June 22, 2017: Can Pelosi | Otto Warmbier Mocked | Relax on Spicer
1. Let Us Help You in Your Time of Need
The Republicans were full of friendly advice for Democrats yesterday, the day after the GOP won the hotly contested special election in the Georgia 6th Congressional District. The advice? Lose Pelosi.
Bill Kristol, The Weekly Standard’s editor at large, summed up the zeitgeistwith this tweet about the House minority leader:
"Single most effective thing Democrats could do to help their chances in 2018? Nancy Pelosi announces she's retiring."
Karen Handel won in Georgia using the tried and true strategy of tainting a Democratic candidate through association with the California congresswoman. Pelosi has been a target of GOP ads for roughly a decade. In 2010, Republicans ran a “Fire Pelosi” bus tour in contested Congressional races. In 2016, some conservative Democrats even ran against Pelosi, telling voters they voted against her agenda more times than not.
Why is Pelosi so detested? Hard to say for sure. She is from San Francisco and more liberal than most. She is outspoken. She is high profile. And she is effective. That is probably why the Democratic rank and file has so far declined to vote her out.
Chris Stirewalt of the Fox News daily email Halftime Report was incredulous at this bit of loyalty:
SERIOUSLY, NANCY PELOSI?
Imagine that Republicans had lost four consecutive contested special House elections, including one into which the party sluiced more than $25 million.
Do you think that Paul Ryan would be in trouble? Quite certainly. Might he even be in increasing danger of losing his perch at the top of the House GOP? Probably.
And yet, the Democratic leadership team in the House is not only apparently unruffled but remains essentially unchanged for 14 years. Mind you, in those 14 years Democrats did win the House, but also lost it and failed to retake control in three consecutive cycles.
By comparison, none of the members of senior House Republican leadership following the party’s loss of majority in 2006 are still on the team. In fact, none of them are even in Congress anymore. One is retired, one is in the Senate and the other is in a federal prison hospital.
So why does Nancy Pelosi still have her job?
What We’re Watching:
Now that the Georgia race is history, many political pundits have naturally started handicapping the Virginia’s governor’s election in November. Although Virginia is one state where Democrats have been performing well, RedStatesees possibilities:
The state isn’t lost to Republicans though, contrary to wishful thinking by northeastern Democrats. Some of the elections have been close. Conservative Ken Cuccinelli lost by only two points to Terry McAuliffe in the 2013 election dominated by the Bob McDonnell gifts scandal, and [Republican Candidate] Ed Gillespie lost by less than one point to Mark Warner in 2014…….Gillespie can win, but it’s important to watch whether he will get national support. Northam can also win, but can a two-time George W. Bush voter unite his party?
2. Otto Warmbier: Leftists Mocked Him
Otto Warmbier died earlier this week. The American college student who traveled to North Korea, was convicted for stealing a propaganda poster, and then beaten before being returned to the U.S. It was heartbreaking.
A disconsolate Right used the moment to remind everyone that Warmbier had been mocked and criticized by liberals for daring to go to North Korea in the first place. National Review’s David French found some pretty egregious examples of insensitivity and then used them as a broad brush to tar the entire Left. “This is mindless moral relativism on a staggering scale,” he complained.
3. Give Sean Spicer a Break
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has never been a Mainstream Media favorite, but this week tensions worsened because Spicer held a press conference where neither video or audio recording was permitted. When one reporter emailed Steve Bannon to ask why Spicer was barring cameras, Bannon shot back “Sean got fatter.”
Ouch. Well, at least the Red Media came to Spicer’s defense, vigorously backing his less-is-more strategy.
The Liberty Conservative compared Spicer to the press secretary in “House of Cards”:
It’s as if the mainstream media has yet to learn that Sean Spicer is the Seth Grayson of the Trump administration. And when I say that, I mean that Secretary Spicer doesn’t have a clear in-depth answer to every single question that we, the media, ask. He only knows what the administration wants him to know.
Interviewed Wednesday on “The Laura Ingraham Show,” Spicer defended himself. He explained that many White House reporters just “want to become YouTube stars and ask some snarky question that’s been asked eight times.”
The Washington Examiner even came to Bannon’s defense for his “fatter” remark and spanked the media for turning it into a full-blown news cycle:
Geez, people. The guy was just kidding around. Calm down and stop overreacting. That helps no one, especially if you're in the press. Remember, if media go full-tilt on everything that comes out of this administration, it'll have a boy-cries-wolf effect. People will eventually tune everything out, including the actually important stuff, and all because of harmless things like Bannon teasing Spicer.
4. Russian Hacks? Blame the DNC.
The former Homeland Security Secretary, Jeh Johnson, told the House Intelligence Committee yesterday that the Democratic National Committee, though warned about a hack last year, turned down an offer by his agency and the F.B.I. to protect its network. (Later in the day, however, the former DNC chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz denied that she’d ever been contacted about protecting the network.)
Following Johnson’s testimony, the Right was quick to question the DNC’s competence.
Bill Mitchell @mitchellvii, host of “YourVoice America” on YouTube and who has 239K Twitter followers, wrote:
"If the purpose of the Russia investigation is to prevent further hacking, why aren't we investigating the people who let Russiahack them?"
"I'll bet DNC didn't let FBI examine servers because Russia didn't hack & they were covering up cheating! #JehJohnson"
Also of Note:
Speaking of Hillary, The Daily Caller was overjoyed to report this story yesterday: State Department May Pull Hillary Clinton’s Security Clearance Over Her Private Email Server.
5. An Ex-Intern Goes Rogue
In case you are wondering what today’s up-and-coming Republican leaders might look like, the news and opinion blog Mediaite reported yesterday that a former intern for the GOP senator Tom Cotton spouted off some incendiary comments about House Speaker Paul Ryan:
In a recorded conversation with this reporter, Hill intern “Nate” blasted Ryan for not having a hardline immigration stance, saying “Paul Ryan is a cuck, he’s a cuck, get him out” and “Paul Ryan: cuck first and Yankee second...
He continued his conversation with this reporter by saying “Americans are the superior race to everyone in the world . . . we’re superior people” — his evidence for such an assertion came from America’s wartime record. Nate then brought up the Revolutionary War during this rant and called the British “faggots” and American defector Benedict Arnold “a homoesexual.”
The story outraged a number of people on the Right, but not for the reasons you might think. They were more outraged by the perceived smear job on Cotton.
John Podhoretz @jpodhoretz, the editor of Commentary, tweeted:
"Nice garbage slanderous post naming Cotton and leaving out the name of the offender, you third rate hack."