Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: The new California narrative sets in


It takes a day or two for a new narrative to set in. You could have written these late Tuesday night, but it took until now for the headline writers to get their act together.

  • LA Times: After recall flop, struggling California Republicans once again fighting over future
  • APCalifornia GOP licks wounds after another lopsided loss
  • WaPo: With resounding California victory, Newsom takes control of his party in state
  • Politico: Newsom: Recall win shows Dems should ‘stiffen our spines’ on Covid action

I can’t overstate the need to put these off-year races in context. If Newsom survives by 25% (?) and McAuliffe were to win by 5%, they’d be spun as big Dem wins. But that same ~5 pt swing right from the 2020 Biden/Trump margin would easily win Rs the House & Senate in 2022.

— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) September 15, 2021

True, all things being equal (they aren’t), and if nothing else changes (it will, and in unforeseen ways) and if Democrats don’t run against Radical Trumpism (they will).

California GOP tries to regroup after major ass-kicking by Still-Gov. Gavin Newsom in recall vote. *Results were a resounding endorsement of Newsom’s #covid and climate policies. *Big defeat for Trumpism.

— Jim Roberts (@nycjim) September 16, 2021

Better late than never.


DeSantis flirts with the anti-vaccine crowd

Ron DeSantis isn’t anti-vaccine. But he has started standing shoulder-to-shoulder those who are.

The Florida governor’s clear and unadulterated public messaging about the need for vaccines has become more diluted in recent months, culminating with a press conference he held this week to bash President Joe Biden’s new vaccine mandate plan — and threaten to fine cities and counties that impose their own mandates.

Florida leads nation in nursing home resident and staff COVID-19 deaths 🤦🏾‍♂️

— Bernard Ashby MD, MPP, FACC (@BAshbyMD) September 16, 2021


Over Half of States Have Rolled Back Public Health Powers in Pandemic

Republican legislators in more than half of U.S. states, spurred on by voters angry about lockdowns and mask mandates, are taking away the powers state and local officials use to protect the public against infectious diseases.

A KHN review of hundreds of pieces of legislation found that, in all 50 states, legislators have proposed bills to curb such public health powers since the covid-19 pandemic began. While some governors vetoed bills that passed, at least 26 states pushed through laws that permanently weaken government authority to protect public health. In three additional states, an executive order, ballot initiative or state Supreme Court ruling limited long-held public health powers. More bills are pending in a handful of states whose legislatures are still in session.

And establishing radicalization creates an opening to recast so much of what GOP is now that way. This is a big strategic opening, and Dems must seize it.

— Simon Rosenberg (@SimonWDC) September 16, 2021

Steve Benen/MSNBC:

New reporting casts Pence’s Jan. 6 actions in an unflattering light

After the 2020 election, Mike Pence was prepared to do the wrong thing. He just couldn’t find a credible way to pull it off.

Eight months after the events of Jan. 6, former Vice President Mike Pence is generally seen as one of the key figures who did the right thing when it mattered. Despite intense political pressure, from Donald Trump and others, the Republican fulfilled his legal obligations and helped certify the results of the 2020 presidential election after the insurrectionist riot that put him in serious danger.

What we didn’t know is that Pence really didn’t want to fulfill his legal obligations.

A new book from The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward and Robert Costa includes details that haven’t previously been reported about just how eager the then-vice president was to do the wrong thing.

JUST NOW: “Single digits.” United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby on the number of resignations they have had so far over vaccine requirements. Single digits as 90% have been

— John Berman (@JohnBerman) September 16, 2021

Kurt Bardella/NBC:

Pence’s Trump enabling was worse than we thought. Woodward and Costa’s book proves it.

A new story being circulated offers a revealing look at Pence’s character.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t have the former vice president on my How to Save Democracy bingo card, but thanks to Bob Woodward and Robert Costa’s forthcoming book, “Peril,” we now know much more about what Pence did — and what he didn’t do — as an angry insurrectionist mob tried to literally force itself into the halls of Congress. “Peril” isn’t out yet, so we’re relying on small snippets of excerpts and vignettes. But one story being circulated offers a revealing look at Pence’s character.

Desperate to find a mechanism that would allow Pence to overturn the election in favor of his boss, Pence reportedly called Quayle, also from Indiana, for advice. According to the book, Quayle definitively shut Pence down. “Mike, you have no flexibility on this. None. Zero. Forget it. Put it away.”

Think about it. The vice president of the United States was calling around looking for someone who would give him permission to preside over the complete collapse of our democratic process. The fact that Pence was asking advice from Quayle, whose tenure in the George H.W. Bush White House is a political punchline, makes the whole situation that much more absurd.

And how did that work out for you? “Paul Ryan spoke to a doctor and extensively researched how to deal with someone with narcissistic personality disorder after Trump won: book”

— Charlie Sykes (@SykesCharlie) September 16, 2021

Simon Rosenberg/Twitter:

As we’ve been saying it’s important that Democrats learn how to make the GOP’s radicalization a kitchen table issue. Seen a lot of progress in this regard in recent weeks. Important political development here in the US.
Here’s a recent essay where I lay out why leaning into the GOP’s dangerous radicalization has to be central to who Dems are now. It’s part of how we defend our democracy.

Flashback to SCOTUS circa 1905: “The Supreme Court had no difficulty upholding the state’s power to grant the board of health authority to order a general vaccination program during an epidemic.”

— Jake Zuckerman (@jake_zuckerman) September 16, 2021

EJ Dionne/WaPo:

Boston’s quiet revolution

In a few minutes, 36-year-old Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu would take the stage at an outdoor victory party in her Roslindale neighborhood to claim the top runoff spot in this fall’s election for mayor.

This is a city that has long been international and proudly parochial, genteel and tough-as-nails, feminist in theory and male-dominated in its politics, liberal and — I’m being extremely polite — deeply divided by race. On a lovely Tuesday evening, as the votes in the nonpartisan contest slowly rolled in, it was witnessing a peaceful revolution.

Wu, the top finisher by a significant margin, is a Chicago-born lawyer and the daughter of immigrants from Taiwan. Coming in second and winning the right to be Wu’s challenger in November was Councilor Annissa Essaibi George, also the daughter of immigrants — a Tunisian father and a Polish mother.

Republicans and white evangelicals are sick, sick people who will kill the body politic if we let them. I am not talking about covid.

— Bruce Bartlett (@BruceBartlett) September 16, 2021

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