Matt Gaetz gives his take on the Second Amendment in a dangerous call to take up arms. Cenk Uygur, Jayar Jackson, and Mike from PA discuss on The Young Turks. Support TYT by becoming a member: http://tyt.com/join
Watch the Florida congressman in action at a recent rally:
The founders had a word for a bunch of farmers marching with guns without government sanction: a mob. One of the reasons we have a Constitution is the founders were worried about the danger posed by individuals acting like a militia without legal authority. This was precisely what happened during Shays’ Rebellion, an insurrection in western Massachusetts that persuaded many Americans that we needed a stronger central government to avert anarchy.
Many people think that we have the Second Amendment so that we can take up arms against the government if it overreaches its authority. If that interpretation were correct, it would mean that the Second Amendment had repealed the Constitution’s treason clause, which defines this crime as taking up arms against the government. In reality, in the first decade after the Constitution, the government put down several rebellions similar to Shays – and nobody claimed that they were merely asserting their Second Amendment rights.
Read Cornell’s entire piece at The New York Daily News.
American historian Joanne Freeman also chimes in:
But at the task of epitomizing the Trumpified Republican Party, he has excelled.
Bret: My intuition tells me that the name Matt Gaetz is going to make an appearance in a future Gail Collins column. Want to preview your thoughts?
Gail: Well, I did once write a book on sex scandals. I know that’s not exactly the kind of literary career you brag about, but it definitely had more interesting anecdotes than the one I did on William Henry Harrison.
Bret: I gather from this that Tippecanoe Had No Sex Scandal, Too. Go on.
Gail: My first thought is that there are political sex scandals you’re sad about because you feel sorta sorry for the person who got caught.
Bret: That was my feeling about Mark Sanford.
Gail: And some you don’t like because you don’t like seeing his or her causes hurt.
Bret: John Edwards.
Gail: Matt Gaetz falls in neither of those categories. This is the guy, you may remember, who argued that the prime cause of deadly violence in America was not guns but immigrants.
Bret: We should probably stipulate that the Florida congressman denies the charges of having sex with a minor and claims his family is being extorted. We should also stipulate that, along with Marjorie Taylor Greene, he is the most despicable member of Congress, which is — saying something. If readers want to provide their own Top Ten lists of Congressional Despicables, they can chime in.
Gail: I like your rating system.
Bret: Gaetz is the guy who invited a Holocaust denier to attend a State of the Union. He suggested we hunt down antifa like Middle Eastern terrorists. He also claimed antifa was behind the Jan. 6 insurrection. He and some other Republicans stormed a secure room at the Capitol during the impeachment inquiry. In short, he’s the perfect representative for the Trumpified G.O.P.
But on to a more arguable matter. I gather you are loving the latest infrastructure-building, tax-hiking barrage from the Biden White House.
Gail: Yeah. I don’t think most people doubt there’s a big hole the government needs to fill somehow. And I would be in the camp that believes it goes beyond roads and bridges and into health care for the elderly. And quality early childhood education. Which even many on the right agree is critical.
Bret: I do admire how the word “infrastructure” has morphed into a synonym for “everything.”
Gail: Well, there are certainly some things you don’t think of as surface transport that should count as infrastructure. I’d argue most of them are critical, basic services without which the country can’t grow.
For instance, how do you feel about universal high-quality early childhood education?
Bret: Gail, I’m dead set against it.
Kidding! But I guess this is where a core difference between liberals and conservatives comes into play. Liberals tend to think that more spending on worthy objectives leads to better outcomes. Conservatives tend to reply: Not so fast.
Gail: Can we have a Think Slow joke here?
Bret: I’m actually not against a lot of what’s in the infrastructure plan. Even conservatives don’t like potholes. What I fear about this is that it’s going to give the government a vastly larger role in allocating capital. For instance, the plan devotes $50 billion to “semiconductor manufacturing and research.” Thanks, but I’d just as soon have the Intels and Microns of the world do the job. Or there’s $46 billion for “clean energy manufacturing.” Again, that sounds great in theory, but the last time we tried that we got expensive failures like Solyndra or Fisker Automotive.
Gail: If we’re gonna argue about federal aid and industrial research, let’s take those computer chips. A lot of people are worried about China getting ahead of us. Also this is exactly the sort of product nobody wants to be dependent on other countries for an adequate supply.
Bret: Last I checked, Apple makes the fastest laptop chip in the world. Not sure they need federal aid.
My biggest worry is that we’re going to end up like France: a lovely country of talented people and great culture in which the government spends a huge share of gross domestic product, and which, consequently, has experienced 40 years of chronically high unemployment, diminished economic competitiveness, political polarization, a brain drain and general decline.
Gail: Well, France has a better life expectancy, so they can at least decline longer, and in more comfort.
Bret: I blame our lagging life expectancy as a nation entirely on the Never Ending Pasta Bowl at Olive Garden.
Gail: Really, there’s a heck of a lot of difference between using federal money to encourage research on advanced technology and putting government in competition with business. If the government invests well, it’ll spur business forward.
Bret: A lot hanging on that “if.”
Gail: Anything else about President Biden that’s got your goat? And hey, what do you think about major league baseball pulling the all-star game out of Atlanta because of Georgia’s nasty new voting law?
Bret: I wouldn’t call a voting law nasty when it actually expands early voting in some places. And I generally hate politicizing sports events, which is one of the few things people with different political views can enjoy together without getting into a partisan argument over it.
Gail: Well, it’s not the only form of mass entertainment — haven’t heard anybody fighting about “Godzilla vs. Kong.”
Bret: Hehe. Of course I’m not too thrilled about the proposed tax hikes. Democrats seem to think that raising rates on corporations somehow affects only the rich, when corporations pass much of the cost along to consumers in the form of higher prices and to workers in the form of depressed wages.
Gail: I believe most corporations would already have higher prices if they thought they could still sell as much stuff.
Bret: I mind less about the possibility of hikes in the income tax rate, because I’ve moved to the Cayman Islands and I’m taking citizenship here. OK, kidding again, but, generally speaking, raising tax rates tends to encourage all sorts of tax avoidance and evasion.
Gail: Sorry, I was distracted by a vision of having a conversation with you while you were in the Cayman Islands, rocking in a hammock, surrounded by red-footed boobies. Love that bird name.
Bret: Not to be confused with the red-hatted boobies sometimes found across the waters in Florida.
Gail: On taxes the one thing I’m hoping Biden will do is bring back the rule that state and local taxes are deductible. Always felt that was the right wing’s great triumph over the cities.
Bret: Bottom line on taxes is that the people who are going to try to evade them will try to evade them no matter what the level. In the meantime, Gail, we have the trial of Derek Chauvin. I have nothing remotely funny to say about it. It just amplifies the horror we all felt about it last year.
Gail: The one positive note is that the trial is getting such extensive coverage. It’s really hard to avoid it unless you devote all your television time to Fox.
Bret: Which I … do not.
Gail: Almost everybody now knows what happened, and the visuals are so intense, it’s got to have brought more people, including more government officials, around to the critical importance of good, fair, well-supervised police.
Bret: I certainly hope so. Policing is difficult, dangerous and necessary work. But it has to help the communities it serves, not tyrannize them. There is no circumstance in which policing can ever turn into some form of uniformed thuggery, which is what Chauvin’s actions were. What happened to George Floyd should be a “never again” moment for all of us.
Gail: That’s certainly my hope. And Bret, before we sign off, let’s go positive. Look forward to the summer and tell me one thing you’re really keen on doing.
Bret: Seeing you in the office and having lunch at that Spanish tapas place across the street. Indoors, even! Now that I’ve had my first shot, I’m beginning to think it just might finally happen.
So let’s think about this seriously for a minute.
What could Trump get out of a new party?
Trump loves attention, chaos and suckers giving him money he doesn’t have to return or do anything for.
If he forms a party, a lot of his current followers will at minimum pay a lot of attention to him and show up at his rallies to get their infusion of emotional gratification by being with people who hate the same things and people that they hate. All the news networks will continue to report about him. Fox News, OANN and Breitbart won’t take the spotlight off of him. He’ll get the attention he needs like normal people need oxygen and water.
If he forms a party, he’ll take perhaps 10–15% of the electorate with him. His final job approval rating was 29%, but a lot of those people are tribal Republicans who loved Trump, not random people off the street. 10–15%, however, is enough to screw up political calculus in enormous numbers of states, which is of course sufficient to get lots of news and analyst attention (like this question and these answers, but writ large and glowing). Massive disruptions in electoral balance are chaos. He’ll have Republican families split down the middle and feuding. He’ll have Republicans fighting Republicans, with some joining him and some attacking him. He’ll revel in it. All that chaos, all his doing.
If he forms a party, he’ll be able to continue to spread his messages of chaos, disunity, hatred and white grievance. He’ll say that the Republican deep state kept him from meeting the needs of his flock, and while he’ll be pretty generic, the most extreme elements of the right such as the Proud Boys and the militias will think he’s talking directly to them. They’ll be even more emboldened, and buy into the notion that he’s their leader. There will be more right-wing extremism and insurrectionist acts inflamed by his rhetoric. More chaos.
And he’ll create a secular prosperity gospel movement, with him as the megachurch owner. He’ll invoke god, but it will mostly be the god of bling, the literal golden calf. He’ll undoubtedly continue to have all the evangelical leaders show up along with the pillow guy at his events and in his media drops, to give the illusion that he cares about Christians. And he’ll have all of those people send him money. He’ll get churches donating to him. He’ll get white Christian business owners donating to him. He’ll get a bunch of lottery-ticket scratching poor white people sending him their money. And he won’t have to give them a thing in return except feeding the howling void of biased ignorance inside them with things that make them feel good about themselves by pointing at all of the people they hate and supporting their loathing of them.
It will be a reality-tv political party, World Wrestling Entertainment-quality mental pablum, with all the histrionics and flamboyance, but none of the athletics. A lot of Americans will latch onto that and suck mightily at the teat of bile and disinformation. The Republicans have spent over 60 years creating and feeding those ignorant wedges, and Trump exploited them to take their party away from them in 2015. Now that he’s free of the inconvenience of actually having to do the job of President — however fitfully, poorly and incompetently — he’s free to exploit those wedges for the remainder of his life.
And he’ll have lots of help. Trump has no problem attracting venal, amoral people, leeches in human form, to his efforts. They arrogantly think that they’ll be able to get in, make their millions off the drippings from the table, and escape with their mostly non-existent souls and reputations intact.
As I said, arrogant, but not wrong in many cases about making millions. There are innumerable people who will line up to carve off as much of the proceedings of the long con into their coffers as possible. There’s been a steady conveyor line of them coming and going over the past 6 years, in and out of the Trump camp, in and out of Trump’s favor. Many of them will end up bankrupt because they’ll foolishly think that they can make deals and contracts with Trump and have them honored, greed blinding them to Trump’s entire history. He’ll con them too.
So how will this be different than the Republican Party?
Well, the RNC completely caved to Trump. Prior to the primaries last summer, they voted to be Trump’s lapdogs and support whatever he wanted, while continuing to block anything from the Democratic Party because partisan nonsense.
WHEREAS, The RNC enthusiastically supports President Trump and continues to reject the policy positions of the Obama-Biden Administration, as well as those espoused by the Democratic National Committee today; therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the Republican Party has and will continue to enthusiastically support the President’s America-first agenda;
RESOVLVED, That the 2020 Republican National Convention will adjourn without adopting a new platform until the 2024 Republican National Convention;
Yeah, covfefe-level typo and all. Truly an inspiring document, laying out their positive vision for America. (Sarcasm mode off). It’s remarkable how sycophantic it is, which is probably why the RNC no longer allows people to see it on their site, and people like me have to cite it from Ballotpedia and other independent sources now.
So what are their options?
The first choice is to out-Trump Trump.
That would be to have Tom Cotton or Matt Gaetz or Tucker Carlson be the new Donald Trump, attacking him, attempting to be even more Trump-like than Trump. More brazen, more ignorant, more crude, more jingoistic, more nationalistic, more fact-free, more hating. That’s an entirely possible and probable path for the GOP. They aren’t winning Red states with reasonable and thoughtful policies, after all.
The second choice is to pivot to being a 21st Century center-right party.
The GOP has an amazing history, which they started unravelling in 1956 with In God We Trust. They were the party that freed the slaves, voted 76% to give women the vote, supported a strong Fourth Estate, were strongly for separation of church and state, were good fiscal managers of government, started the EPA, fought polio to the ground and established the national parks.
They could return to their roots, but in a 21st Century context. They could rebuild themselves as a credible alternative to the Democratic Party. They could accept climate change and offer center-right policies that were seriously thought through and communicated. They could reject the anti-vaxxers, leaving them to Trump. They could maintain an ecumenical council to gain the thoughts of religious groups, but stop pandering 24/7 to evangelicals. They could reject educational policies which intentionally made things horrible for the bottom 40% of the socioeconomic classes. They could embrace universal health care, something every western democracy has successfully done, something which has better outcomes at much lower costs. They could embrace police reform and demilitarization, but with differentiation.
They could embrace the better angels of their nature, returning to Lincoln for inspiration and guidance. They could look to the Angela Merkels of the world, right-wing leaders who are fully present in this century, not pining for a mythically glorious 1950s. They could reject the identity politics of being the party of white, Christian male grievance and embrace the vast diversity of America.
If they did that, they could carve off some of the Democratic Party’s more conservative members such as Klobuchar, Manchin and Edwards. They could make inroads into the cities. They could turn some purple states Red again, reversing the tide of history that’s seen them losing ground for decades.
The clearest sign that they would actually do this is if they vote to both impeach Trump in the Senate, and further invoke the option of disqualifying him for ever running for office again. This wouldn’t prevent Trump from pretending he was running, but it would divorce him utterly from the Republicans and limit the damage he could do politically to them in the future. I’m sure that at least three Republicans are advocating for this path out of the hundreds in Washington. It should be hundreds of the hundreds.
I think the Republicans becoming a 21st Century center right party is as likely as Trump fading quietly and humbly into the background, but they could do it.
Their last choice is to re-embrace Trump.
Instead of leaving him to kill their party, they reach out and negotiate to keep him in the fold. They promise him riches and adulation. They surround him with their organization and they stick their probing noses even further up the deep, deep divide between his buttocks.
This is basically the first choice, but with Trump as the even more Trumpy leader, leaving Gaetz, Cotton and Carlson frustrated from coupus interruptus. And then the spectacle continues, with even more craven and abject sycophancy from Republican leaders.
They preserve their electoral chances. All they give up is everything.
And Mitt Romney, while he talks a good game, would undoubtedly stay in the party, continue to be a gadfly with no power or influence and continue to get elected in Utah. A few more Republican congress members and Senators would elect to not run again over the next six years, and be replaced by even more craven Trump acolytes.
The only good choice for the Republicans is option 2. But the history of the past 70 years tells us that when presented with choices, they’ve inevitably taken the worst one for the long-term, but the one that gives them another shot for the next election cycle.
It’s been seven decades of craven weakness and unwise choices, not moral strength and foresight. There’s no reason to believe that they will change now.
BREAKING: The crowd at today’s hearing just erupted into laughter as a witness humiliated Republican Matt Gaetz in brilliant fashion.
Hannity. Rush. Dobbs. Ingraham. Pirro. Nunes. Tammy. Geraldo. Doocy. Hegseth. Schlapp. Siegel. Watters. Dr. Drew. Henry. Ainsley. Gaetz. Inhofe. Pence. Kudlow. Conway. Trump. We salute the Heroes of the Pandumbic. #DailyShow #TrevorNoah #Coronavirus
Rep. Matt Gaetz is interviewed by MSNBC’s Hallie Jackson about leading two dozen House Republicans into closed-door testimony, breaking Congressional rules by occupying a secure room without clearance, bringing electronic devices into the room, and ordering pizza and Chick-fil-A. Aired on 10/24/19.