Wednesday, February 22, 2023


Today's Politico Playbook focuses on Senator Tim Scott, who's clearly on the verge of announcing a presidential run. Here's the headline:
Can Tim Scott make the GOP play nice?
And here's Scott "playing nice":
IN IOWA, Sen. TIM SCOTT (R-S.C.) begins his “Faith In America” listening tour, dipping his toe in the proverbial water ahead of a possible 2024 campaign. And this morning, Playbook has exclusive excerpts from Scott’s speech.

... “So, for those of you on the left, you can call me a prop, you can call me a token, you can call me the N-word, you can question my blackness, you can even call me ‘Uncle Tim.’ Just understand: Your words are no match for my evidence. ... The truth of my life disproves your lies.”

You can also plan to see Scott throw some elbows — only don’t expect them to be aimed at fellow Republicans.

“Pretend you were our nation’s greatest enemy,” he’ll say, per the prepared remarks. “Say you wanted a blueprint to ruin America. What would you put in it? First, you’d take aim at our patriotism. [Y]ou’d amplify attention-seekers who say America is an evil country. Make it easy to get rich and famous by feeding the empty calories of anger to people who are starving for hope. In other words ... you’d keep doing exactly what JOE BIDEN has let the far left do to our country for the last two years.”
The press hits the fainting couches every time a Democrat attacks a Republican even mildly, but here's Scott saying that the president of the United States is enabling people who are as harmful as "our nation's greatest enemy" -- and Scott is the nice guy in the race! (This after he's attacked his critics as liars.)

Scott is super-nice, Playbook tells us:
Over his dozen years in Congress, the representative-turned-senator has often avoided the spotlight, shunning the bombast and bluster that many White House hopefuls embrace as they consider presidential runs. Instead, he’s known for his affability and easy smile.
President Biden is letting our nation's worst enemies run amok, Scott says -- affably!
[A] confidant told us that Scott hasn’t harbored long-term ambitions of working in the Oval Office. But he’s been repulsed by the downward spiral of bullying and bomb-throwing that has become the hallmark of politics of late, and feels motivated to do something about it.

He’s never been a fan of DONALD TRUMP’s name-calling. He loathes the suggestion by some on the left that the nation is “racist.” In recent days, he’s cringed at Rep. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE’s (R-Ga.) call for the U.S. to be split into two nations of red and blue states, as well as her suggestion that former South Carolina Gov. NIKKI HALEY is simply a “Bush in heels.” Above all, he pines for a time when Americans could disagree about politics and still be cordial.
Yes, Republicans should refer to political opponents as enemies and liars cordially.
Therein lies one of Scott’s reasons for exploring a 2024 run: A belief that perhaps other Americans are similarly disgusted with the tenor of today’s politics, and want a candidate who will restore civility.

“He really does think that the country is disunified in ways that it doesn't have to be,” said the confidant. “Now, there are plenty of areas where ... there [are] going to be contrasts — no question about it. He just thinks there is a way to communicate — even with people that are never going to vote for you — and do it in a winsome way.”
The way to communicate "contrasts," I guess, is first to persuade the media that you're an even-tempered guy and then attack Democrats the way every other Republican does. If you can pull that off, they'll praise you for "civility." They'll even call you "winsome."

An aside about Marjorie Taylor Greene: I'm now convinced that her approach to politics has the potential to help Republicans. See how she's discussed here. Next to her, Scott looks quite reasonable. I'm sure we'd be told that Nikki Haley and Mike Pompeo and possibly even Ron DeSantis look reasonable when compared to Greene.

There's no prominent Democrat who's as extreme, ignorant, or conspiratorial as Greene. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez isn't -- she's a serious person who'd be a manistream left-liberal politician in any other developed country. The same is true for Bernie Sanders. And Nancy Pelosi, also a serious person, is to the right of both of them. And yet the Republican Party has persuaded its voters -- and many swing voters, and many mainstream pundits -- that these politicians are as extreme and unhinged as Greene. Republicans caricature the three of them and then hang these caricatures around the necks of every Democrat.

Democrats don't have to caricature Greene (or Matt Gaetz or George Santos or Donald Trump) -- the plain truth about these Republicans is damaging enough. But they never succeed in portraying the GOP as a party embodied by Greene or Gaetz or Santos. Even with Trump, it's widely believed that the party will revert to "normal" when he leaves politics.

Every Republican should lose credibility whenever Marjorie Taylor Greene opens her mouth. Instead, we're told that Tim Scott isn't Greene, so it's all good.

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