Harsh Your Mellow Monday: Post-election Intramurals Edition
It’s Intramurals for Harsh Your Mellow Monday; Team Blue’s AOC v. Joe Manchin, Team Red’s Crenshaw v. Green, Fox News v. MAGA in media, plus much more
On this Harsh Your Mellow Monday, let us consider the intramurals, the inside group fights that are filling the time between the election and the installing of the new congress and president. It’s basically a political silly season where folks are jockeying for power, trying to predict the future, but mostly everyone is bored for content so we have to rehash the minor spats of pols and trending nonsense of social media rumors.
But among that silly season, there are plenty of folks with unjustified mellows that need to be dealt with, so like the old timers in the mines would say, let’s get boring with the big auger.
Team Blue Intramural
So, this happened:
Dems in Disarray!?!?! Possibly, but not really. This is more continuation of old feuds than new interwebs hotness.
Back in 2017, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) had a contentious and now-legendary conference call in the run-up to his 2018 re-election campaign. Long story short, a bunch of the more progressive/Democratic socialist-minded folks wanted some concessions from the lone remaining Democrat to hold statewide office in West Virginia. Included on the call was the group Brand New Congress then run by the future — and now former, at the insistence of Speaker Nancy Pelosi — Chief of Staff for Rep Ocasio-Cortez, Saikat Chakrabarti, among others. Old Joe, much like Grover on letter “G” day on Sesame Street, was all out of “Fs” to give the folks he dismissed as “bitter Sanders supporters”, cursed them out, then told them if they didn’t like it they should back a candidate to get him voted out of office.
They did, in the person of Paula Jean Swearengin, who also became one of the first Senate candidates backed by Brand New Congress, from which Chakrabarti and others rose from to become Justice Democrats. Swearengin challenged Joe Manchin for the US Senate in 2018, and promptly lost by 40 points. Joe Manchin went on to survive a challenge from WV AG Patrick Morrisey and win another term to the Senate, where he remains to this day, much to the annoyance of both the right and the left. Having put down a Democratic Socialist challenge that was, to be nice, hopeless against the most moderate Democrat in a now-safely Republican state, Joe isn’t shy about his feelings on the subject, or how his party should approach it.
At the same time Brand New Congress had their failings in WV, they also had their landmark success. The newly formed Justice Democrats targeted Joe Crowley’s New York House district, and, well…you know how that worked out. AOC became the darling of the left, favorite Dem to hate by the right, and a social media superstar.
As for Chakrabarti, he became AOC’s Chief of Staff, until a series of provocations within the Democratic caucus started to mount up, leading to his leaving AOC’s staff to work once again in activism. That was the official story, anyway. In reality, Speaker Pelosi had to finally do something when Chakrabarti dubbed the more moderate New Democrats and Blue Dog Caucus as “the New Southern Democrats”. Such bareknuckle talk from a newbie didn’t sit well, and AOC deciding she liked being in congress and would play ball with her superiors meant her CoS had to go. Of course, the poster child for the nearly extinct brand of Democrat known as Blue Dog is Joe Manchin, and his occasional forays off Team Blue’s reservation don’t play well with the new breed of progressives like AOC and others.
The thing is, such a feud between Rep Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Manchin actually helps both of them, but not the party as a whole.
Fighting with AOC, among the most visible of the Democratic Socialists in congress and second only to Bernie Sanders nationally, plays great with the Democrat from a state where no Democrat got within 25 pts of winning any of West Virginia’s three congressional districts. A state that was cobalt blue for a hundred years until George W. Bush flipped it from a shocked Al Gore in 2000 now can’t even field a competitive Democrat in statewide races. Except for Joe Manchin, who now that he declined a return to the statehouse as Governor is not up for re-election until 2024.
For her part, AOC breezed to re-election in 2020, and is looking to exert more influence as she goes. Fighting with Joe Manchin is perfect for her brand, as the shotgun toting West Virginian has all sorts of fertile targets for a progressive true believer to go after. Politically, Manchin’s votes for Gorsuch and Kavanaugh will be brought up more than his votes for impeachment and against Amy Coney Barrett, and his vow to stand against any court packing, breaking of the filibuster, or other progressive wish list item is sure to keep him front and center of social media feuds in the coming congressional year. Speaker Pelosi is probably relieved at least AOC isn’t feuding with a fellow house member, but with the US Senate likely to remain under Mitch McConnell’s iron grip and the Democratic majority in the House surprisingly shrinking, any blue-on-blue rhetorical political violence is an unwanted headache.
So both AOC and Manchin will do just fine in this feud, but while it might not hurt the Democratic party overall, it sure isn’t helping, and keeps the progressives vs moderates narrative alive and well. As to how that goes, who knows. AOC’s brand of Democrats was soundly beaten down by Democratic primary voters, and powered Joe Biden to the White House. Biden is much closer to Manchin than AOC, and his campaign has been openly bragging about how ignoring Twitter, specifically “rose Twitter” progressives, was a key to success, that isn’t likely to change. If I had to guess, I would think in ten years the party might be closer to AOC than it is to Joe Manchin. But for the next four years till Manchin is up, and definitely in the next two till the 2022 midterms when AOC is once again up, Joe is far more important to the legislative success of the Biden administration and Democrats in general than AOC is. After that, who knows.
The best we can hope for is that this is the last we hear of Joe Manchin’s butt. But I doubt it.
Team Red Intramural
Meanwhile, over on the Republican side of the house, Congresswoman-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene (Crazyperson-GA) is already becoming an annoyance.
Marjorie Taylor Greene hasn’t even made it to Capitol Hill yet, and she’s already being told to behave by a fellow Republican.
The controversial Trump-supporting, QAnon-spreading House candidate who won election on Tuesday night got into a Twitter spat with GOP Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Texas on Friday after she accused Crenshaw of not supporting the president’s bid for reelection.
Crenshaw tweeted earlier Friday that Republicans would accept the outcome of a fair vote but added it “should not be partisan to suggest” an investigation into the 2020 elections amid allegations of irregularities. President Donald Trump and his surrogates have been contesting the validity of the election has Democrat Joe Biden edges closer to victory in a number of critical swing states. There has been no evidence of major voter fraud or interference in election tallying.
Greene, however, jumped on his comments and cast them as capitulating to Democrats. “The time to STAND UP for @realdonaldTrump is RIGHT NOW! Republicans can’t back down,” Greene tweeted. “This loser mindset is how the Democrats win. President Trump has fought for us, we have to fight for him. We won’t forget. Trust me.”
Shortly afterward, Crenshaw called out Greene for apparently missing his call to back the president’s election investigation efforts.
“Did you even read past the first sentence? Or are you just purposely lying so you can talk tough?” Crenshaw tweeted in response. “No one said give up. I literally said investigate every irregularity and use the courts. You’re a member of Congress now, Marjorie. Start acting like one.”
The sherbet soft mind it takes to label a decorated and wounded Navy SEAL with “this loser mindset” because he has the audacity to be able to read and count is apex Trumpism. Greene, who has garnered attention for being one of a handful of GOP candidates that openly embrace the utter insanity of QANON and for campaigning with Senator Kelly Loeffler (InsiderTrader-GA) in a Hummer, is already tabbed to be a problem child for not just House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy but the party as a whole. Crazypeople who get more power and attention never, in the history of ever, use such circumstances to tone down their worst behavior. Like money, alcohol, and social media, such power and attention is just going to embolden the inner insane ravings of the Marjorie Taylor Greenes of the party.
Which is the GOP’s own fault since far too many of them coddled this stupidity. Even congress critters like McCarthy, who fancies himself having a shot at Speaker in 2022, toned down his condemnation of Green from August in his presser this week, where he went mealy mouthed and soft peddled some “These are new members…give them a chance” platitudes. Meanwhile, the indomitable ridiculousness of Greene continued apace.
Of course, as the internet was quick to point out, the gyms in DC are not closed, including the one in the very hotel Greene was staying in. There is apparently no end to the performative falsehoods Greene is prepared to unleash on the country, and the GOP for that matter, since her one and true allegiance is to neither, but rather to a guy who is only going to be president for 17 days of her congressional term.
If she makes it that far. It’s become something of a running joke to take odds on if Greene even makes it to her own swearing in on January 3rd. At some point, sometime, she will do something horrible enough that even the ethically-pliable and generally spineless McCarthy will have to reckon with her, regardless of his own ambitions.
Regardless, the GOP better figure out what to do with the Marjorie Taylor Greenes of the world who have no care whatsoever for anything outside of indulging in the worst of their own political passions. She will not be the last, and with midterms on the clock, there very well may be more coming.
Presented Without Further Comment
Rightwing Media Intramural
There is just so much going on in that one graphic: Twice fired for plagiarism Benny Johnson — who spent the weekend being mocked by social media for now ripping off Tucker Carlson — being the arbiter of anything other than which trash can to empty is amazing; Frank Luntz — who is trying to figure out what to do with his brand that is stuck in the middle of the Fox v Anti-Fox factions, and the bonkers segment itself where the Trump Admin rep is incoherent and refuses to answer even the most basic of questions.
As with the push to Parler, it’s starting to become clear President Trump’s move after January 20th, 2021 is going to be a news media endeavor. There are plenty of rumors of a Trump takeover of Newsmax TV or One American News Network, both already jockeying for such an honor. It makes sense; Trump gets to do all the parts of being president he likes (attention, rallies, media hits) without the parts he doesn’t (governing, rules, restrictions, those pesky laws, taking responsibility for things). Not to mention the monetary incentives. The MAGA brand is going to have plenty of juice to squeeze from it for a while yet, and the Trump Organization will be looking to restock its coffers with the faithful happy to pay for the privilege.
Originally published at https://ordinary-times.com on November 16, 2020.