Sarah Huckabee Sanders might be on to something when she says that Americans’ new political option is basically only between “normal or crazy.”
Though it’s fair to question who is on each side of the line the Arkansas governor drew in her Republican answer to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address following a chaotic week in Washington.
It appears that Republicans set off their own trap two days later.
Who the true extremists are in America is the unstated goal of Biden’s theatrical performance on Tuesday night and most of his presidency. And the GOP’s actions leading up to, during, and after his big night seem to be giving an assertive response—at least to moderate voters—by tolerating election skeptics and exercising their investigative muscle on issues that aren’t on most Americans’ minds.
Sanders spoke just a few seconds after Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene stood up and called Biden a “lie,” making the House chamber sound more like a late-night comedy club full of hecklers than a serious state occasion. Despite appearing to attempt and calm down some of his more obnoxious colleagues, new House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was one of the Republicans who voted against certifying Biden’s victory in the 2020 election due to erroneous allegations of fraud. And it was McCarthy who embraced former president Donald Trump after his unfounded allegations of an electoral fraud sparked a historic uprising at the US Capitol. In order to gain power last month, he recently appeased unruly sections of his party.
On February 8, 2023, US Vice President Joe Biden discussed his economic strategy at the LIUNA Training Center in DeForest, Wisconsin. (Image credit: Mandel NGAN/AFP) (Image via Getty Images, courtesy of MANDEL NGAN/AFP)
After a controversial State of the Union address, Biden takes his fight with Republicans on the road.
The New York lawmaker George Santos, who has a history of fabricating facts about his schooling, employment history, and family background, is a distraction for the newly elected House majority. “Every time I have to come to something like this and talk about George Santos, I can’t talk about what Republicans ought to be doing instead,” his fellow New York Republican colleague, freshman Rep. Nick LaLota, told CNN on Wednesday.
In the meantime, the distinction between conservative opinion TV and government has been further blurred by new Republican-led oversight hearings, such as one on Wednesday that seemed to be intended to demonstrate that some combination of Twitter, the FBI, and Biden stole the 2020 election. The lengthy hearing was filled with the type of hysterical interrogation and grandstanding that bordered on intimidating the witnesses and is enjoyed by the GOP base and frequently covered in right-wing media. As witnesses said, there was no FBI directive to temporarily suppress a New York Post report about a laptop allegedly belonging to the president’s son, Hunter. If anything, this disproved the idea that a sizable media and deep-state swamp plotted against Trump. The first of several House hearings on the supposed “weaponization” of the government against conservatives will take place on Thursday, which will reinforce the perception that the GOP is attempting to create scandals based on right-wing talking points.
Such showdowns run the risk of drawing attention to the GOP’s most extreme, media-hungry personalities and alienating moderate voters, even though they give party leaders a chance to energize important base voters and concoct a general stench of scandal that, even if unproven, could harm the Biden administration.
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The GOP intensifies its radical positions.
Political normality depends on who is looking at it, of course. According to Sanders, Biden gave in to a “woke mob that can’t even tell you what a woman is” and the nation is currently seeing a left-wing cultural cleanse.
Sanders served as Trump’s press secretary at the White House, and the GOP used the national television audience to recommit to the hardline “Make America Great Again” base campaign. Her plan, however, was not a standalone one. Liberal social, economic, and foreign policy positions may very easily be considered “insane” by many conservatives. Additionally, Democrats have recently faced problems with extremists, notably left-wingers who once advocated “defunding the cops,” a stance that proved to be a major political liability for their party in subsequent elections.
Sanders may be using a cunning strategy for a rising star in a party that frequently supports candidates on the far-right in primaries, but this appears to go against the lessons learned from the midterm elections, when voters in swing areas rejected far-right radicalism.
11 SOTU 2023 Jennifer Taylor Greene
Republicans keep interrupting Biden during the State of the Union speech.
Biden’s assertion that Republicans want to sunset Social Security and Medicare may enrage some Republicans, especially since McCarthy has stated that such a move is not on the table in discussions on the debt ceiling, despite the fact that some well-known Republicans have suggested it. McCarthy wasn’t far off the mark when he said on Fox that it was one of the most contentious State of the Union addresses he had ever heard.
But the president once more asserted himself as the barrier separating more moderate Americans from the excess of what he has dubbed “hyper MAGA” Republicans; this was a strategy he particularly employed during the midterm elections.
This is why, after claiming that Americans didn’t want to see fighting in Congress, Biden’s tactics provoked McCarthy’s most extremist supporters into lashing out on Tuesday night.
Meanwhile, McCarthy avoided requests from journalists to remark on Greene’s performance despite having a close political bond with him. While he had intended to avoid making an extremist display in front of millions of TV viewers, his long-term employment prospects depend on radicals like Greene and her more outlandish coworkers. One of the reasons McCarthy has not denounced Santos, who is anticipated to be the subject of a House ethics investigation, is the party’s tenuous hold on power as a result of a tiny majority.
The disintegration of decorum in the Trump age of GOP politics was captured in the sight of an apparent weak speaker unable to maintain order in the chamber as Biden spoke. This portends poorly for the future. The California Republican’s performance on Tuesday sowed fresh doubts about his ability to persuade his constituents to support anything other than an absolutist stance on a dispute that threatens to plunge the US economy into crisis, even if McCarthy could somehow reach a deal with Biden on cutting spending in exchange for raising the government’s borrowing limit.
On Wednesday, Greene told CNN’s Manu Raju that she wasn’t apologetic for her awful behavior during Biden’s speech, despite the fact that she gave Democrats the precise picture they wanted to emphasize. She expressed her “upset” and stated, “I don’t clap for liars.” On Tuesday night, CNN quoted former Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as saying that Greene’s antics represented a decision that Americans had to make between “chaos” and “stability.”
Not many Republicans are putting up with the rudeness within the party. Mitt Romney, a senator from Utah, told Santos he had no place in the House, filling the gap left by McCarthy. Meanwhile, LaLota emphasized how the New York Republican had turned into a diversion from the party’s aims in his interview with CNN’s Kaitlan Collins.
Republicans campaigned on these issues and want to govern on them, according to LaLota. “We want to talk about getting our economy moving again, securing our border, and holding the administration accountable,” he said.
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The case doesn’t move after a major Twitter hearing.
There is a plenty for House Republican chairs to chew on given how the Biden White House handled the retreat from Afghanistan, the Covid-19 outbreak, and the border situation. There is no justification for not including a sincere examination into Biden’s finances as well as those of his son, who is the subject of a federal probe.
However, the House Oversight Committee hearing on Wednesday revealed how politicized the investigations have already become and raised concerns about the core issue at hand: claims that the FBI ordered Twitter to momentarily forbid users from sharing a New York Post article about Hunter Biden’s laptop in 2020.
House oversight hearing on Twitter 020823
Twitter executives admit its errors with the Hunter Biden laptop incident, but they deny any government interference.
James Comer, the chair of the House Oversight Committee, warned of a “planned cover-up by Big Tech, the Swamp, and mainstream media” to bury a story that would be damaging to Biden.
Former senior Twitter employees acknowledged that the company erred in concealing the news because they were concerned it was based on the same foreign disinformation that had corrupted the 2016 election. The FBI tried to conceal a report that would have affected Biden in the race, according to top Republicans, but they consistently claimed that they had not received any orders to do so from the agency.
The misunderstanding that a private firm is violating First Amendment free speech protections if it chooses not to carry particular information on its platform also seems to be a contributing factor in the hearing. The alleged case also hinged on records made public by Elon Musk, the firm’s new owner, which Republicans claim demonstrate conspiracy between the FBI and the company. However, the evidence doesn’t seem to support that claim. According to CNN, the charges are unfounded, and many federal officials who are acquainted with the situation as well as a half-dozen IT executives and senior staff have all disputed that such an order was ever delivered.
However, the absence of a smoking gun doesn’t mean the hearing was a waste of time for some Republicans hoping to cast a shadow of scandal over the Biden administration. Even if they didn’t bury the article for political purposes, certain Twitter execs were teased to have disliked Trump by members of the audience. Additionally, criticizing alleged deep-state witnesses helps conservative media get more clicks and keeps the fundraising engine running for representatives like Greene and Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert.