren’t fact-based, compelling reasons for your position, how can you possibly persuade others who don’t share your biases to agree with you? What else can the clowns do but bully, throw tantrums, and threaten violence?

The problem for House Republicans is that they have a majority in name only. They are fractured against each other, the Freedom Caucus versus most of the rest of them.

In other news: I am having a hard time keeping up with the gag orders and which ones are supposedly active versus on hold pending appeal. See Donald Trump’s Comments Could Land Him in Jail: Ex-White House Lawyer and Jack Smith Cites Medieval Murder as He Seeks Donald Trump Gag Order, both at Newsweek.

In more other news: See Senate Dems take major step towards ending Tuberville’s military holds at Politico. Unfortunately there is little the Dems can do unless nine Republicans are willing to vote with them.

Update: This just happened — Trump’s lawyers filed a motion for mistrial in the New York fraud case.

The motion for a mistrial centers on his increasing annoyance with Allison Greenfield, an attorney who serves as the judge’s right hand legal adviser—and one who has repeatedly shut down the billionaire’s attempts to stymie the New York Attorney General’s investigation and delay tactics in court. Now that Engoron has issued gag orders preventing Trump from directly attacking her and court staff—a restriction that he has since expanded to include Trump’s legal team from also engaging in ferocious personal insults against her—defense lawyers are now crying foul.

“This appearance of bias threatens both Defendants’ rights and the integrity of the judiciary as an institution,” they wrote in court papers, claiming that “Greenfield’s unprecedented role in the trial and extensive, public partisan activities, would cause even a casual observer to question the court’s partiality. Thus, only the grant of a mistrial can salvage what is left of the rule of law.”

The request is, of course, up to Engoron himself—who isn’t likely to side with the very attorneys who have spent weeks trying to gin up drama in court in an attempt to relitigate the entire affair on appeal in New York state’s higher courts.

Trump must be terrified out of his wits that he’s going to lose his New York properties.

Update: RIP Zandar.

7 thoughts on “Republicans Don’t Do Persuasion Any More

  1. How he got started: Fight against strip club set Speaker Mike Johnson on his moral crusade

    It didn’t succeed, and showed the pattern of Johnson twisting facts to get his way:

    …In a four-page “Legal Analysis,” which was obtained by The Post, Johnson argued that the city could revoke the construction permit granted to the club because of its proximity to a planned but not yet constructed railroad museum. A city ordinance barred “sexually oriented businesses” from operating within 1,000 feet of a “nonprofit educational museum,” and Johnson argued that the railroad museum would qualify.

    He later argued that the city had authority to block Deja Vu [strip club] because of its proximity to a plot of land said to be designated for a public park.

    Bradley Shafer, a Michigan-based lawyer who represented the club’s owners, said Johnson’s analysis represented a “deliberate misreading” of the city’s rules and foreshadowed his “disdain for the rule of law,” referring to his leading role in the congressional effort to reverse the results of the 2020 election.

    “He doesn’t care about the truth,” Shafer said. “He misquoted and misconstrued the city’s statute. His view was that his religion and his view of God entitled him to do anything he wanted.”

    Just another self-righteous “Christian”.

    re: the funding bill. I’m focused on it from a negotiating strategy viewpoint. At minimum, the bill took away the year-end/get home for Christmas pressure, meaning that the parties will be less inclined to capitulate in Jan / Feb. I’d love to read what other experienced negotiators think of the deal.

  2. The GOP doesn't have a platform. Mostly, their ambitions are to "own the libs" and protect the rich. The second part isn't verbalized, at least not in those words, but trying to kneecap the IRS while protecting Big Pharma kinda defines it.

    "Own the libs" sells really well with the MAGA base. Problem is, it's not selling well with the swing voters who determine election results. Abortion was the "victory" that trapped the GOP. They can't disown the biggest conservative victory in gawd knows how long. But the two most populous red states have adopted six-week bans. They're trying to pitch a federal fifteen-week (with exceptions) ban but so far no one has promised that a "reasonable" ban would REPLACE the state bans – nor do I think it would be supported by Republicans in TX (Pop. 29 Million) and FL (Pop. 21.5 Million), I don't expect ANY Democrats would consider a federal abortion ban UNLESS it rescinded the draconian bans and the persecution clauses. Bit I expect Trump and the GOP will pretend they have a "moderate" proposal acceptable to all. (This is the ONE issue the GOP and Trump will want to look "moderate" on because they are getting killed by young, usually apathetic, voters who had checked out of politics until the GOP climbed into their beds.)

    The House has gone home early after the Freedom Caucus "voted to block action" on a spending bill and some other business. IMO, with Republicans assaulting each other, sending everyone home was the smartest thing Charlie Brown has done as Speaker. Not that that's a long list. But the anarchists won't return in Dec full of good cheer. I expect the FC to scuttle every piece of business in the House until the CR runs out and a shutdown ensues. Yeah, do a shutdown in a presidential election year and see how it works out. 

    The GOP is flailing and failing wildly. The debacle with McCarthy framed the crisis the Republican party is in. Republicans see the evidence mounting against Trump. (Proffers – video depositions – that were part of Discovery got leaked by the defense in GA. Trump is screwed. The guy no Republican can denounce out loud is headed for the GOP nomination AND a jail cell.)

    There's the cliche about being tied hand and foot on the railroad tracks as the train approaches. The MAGA kooks are all-in for Trump. NOTHING – I mean nothing – changes Trump's standing with the cultists. Very few Republicans in Congress are in districts or states where voters will allow the representative to stand away from Trump or express concern about Trump's electability even if they qualify a statement with, "if Trump is convicted." MAGA, as a cult, are the ropes that tie the hands of Republicans in Congress. The two railroad tracks are the surviving principles of the GOP – "own the libs" and protect the rich. And the train? That's the 2024 election bearing down on them. No wonder they're not in the X-mas spirit.

    One last thought – it's not that things don't look good for the GOP in 2024. The cult is married to Trump – not an ideology. As long as Trump is alive and calling to his cult, a significant portion of MAGA is going to demand the GOP make "Free Trump" their mantra and mission. After Trump is behind bars or "jailed" at Mir-A-Lago the GOP party, directed by the donor class, will move on with non-Trump people who can appeal to moderate voters who (I predict) are going to abandon Trump and the whole crackpot MAGA cult This will be the end of the GOP. The cultists and non-cultists in the GOP are almost coming to blows now. Wait until Trump is inciting the remaining cult while in exile. I think they see the train coming.

    • To paraphrase the famous line from Treasure Of The Sierra Madre; "We don't need no stinking platform!".

  3. OT: I'm confused by the obvious discrepancies between polls and the most recent election. I'm not complaining about the election results but "good" polling companies seemed to be seriously off. Thinking about my current phone, it includes custom features that allow aggressive call screening before the phone even rings. I don't ever get a robocall. 

    Is this an explanation of the skewing of phone-based polls? Are younger, more liberal voters more commonly set up to discard calls from unknown numbers? Though it's human nature to discard polls with results you dislike, I think there's been a fairly consistent shift away from accurate polls. I don't think it's deliberate or the result of bad practices. So why are "swing" states polling as pro-Trump when I don't think it's true and the most recent election results confirm my opinion

    • "OT: I'm confused by the obvious discrepancies between polls and the most recent election"

      It's not that confusing; the polls are funded, manufactured by the same folks that need something to sell. They are complete bullshit. There’s no money in reporting about things that are working. Biden as competent cold war kid doesn’t get eyeballs.  Unemployment is at its lowest point since 1969 (I was eight), housing starts have been steady for three years, people are working and spending money. The economy is far better than it has been in the last decade. Biden has done a yeoman’s job (or at least since he's been POTUS things have improved) ever since I retired things are looking up! Good news just don't sell. The magats have nothing but hate, and our corporate media see it as the only intersting headline. The only thing that Rush Limbaugh ever got right was the term "drive by media". Of course back then they tried to sell it as liberal, but in fact it has always been bought and paid for by cash money millionaires, none of them are liberal. The only difference today is who is writing the checks. The last 5 weeks have shown anyone who cares to look that the whole of our corporate media and the American information machine is as corrupt as it's ever been.  I’m not surprised but I sure am disappointed.

      • "The American information machine is as corrupt as it's ever been" – I believe you are so correct.  Among other things, Righties are getting by yapping about how bad the economy is, so infuriating when such BS goes unchallenged. 

        In a recent trip to a grocery store I counted 3 huge nice new pickup trucks with "Don't Tred On Me" license plates in the parking lot.  And on the store shelves I counted 16 varieties of Cheez-It crackers.  Don't have supporting data, but I suppose the Cheez-Its cost more than they did 10 years ago, so yeah I'd say that's a perfect example of how bad the economy is (INFLATION!!!!).  I don't know, one person's hellscape is another's land-of-plenty I guess.  Anyway I made it out alive with my very large box of Cheez-It Extra Toasty (I have no affiliation with the Kellogg Company).

  4. To persuade requites certain abilities of the one to be persuaded.  As you indicated, an appeal to reason requires the ability to think logically, and to value correct logic.  So too, an appeal to ethics demands the person have ethical principles to which he/she adheres.  An appeal to science is lost if aimed at a person who has no respect for science.  Religious beliefs are of no value for persuasion when parables are distorted, and verses are cherry-picked, as is typical with many today.  Even typical conservative ideology is woefully unapparent in modern republicans.   Most seem reduced to child-like techniques of manipulation as their go-to responses.  I guess that is all they have left to work with.  


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