Abbreviated pundit roundup: Defenders of democracy subpoena the insurrectionists


Tom Nichols/Atlantic:

Mark Esper Reveals the Full Danger of Trump, Finally

He had a duty to speak up before his book deal.

I am perhaps being too hard on him. He didn’t have much time for imaginative guidance of the defense community because, as he now reveals in a new book, he was busy trying to prevent President Donald Trump from doing all kinds of dangerously stupid and unconstitutional things. If we measure his service to the nation by the things he prevented, then maybe he was a pretty good secretary of defense after all.

The problem is that he waited until now to tell us what happened.


That means Russian ordnance is colder and cleaner than before, but they aren’t likely to win any Home and Garden awards.



Key Takeaways

  • Russian forces made marginal gains to the north of Severodonetsk and have likely captured Rubizhne and Voevodivka.
  • Russian forces fired intensively on Ukrainian positions in northern Kharkiv to stop the ongoing Ukrainian counteroffensive around Kharkiv City. The artillery focus on Ukrainian positions has likely diverted the Russian artillery that remains in range of Kharkiv to the more urgent task of stopping the Ukrainian advance.
  • Russian forces are strengthening their position on Snake Island in an effort to block Ukrainian maritime communications and capabilities in the northwestern Black Sea on the approaches to Odesa.


Jonathan Chait/New York Magazine:

Will Social Conservatives Make Mitch McConnell Kill the Filibuster?

 The end of Roe may upend the reign of the GOP’s money wing.

The Senate’s current rules are tailored almost perfectly to McConnell’s needs. (This is no coincidence, since McConnell had a big hand in shaping these rules.) First, the things McConnell most wants to pass can pass with 50 votes: tax cuts and spending cuts, both of which can pass through budget reconciliation rules, and confirming judges.

Second, the rules make it easy to block the things McConnell most wants to block: New regulations, such as pollution or campaign finance, and the enactment of most new social programs all require 60 votes. Obamacare took 60 votes to pass and would have been destroyed with 50 (though Republicans only mustered 49).

Third, the remaining filibuster also prevents Republicans from passing radical measures McConnell would, for the most part, prefer not to pass. A national abortion ban is the ultimate example of something Republicans want to be stopped from passing.

The party’s reluctance to pass a national abortion ban has been glaringly evident from the moment news broke that the Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe. The Republican obsession first with the mechanics of the leak, and then with the protests against the ruling, represent nothing so much as fanatic message discipline in service of a shared goal of keeping an abortion ban off the table.



GOP panics over ‘ultra-MAGA’ Pennsylvania Senate wild card

Influential Republicans in Washington and among the nationwide party elite are having a belated “oh s–t” moment over the previously unimaginable prospect that Kathy Barnette could win their party’s nomination for the open Senate seat in Pennsylvania.

Why it matters: In Barnette, who’s been soaring in the polls ahead of Tuesday’s primary, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell would be dealing with a general election candidate who’d be an opposition researcher’s dream — potentially endangering the GOP effort to take back the Senate.

  • McConnell has been fixated on ensuring the 2022 midterms are not a repeat of the 2012 or 2010 cycles.
  • The Kentuckian said Republicans missed good chances to win the majority in those years because they nominated candidates who talked about things like “legitimate rape” or had to publicly assure voters they weren’t witches.
  • Barnette’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


Greg Sargent/WaPo:

An openly pro-coup Trumpist could become Pennsylvania’s next governor

This basic situation is reflected in some media coverage of Mastriano’s surge. But there’s something more nefarious about Mastriano than those basic facts convey when it comes to the true threat to democracy he poses.

Mastriano didn’t just try to help Trump overturn the election. At the time, he also essentially declared his support for the notion that the popular vote can be treated as non-binding when it comes to the certification of presidential electors.

Julia Reinstein/BuzzFeed News:

We Spoke To The Woman Who Wrote The Chalk Message That Susan Collins Called The Cops Over

The Bangor Police Department determined “the message wasn’t threatening” and “no crime was committed,” Sgt. Wade Betters told BuzzFeed News. The police report — which described the chalking as “intricately drawn” in “multiple different colors” — specified that Collins was the one who called police.

Discovering the elected official had quite literally gotten their message erased left Jane feeling frustrated and unheard, she said. Fortunately, that box of chalk was a 24 pack.

So, on Tuesday, she and her friend returned to Collins’ home and filled the sidewalk with even more messages about abortion rights. This time, they added another: “You might not recognize our right to free speech,” it stated, “but I hope you recognize my right to have an abortion.”

Several neighbors came out and spoke to them as they wrote the messages, Jane said. “They were all incredibly supportive of the things that we were writing, and additionally expressed their displeasure at their taxpayer dollars and city resources being used to clean up the sidewalk,” she said. Even Stephen King, who has a house on the same street as Collins, tweeted Jane’s chalk message.

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