Saturday, September 24, 2022


Yesterday, when Speaker-wannabe Kevin McCarthy introduced House Republicans' "Commitment to America," which is intended to be a reboot of Newt Gingrich's 1994 Contract with America, Luke Broadwater of The New York Times reported that it was mostly bland and non-threatening, by design:
Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, the hard-right Georgia Republican who has sympathized with the rioters jailed for their roles in the assault on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, smiled widely from her seat at center stage on Friday as her party laid out what its agenda would be if it succeeded in winning control of the House in November.

Just a few seats down sat Representative John Katko, the centrist from central New York, who voted to impeach former President Donald J. Trump over the Jan. 6 attack and is retiring from Congress.

... Representative Kevin McCarthy ... introduced the “Commitment to America,” an innocuous-sounding set of principles he said would guide a G.O.P. majority, and which appeared aimed at uniting members as disparate as Ms. Greene and Mr. Katko....

The agenda ... avoided certain topics that polls show are not favorable to Republicans’ chances of electoral success: the abortion bans that most in the party have embraced, defunding the F.B.I., the Jan. 6 attack or Mr. Trump and his ongoing legal troubles.

Instead, Mr. McCarthy focused on proposals that most in the party proudly support, and that are unlikely to alienate the suburban and independent voters they need to win a majority.
But as Broadwater noted three paragraphs later, the agenda did not, in fact, avoid the topics of abortion and so-called election integrity:
But if the agenda soft-pedaled Republicans’ less-popular proposals, it did not omit them entirely. It contained a reference to the party’s commitment to enacting strict abortion restrictions, pledging to “protect the lives of unborn children and their mothers.” It alluded to the G.O.P.’s continuing embrace of Mr. Trump’s false claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election, promising that a Republican majority would “increase accountability in the election process through voter ID.”
And as for the FBI, if you click on "A Government That's Accountable" on the Commitment to America site, one of the items highlighted is this:

What does that mean? If you take a side trip to the site of the House Judiciary Committee's Republicans, you'll find this article, which originally appeared at Breitbart:
Jim Jordan Explains the 14 FBI Whistleblowers: ‘Frankly, We Anticipate More’

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, has been fielding whistleblower allegations against officials at the Justice Department and FBI since last November....

Jordan said Sunday to Fox News’s Trey Gowdy that 14 whistleblowers from within the FBI had come forward to his office:
Fourteen FBI agents have come to our office as whistleblowers, and they are good people. There are lots of good people in the FBI. It’s the top that’s the problem. But some of these good agents are coming to us telling us this is bologna what’s going on, the political nature now of the Justice Department.
... Jordan asserted to Breitbart News that he has in fact had 14 whistleblowers speak to his office about the Justice Department and FBI but that all of them approached his office prior to the Trump raid.

“It started when we realized what the Justice Department was doing relative to parents and the whole school boards issue,” Jordan said, in reference to allegations one whistleblower made to Jordan’s office in November 2021 that the FBI was taking counterterrorism measures to investigate parents who it deemed a threat at school board meetings.

Jordan had another whistleblower contact him in March 2022 who raised questions about “the progress and extent” of the FBI’s investigation into two pipe bombs that the FBI said were placed near the Republican National Committee and Democratic National Committee the night before the January 6 Capitol riot.

In May 2022, Jordan cited “several whistleblowers” who had contacted his office with claims that the FBI was retaliating against agents who “engaged in protected First Amendment activity on January 6, 2021.”
So while The Times's Broadwater says that the agenda "avoided" references to defunding the FBI, it embraces Jordan's multi-pronged FBI witch hunt, which will result in months of conspiratorial hearings if Republicans take the House. (Jordan will be the chairman of the Judiciary Committee in a Republican House.)

In the Breitbart story, Jordan claims that there was an assault on parents' rights that needs to be investigated. Back at the Commitment to America's "A Government That's Accountable" page, we see this complaint about the current Democratic-run House:

Jordan and McCarthy are invoking one of the GOP's many Big Lies: that the Justice Department has defined right-wing speech by parents as terrorism. Republicans have uttered this Big Lie repeatedly over the past year or so, with barely any pushback. A few examples:
“Attorney General Garland is weaponizing the DOJ by using the FBI to pursue concerned parents and silence them through intimidation. Florida will defend the free speech rights of its citizens and will not allow federal agents to squelch dissent.”
— Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), in a tweet, Oct. 5 [2021] ...

“Merrick Garland says he's going to use the Justice Department to spy on parents at school board meetings.”
— Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), in an interview on Fox News, Oct. 13 [2021] ...

“Now the FBI is trying to silence parents. That’s wrong.”
— Glenn Youngkin, Republican nominee for Virginia governor, in a campaign ad, Oct. 13 [2021]
In fact, the memo from the attorney general on October 4, 2021, referred to those engaging in threats or other forms of intimidation:
In recent months, there has been a disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff who participate in the vital work of running our nation's public schools. While spirited debate about policy matters is protected under our Constitution, that protection does not extend to threats of violence or efforts to intimidate individuals based on their views.
But all of your right-wing relatives now "know" that the FBI labeled parents as terrorist simply because they expressed opinions.

The FBI won't be the only target of a witch hunt, according to the Commitment to America. There's also this complaint about House Democrats:

If you scroll down to a button labeled "COVID Origins" and click on it, you're taken to a February press release from the House Oversight Committee's Republicans:
Today, House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.), Republican Whip and Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis Ranking Member Steve Scalise (R-La.), and House Committee on the Judiciary Ranking Member Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) called on seven scientists who initially believed COVID-19 may have leaked from the Wuhan lab to provide answers under oath. These scientists suddenly reversed course after privately speaking with Dr. Francis Collins, former director of the National Institutes of Health, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. It is unclear what science, if any, changed in the short amount of time.
McCarthy's plan promises to target Dr. Fauci, just as it plans to target the FBI. But The New York Times says the Commitment to America is a moderate document that avoids controversial subjects. It isn't.

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