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Monday, December 09, 2019

Tag: lauren boebert

Until Final Vote, McCarthy Opponents Raised Money Off Speaker Debacle

On Thursday night, January 5, the new Congress of 2023 still lacked a House speaker. Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, in no less than 11 roll-call votes, had been rejected by a group of far-right MAGA House members (many of them part of the House Freedom Caucus) who have been dubbed the “Never Kevin” Republicans. Nonetheless, McCarthy vowed to keep trying to win them over.

The majority of House Republicans have been voting to make McCarthy House speaker, but around 19 or 20 Never Kevin Republicans voted against McCarthy repeatedly until late Friday night on the fourteenth ballot. And some of them, according to Axios reporter Lachlan Markay, have been using their theatrics for fundraising pitches.

“The three-day deadlock has brought the House to a standstill and prevented newly elected members from being sworn in,” Markay explains. “For some members, though, the fight itself has a financial upside.”

Markay cites Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, and Rep. Bob Good of Virginia as examples of Never Kevin Republicans who have been using their “no” votes to ask for donations.

In a fundraising e-mail, Gaetz wrote, “Patriot, maybe the right person for the job of Speaker of the House isn’t someone who has sold shares of himself for more than a decade to get it. I HAVE NO REGRETS ABOUT CASTING MY VOTE ON THE HOUSE FLOOR AGAINST KEVIN McCARTHY FOR SPEAKER!…. If you want to Drain the Swamp, you CANNOT put the biggest alligator in charge of the exercise! But that’s exactly what we would get with a McCarthy speakership.”

Gaetz described McCarthy as “Kiev Kevin,” underscoring his opposition to helping the government of Ukraine at a time when Ukrainian forces are continuing to fight against invaders sent by Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin.

Biggs asked Republican donors to “turbocharge our emergency efforts to break the Establishment” and told them that “every dollar helps secure the Speaker position.” Good, in his fundraising pitch, accused McCarthy of spending “millions of dollars trying to defeat conservatives in Republican primaries.”

Markay reports, “Ultra MAGA PAC, a group run by ex-(Donald) Trump aide Corey Lewandowski, sent a fundraising e-mail Thursday that called for McCarthy, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and RNC chair Ronna McDaniel to be replaced. McCarthy ‘stopped the Red Wave single-handedly by weighing in on primaries against good MAGA candidates,’ the email claimed.”

Meanwhile, Democrats have been using the House speaker debacle to do some fundraising of their own. One of their fundraising e-mails was sent by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) under Rep. Hakeem Jeffries’ name. Jeffries is Democrats’ presumptive House minority leader, and House Democrats repeatedly voted to give him that position in the roll-call votes of January 3-5. Jeffries was endorsed by former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who resigned as Democratic leader in the House but will remain in Congress in 2023.

That DCCC fundraising e-mail read, “Republicans have fallen into complete chaos. Will you help me prove that grassroots Democrats can get more support than Republicans in these first hours of the new Republican House?"

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Far-Right Media Scorch Fox News Over Support For McCarthy

As the House of Representatives continues to struggle to elect a speaker, Fox News has received backlash from its further right-wing media counterparts over what those critics describe as the network’s general support for Rep.-elect Kevin McCarthy, (R-CA) who has so far lost the speaker vote eight times. Media figures from Real America’s Voice, One America News Network, and Newsmax, among others, claim that Fox News is engaging in a blind, embarrassing defense of the Republican establishment with its coverage of McCarthy.

The attacks against Fox intensified when Rep.-elect Lauren Boebert (R-CO) appeared on the January 4 edition of Fox host Sean Hannity’s show, where he pressed against her refusal to vote for McCarthy. (Boebert is one of the 20 House representatives-elect who are refusing to support McCarthy’s bid for speakership.) The network drew more criticism after Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade called House Republicans who oppose McCarthy “insurrectionists.”

    • Newsmax’s Benny Johnson said Hannity’s “schtick” is to be “the Praetorian Guard of the establishment,” and called his on-air disagreement with Boebert “embarrassing,” because Johnson said McCarthy can’t win. [Newsmax, The Benny Report, 1/5/23]
    • On former Trump aide Steve Bannon’s War Room podcast, right-wing radio host John Fredericks accused Fox News of being “a 24/7 shill for Kevin McCarthy. That’s all they are. They’re not even reporting the news.” [Real America’s Voice, War Room, 1/5/23]
    • Bannon said that Boebert “bench-pressed Hannity” during her interview and that “it was embarrassing.” [Real America’s Voice, War Room, 1/5/23]
    • Bannon also claimed that Fox News is “out to crush” and “destroy” members of Congress who do not support McCarthy for speakership. [Real America’s Voice, War Room, 1/5/23]
    • During his show Outside the Beltway, Fredericks said that Fox News is full of “fakers” who have been “lying to you forever” and that the network is “a money-making machine” which “was a shill for McCarthy.” [Real America’s Voice, Outside the Beltway with John Fredericks, 1/5/23]
    • On OAN, white nationalist podcaster Stew Peters claimed that Fox News and its personalities are “melting down” over the speaker vote. [One America News Network, In Focus with Addison Smith, 1/4/23]
    • The Gateway Pundit’s Jim Hoft called out Fox’s “controlled opposition,” which he said “came completely unglued” following Tuesday’s votes, as McCarthy had been “hand-picked by failed former Speaker and FOX News board member Paul Ryan before he left office.” [The Gateway Pundit, 1/4/23]
    • Hoft also wrote that Hannity “jumped the shark” when he launched a “full frontal assault” on Boebert “for not supporting Kevin McCarthy.” [Twitter, 1/4/23]
    • Infowars host Owen Shroyer called Rep. Michael Lawler (R-NY) “a new swamp creature” and mocked him for “hemming and hawing” and “stumping for McCarthy on Fox News.” [Infowars, The Alex Jones Show, 1/4/23]
    • BlazeTV host Chad Prather complained that the “Fox News talking heads continue to shill for the GOP do-nothing establishment.” [Twitter, 1/5/23]
    • Michael Quinn Sullivan, publisher of right-wing blog Texas Scorecard, replied to Prather’s tweet, writing, “Fox News is now WORSE than CNN and MSNBC, because the Fox crew knows better.” [Twitter, 1/5/23]
    • Turning Point USA ambassador Alex Lorusso tweeted “Hannity is insufferable” following Boebert’s appearance on his show. [Twitter, 1/4/23]
    • Right-wing host Todd Starns described Fox as “the propaganda wing of the McCarthy team.” [Twitter, 1/4/23]
    • Anti-Muslim activist Brigitte Gabriel tweeted: “It’s pathetic to hear all the Fox News talking heads blaming and attacking the 20 Members of Congress opposing McCarthy.” [Twitter, 1/4/23]
    • Former Newsmax host Emerald Robinson called Fox & Friends hosts “uniparty swamp rats” over their support for McCarthy. [Twitter, 1/5/23]
    • Right-wing personalities the Hodgetwins also attacked Fox and Friends for “calling people INSURRECTIONISTS if they don’t support Kevin McCarthy for speaker.” [Twitter, 1/5/23]
    • Women for Trump co-founder Amy Kremer tweeted that it was “sad to see” how Hannity treated Boebert on Fox News and that “she should be shown some respect.” [Twitter, 1/4/23]
    • Hate preacher Greg Locke, who spoke at the January 5 “Rally for Revival” in Washington the night before the January 6 attack, tweeted, “The only difference between the corruption of CNN and Fox News is their logo.” [Twitter, 1/5/23]
    • Conspiracy hub National File called Hannity “a LYING BULLY. Just like Kevin McCarthy.” [Twitter, 1/5/23]
    • Right-wing podcaster Mike Crispi called Hannity “a hack” and a “sellout.” [Twitter, 1/4/23]

    Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

    Greene Rips Her 'Supposed Friends' In Freedom Caucus Over Speaker Fiasco

    Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) is not pleased with her colleagues in the House Freedom Caucus who are refusing to back House Minority Leader Kevin McCarty (R-CA) as he attempts to secure enough votes to become Speaker of the House.

    On Tuesday, January 3, the Georgia lawmaker specifically called out a number of Republican lawmakers including Reps. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Scott Perry (R-PA).Chip Roy (R-TX), and Bob Good (R-VA), according to Mediaite.

    According to Greene, there were a number of occasions when the lawmakers allegedly turned their back on Republican voters supporting former President Donald Trump's Make America Great Again (MAGA) movement.

    “If my friends in the Freedom Caucus, Matt Gaetz, and others will not take the win when they have it, they’re proving to the country that they don’t care about doing the right thing for America,” she began.

    “They’re proving to the country that they’re just distractions. And that’s that’s not what we need to do as a party. That’s why Republicans fail. And I’m really tired of it,” Greene complained.

    Greene went on to speak with C-SPAN where she criticized the lawmakers for focusing solely on their self-motivated demands of McCarthy. “We have been negotiating, talking, debating back and forth in our conference, trying to come to a really good rules package. And it’s amazing. As a matter of fact, I’ll quote Matt Gaetz. He said, ‘It’s exquisite,’ Greene said.

    The enraged lawmaker added, "That’s what he said on our conference call on Sunday. But in that conference meeting there, we found out that there were several members, three, in fact, that went in last night and were demanding positions for themselves, demanding gavel positions, demanding subcommittees, demanding for people to be taken off committees and people to be put on committees."

    She continued, "Three, three Republicans out of our 222. I want you all to know I have not done that for myself. The only thing I have done is is debate and request and argue among my peers for the right things, for the rules package and for our agenda for the American people. And that’s the only thing I’ve done. I haven’t asked for one thing for my for myself. And I’m the only Republican that has zero committees. So you would think I would be the one in there asking for something. But I haven’t done that. But I find out that it’s my Freedom Caucus colleagues and my supposed friends that went and did that, and they asked nothing for me. Nothing. That’s what I found out in there. I’m furious."

    Greene went on to name a few of the Republican lawmakers she isn't pleased with. "Well, let me tell you something. While the conservatives that the base supports and believes in, let me let me remind everyone, they’re not perfect either. Scott Perry, before his general election, refuse to vote against the bill. That was all about the gay marriage bill. He didn’t, but he he refused to vote against it. He voted for it. Then when it came back around after his election, he was able to vote against it. Conservatives would not like that."

    According to the news outlet, a clip of her remarks was uploaded to Twitter by Right Side Broadcasting.

    Watch the clip below or at this link.

    Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

    Russian State TV Applauds Boebert And Gaetz For Insulting Zelensky

    Russia’s Kremlin state TV is lauding Lauren Boebert as “brave” after she declined to join in a standing ovation for Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky during his address to Congress while visiting the U.S., Huffpost reports.

    In addition to Boebert, who is known to be an extremist and election denier, the Russian TV station also praised GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz and Fox News conservative host Tucker Carlson for insulting the Ukrainian leader.

    During a segment following Zelensky’s address, Carlson said to his viewers, “As far as we know, no one’s ever addressed the United States Congress in a sweatshirt before, but they love him much more than they love you.”

    After the far-right talking head likened Zelensky’s attire during his speech to something “the manager of a strip club” would wear, Kremlin state TV eagerly mocked him as "a man in cargo pants.” The broadcast proceeded to show a clip of Carlson imitating congressional leaders as if they were “clapping like seals” for Zelensky.

    Julia Davis, a columnist at The Daily Beast, tweeted, “Russian state TV relies on Tucker Carlson, Josh Hawley, Matt Gaetz and Lauren Boebert to promote their talking points that America is sick and tired of supporting Ukraine,” along with a clip from the Kremlin state TV segment.

    Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

    Hilarious Smackdown As Boebert And Greene Clash Over McCarthy's Speaker Bid

    GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert publicly slammed Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene during a recent Turning Point USA conference, after Greene confirmed her support of Kevin McCarthy for House Speaker, HuffPost reports.

    Boebert told the audience, “I’ve been aligned with Marjorie and accused of believing a lot of the things that she believes in. I don’t believe in [McCarthy's speaker bid], just like I don’t believe in ... Jewish space lasers.”

    Greene gave a rebuttal to the Colorado congresswoman in Twitter thread form, noting Boebert “just barely” won her midterm race.

    Greene tweeted, “I’ve supported and donated to Lauren Boebert. President Trump has supported and donated to Lauren Boebert. Kevin McCarthy has supported and donated to Lauren Boebert. She just barely came through by 500 votes.”

    Greene continued, “She gladly takes our $ but when she’s been asked: Lauren refuses to endorse President Trump, she refuses to support Kevin McCarthy, and she childishly threw me under the bus for a cheap sound bite.”

    "Americans expect conservative fighters like us to work together to Save America and that is the only mission I’m 100% devoted to, not high school drama and media sound bites," the Georgia representative concluded. “The country is facing extremely difficult times.Save America! Defeat the Democrats!”

    While Boebert and other far-right representatives have declared opposition to McCarthy’s Speaker nomination, Greene stands by her decision to support him.

    Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

    Why Losing To Lauren Boebert Makes Adam Frish Optimistic

    The announcement this week that Republican Lauren Boebert had won her race, and would be heading back to Washington to represent Colorado’s 3rd District in the House, hardly came as a surprise to her Democratic opponent. The surprise is the optimism of Adam Frisch — about Colorado, America and politics — after coming so close (a 546-vote margin close) to upending predictions and winning the seat.

    “We’re all very proud of how well we ran and the way that we did it,” he said when I spoke with him on a Zoom call last week. “We took the high road throughout the whole journey, and that resonated with a lot of people.”

    Frisch had already conceded before the recount, citing Colorado’s “very, very strong election laws” and “very high level of election integrity” and finding comfort in that. Based on her well-documented mistrust of government, I doubt Boebert would have accepted defeat quite so easily.

    He is human, so “as great as the moral victory is or was,” Frisch said, “it certainly would have been better to have a victory victory.” But I believe Frisch when he says the 20,000-plus miles he traveled during his campaign were more than worthwhile. That’s because I had already met the other person on our call, his frequent companion in his trips throughout the district, the candidate’s 16-year-old son, Felix Frisch.

    That any journalist covering politics, culture and race might occasionally succumb to cynicism will come as a revelation to exactly no one. One remedy for me turned out to be teaching a group of high school juniors and seniors and incoming college freshmen for two weeks, as I did this past summer, in a School of The New York Times Summer Academy course in political commentary. Felix was one of the students.

    We explored Washington, D.C., including stops at the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and, on an early excursion, the memorial to third president Thomas Jefferson, where we had a chance to consider the complicated legacy of one of America’s Founding Fathers.

    On the walk back to the Metro on what must have been one of the hottest days of the summer, Felix told me he had been campaigning for and with his father, traveling the Colorado district to convince voters that Adam Frisch would represent their needs better than incumbent Lauren Boebert would.

    I listened as he spoke excitedly of meeting voters in corners of the district few candidates had taken note of, and I thought to myself, “Too bad your dad doesn’t have a chance.”

    But though it’s natural for any son to think his dad can do anything, Felix was on to something.

    The Boebert I covered at the North Carolina Faith & Freedom Coalition’s Salt & Light Conference in September was ripe for a challenge, with her emphasis on grievance as she cast herself as victim in a kind of holy war.

    Adam Frisch thought so too.

    He wrote down some thoughts 14 or 15 months ago, and “basically 98 percent of it played out,” he told me.

    “I think 30 to 40 percent of the Republican Party want their party back,” Frisch said, “and Lauren Boebert doesn’t represent a traditional, conservative, Republican conversation going on.” He repeated a phrase that anyone who followed his campaign heard repeatedly, saying she was part of the “angertainment industry,” crediting the expression to his middle and high school buddy, current Minnesota Democratic Rep. Dean Phillips.

    Frisch learned in his travels that “ranchers and farmers are pragmatic … and she’s the antithesis of pragmatism, of trying to work across party lines and solving things for their district.”

    In one stop at Grand Junction, which the Aspen-based candidate called the “heart of Trumpism in the state,” he said he took questions from everyone. Though he obviously didn’t win over quite enough of them, he made some connections.

    His son was there for a lot of it, and Felix said he has appreciated growing up witnessing people challenge both his father, a former city councilman, and his mother, a member of the school board and a big part of her husband’s campaign. “I know what it’s like to admit mistakes in front of people, to have accomplishments and be proud of that.”

    Felix, who managed, coordinated and truly appreciated the work of campaign volunteers, said his biggest takeaway is that “people are a lot more together on things” than conventional wisdom and reporting would suggest.

    Sounding pretty political himself, he said he’d like to see politicians realize that young voters care about a variety of policy issues and need to be taken seriously. No party can “just rely on the young people to show up,” he said.

    Now that his calls are being returned, Adam Frisch puts the odds of his running again “between probable and possible” in what will surely be a contentious 2024 cycle; pushing back against extremism in Colorado and nationally is his priority now, he said. That and getting back into shape after brewery, bakery, barbecue and burger tours.

    He also had advice — for both parties.

    For Democrats, it’s to try to expand on the party’s comfort zone of bigger cities, despite how difficult that might be now that so many voters have hardened support for their political “team” over any other consideration. The American people’s job, he said, “is to make sure they really think about character and the kind of people they send into office.”

    While he wishes the Republican Party would turn away from Donald Trump “because of him having dinner with neo-Nazis and trying to suspend the Constitution,” he at least believes the party will distance itself from the former president because it’s electorally smart.

    Both sides, he said, need to fix the primary system to allow room for moderation, and hopefully, “extremism is going to continue to be punished.”

    “It’s important for people to stand up and truly say what they believe in.”

    It’s a nice sentiment, fitting for the season, though anytime so-called leaders willing to break laws and traditions to keep Trump in the White House are well-represented in the incoming GOP House majority, a hint of cynicism and caution seems not only healthy, but also necessary for the new year.

    Mary C. Curtis has worked at The New York Times, The Baltimore Sun, The Charlotte Observer, as national correspondent for Politics Daily, and is a senior facilitator with The OpEd Project. She is host of the CQ Roll Call “Equal Time with Mary C. Curtis” podcast. Follow her on Twitter @mcurtisnc3.

    Reprinted with permission from Roll Call.

    House Republicans Elect Lauren Boebert To Leadership Position

    After barely winning reelection, the Colorado Republican will now advise the House GOP on policy.

    House Republicans on Wednesday elected Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado to a leadership role in which she will advise them on policy.

    Boebert, a right-wing extremist who has often created a spectacle on Capitol Hill, including flashing firearms during committee hearings and refusing to follow Capitol security procedures, will serve on the Republican Policy Committee, a group of 23 GOP members who come up with "conservative policy solutions" for the House Republican Conference. The chair of the committee is a member of House Republican leadership.

    "I am committed to delivering on the conservative policies we promised the American people," Boebert said in a news release. "I have a unique opportunity to be a voice for four states, all of whom share Western Conservative values. Being their advocate is a responsibility that I take seriously."

    House Republicans elected Boebert to the policy committee after she barely won reelection in her usually safely Republican district, which went for former President Donald Trump by 8 points in 2020. Boebert defeated Adam Frisch, her Democratic opponent, by just over 500 votes, stunning election analysts who didn't consider the seat to be competitive. Due to Colorado election rules, a recount has been ordered, even though Frisch has already conceded the race.

    Some Republican observers said Boebert's brand of extremism, along with those of fellow Trump supporters Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Matt Gaetz of Florida, and outgoing Rep. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina, led the party to significantly underperform expectations in the 2022 midterms.

    "Over the last two years we've watched her become a little bit more arrogant and condescending, and it kind of highlights her youth and immaturity. And I think that's turned off a lot of voters," Pueblo County Republican Party Chair Robert Leverington told Colorado Public Radio.

    Zack Roday, a Republican strategist who worked on Colorado Republican Jon O'Dea's failed Senate bid, told Time magazine that Trump's influence is part of the reason "the Republican brand is deeply damaged."

    "That's a seat that should not be in contention," Roday said of Boebert's district. "Too many people went into the ballot box in Colorado and across the country with inflation, the economy, and crime as top of mind. And then they voted directly against their interests by voting for Democrats. And there's only one explanation for that, and that's the cancer. That's Donald Trump."

    Democrats are poised to use Boebert's new position on the Republican Policy Committee to continue to brand the Republican Party as too extreme.

    "Q: Who is the @HouseGOP looking to for policy leadership & ideas? A: MAGA Congresswoman @laurenboebert," tweeted Jaime Harrison, chair of the Democratic National Committee.

    "When Boebert is writing your policy, you know the MAGA inmates are officially running the asylum," tweeted Jesse Ferguson, a Democratic strategist.

    Democratic strategist and podcast host Sawyer Hackett said Boebert's election to the policy committee is just the latest sign that Republicans did not learn from their mistakes after the 2022 election.

    "Majorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar are getting back on their committees; Lauren Boebert was just elected to the GOP policy committee; the new Speaker won't condemn Trump for meeting with a Nazi; this is the Republican Party after a catastrophic midterm underperformance," Hackett tweeted.

    Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

    Boebert's GOP Rival Pens Blistering Endorsement Of Her Democratic Opponent

    A former Republican rival to Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) has penned a new op-ed while endorsing the lawmaker's current Democratic rival.

    In an op-ed published by the Montrose Daily Press, state Sen. Don Coram (R-CO) —who challenged Boebert in the state's primary election— offered a blistering assessment of the far-right lawmaker.

    According to Coram, the Colorado lawmaker “spends her time jet-setting around the country promoting herself and extreme rhetoric that only divides this country further,” wrote Coram. “It’s disgraceful and we should expect more from our United States representative.”

    Coram also urged voters to throw their support behind former Aspen City Councilmember Adam Frisch in November's race which is expected to be a relatively close election.

    While he did admit that their political preferences differ from Frisch's, he still believes he is the better candidate. “Naturally, Adam and I differ on various policies and issues," he wrote. "However, I know that he is the type of person who will come to the table and have a conversation. That is what we should expect from our representative.

    Noting some of the aspiring lawmaker's strong attributes, Coram lauded Frisch personally and professionally. “I believe Adam Frisch is a good man," he wrote.

    "I have had the opportunity to visit with him and get to know him better over the last few months, I know him to be decent, honest, and persistent," he added. "He has demonstrated that he is more interested in representing the district than being a celebrity. That’s important."

    Coram also included a clear message to voters. "Let’s elect someone who cares about representing the majority of people in the middle that are fed up with extreme partisanship and juvenile antics," he wrote.

    Reprinted with permission from Alternet.