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November 21, 2022

Monday Short Cuts

Notable quotables from Henry Brooks Adams, David Harsanyi, Josh Hammer, and more.


“I would rather starve and rot and keep the privilege of speaking the truth as I see it, than of holding all the offices that capital has to give from the presidency down.” —Henry Brooks Adams (1838-1918)

For the Record

“If anyone had told conservatives 30 or 20 or even a year ago that the political price for overturning Roe v. Wade would mean taking back only one chamber of Congress in the subsequent midterm, they would never have believed you. So, even if the left’s tenuous claim that Dobbs saved them in 2022 is to be believed, the price for ridding the nation of the legal and moral abomination of Roe would be well worth it. But it is a tenuous contention. … We have no idea what the 2022 midterm environment would have looked like had the Supreme Court let Roe stand. It may well have depressed social conservative turnout. Elections are complicated and regionally unique. But there is little evidence that Dobbs produced a political earthquake or even that it changed very much at all.” —David Harsanyi

“Republican House candidates won 58% of the popular vote in the South and 53% in the Midwest, two regions that together account for 298 of the 538 electoral votes. Duplicating that support is one way an unproblematic Republican nominee could top 270 electoral votes in 2024.” —Michael Barone

Political Futures

“The first priority for House Republicans should be tempering expectations. Their most important achievement has already occurred — namely ensuring that Nancy Pelosi will no longer be speaker with all that that entails for Biden’s agenda. Making the most of their opportunity otherwise will require some realism, subtlety and creativity. … The Hunter Biden investigation obviously needs to focus on the public corruption and the question of the president’s involvement more than Hunter’s lurid personal life. … And impeaching Biden without even a majority in the Senate would be an exercise in futility. Otherwise, the field is wide open for probes that could be substantively important and politically useful, whether on the origins of COVID-19, how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other government entities responded to the pandemic, the Afghan withdrawal, and government pressure on social media companies. … They should pass bills to address inflation, support families, control the border, move toward a more merit-based legal immigration system, push back against the ‘woke’ education bureaucracy, reduce college costs, and point in a more sensible direction on crime. The party should demonstrate that it’s pro-family and pro-law and order, while trying to sell itself to the middle again as serious and competent.” —Rich Lowry

“To an extent, the GOP needs to figure out how to fundraise better and implement a better voter targeting/ballot harvesting operation before any other conversation becomes pertinent. To wit, there is perhaps little point in discussing 2024 unless and until the GOP makes the necessary operational changes to give its presidential candidate a viable chance at winning. But the reason that the topic of 2024 must be broached is that one of the reasons — not the sole reason, but very much a reason — for the GOP’s lackluster 2022 performance has himself already done precisely that. … An analysis from The New York Times’ Nate Cohn, based on underlying data from The Cook Political Report’s primary scoreboard data, concluded that the ‘Trump effect’ at the ballot box this cycle amounted to a five-point penalty compared with other Republicans. Specifically, while Cohn showed that Republicans nationwide ran an average of 5.6% ahead of their 2020 vote margin, what he dubbed so-called ‘MAGA candidates’ ran only 0.7% ahead — thus, a 4.9% differential. … The GOP has many other problems right now, but it is still clear that the latest incarnation of Trump-style politicking, focused as it is on relitigating the 2020 presidential election to an unhealthy extent and fighting petty personal battles, was rejected by the electorate in what should have been a breakthrough ‘red wave’ year.” —Josh Hammer

“Trump’s inner circle appears to be of the belief that other possible 2024 candidates must yield to the former president, and that doing otherwise would be ‘disloyal.’ They maintain this while Trump himself throws schoolyard insults at the extraordinarily popular DeSantis, mocking him repeatedly as ‘Ron DeSanctimonious,’ and veers off on other diatribes against popular Republicans, including a truly bizarre social media post about Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s (entirely normal) surname. All the while, substantive issues usually take a backseat to an intense focus on ‘stop the steal’ and other flavors of ‘doomerism,’ more broadly. Shaming the Republican base into blindly standing by a past president with such a checkered electoral record, no questions asked, is not going to cut it.” —Josh Hammer

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