She’s “No Angel:” Josh Dawsey’s Nice Little Old Lady Suspected of Crimes to Steal an Election

According to this Josh Dawsey piece on the GOP’s vote to censure Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, Ronna Romney McDaniel claims she decided to support this censure effort after a little old lady friend of hers was subpoenaed by the January 6 Committee.

McDaniel said she was particularly upset when an elderly, recently widowed friend of hers was subpoenaed by the Jan. 6 committee after it was reported the friend was an alternate elector at the campaign’s behest. She declined to name the friend.

This nice little old lady is probably Kathy Berden, one of the two people from Michigan who were subpoenaed. Dean Berden passed away last August.

It took me 3 Google searches to find Berden’s name and Dean’s obituary, and unlike me, Dawsey has the support of an entire newsroom. But rather than ask a follow-up question about the most likely person that McDaniel was discussing, Dawsey just accepted McDaniel’s refusal to name the person and published the GOP Chair’s spin with absolutely no pushback.

That let Dawsey off easy.

Rather than explain that, if it is Berden, she is someone whom Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has said obviously broke Michigan law.

There’s no question a troop of faux GOP electors violated the law when they signed on to phony documents and tried to barge into the Michigan State Capitol in an effort to fraudulently award the state’s electoral votes to former President Donald Trump, says Attorney General Dana Nessel.

But, given the scope of what Michigan’s top law enforcement official called a “conspiracy,” Nessel says the criminal prosecution of at least the 16 sham Republican delegates is better suited for federal authorities.

“Seemingly there’s a conspiracy that occurred between multiple states. So if what your ultimate goal is, is not just to prosecute these 16 individuals, but to find out who put them up to this, is this part of a bigger conspiracy at play in order to undermine the legitimate results of the 2020 presidential election, not just in Michigan but nationally? … It creates jurisdictional issues,” Nessel said Tuesday during a virtual news conference.

“I feel confident we have enough evidence to charge if we decide to pursue that. Again, I want to make it clear, I haven’t ruled it out. But for all the reasons I stated, I think that it’s a better idea for the feds to pursue this.”

More importantly, Nessel described this as a “multi-state conspiracy,” something criminally implicating those beyond just the fake electors. Given McDaniel’s position in both Michigan and national politics, McDaniel likely at least knows key details of any such conspiracy, if she wasn’t an active part of it herself.

And it’s not just Michigan. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco has confirmed that federal prosecutors are also investigating suspected crimes associated with the fake certificates.

So Dawsey let McDaniel’s claim that she was taking action to censure (and possibly fund the opponent of) Liz Cheney because of some nice little old lady, without mentioning that that nice little old lady is by definition someone being criminally investigated by the FBI for her role in an effort to steal the election. Dawsey also didn’t mention that that nice little old lady might also have information that would implicate McDaniel personally in that crime.

This is in a larger article that frames this all as some horserace politics — even if “unprecedented” — and not a fight about the aftermath of an attack on the peaceful transfer of power.

Dawsey published text from the resolution against Cheney and Kinzinger, describing them as “two members engage[d] in a Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens who engaged in legitimate political discourse,” in paragraph five.

He doesn’t get into the substance of what Republicans are defending with this vote until paragraph nine, which quotes Cheney.

“The leaders of the Republican Party have made themselves willing hostages to a man who admits he tried to overturn a presidential election and suggests he would pardon Jan. 6 defendants, some of whom have been charged with seditious conspiracy. I’m a constitutional conservative and I do not recognize those in my party who have abandoned the Constitution to embrace Donald Trump. History will be their judge. I will never stop fighting for our constitutional republic. No matter what,” Cheney said.

Dawsey never considers what it means that the Chair of the Republican Party says that Democrats may keep the House if a full investigation of these alleged crimes occurs, or even what it means that McDaniel intervened to turn David Bossie’s motion to expel Cheney and Kinzinger from the caucus entirely into one calling for censure, a pretty important point if, like Dawsey, you’re pretending this is just boring old horse race politics.

The RNC will vote today to say that if the Select Committee investigation into January 6, including into Kathy Berden and those suspected of conspiring with her, is allowed to continue, the Democrats may to keep the House, a fairly stunning concession that hints at the depths of the conspiracy.

But instead of telling that story, horse race journalist and WaPo’s full-time Mar-a-Lago stenographer wants to tell the story about nice little old ladies.

Update: Via JR, it turns out Berden has some curious ties with McDaniel.

McDaniel was reelected as chair of the RNC in January 2019, with Trump’s endorsement. Two days earlier, her PAC paid $5,000 to Kathleen Berden, a voting member of the RNC, a volunteer position. Reed said the PAC paid Berden because she “whipped votes” for McDaniel’s reelection. He would not address why McDaniel needed Berden’s services or whether it was appropriate for McDaniel to pay a volunteer RNC voting member to influence fellow voters.

When reached for comment, Berden declined to elaborate on her work for McDaniel.

h/t unhuh who first focused on this paragraph

148 replies
  1. Yogarhythms says:

    “But instead of telling that story, horse race journalist and WaPo’s full-time Mar-a-Lago stenographer wants to tell the story about nice little old ladies.”
    Except for the absence of pearls this panting intrigue reads like MHabbs. Nihilistically devoid of depth background or corroborative evidence. Thank JD for 1st year journo major’s lesson on how not to cover a national party meeting.

    • BobCon says:

      What’s especially dumb about Dawsey’s coverage is that he gets nothing of serious value. The juicy scoops on the GOP are coming from people who dig for the hard stuff, not people like him who give away all their leverage for a 30 minute head start on other outlets for the scraps.

      This stuff doesn’t even make sense as clickbait. This doesn’t even read like a story about a horse trying to outrace a wolf that a hack turned into a race between horses.

      It reads like a hack turned a story about a horse trying to outrun a wolf into a story about a race between elderly sheep.

      The only one who gets anything out of this is the wolf who is written out of the story.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        And among the biggest problems with such stories: they give even sophisticated readers the sense that there’s nothing (serious) to see here.

        Thanks as ever, Dr. Wheeler. I have followed the Michigan saga throughout because my only permanent residence lies at the tip of the pinky finger, and I have half a century’s familiarity with the many and varied strata of folks who live in the state. I saw no nice little old ladies among those attempting to aid Trump’s steal, and I would love to see Berden’s connections to higher-ups laid out in full.

  2. Peterr says:

    So Dawsey let McDaniel’s claim that she was taking action to censure (and possibly fund the opponent of) Liz Cheney because of some nice little old lady, without mentioning that that nice little old lady is by definition someone being criminally investigated by the FBI for her role in an effort to steal the election. Dawsey also didn’t mention that that nice little old lady might also have information that would implicate McDaniel personally in that crime.

    It’s always the nice little old ladies you didn’t expect.


    • Al Ostello says:

      17 “Little Old Ladies” Who Committed Murders:

      ° Leonarda Cianciulli Turned Her Victims Into Soaps and Tea Cakes
      ° Tamara “Granny Ripper” Samsonova Ate and Dismembered Her Victims
      ° Faye Copeland Made A Quilt Out of Her Victims’ Clothes
      ° Nilda Sheffield Killed Her Daughter and Grandchildren to Save Them From ‘Hell’
      ° Hazel Dulcie Bodsworth Baked Cakes for Cops, Then Killed Her Husband…and more:

      • Spencer Dawkins says:

        THANK YOU!!! I was doing my best not to wonder how the husband of this “elderly recent friend” died, and then you said the quiet part out loud for me. So. Much. Yes.

        I’ve seen “Arsenic and Old Lace” about half a dozen times in theaters, and never miss the movie when it’s on (usually before Halloween), but sometimes art does imitate life …

      • Lady4Real says:

        I had two grandmothers (most people do). One was a nice old lady who had 4 sons and died in her early 90s.

        The other, was very active in her church, community, received the keys to the city at her homegoing service. All around good citizen. Died in her early 90s. Was a monster of a narcissist and very triumpian but was a black lady. I never took any of her advice and survived her upbringing. My mother, who was given every advantage in her day and was what I reflect back on as a rich kid who was given too much, died at 37. She was never allowed to make her own mistakes.

        Old ladies might just be the end of our constitutional republic if we allow people like the one in the instant case to get off easy with crimes, claiming she was just a nice old lady. I was raised by one. They don’t love democracy.

        • Rayne says:

          Honey, I mean this in the nicest way, but this old lady doesn’t particularly appreciate the excessively broad brush you’re using about “old ladies” being “the end of our constitutional republic.” Don’t think you’d say that about Ruth Bader Ginsburg or a host of other old ladies who’ve fought for democracy and civil rights essential to democracy.

          Let’s dial it back. Kathy Berden is a very specific kind of person — a white lady fascist — and her particular ilk are problematic.

  3. russell penner says:

    2022 may turn out the most entertaining year of my life! First I get to watch the Bengals shut down the Chiefs, now the RNC in an ugly divorce with one of their most reliably conservative representatives! Hopefully followed in October by TFG crapping himself in the witness chair and the St Louis Cardinals winning the National League pennant…

  4. harpie says:

    The J6 Committee subpoenaed EACH Chairperson and Secretary
    from EACH slate of “alternate electors”.
    BERDEN is listed as Chairperson from Michigan.

    In 2019
    Republicans sue to block Michigan redistricting commission
    Published 9:22 a.m. ET July 30, 2019

    Republicans are suing to stop Michigan’s new citizen redistricting commission before it begins, alleging the voter-approved amendment is “blatantly unconstitutional” and discriminates against participants based on political service or family ties. […]

    Other plaintiffs include GOP state Sen. Tom Barrett of Charlotte, Republican National Committeewoman Kathy Berden, Republican Women’s Federation of Michigan President Linda Lee Tarver and her husband Clint Tarver, a GOP precinct delegate who operates a hot dog cart in Lansing. […]

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      When Michigan GOP dark arts come to light, I always seek out the DeVos connection. From September 2016, a (very creepy) temporal fulcrum in a pivoting state:

      That article gives me chills–like seeing the moment Chernobyl started to blow. It’s worth remembering that Berden’s position was previously held by Betsy DeVos. harpie, I see from your comments on a now-closed post that you are, like me, chasing down the funding sources of the far-right movement. The book that has proved most rewarding for me is Shadow Network by Anne Nelson. I really can’t recommend it highly (or often) enough. Everything you’ve noted from Bossie to CAP to the Federalist Soc and much more–Nelson is a marvelous writer, clear but never simplistic, vivid without ever bogging the reader down. Randall Balmer and Katherine Stewart are also essential, but Nelson is my touchstone.

      I’ve gotten so much from your research, harpie! Just hoping to reciprocate in some small way if I can.

      • harpie says:

        That’s very kind, Ginevra. Thank You!
        [Though “research” sounds maybe…just a tad…more organized than I often feel…lol.]

        I will check out Shadow Network.

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          harpie, please don’t get the wrong idea! If my research were remotely “organized,” my cats would be able to navigate our surface areas without sending books and notes–written on backs of envelopes, etc.–onto the floor.

          And I might take less than a decade between books ;)

    • Leoghann says:

      Great catch, harpie! Basically, you’re saying that, more than a little old lady, she’s a little old chairlady. If people haven’t realized what a serial liar Ronna McDaniel is over the past four years, they had their heads inserted.

  5. dadidoc1 says:

    I wonder if the censure vote by Ronna “Corona” McDaniel will get her an invitation to testify before the January 6th Committee. It’s funny how these things play out. Liz Cheney is her father’s daughter. I’d be very careful about poking her in the eye.

  6. Njrun says:

    Poor little old lady baking cookies and crying over her dearly departed minding her own business and suddenly big bad Democrat Congress people swoop down with their big gubment and want to throw her in jail. The horror.

    GOP is OK with political violence, antisemitism, sexual assault, inequality, the burning of the planet, insurrection, etc. But they have to take a stand against docovering the truth.

  7. Don Bortle Jr. says:

    A woman stands alone for 11 hours in front a select house committee answering every question posed by members of the ultra right wing conspiracy . . . For the love of god, I hope that the Jan-6 select committee is video taping the ‘men’ who are presently appearing and taking the fifth and claiming executive privilege so we can see the contrast between a woman heroically facing a tRumped up Benghazi conspiracy and ‘men’ who have conspired, and are still conspiring with tRump, to take down the legitimate government of the United States of America. Love this site and You Go Girls!!!!!

    • Marinela says:

      Had to look it up…

      Kathy Berden is 68 (in 2022), when she testifies.
      Hillary was 67 when she testified in Benghazi scam investigation.

      BTW, Kathy Berden was 66 when she committed the electoral crime.
      The thing is, if she is too old to understand what is going on, she should not take part in the electoral process.
      Unless republicans like old ladies they can manipulate.

    • Jimmy Anderson says:

      Well – Kathy Berden looks as much of a “nice little old lady” as say, Nancy Pelosi or Judge Judy does.
      I wouldn’t fancy my chances against any of them in a head to head arm wrestle.

      • Leoghann says:

        There’s a link somewhere in this thread to a picture of Berden. Based on your comment, you couldn’t have possibly seen it. She looks like something that has definite plans to eat your soul, while your body is still alive.

  8. L. Eslinger says:

    Josh Dawsey once produced “content” for Politico and the Wall Street Journal.

    Politico may be considered a centrist publication, but, in my opinion, centrists don’t seek truth: they just want to be invited to all the parties.

    These days, with right wing craziness following an exponential curve, centrism results in a hard skew to the right.

    There is no fine line between truth and falsity, and it’s cowardice for journalists and so-called news publications to claim that there is in an effort to maintain, if not enlarge, their potential revenue streams.

    • eyesoars says:

      “Politico may be considered a centrist publication, but, in my opinion, centrists don’t seek truth: they just want to be invited to all the parties.”

      Now there is a truth. My first drinking experience included the WaPo writers group and a dead-dog party for Jimmy Carter, in 1975.

  9. Al Ostello says:

    “Watergate is a 7-Eleven Robbery Compared to This Thing.” – Frank Figliuzzi (former assistant director for counterintelligence at the FBI)

    • Peterr says:

      Ron Ziegler was right: the Watergate break in *was* a third rate burglary. The Watergate coverup, OTOH, was top notch.

      To which today’s GOP says “Hold my beer.”

      • BobCon says:

        One of the unfortunate lessons of Watergate, which Trump sems to have learned, is that the press vastly prefers well defined small crimes to sprawling big ones.

        The Watergate burglary and even the coverup unfortunately masked the underlying issue, which is that Nixon had a whole program of illegal dirty tricks, including Roger Stone but also Kissinger, who should have gone to prison for his role in the burglary of Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office.

        But the press hates focusing newsrooms and coordinating coverage, and they find it vastly easier to nitpick the small stuff with limited resources than do justice to rampant criminality. This is part of what is going on with the Post and Dawsey.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Ever since Watergate and its “excess of democracy,” the press avoids holding power to account. It makes it so uncomfortable for the owners when they visit their retreats in Davos and Aspen.

  10. Tom Maguire says:

    Three Google searches? What is this, a Wordle/ Google crossover game?

    My first search (michigan subpoenaed alternate elector) offered up article naming Kathy Berden and Maya Rodriguez. After that, I rabbit-holed, so maybe five or six searches in all. Using “kathy berden obituary michigan” eventually came up aces.

    That why you’re the best and we’re the rest.

    • emptywheel says:

      I didn’t count getting the two names from Jan6.

      But did one search on Berden. Found spouse name. Searched on obituary. Did one more search to confirm spouse name.

        • J R in WV says:

          My first and only Google search for Kathy Berden yielded 36K hits, and the third on was the text of the subpoena from the House Jan 6th committee for poor Ms Berden to appear and testify before the committee, or a lawyer representing the committee, or someone like that.

          “Pursuant to the authorities set forth in House Resolution 503 and the rules of the House of Representatives, the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol (“Select Committee”) hereby transmits a subpoena that compels you to produce the documents set forth in the accompanying schedule by February 11, 2022, at 10 a.m., and to appear for a deposition on February 22, 2022, at 10 a.m.” a quote from the subpoena.

          Then I clicked on the “images” option and got a page full of thumbnails of the person. My favorite is here:

  11. Rugger9 says:

    Typical courtier press coverage, and until it is made clear to them that this is not a profitable way of doing business (boycotts, etc.) they will continue because their editorial level is mostly conservative in temperament.

    • BobCon says:

      It’s not about profits. If it was, they’d frame it in the way that gets much more attention that was also more truthful.

      The pattern all through the Trump years has been slacking off opportunities for more interesting, more engaging, and more exciting coverage that would make audiences bigger and revenues grow.

      Dawsey dulling down this story is just one example. They have a 1978 Xerox or Kodak mindset, which is about being locked into a comfort zone, and they are ignoring all of the analysts pointing out how their stodginess is actively hurting revenue.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        There’s also maintaining access to sources who allowed you to become a “bestselling author.” Those who write/sell topical books need to keep turning them out.

        • BobCon says:

          Except Dawsey hasn’t written any books and I doubt he’s likely to pen any best sellers. And that’s even less likely as an explanation for his editors. At this point in his career he could probably double his salary by switching to a PR firm, but I don’t think that’s likely any time soon.

          I think the best model is something like the classic studies of regulatory capture of agency officials who never cashed out for private sector jobs. Instead they simply became too immersed in the perspective of the people they were supposed to regulate, and shifted to become advocates for their intended targets instead of the general public.

          Smart subjects of the press schmooze and flatter, and they dole out tiny rewards of minor information. And like good dog trainers, they gradually withold more and more rewards until their trainees are doing tricks for no reward whatsoever.

  12. Alan Charbonneau says:

    “The RNC will vote today to say that if the Select Committee investigation into January 6, including into Kathy Berden and those suspected of conspiring with her, is allowed to continue, the Democrats may to keep the House, a fairly stunning concession that hints at the depths of the conspiracy.“

    Sometimes I’ll read a statement like that and think it’s a stretch. But I read the resolution and, if anything, it’s an understatement. 90% of it is simply saying “we’ll lose if the Jan 6 committee investigates”. Stuff about “innocent people having their lives ruined by a hyper-partisan group of fanatics out to score political points even if they have to destroy lives” tends to get saved for interviews. Marcy is right — how any journalist can look at the resolution and not focus on the fear of the investigation by the GOP is beyond me.

        • matt fischer says:

          I hesitated to include the tag, as it was an afterthought. Ultimately deemed it appropriate given recent sarchasms.

        • Eureka says:

          Yes, I’ve made similar amendments in that window to try to avert misunderstanding (including @12:06a; it was a compliment to your pith). Internetting can be hard.

    • TooLoose LeTruck says:

      “innocent people having their lives ruined by a hyper-partisan group of fanatics out to score political points even if they have to destroy lives”

      Thats, right there, is a pretty succinct description of the current GQP on its own…

      Didn’t I read something recently about a f***ing butterfly center in Texas closing down due to rightwing harassment and threats?


      Projection… how does that work?

      • MB says:

        I did the same double-take when I saw that as well. Yes, butterflies. Seems that the butterfly reserve is physically located on the border where Trump wanted to build a section of his non-wall. When they complained about environmental damage on their property due to trees being cut down to make room for the wall, they got themselves on some nutjob enemies list, apparently…

        • Leoghann says:

          Then that nutjob, Q-head minor politician from Virginia decided she’d just take the staff out with her car, trying to hit them (succeeding once) while screaming about sex trafficking. People who run a rest stop for migrating butterflies should never have to put up with crap like that. Ever.

  13. Spencer Dawkins says:

    I’m most intrigued by this paragraph:

    “More importantly, Nessel described this as a “multi-state conspiracy,” something criminally implicating those beyond just the fake electors. Given McDaniel’s position in both Michigan and national politics, McDaniel likely at least knows key details of any such conspiracy, if she wasn’t an active part of it herself.”

    Given McDaniel’s position in national politics, I have to assume that she must have noticed that there were reports of “alternate slates of electors” from multiple states, and even if she was *completely unaware* of the conspiracy at the time, she must have asked someone somewhere what the heck was going on. Electors don’t just go into business for themselves and start corresponding with the National Archives.

    • Honeybee says:

      Another subpoenaed woman, former state GOP chair in New Mexico, submitted fake Electoral College certificates at the behest of a white man – the state GOP party chair. Also subpoenaed was a black Republican businessman. Can’t help but think some of these “alternate elector” choices were made to create a fake image of diversity in a party otherwise pretty white male dominated.

  14. skua says:

    While a federal conspiracy case has advantages, any convictions could be pardoned by a Trump or Trump-like future POTUS.
    There may be great value for the future of the whole nation in those individual states who are not GOP-led ensuring that investigating any pro-Trump crimes at the state level is not unduly obstructed.

    • Peterr says:

      If you are afraid of a future president doing this, Trump-like Govs or future Govs could do exactly the same thing with state convictions.

      I’m getting tired of the “But they’ll just get pardons” wailing and gnashing of teeth. Investigate them, charge them, try them, convict them, and sentence them. If after all that the Dems can’t win an election and these folks get pardons, that sucks.

      As long as the pardon power exists in state and the US constitutions, that power can be abused. The GOP has done it before (See Bill Barr and Iran-Contra), and I do not doubt they’d do it again. But we can’t let the potential for future pardons get in the way of doing what needs to be done right now. Lay their crimes before the world, convict them, and dare the GOP to overturn it in the most authoritarian manner possible.

  15. skua says:

    (Continued from me above:) And if DoJ uncovers but does not charge actions that constitute state crimes that the states indict those involved.

  16. rosalind says:

    and now my brain is playing “The Little Old Lady Who Got A Subpoena” (to the tune of Jan & Dean’s “The Little Old Lady From Pasdena”) over and over…

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      That song makes Pasadena sound like a comfy little village with a penchant for roses. In reality, it’s the home of Cal Tech, it was a haven for white flight, and it was long marketed as a safe place in the sun for white millionaires from back east. (Developers have since created a hundred alternatives to it.)

      Marcy’s post reminds me of Hansel and Gretl meeting that nice old lady in the woods, and of a bon mot from Agatha Christie. She was once asked how she could think up such diabolical plots when she had lived in an English village her whole life. She said it was because she had lived in an English village her whole life.

      • P J Evans says:

        And they haven’t been able to drag-race on Colorado for at least 45 years – there are stop lights every block or so. Plus traffic….

        • bmaz says:

          Yeah, good call. Cause I think the old one has been around pretty much as long as this blog. And Earl, the second we know that is really you, your last short comment (which “does” sound like you!) will get freed up by one of us.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Oui, madame.

          [Grazie. It may take a bit for the system to recognize you but we’ll know to give it a nudge. /~Rayne]

      • Retired guy says:

        Re: the deep intrigue in small English villages, of which I know little.

        I recently started watching the UK police procedural tv series “Midsomer Murders” on my local PBS station. It comes on here on an evening when my spouse has a regular zoom meeting with her old friends.

        In this universe, a murder happens in a sleepy village in the Midsomer region followed by some more murders, often with bizarre themed deaths, involving local institutions or minor local celebrities. The murderer is brought to justice as decades of earlier crimes, often also murders, are unraveled. Wonderful older actors get to play over-the-top characters that had a role in the earlier crime. Cast diversity is always there but never a plot feature. Mixture of high tech “I found some fibres” and instant access to phone and bank records, with old fashioned gumshoe detecting, leading to the reveal, with the surviving suspects somehow all present. Next week, a different sleepy village with another murder, eccentric backdrop, and decades of more dark secrets.

        I offer counsel to Dr. Wheeler: if you volunteer for the traditional local fete, and there is a squabble between the old people who have run the event for decades, and outsiders or the next generation who have new ideas, please flee, as themed murders are imminent, in this hellscape.

    • Jenny says:

      Excellent Rosalind. That song came to mind too. LOL!!! The “subpoena”
      is perfect.

      “And everybody’s sayin’ that there’s nobody meaner than the little old lady who got a subpoena.”

  17. Badger Robert says:

    I was hoping Ms. Wheeler would get around to a politics post. Well done.
    But the Senate is working on a bipartisan sanctions bill, while Trump fleeces his marks in the back country. Trump cannot do anything anti-Russian, so there is the first cleavage in Republican ranks. That is probably McConnell’s doing.
    Second, Mitt Romney has gone along with a lot of stuff, but this censure seems to be his limit. The Senators know politics is about addition, not subtraction.
    I speculate Ms. Wheeler will detect other signs of R panic. Because jobs are up, paychecks are up. And Covid is down, first in CA and NY, but throughout most of the nation.

        • Spencer Dawkins says:

          I keep wondering, “how long until Romney is a 50th vote for a bill that matters, so Harris can break the tie?” Hasn’t happened yet.

          Is “Susan Collinsing” a verb? “The act of saying one thing, giving progressives hope, and casting votes for another, after sounding reasonable in public for voters in the next election”?

          Other commenters are sharing their impatience with “but they’ll just get pardoned”, which I agree with, but I’m also quite impatient with Romney “Susan Collinsing” me. He insists that he has a conscience every three months or so, but that never translates into taking action, even against suspected criminal acts. Is he just keeping quiet so his niece can stay employed at the RNC?

          Business Insider estimated Romney’s net worth at $85,269,083 in 2021, but I also remember reading during the 2012 presidential election that he set up a $100M trust fund for his kids, so I guess if he gets primaried out of the Senate, he could always move in with them?

        • bmaz says:

          The “oh they will just get pardoned” concern trolling is nuts. Investigations, prosecutions and convictions matter. The process, as opposed to rank defeatism, matters.

  18. ratlemullet says:

    The corporatization of the American news media, print, audio and visual will doom the republic. The consolidation to a handful of owners coupled with the twenty-four hour news cycle using tragedy as entertainment is now saddled with I am only presenting opinions and both sides do it, they say. In fact they are presenting opinions as facts. True journalist I think are held to some ethical standard of honesty, and integrity, albeit loosely held by some. Perhaps disclaimers should preceded any media information whether it is being presented as fact or opinion and by a journalist or an entertainer. Some seem to sacrifice their souls for privileged access.

  19. punaise says:

    I’m sure John Prine wouldn’t have objected:

    Make me an angel
    That flies from Discovery
    Make me a poster
    Of a clown car rodeo
    Just give me one thing
    That I can hold on to
    To believe all this lyin’
    Is just a hard way to go

  20. J Hofferman says:

    The JP references inspire😎
    The steady drip of highlighted old news, along with the occasional splash of new news, is filling in the hub, and backbone spokes, nicely. What are the chances for DOJ to call it a Racket? Putting all the pieces together in a pleading is rather daunting. Start with a chart…?

  21. WilliamOckham says:

    You know who the RNC hasn’t censured? Matt Gaetz. If the RNC truly believes that they “require that all Republicans pull in the same direction”, what direction is that, exactly…?

  22. harpie says:

    Here’s Jamie RASKIN calling RONNA’s “elderly, recently widowed friend” a ring-leader:

    REID: The Committee has subpoenaed 14 of them, but there are many more, like 80 of them. Why just these fourteen?
    RASKIN: These people were the ring-leaders, if you will. They sort of organized the slates in some of the pivotal states. […]
    3:01 PM · Feb 4, 2022

    “These people are representing themselves as electors in order to essentially overturn the whole popular vote total in the particular state… [Donald Trump] would seize the presidency under that plan and that was part of that sequence of fraud against the republic.” -@RepRaskin [VIDEO]

  23. Jharp says:

    “Dawsey also didn’t mention that that nice little old lady might also have information that would implicate McDaniel personally in that crime.”

    This is exactly what is going on.

    My guess is no less than 100 republicans know goddamned well if Trump goes down they too are going down.

  24. Hoping4Better_Times says:

    Kathy Berden has been subpoenaed by the Jan 6 committee. Will she co-operate or resist? Either way, she needs an attorney, especially if the FBI comes calling. Who will pay her legal fees? If the Jan 6 Committee were to grant her immunity from (federal) prosecution, the Committee may get the full story of how the alternate slate of Electors came to be in Michigan. That still leaves her vulnerable under Michigan state law for any election law violations. Both the Michigan AG (Nessel) and Governor (Whitmer) are democrats. In Michigan, it is the Governor who grants pardons.

    • P J Evans says:

      I doubt the 1/6 committee is going to use immunity unless they absolutely need to. It’s a tool with limited usefulness.

      • bmaz says:

        Yeah. And I don’t know how useful it really is either. I would be seriously hesitant to let my client go blab about his criming wave when the immunity cannot, and does not, prevent prosecution. They give you immunity. Appeal it to court, string it out…rinse, lather and repeat.

  25. skua says:

    Here is a link with an extra space after the colon to her earliest home page from
    https: //

    Looks like just another rural, party-active Republican. Maybe someday soon court documents will show if she was prosperity-gospelled, a Tea Party-er, an Obama Birther, a Fox News delusionist and a Trumper by 2015.
    She does describe herself in 2015 as Pro-life & Grassroots conservative.

  26. Troutwaxer says:

    Off topic, but today Pence said, in a speech to the Federalist Society, “President Trump is wrong. I had no right to overturn the election. The presidency belongs to the American people, and the American people alone. And frankly, there is no idea more un-American than the notion that any one person could choose the American president.”

    Apparently his staff has been working with the January 6th committee. I wonder what they’ve learned and why he’s saying this to a group of Republican heavy hitters. Any thoughts?

    • John Paul Jones says:

      I know this is going to sound crashingly obvious, but he’s likely trying to position himself for a 2024 run. Think about it: he can grab some of the Trumpistas because of his association with TFG, and for sure he can bleed off some of Trump’s evangelical support, and he can claim that he was “loyal” and maybe pick up some of Trump’s suburban supporters. He will never get the hard-core Trump loyalists, but how large is that segment anyway? To me it seems like he’s putting up a flag and hoping that, over time, support will grow, that he will seem like the “rational alternative.” Plus, if the mid-terms go even slightly blue, that will push his support up too. All speculative, of course.

      • matt fischer says:

        Seriously, there isn’t a snowball’s chance in high hell that Pence could outcompete Trump in 2024. It Pence thinks this at all possible, I retract my aforementioned provisory kudos forthwith.

      • Troutwaxer says:

        Agreed, but I’m wondering about the non-obvious part. Pence didn’t get up in front of a society of right-wing lawyers and say this on a whim. Mainly, I’m just wondering what he knows and what he’d like the party to do about it.

        • A Better Mitch says:

          That really resonates with me. On and off today, I’ve been wondering why Pence chooses this moment to try to retrieve his balls from Trump’s trophy room. “If it’s what you say it is, I love it.” It takes all of my imagination to envision Mikey doing the right thing again, even for the wrong reasons, but I guess with Mother’s approval, anything is possible.

        • Rita says:

          Pence may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer but he has good advisors, who have just testified to the Jan. 6th Committee. They haven’t said much, if anything, publicly about their experience. But others have talked about how much the Committee already knows. It may just be that Pence knows the Trump edifice is about to crumble and he wants to get ahead of the collapse.

      • Leoghann says:

        Up until a month ago, I agreed 100% with matt fischer–Pence’s political career is over, except maybe in Indiana. Then I found out that his staff has been testifying (although an article Thursday indicated there was a line they wouldn’t cross). Then we get this statement from him. He appears to be making a play. I’d still say he doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell, but I laughed when Trump announced his candidacy. The Bizarro World is definitely upon us, especially when it comes to the Republican Party.

        • tmooretxk says:

          Pence may be unlikely, but so are all other possibilities at this point. Keeping his name alive is all he can do – and if Trump goes down, or dies, or decides to seek asylum in Russia, no telling what may come. My question is, where’s the money for this slim chance effort coming from?

      • Stephen Calhoun says:

        How large is the group of trumpist loyalists?

        I suggest right now a good discriminator is the question, ‘Do you understand President Biden to have been elected by fraudulent votes, and illegal ballot stuffing?’

        This is also the litmus test today (!) for party loyalty, plus it is the proposition underlying 1/6 being understood to be ‘legitimate political discourse.’

        What will polling suggest when it takes into account the week’s recent developments?

    • Savage Librarian says:

      I think there are a few strategies to Pence’s speech in Florida. He is in a position of momentum to upset the apple cart for both Trump and DeSantis. And Betsy DeVos and Mike Pence are 2 peas in a pod.

      The Amway Center is in Orlando. And a block away, opening in the spring is the AdventHealth Training Center, a sports medicine facility open to the public.

      Keep in mind that it was Pence who broke the tie in the Senate to get Betsy her Dept. of Education position. Both of them are on the same page about privatizing education.

      Then there are the polls that they have access to…like this one:

      “Betsy DeVos Gives Veiled Trump Criticism, Says GOP Movement Not Dependent on ‘Any One Person’ “ – Andrew Stanton, 9/25/21
      “Her remarks come as a new poll indicates that Trump’s once ironclad grip on the Republican Party may be slipping.”

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        Yes, SL, the Christianist money seems to be looking for a new God-chosen human vessel. Imperfect, of course, but not *that* imperfect.

  27. Badger Robert says:

    Dawsey wrote a fluffer piece for McDaniel and the Post published. McDaniel must have thought, this will be easy!
    Then we get “legitimate political discourse”.
    But some events are bigger than that.
    The assassination of Abe Lincoln, the attack on Pearl Harbor, the assassination of JFK, the 9/11 terrorist attack, and then 01/06.
    She and her committee have chosen to defend the attempted coup, and I think there is no way out of it now.
    She just created a one issue Congressional election.

    • Rita says:

      The Washington Post desperately wants to hold on to the fiction that the Republican Party is still the traditional Republican Party. To think otherwise means that it would have to rethink how to cover political issues. I fault the editors as much as the reporters.

      In fairness to the Washington Post and the New York Times, it is a very difficult period to cover. There are major foreign and domestic issues that need coverage. One of the two major parties has turned into a freak show, unable and unwilling to address the issues. And what seemed initially to be just a story about a Trump mob that got out of hand is turning out to be a story of a sustained and multi-faceted effort to subvert the government to keep Trump in power, with the acquiescence, if not cooperation, of many movers and shakers in the Republican Party.

      • skua says:

        ” … what seemed initially to be just a story about a Trump mob that got out of hand … ”
        That take would depend on ignoring the specific build up to Jan6 and ignoring the context created by the Big Lie and ignoring the glaring departures from normal LE preparedness and response that occured on Jan6.

        All that ignoring indicates deep commitment to protecting an erroneous and dangerous two-equatable-sides meta-narrative.

  28. Ewan says:

    Here is what I would love to read, but am completely unable to write : a digested version of older posts.

    EW is already a beautifully decanted version of the daily news, but many posts are nevertheless discussing upcoming events. A relative of mine has been reading the daily press with at least one month delay for decades : glancing at the headlines, putting the paper away and then reading it after some months. By then, making conjectures about what tomorrow will be like becomes not so relevant, so attention focuses on perceptive analysis.

    There are so many questions that were discussed during the past few years, An occasional “where things stands” post : detailing what was thought to be of interest some time ago, and whether it developed into something else /ended in a natural way / turned out to be not significant/ is still ongoing. Clearly something I am not able to do, but considering the remarkable quality of this blog readership, it is probably in some of the posters abilities.

    I thought of this by discussing with an anti-vax at my work: he had posted something false on our workplace coffee-room discord channel : “there has been more secondary effects reported for covid vaccines that for all other drugs over the past 50 years, and you can check on the WHO online database, I don’t understand why you all refuse to see the evidence”. So I went, looked, and discussed what could be read there. Naturally, the goalpost moved, and something else was claimed etc – I am sure many of you have experienced this. One part of it is due to speculative claims (and outright disinformation) never contradicted. One other part is confirmation bias : one always wants to read things confirming one’s views. Both combined mean that it is more satisfying to leave speculations unanswered after an answer is known (Hello, Tucker Carlson).

    I think EW is measured and researched (the posts and many of the comments), but still it would be great if, without falling into teleology, there were some “past blog posts in review” .

  29. Zinsky says:

    The phrase “Legitimate Political Discourse?” should be emblazoned in red on pictures of the Capitol cops getting beaten with a hockey stick, dragged and shoved down concrete steps and squirted in the face with bear spray and those pictures should be in every advertisement the Democrats run for the next four years.

  30. SteveL says:

    Great stuff

    When you say “that let Dawsey off easy” Marcy, in P 5, I think you mean McDaniel, not Dawsey

Comments are closed.