Confronted by the abundant evidence of former President Donald Trump’s widespread criminality, Republicans have demonstrated consistent outrage … at law enforcement. When they’re not trying to defund the FBI or get rid of the Department of Justice, they’re going after more specific targets.
That has included (but is far from limited to): Rep. Jim Jordan subpoenaing a former member of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office to appear before the House Judiciary Committee for a browbeating, repeated efforts to defund special counsel Jack Smith, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy suggesting a no-evidence-required impeachment of Attorney General Merrick Garland, a Trump supporter threatening to kill federal Judge Tanya Chutkan, and Georgia Republicans trying to defund Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis. Rep. Andy Biggs even tried to defund the Manhattan DA’s office, which is made only slightly more ridiculous by the fact that Congress provides only a fraction of funds for local prosecutors in the first place.
Really, Republicans have vividly demonstrated that no law, no judge, and no agency means anything to them when it comes to protecting Trump. But when Republicans in both Washington, D.C., and Georgia began planning a means to impeach Willis, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp did something completely unexpected—he defended the Fulton County prosecutor and denounced his fellow Republicans.
As PBS reports, Kemp pulled no punches in saying that efforts to oust Willis for having the gall to indict Trump are just “political theater that only inflames the emotions of the moment.”
Kemp is no liberal. When he ran for governor in 2018, he had Trump’s ”full and total endorsement,” and Trump praised Kemp for his anti-immigrant, pro-gun positions. But Kemp earned Trump’s ire after the 2020 election when Kemp refused to intervene to prevent certification of Georgia’s election results, despite a call from Trump. Trump went on to attack Kemp on social media, which didn’t stop the governor from easily winning the 2022 Republican primary and being reelected. In the latest elections in the state, candidates endorsed by Kemp easily outperformed those endorsed by Trump.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that much of the Georgia GOP isn’t in Trump’s pocket. Because it is.
As The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports, the state party has broken into factions, but Trump still enjoys great support among party officials and state legislators, even as a new poll shows high levels of concern among the state’s Republican voters about Trump’s actions following the 2020 election. In short, Georgia may be the one state where Republican leadership is seriously struggling with the question of whether to free themselves from Trump … though even Kemp has inexplicably suggested he would still vote for Trump in 2024.
Kemp’s willingness to stand up to the members of his party who want to rip up the legal system to defend Trump stands in stark contrast to America’s most spineless man, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Kemp appears to recognize that going after district attorneys just because they are prosecuting someone you support is more than a little problematic. On the other hand, McCarthy is not just failing to stand up to nonsensical demands in the House, but also he’s adding his own.
When Republicans started to worry that a no-investigation impeachment of President Joe Biden might not come off as planned, McCarthy offered up an impeachment of Garland for … whatever.
“I don’t know of a chargeable crime,” Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) told The Hill.
Neither does anyone else. Including McCarthy. The suggestion is just another in a long line of examples of how the barely-speaker is willing to toady to his party’s extremists to keep his fingernail-thin grip on his big office. As Vanity Fair notes, caving to threats from the same extremists who tried to keep him from being elected to begin with is what McCarthy is all about.
As MSNBC puts it, McCarthy might be expected to ignore “oddball bills” and calls to impeach members of the Biden administration. Instead, he has “expressed tacit support” for all these actions, no matter how off the rails. In MSNBC’s words, McCarthy is “taking orders from Mar-a-Lago” and “going along with absurd talking points about … ‘weaponization’ of agencies that haven’t actually been weaponized.”
Kemp is no hero. On many points, his positions are reprehensible. But at least he has enough self-respect to refuse to be the lapdog of extremists willing to sacrifice everything to save Trump. He shows the path that McCarthy might have taken if he actually wanted to lead the House, rather than just follow the worst actions of its worst members.
The far-right justices on Wisconsin’s Supreme Court just can’t handle the fact that liberals now have the majority for the first time in 15 years, so they’re in the throes of an ongoing meltdown—and their tears are delicious. On this week’s episode of “The Downballot,” co-hosts David Nir and David Beard drink up all the schadenfreude they can handle as they puncture conservative claims that their progressive colleagues are “partisan hacks” (try looking in the mirror) or are breaking the law (try reading the state constitution). Elections do indeed have consequences!