Brian Beutler Profile picture
@crookedmedia Editor in Chief. Politics. Writing. Intermittent podcasting. Gun-assault survivor. bbeutler@protonmail.com
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21 Jan
The solution is obvious. McConnell is *already* abusing the filibuster to block the constitution of the new majority. Nuking the filibuster is the appropriate response. At the very least the threat is the only thing that might make McConnell back down. politico.com/news/2021/01/2…
The alternative—cave to McConnell on this basic question of which party won the majority, and ratify his plan to set a 60-vote threshold for everything of consequence—would be a profound, irrevocable betrayal right off the bat.
This is an important thing for reporters to portray accurately, too. McConnell is *already* abusing the filibuster to nullify the Senate election results.
Read 8 tweets
17 Jan
I think it’s worth setting aside terminological questions and asking instead whether, if he had ruled within a system that allowed him to perpetrate the same kind of evil that fascists perpetrated, Trump would have done it, and I think the answer is clearly yes.
When people call Trump a fascist, and his most violent supporters fascists, that’s what they mean. And it’s a completely reasonable way to use language.
There’s a mishmash of folks who are being pedantic about this point for self-serving reasons—e.g. I’m not as hysterical as THOSE progressives throwing around the f-word. But they’re obscuring more than they’re clarifying. thedailybeast.com/donald-trump-i…
Read 5 tweets
12 Jan
In the @nytimes, @deepakguptalaw and I explore the hidden power of the 14th Amendment’s anti-insurrection provisions, particularly if used as a complement to impeachment, rather than a substitute for it. nytimes.com/2021/01/12/opi…
Most immediately, it’s a cudgel to brandish at Senate Republicans intent on letting Trump serve out his final days, particularly if they believe they can avoid the tough votes of a trial by running out the clock. nytimes.com/2021/01/12/opi…
But the legislative approach we lay out would serve as a font of accountability well into the future, until the full story of the siege is known and all applicable perpetrators (including those in the administration and Congress) are identified. nytimes.com/2021/01/12/opi…
Read 7 tweets
10 Jan
When Twitter banned Trump I thought it was a face-saving move. But their rationale was oddly precise. Then Google and Apple banned Parler. Then Amazon kicked it off the open web. They’re not scared of boycotters. They’re scared their services are being used to organize an attack.
Probably not worth dwelling on, however, because as we all know Trump is an InCoMpEtEnT AuThOrItArIaN.
Seems bad.
Read 4 tweets
9 Jan
Democrats, as is their wont, can interpret this as a reason to give up, which is exactly what Blunt hopes they do, or they can interpret it as an invitation to send articles over and spend the next 12 days making Republicans pay a political price for doing nothing.
The inclination to do nothing unless a magic bullet appears is so self-defeating, particularly as magic bullets don’t exist.
An interesting document, clearly meant to deter the House. It shouldn’t.
Read 4 tweets
8 Jan
If I could impart one non-obvious thing to youngs about Congress it’d be that its famed gridlock isn’t obligatory. Its powers are awesome. Starting from scratch, a concerted House can impeach a president over your lunch break. A concerted Senate can remove him before dinner.
The gridlock stems from trying to get large numbers of people to agree to a course of action. But when a majority reaches consensus, as it has over the view that Trump should be impeached, it can move like lightning.
If it doesn’t then the leadership is choosing a slow pace for its own reasons.
Read 4 tweets
8 Jan
I wrote about this in a bit more detail in the newsletter, but legal consequences aside, Trump’s attempt to overthrow the government makes the democratic reform agenda and the Trump accountability agenda a single agenda.

mailchi.mp/crooked.com/bi…
There were obviously points of overlap before, but now it’s just one thing. Joe Manchin can’t kill the former without leaving the government exposed to the next coup attempt: The most unpatriotic thing a senator could do.
DC statehood, voting rights, court reform etc. All require abolishing the filibuster. But they're not such abstract ideas anymore. They're insurance against the next attempt to seize control of government illegitimately, through corruption or force or both.
Read 4 tweets
8 Jan
Pretty abundantly clear Trump withheld reinforcements to insure his rioters could do as much harm as they could for as long as possible.
Everyone in the White House with even a passing connection to what happened Wednesday should probably lawyer up.
Now why would Meadows, Miller, McEntee, and Scavino need a pardon all of a sudden...?
Read 5 tweets
7 Jan
This is true. It’s also true that the mob sacked an institution whose leaders have insisted on pretending, in the face of all indications to the contrary, that everything is normal.
If you know days in advance, as I and everyone with functioning senses did, that the president was trying to incite a violent mob in the nation’s capital to stop the certification of his defeat, it should trigger both a security AND a political response.
When the latter doesn’t materialize, when the people under threat essentially say “what’s we’re witnessing is actually not happening, it’s an illusion” why wouldn’t that bleed down into the operations of the people charged with protecting them. Just another protest.
Read 4 tweets
6 Jan
My guess: Neither of them will concede. I don’t know if refusing to concede will become the Republican norm or just very commonplace, but it’s not just a Trump thing, and Trump isn’t gonna go quietly anyhow.
Would be shocked if he ever did. People with no grace or integrity don’t tend to find it in defeat.
Same goes for Perdue, already blowing the dog whistle. He will lie about fraud instead of conceding.
Read 4 tweets
5 Jan
This thread is sorta fatally undermined by the telling omission of race as a factor in the formation of the conservative movement, but I think it's narrowly right in its implication that movement conservatism has presented itself in a series of disguises.
The problem for the argument is the disguises have served to cover the movement's elemental racism and authoritarianism. To that end, reformoconism, tea partyism, etc have been embraced as tools of deception, whereas Trumpism represents a more undisguised form of the movement.
If there's been an attempt to disguise anything the last four years, it’s been from intellectuals trying on one hand to pretty up Trumpism as a respectable form of nationalism, against others attempting to treat Trumpism as a weird, easily ignored hiccup.
Read 4 tweets
4 Jan
If like me you’ve worried that too many post-election signs point to Dems wiping the slate clean, now’s the time to say that would be unacceptable failure. cc: @jbouie @AdamSerwer @joshtpm @michelleinbklyn @ThePlumLineGS @rickhasen and many others.
Also, we know from @LeaderHoyer that the only thing they’re “looking forward” to in the immediate term is vacation.
When you’ve predetermined to do nothing under any circumstances, you have limited rhetorical tools for explaining yourself to your horrified supporters, and now the old excuses—we don’t want anything we do to backfire in the election, etc—have expired.
Read 4 tweets
2 Jan
If Ossoff wins, I’ll say: highlighting your opponent’s corruption is good. If he loses I’ll say: highlighting your opponent’s corruption is good even if it isn’t politically resonant enough for a Dem candidate to win a runoff election in Georgia that he also did not win on Nov 3.
My take is based less on the view that anti-corruption politics are effective (elections are weird and highly variable) than that corruption is bad and corrupt candidates should be held to account.
I do suspect anti-corruption politics are pretty effective in the scheme of things: corruption costs politicians popularity and elected office a lot; all challengers would rather run against corrupt opponents than squeaky clean ones.
Read 6 tweets
17 Dec 20
Rules and norms (good and bad ones) don’t mean shit if they don’t apply generally. Republicans just spent four years cheerleading unhinged abuse of Democrats and their constituents by the president. They don’t deserve an apology, they deserve to be pilloried for their bad faith.
But once you’ve agreed in principle that Republicans deserve an apology for pretending that their feelings are hurt, they will keep pouring forth nonsense and demanding satisfaction. The cycle of abuse won’t end until you just say, “no way fuckers, fuck you."
Read 8 tweets
17 Dec 20
I take a more cynical view. Many Republicans clearly *thought* they had entered the “sabotage Biden era” and were thus inclined to block all stimulus, but Mitch realized that they’d miscalculated and being in lockstep “no” mode now might cost them their majority.
Put another way: If those GA races had been decided outright one way or another on Nov. 3, and the question of Senate control were already answered, would McConnell have hopped off the sidelines after months of being an impediment to pass a relief bill? I think the answer is no.
So when McConnell says do it for Kelly and David, he’s speaking to his and his members’ own instinct for self-preservation. It’s convincing not because Republicans are evolving ideology, but because he has the better read on what outcome will maximize GOP power.
Read 7 tweets
4 Dec 20
Who here thinks Mitch McConnell wants to help Joe Biden restore 11m jobs and then some?
Worth thinking medium-term about how this is all set up.

1. It‘s already dogma on the right that Trump created a miracle vaccine in a lab, so Republicans will kick up a shitstorm if anyone credits Biden with any aspect of the public-health recovery.
2. McConnell seems willing to pass one more small stimulus, BUT ONLY WHILE TRUMP IS STILL PRESIDENT. Then he’ll turn off spigot.

If it proves inadequate, the entire GOP will blame Biden for another slow Democrat recovery. If the economy rebounds quickly, well, that was Trump.
Read 4 tweets
30 Nov 20
Republican senators and their mediocre factotums like Drew are gonna do what they’re gonna do, but it will be professional failure to pretend to believe them when they pretend to be mad about government officials making “disparaging comments” about members of the other party.
When I’ve said we need new discourse norms to ostracize bad-faith actors, I was thinking ahead to this moment. How journalists cover Republicans pretending to care about deficits, tweets, etc. will go far toward determining whether the sabotage they’re plotting “works” or not.
Read 8 tweets
24 Nov 20
Can’t overstate how huge a failure it’ll be if reporters go right back to pretending to believe these people when they pretend to be mad about nonsense. ImageImageImageImage
It will, again, be an enormous failure if, after Trump, reporters covering nominations and appointments revert to pretending to believe Republicans when they pretend to have principled views about who should be allowed to staff the government. Image
It’ll fall to liberals and genuinely anti-Trump conservatives to police their own, but it’ll be an immense media failure if Republicans who pretend to have principled views about who should be allowed to staff (or lead!) the government aren’t laughed out of the room.
Read 4 tweets
21 Nov 20
A thought experiment: It is, alas, is EXTREMELY PLAUSIBLE that four years from now Trump will have won a rematch against Biden and we’ll be in the exact opposite situation. Imagine Biden tried to apply the new GOP precedent (no ascertainment, lawfare, lies) to that transition.
On one hand, that’d be wrong, and he wouldn’t do it. On the other hand it’s unacceptable for Dems to be bound by stricter norms than the other party. But on the other OTHER hand, Republicans would completely and shamelessly reverse themselves.
They’d use every tool of power available to them to get the transition started if Biden tried. They’ll sabotage a peaceful transition away from them then happily imprison anyone who sabotaged the transition to their own administration.
Read 6 tweets
20 Nov 20
.@SpeakerPelosi we don’t have weeks; subpoena her and make her exposure to criminal contempt of Congress charges by the incoming Justice Department for failing to comply explicit.
In what world is this substantively better or politically wiser than using power and to force Murphy’s hand—or at least trying first?
Read 6 tweets