Thursday, December 31, 2020


It isn't described as a deal in this Washington Post story, but it looks like a deal to me:
When [Senator Josh] Hawley first publicly advocated for direct [COVID relief] payments in early December, he was virtually alone among congressional Republicans....

Both he and [Senator Bernie] Sanders, however, argued that checks were an essential part of any relief package. By Friday, Dec. 4, Sanders’s staff was in touch with Hawley’s staff about potentially joining forces, and the two senators spoke the next morning. They agreed to jointly advocate for the same checks that had been included in the Cares Act passed in March — $1,200 per individual and dependent child.

That night, Hawley spoke to Trump as he returned from the Georgia rally. He said he urged Trump to be more vocal about his wishes: “I urged him to say he’d veto it” unless checks were included.

Trump ... never publicly delivered that ultimatum — or engaged much in the negotiations at all, at least not until the bill had already been passed.
Trump demanded $2000 checks on December 22. Eight days later, Hawley -- beating know-nothing populists such as Tommy Tuberville and Rand Paul to the punch -- agreed to be the senator who'd endorse challenges to Joe Biden's electors.

The quid pro quo is that Hawley gets to be seen as Trumpier than other Republicans who have 2024 ambitions because he and Trump agree on relief checks and because he's now leading the "fraud" parade in the Senate

And because our mainstream political press is awful, Hawley gets all this without sacrificing any of his mainstream credibility. Even though he's taking a sledgehammer to American democracy, the Post article I've quoted is a wet kiss. Hawley is given credit for the $600 checks in the bill Trump signed.
... the checks — and the surprising Republican support for boosting them further — mark a signal legislative victory in Hawley’s first Senate term. Whether it heralds a broader GOP shift toward a populist approach more in line with the increasingly working-class nature of the party’s electorate is unknown.

But that is a shift Hawley is eager to accelerate — not only by backing hundreds of billions of dollars in stimulus checks, but by taking Trump’s loose platform of restricting immigration, attacking free trade and cracking down on big tech companies and developing it into what Hawley calls a “worker-focused approach” to Republican policymaking.

“There’s a lot of work to be done there building that out,” he said in an interview last week. “It needs to carry over into lots of other areas of social and economic policy. But I just think that the current crisis crystallizes it because the working folks in this country, working families, have borne so much of the economic pain of this downturn.”

Hawley’s efforts have captured attention across the political spectrum, including by many on the left who are watching his emerging populist agenda with at least some degree of intrigue, if not outright admiration.

“There’s some real rethinking going on on the right, and he’s at the center of it,” said Matt Stoller, research director at the American Economic Liberties Project and a leftist scholar of populist political movements. “This is a conservative Republican who just happens to be a populist and does not like libertarians, and, philosophically, that brings him a lot closer to Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren in his approach to corporate power. And that is a real threat to the Democratic Party and the left wing.”
Hawley is now a 2024 GOP front-runner if no Trump runs for president, with likely support from the crazy base and the world of Beltway insiders. Being seen as an enemy of democracy was a very small price to pay.

No comments: