Monday, January 25, 2021

NEW INC. MAGAZINE ARTICLE BY HOWARD TULLMAN

 

Netflix is Crushing Idiotic TV Advertising

And how can we thank them? By successfully rejecting the broadcast model, the company is dragging the traditional broadcasters with them, because consumers will pay for a quality product. 

 

BY HOWARD TULLMAN@TULLMAN

 

I've heard it said that TV ads are the penalty you pay for watching cheap and endless crap for free. Network television is effectively a tax on people who can't afford something better - they have to watch this junk and the endless ads as well if they want any sort of entertainment. Network TV has become the shop window for every creepy and frightening ad for the perils of aging and dysfunction, the threat of every newly imagined and cleverly named disease, combined with incessant reruns of shows we hated from their debut. There's also the traditional flood of car and beer ads -- never mind that the average age of a new car buyer is likely to be an aging boomer.

If you've begun to painfully realize that the aggregate number of ads, as well as time consumed, in any 30-minute slot of prime-time television seems to grow every few months, join the club. Likewise, the bulk of cable programming is no better than the rubbish the big broadcast guys promote except that - as hard as this is to accomplish - the ads are even worse, more crudely made, and dumbed down as well. But at least they provide regular employment for broken down old jocks flogging Medicare supplements and hearing aids while otherwise unemployable or shameless actors pitch reverse mortgages and end-of-life term insurance.

This is precisely what "broadcasting" was always intended to be: a tool to reach the masses via one-size-fits-all, lowest common denominator offerings with the least objectionable material, so that you don't change the channel. And all of it delivered through a framework to support the ads and advertisers that paid the bills. And the whole thing worked pretty well for all concerned except the viewers. None of us was really a loyal or grateful customer - we just didn't have a better alternative.

When cable came along, it promised massive amounts of programming choices, but there was only one distributor-- the dreaded cable company, selected by local government. This is why cable was always a grudge buy. There was no competition, you paid for a bunch of junk you didn't want, and the cable company owned the local politicians and rate-setting authorities as well. Sweet deal, but not for us.

But now, if you're willing and able to pay for the privilege, we have streaming solutions and a growing flow of podcasts (and a few well-done vodcasts) that - with the exception of Peacock, which seems like a glorified invitation to a digital root canal - represent a new attempt at narrowcasting. Smaller, more affluent, self-selecting and better identified audiences composed of folks who are actually anxious and interested in seeing the offered material and, of course, also willing to pay for it.

The entire initial premise of Netflix was that by trading your privacy and viewing preferences and choices for automated personalization you could have the system select and deliver higher-quality, more tailored, and more entertaining suggestions, recommendations, and content for you. The content was as good as anything else out there, and the discovery element was real and serious. But what has become more and more apparent is that millions of us were looking for and willing to pay for ad-free and uninterrupted entertainment.

One of the tactical errors that some of the erstwhile and flailing Netflix competitors have made is to offer a basic, less expensive service with traditional ads along with ad-free access at an upcharge, which seems to me to simply reinforce the depressing message and reality that these days only paupers, morons and cheapskates watch ad-riven network programming. If these competitive vendors had the courage of their convictions and believed in their own offerings, they'd go with a single price structure. Thinking that you can buy eyeballs and subscribers with bait-and-switch expiring offers or deep, short-term discounts ("Get 2 issues of XXX magazine for $2 and then we'll charge you $50 for the next 6 months.") hasn't worked for the few survivors in the high-end magazine business. That pricing matrix is unlikely to be a solid, long-term strategy for streamers either.

But it's going to be very interesting to see how long the new ad-free models can be sustained and whether their managers can resist the constant pressure from the market and their investors to further monetize their captive viewer eyeballs. This is the constant debate we hear every day about Twitter and others and it's a nasty disease that no industry can withstand for too long.

But in the case of Netflix, the debate ignores a very critical data distinction. Netflix can sell actionable targeting data about its users - demographics, habits, tastes, interests, spending cycles -- to advertisers without permitting them to show a single ad on Netflix itself, which would jeopardize the customers' experiences.

You already know how this works. You look for something on Amazon or search for anything on Google and - surprise of surprises - suddenly half the other places you visit on the web are showing you ads relating to the products and services you recently researched. Targeting your travels on the internet is easy as pie. Amazon does this a lot better than Google because Amazon, unlike Google, knows your purchase behavior as well so they won't waste your time or try your patience showing you ads for stuff you bought two days ago.

But Netflix never even has to let you know how the magic works. And even if you ask, much like Facebook, they will likely tell you that all the data they sell to third parties is anonymized so that while the ad targeters "know" your interests and preferences, you should feel comfortable that they don't really know who you are.

So, the modest good news is that you're unlikely to see ads on Netflix any time soon and, if their competition has any smarts at all, they'll be careful not to put their toes in that ugly pool of sludge as well.

 

DUMBASS HYPOCRITIES FROM ARIZONA

 


Republicans Have Decided Not to Rethink Anything

 

Republicans Have Decided Not to Rethink Anything

By Jonathan Chait

 

For a few days, the Republican party appeared to be undergoing a crisis of confidence, if not an outright crack-up. First, Donald Trump lost an election, then tried to negate the outcome throughout a series of threats and increasingly absurd lawsuits, then his party lost control of the Senate in a previously red state, and then Trump whipped up an insurrectionary mob that sacked the capitol. Trump failed to check in on Pence even as his vice-president was hiding from a mob out to literally execute him, placing an understandable strain on their once-solid relationship.

Perhaps, finally, things had gone so far that the party would undertake the soul-searching it had avoided for four years. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell let it be known he wished to be rid of Trump. The party “likely will face a raging internal war over policies and political leaders,” asserts longtime Washington hand Jim VandeHei. “Do not underestimate how divided and confused their party is right now,” posits David Brooks, “Do not underestimate how much Republicans trust Biden personally.”

But instead of a Glasnost for the Republican party, the days after January 6 seem instead to be a Prague Spring — a brief flowering of dissent and questioning of dogma quickly suppressed by a remorseless crackdown.

The heady predictions that the party would break free of the Trumpist grip already seem fanciful. If anybody is suffering repercussions for their response to Trump’s autogolpe, it is the Republicans who criticized it. Conservative Republicans are threatening to strip Liz Cheney of her leadership post after she voted to impeach Trump. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, an adept reader of the prevailing winds within his party, offered a non-defense of his third in command: “I support her, but I have concerns.” Adam Kinzinger, another pro-impeachment Republican, is facing censure. The Michigan Republican member of the state board of canvassers, who broke with his party to certify the state’s election results, is losing his job as a result of his refusal to go along with Trump’s lie. Fox News is firing journalists associated with its election call that Biden won Arizona.

The clearest sign of the counter-revolutionary momentum is the flagging prospects for impeaching Trump. Senate Republicans are coalescing around a technical claim that Trump cannot be impeached because he has already left office, an argument at odds with the conclusion of most scholars, but which allows them to avoid casting firm judgment on Trump’s incitement. McCarthy, who last week said Trump “bears responsibility” for the mob attack, now says, ““I don’t believe he provoked it if you listen to what he said at the rally.”

The end of the Trump era has left the party divided, broadly speaking, into three wings. On the left is a small wing of Never Trumpers who opposed Trump, believing him to be unfit for office and a threat to the republic. They are represented politically by figures like Jeff Flake, Mitt Romney, and John Kasich — and intellectually by the Bulwark and a variety of columnists at mainstream outlets. Many Never Trumpers connected their party’s embrace of Trump with a more longstanding anti-democratic turn. They represent the pro-democracy wing of the Republican Party.

On the right flank is a violent authoritarian wing of roughly equal size. These conservatives fervently support Trump, and either endorsed his insurrection, or else justified it as a false-flag operation. The violent authoritarians supported keeping Trump in office by any means necessary, and oppose any measures to hold him accountable or to punish any of his radical supporters. This wing is represented by members of Congress like QAnon supporters  Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert, groups like the Proud Boys, Three Percenters, Oath Keepers, and in the media by various commentators on the Fox News evening lineup, OAN, and Newsmax.

In the middle is what you might call “soft authoritarians.” This faction’s political representation is figures like McConnell and Pence, and its views are expressed by organs like The Wall Street Journal editorial page and National Review. They have supported most of Trump’s abuses of power, firmly opposing impeachment, Congressional oversight, efforts to obtain Trump’s tax returns, or any other accountability mechanism. The soft authoritarians strongly believe in the principle of minority rule, as long as it is enforced through peaceful and legal channels like gerrymandering and vote suppression.

This is the faction that has determined the party’s response to Trump. The soft authoritarians were appalled at Trump’s use of a barbarous mob to beat up police officers and smash down the Capitol’s doors and windows. They sicken at the prospect Trump might capture the party’s nomination again in 2024, which is why they remain open to convicting Trump and barring him from holding federal office again.

But the soft authoritarians are party men, not principled democrats. And they have surely noticed that Trump’s hold over their voters remains strong. A terrifying seventy percent of Republican voters agree with Trump’s lie that he received more votes than Biden. Trump’s loyalists are threatening revenge if he is convicted. (Trump adviser Jason Miller tells Ryan Lizza, “Republican senators need to think long and hard about what an impeachment vote would do to the party.” Reports that Trump is contemplating starting his own party, which would guarantee Democrats victory in 2024, are probably a bluff. But the chance that a figure as unpredictable as Trump just might follow through makes it an effective bluff.

The path of least resistance for the soft authoritarianism will be to oppose Trump’s conviction on technical grounds, and then hope he fades away quietly. As that happens, the centrifugal pressure Trump exerted on their coalition with his deranged antics will ease, to be replaced by the centripetal pressure of a Biden administration enacting Democratic priorities.

You can already see the internal Republican tension abating as they pull together in opposition. Did Trump make mistakes? Perhaps so, they will concede, but they are behind us, and now they face new dangers and outrages from Biden. No rethinking of the Republican platform — indeed, no thinking of any kind — will be needed. Republicans can simply repurpose Trump’s attacks on Biden as a corrupt, doddering crypto-socialist tool of AOC. The Republican civil war is over before it even began.

 

Mitch McConnell’s latest sabotage effort is a scam. He already showed us how.

 

Mitch McConnell’s latest sabotage effort is a scam. He already showed us how.

 

 

Opinion by 

Greg Sargent

Columnist

Jan. 25, 2021 at 9:54 a.m. CST

 

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is refusing to allow Democrats to take control of the Senate; in so doing, the minority leader is banking on a twisted convention of political reporting that he knows will play to his advantage.

 

Specifically, McConnell has calculated that the press will place the onus of achieving bipartisan cooperation on President Biden, while allowing Republicans to cast their own withholding of bipartisan cooperation as proof of Biden’s failure to achieve it.

 

We know this because we have already seen McConnell operate from this playbook. He has been quite open about how it works. And this fact should shift the way the entire public discussion about McConnell’s strategy proceeds.

 

McConnell is employing a simple but deceptive scam that has hoodwinked a lot of people for a long time. The central ruse is that McConnell piously holds up the filibuster as a tool for securing bipartisan cooperation.

 

In reality, however, McConnell himself uses the filibuster in precisely the opposite way: to facilitate the partisan withholding of cooperation to an extraordinary extent, for largely instrumental ends.

 

McConnell is now locked in a standoff with Senate Democrats. He is demanding that they commit in advance to keeping the legislative filibuster in place as his extortion price for allowing an agreement on the Senate’s operating rules.

 

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) has rejected this demand. While it’s unlikely Democrats will end the filibuster as long as moderates such as Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.V.) oppose it, they won’t commit to this up front: They want to preserve this option if McConnell obstructs everything on Biden’s agenda.

 

The result is that the Senate has largely ground to a halt. Committees remain in GOP control, and the Biden agenda remains to some degree in limbo, with the fate of more controversial nominees and his proposed new economic rescue package remaining uncertain.

 

The Post has some new reporting on McConnell’s thinking:

 

The calculations for McConnell, according to Republicans, are simple. Not only is preserving the filibuster a matter that Republicans can unify around, it is something that potentially divides Democrats, who are under enormous pressure to discard it to advance their governing agenda.

 

“Republicans very much appreciate the consistency and the rock-solid fidelity to the norms and rules that make the Senate a moderating force in policymaking,” said Scott Jennings, a former McConnell aide. “The legislative filibuster is the last rule driving bipartisanship in Washington.”

 

As it happens, this hasn’t yet “divided” Democrats, who appear united behind the idea that they cannot allow McConnell to bluff them into forgoing their main point of leverage over him.

 

But if Democrats do need fortifying in this regard, here’s a place to start. When McConnell’s spinners claim that he wants to keep the filibuster to facilitate bipartisanship and moderation, it’s knee-slappingly laughable. McConnell himself has shown us otherwise.

 

In an interview with journalist Joshua Green in 2011, McConnell explained exactly why he was expanding use of the filibuster and other procedural tactics against even noncontroversial aspects of President Barack Obama’s agenda. He said:

 

“We worked very hard to keep our fingerprints off of these proposals,” McConnell says. “Because we thought — correctly, I think — that the only way the American people would know that a great debate was going on was if the measures were not bipartisan. When you hang the ‘bipartisan’ tag on something, the perception is that differences have been worked out, and there’s a broad agreement that that’s the way forward.”

 

This deserves renewed attention in the current context. McConnell’s core insight was that there would be a major downside for Republicans if even a handful of GOP senators reached compromises with a Democratic president — even if the Democratic president made meaningful concessions to them in the process.

 

That’s because it would bolster the notion that the Democratic president had successfully bridged disagreement with Republicans. McConnell wanted to avoid that outcome, regardless of whether the compromises reached were reasonable or salutary ones by the lights of the crossover Republicans themselves.

 

In McConnell’s wielding, then, the filibuster facilitated the prevention of outbreaks of bipartisanship. It isn’t just that in many cases it blocked Senate Democrats from governing despite having the majority. It also set up standoffs in which refusing to reach compromises with a Democratic president fulfilled the instrumental goal of casting him as a failed leader.

 

There is very little doubt that McConnell intends to do the same to Biden wherever possible. In fact, as Brian Beutler suggests, by holding Senate action hostage right now — all to leverage Democrats into unilateral disarmament in the face of future filibustering — McConnell is already doing this.

 

Indeed, you can see this reflected in the media coverage, which is already demonstrating the success of this strategy and the correctness of the McConnell calculation underlying it. Press accounts regularly describe the current standoff in the Senate as casting doubt solely on Biden’s ability to achieve bipartisan cooperation.

 

McConnell is not obliged to support a Democratic president’s agenda, of course. And to some degree, Republican opposition to Biden’s agenda will understandably reflect principled disagreement.

 

But we are not obliged to sugarcoat the full range of McConnell’s motives here, or to pretend that there’s any legitimacy to his saintly insistence that he only wants to keep the filibuster in order to facilitate bipartisanship. He demonstrated the contrary to us himself, in his own words.

 

Many Republicans are choosing collective amnesia of Jan. 6. That would be disastrous.

 Many Republicans are choosing collective amnesia of Jan. 6. That would be disastrous. 

 

Opinion by  

Michael Gerson 

Columnist 

Jan. 25, 2021 at 2:01 p.m. CST 

 

As we move away from the events of Jan. 6, many elected Republicans seem to be settling on a strategy of collective amnesia. Some propose to forget the unpleasant past in the cause of national “healing.” Others adduce a thin constitutional argument against the impeachment of a former president (a position that would effectively grant immunity from impeachment to every president during his last few months in office, when the opportunity to subvert an election is greatest). 

 

This party-wide retreat from memory and accountability has been symbolized by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) ritual renunciation of his initial moral sanity. 

 

When the violence was fresh, he affirmed that President Donald Trump “bears responsibility for [the] attack on Congress by mob rioters.” 

 

More recently, under political pressure, McCarthy claimed: “I don’t believe he provoked it.” 

 

In the process, a whole generation of idealistic young people has been given a reliable guide to public character: Don’t be like this man. 

 

The desire to erase the memory of unpleasant events is psychologically natural. But it would be disastrous in a democracy under continuing threat. The Capitol insurrection — and the broader attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election — lies like an undigested lump in the gut of our political system. How can we be asked to forget events that we haven’t fully processed? The president of the United States, with the broad approval of GOP leaders, systematically attempted to invalidate millions of votes from disproportionately minority voters. When that effort failed, Trump invited a mob to Washington, whipped up its resentments, directed it toward Capitol Hill, urged it to intimidate legislators and disrupt a constitutional process, challenged it to “fight,” and then refused to intervene while domestic terrorists hunted for Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in the hallways of the Capitol. 

 

Would Republican senators still want the country to put these events behind it if 20 Capitol Police officers had been beaten to death rather than one? If Pelosi had actually been zip-tied and held hostage? If Pence had been murdered? At what point would executive incitement of a violent mob to intimidate the legislative branch meet GOP senators’ exacting standards for conviction? For what similar actions by a Democratic president would they allow bygones to be bygones? 

 

The problem here is a general lack of Republican shame. In everyday life, shame is a generally unhealthy emotion. In a politician, it is irreplaceable. The possibility of political shame is required by the existence of political honor. Like those in the U.S. military, federal legislators pledge to protect and defend the Constitution. This transforms their job into a calling that involves the possibility of personal sacrifice. 

Those politicians, such as Trump, who view the political enterprise as nothing more than a dirty game are quite literally shameless. Those such as McCarthy, who choose cowardice over sacrifice, are discrediting their calling. 

 

But what of Republican members of the Senate impeachment jury? A couple — namely Sen. Josh Hawley (Mo.) and Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.) — are partially responsible for provoking the rage that led to the sacking of the Capitol. Along with a few colleagues, they voted to accede to the demands of the mob, even after its violent attack. They are some of American history’s most reckless violators of democratic honor. And they seem firmly attached to their ignominy. 

 

Most Senate Republicans, however, voted against the mass disenfranchisement of minority voters. Yet they hesitate to extend Republican misery through a trial, claiming it would draw attention away from other urgent legislative matters. 

A political case can be made that only Senate conviction would liberate the GOP from its Trump captivity. But the justifications run deeper. On the pages of newspapers and in dark corners of the Internet, a consensus is taking shape about the historical meaning of the Capitol assault. Violent radicals want to interpret it as the first shots — the Lexington and Concord — of a growing racist revolution, granted the legitimacy of sponsorship by the president of the United States. A Republican senator who votes against conviction of the president would feed this dangerous narrative and empower some of the most vicious and violent people in the United States. That would merit enough shame to define a political career. 

 

The main reason we cannot throw this event down a memory hole is that the social threats that produced it are ongoing. If the Capitol attack is not fully and completely repudiated, then “January 6!” will be strengthened as a radical rallying cry. And an un-convicted Trump would do his best to ensure it. I suspect he is privately proud of the Bastille-storming performed in his honor. 

 

By convicting Trump, Senate Republicans would be saying that the insurrection was something very different: the last gasp of a dying presidency, a uniformly condemned outbreak of hatred and an act of eternal dishonor. 

 

Sarah Sanders was a prolific liar for Trump. And she did even more damage.

 

Sarah Sanders was a prolific liar for Trump. And she did even more damage.

 

Opinion by 

Paul Waldman

Columnist

June 14, 2019 at 11:43 a.m. CDT

 

President Trump has stocked his administration with a unique collection of the incompetent, the malevolent and the corrupt — as well as some people who were all three. But there’s a different and rare class of Trump aide who deserves special condemnation: Those who were actually good at their jobs.

 

The most visible of them is leaving, as the president announced on Thursday:

 

....She is a very special person with extraordinary talents, who has done an incredible job! I hope she decides to run for Governor of Arkansas - she would be fantastic. Sarah, thank you for a job well done!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 13, 2019

 

Trump has every reason to be thankful, since Sarah Sanders has been probably the most dishonest White House press secretary in history. Which, when you’re serving the most dishonest president in history, is what the job requires. But what made her so valuable to Trump was the enthusiasm with which she embraced a task that, to anyone with any principles, should have been a horror.

 

There isn’t nearly enough time to document the entire mountain of falsehoods Sanders served up even before she stopped doing press briefings altogether three months ago. But it’s worth reminding ourselves of a few. Take a deep breath:

 

  • When Trump fired FBI director James B. Comey in May 2017, Sanders said, “I’ve heard from countless members of the FBI that are grateful and thankful for the President’s decision."
  • Under questioning from the special counsel, she admitted that her Comey statement was a lie, but called it a “slip of the tongue,” despite the fact that she had repeated the false claim multiple times.
  • She denied that the president dictated a false statement for his son to release in an attempt to deceive the public about the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with a group of Russians, when the president’s lawyers later admitted that he had dictated the statement.
  • In June 2017, she said, “The president in no way, form or fashion has ever promoted or encouraged violence. If anything, quite the contrary,” when we’ve all seen the president promote and encourage violence multiple times.
  • She denied that Trump was involved in the $130,000 hush-money payment to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels.
  • She claimed that immigrants who come to the United States via the diversity lottery are not vetted, which is a lie.
  • She claimed that “multiple news outlets” had reported that President Barack Obama ordered Trump’s phones tapped in 2016, which was a lie.
  • She insisted that it was perfectly fine for the president to retweet fake videos intended to create fear and hatred of Muslims, because “whether it’s a real video, the threat is real.”
  • She claimed in January that 4,000 suspected terrorists were arrested coming across the southern border last year, an utterly bogus statistic.
  • And she said, “the President also believes in making sure that information is accurate before pushing it out as fact when it certainly and clearly is not.” Yeah.

Beyond the specific lies, the character of Sanders’ interactions with journalists was unusually destructive. She treated the media with open contempt — not just as individual people, but the entire enterprise in which they are engaged. She insulted them, demeaned them, and generally acted as though they were nothing but irritants who had no right to raise questions that might undermine anyone’s worship of the glorious perfection that is Donald Trump.

 

It’s tempting to give Sanders credit for displaying skill in an extraordinarily difficult task. After all, how many people could do as good a job defending so dishonest a president? When, day after day, you’re confronted with provable lies that your boss has told, and manage to justify them without curling into a fetal position on the floor or tearing out of the White House in a panic, it’s an achievement.

 

But the fact that Sanders did her job so well is precisely the problem. Only a moral degenerate would have been capable of it.

 

Let’s recall the brief and disastrous tenure of her predecessor, Sean Spicer. What made Spicer’s time as White House press secretary so cringeworthy was a mutual awareness among him, the reporters asking him questions, and the public watching at home: He was lying, we knew he was lying, and he knew that we knew he was lying. And because he knew that we knew he was lying, he was embarrassed. He sweated, he stuttered, he shouted, he seemed always to be teetering on the brink of a breakdown.

 

His shame was evident for all to see.

 

I’m not saying Spicer is some kind of admirable figure. He chose to work for Trump and chose to repeat Trump’s lies, two sins that should never be forgiven. But he was so terrible at it precisely because, somewhere inside him, there pulsed a weakened but living shred of a conscience, trying with its last remaining energy to force its way to the surface.

Sarah Sanders was not so burdened. She showed no conscience and no shame. She was smooth and calm and collected as she served up poisonous lies and infinite bad faith to the public. She was exactly what Trump wanted and all he could ever have asked for.

 

In a more just world, Sanders would be shamed and shunned forever. She wouldn’t be able to get a job, her neighbors would avoid her, and she would be regarded with the universal contempt she has so richly earned.

 

But, as this is not a just world, Sanders will prosper. Corporations will pay generously for her advice on how they can more effectively mislead and misinform the public.

 

Future Republican candidates will seek out her wise counsel. Who knows, she may even run for governor of Arkansas, as Trump suggested, and in a state Trump won by 27 points in 2016, she might win.

 

Her future success is assured, which is a tribute to how the Republican Party has embraced Trumpism in all its moral squalor. It’s no wonder the president is so thankful.

 

Saturday, January 23, 2021

MCCARTHY IS A TWO-FACED LIAR

 

McCarthy 'Melted like a Chocolate Bar'

 

Steve Schmidt

Editor's Note: Steve Schmidt is one of the founding members of the Lincoln Project. He is a communications and public affairs strategist who has worked on several Republican campaigns, including John McCain's 2008 bid for the White House, and he is now a regular political contributor to MSNBC.

 

 On Saturday, Schmidt unleashed a scathing attack at House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who has been quoted as saying that all Americans bear some responsibility for the Jan. 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol.

 

 MaxNewsToday has assembled this 7-tweet thread and reprinted it as one easy-to-read op-ed for our ongoing segment, Schmidt Storm. It has been edited for grammar and clarity.

 

 Kevin McCarthy’s conduct deserves more media scrutiny. Specifically, his meltdown and unbecoming panic. He told his members that it was “an easy vote” to embrace the Big Lie and assert the election was stolen.

 

He told them it was an “easy vote” to nullify the vote and silence the voices of millions of Americans because of their skin color. He led them in establishing the new Jim Crow Caucus. He led a group of 140 all-white members in the cause of stripping millions of Black voters of their sacred franchise in the name of Donald Trump.

 

He helped incite the mob, blamed it on Trump and now says it wasn’t Trump’s fault. Now he says we are all to blame. He is flailing. The corporate money is drying up. He is maneuvering and in trouble.

 

The story that needs to be told is the one about his panicked leadership during the hours he was secured during the violent insurrection. His comportment was apparently like the sweating, overmatched, lying villains conjured from the minds of screenwriters trying to imagine political characters that possess the combinations of venality and cynicism that define the leader of the House’s GOP Minority.

 

The rush chairman of the GOP caucus met a crisis of his own brewing and melted like a chocolate bar left on the hood of a car under the hot Bakersfield sun outside the sandwich shop he never owned or sold.

 

The Capitol was ransacked, the Confederate battle flag breached the Rotunda, the American flag was pulled down and the MAGA flag was raised in its place. This is McCarthy’s doing, along with Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, Donald Trump and others.

 

It is the story of his weakness, indecisive dithering, panic, and a simpleton’s understanding of the chaos and death that flowed from his lying that needs to be told. I’m hearing more about it every day.

 

It is shocking.

 

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