Top House Dem: This GOP is the party of Marge Greene and Lauren Boebert, not Paul Ryan and John Boehner

The professional conservative commentariat will listen to this and grumble about unfairness and simplification and the MAGA base will listen to it and respond with the “Yes Chad” meme.

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Hot Air alum Noah Rothman is right that Democrats are forever seeking to diminish contemporary Republicans by comparing them unfavorably to their forebears. “For the record, it was also deemed a problem when it was the party of Paul Ryan and John Bohener, and no longer the party of GHWB and Bob Dole,” he writes of Jeffries’s comments. “It was also a problem when it was the party of GHWB and Dole, and so on.” For cripes sake, pieces are already being written alleging that Ron DeSantis might be, or would be, a more dangerous president than Trump.

We’re going to reach a point in the non-distant future when liberals reminisce about the moderation of the Trump era. Bank on it.

The question is whether they’ll be wrong to reminisce about it, imagining what the GOP might look like 10 years from now. I wouldn’t bet heavily on Marjorie Taylor Greene defeating Paul Ryan in a modern Republican primary or Lauren Boebert defeating John Boehner, but that’s mainly because we don’t know how outspoken Boehner and Ryan would have been in criticizing Trump if they were still in the House. If they went the “go along to get along” route — as Ryan did when he and Trump overlapped — and bit their tongues about January 6, I’d favor them in those match-ups simply for reasons of fundraising ability and name recognition.

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But if they took so much as a step towards Liz Cheney adversarialism, all bets would be off. Remember, there’s a solid chance at the moment that not one of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump last year will be back in Congress in 2023.

What makes Jeffries’s logic obnoxious here isn’t that he’s wildly wrong about the preferences of Republican voters, it’s that he’s employing that logic to justify attacking the few GOPers left in Congress who have shown some spine in resisting Trump cultism. Essentially he’s arguing that it’s fair for the Democratic Party to spend money promoting cranks like Peter Meijer’s primary opponent in Michigan because those cranks are the “true face of the GOP” and voters deserve to know that. But to some degree that’s a self-fulfilling prophesy: The more liberal resources are employed to amplify insurrectionists, the better the chance those insurrectionists will have of gaining power, and not always *because* they’re insurrectionists. Many voters will opt for Republican candidates this fall purely as a “Let’s go, Brandon” protest vote against inflation, not knowing a blessed thing about the beliefs of the individuals on the ballot.

Some Democrats are unhappy with their own campaign arm for targeting Meijer, a pro-impeachment Republican. It’s not just a case of no good deed going unpunished, they warn, but actively dangerous inasmuch as it’s likely to increase the number of nuts in the next Congress. “Many of us are facing death threats over our efforts to tell the truth about Jan. 6. To have people boosting candidates telling the very kinds of lies that caused Jan. 6 and continues to put our democracy in danger, is just mind-blowing,” said Democrat Stephanie Murphy, a member of the January 6 committee. Meijer himself cut to the point when asked for comment by Politico about Dems supporting his primary opponent: “I’m sick and tired of hearing the sanctimonious bullsh*t about the Democrats being the pro-democracy party.”

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What you’re seeing in the Jeffries clip is evidence of a formal strategy that’s being embraced by House Democrats before the midterms, running around screaming that many Republicans up for election this fall are “extremist.” And that’s true. But the perennial “boy who cried wolf” routine identified by Rothman will ensure that some voters who might otherwise have been genuinely alarmed by that will tune them out, treating it as standard partisan background noise to yet another election — even though, this time, it isn’t.

“Democrats would be irresponsible, both morally and politically, if we just went with the same poll-tested stuff about delivering infrastructure,” said Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz, who is helping craft some of the strategy in the Senate to press Republicans. “There’s a place for all of that, but these people are out of their minds and are really acting with impunity, and we need to say so.”…

As one top Democratic strategist working on House races summed up the argument after reviewing internal focus group data which shows a stronger and more lasting than expected resonance to recent Republican moves, particularly around abortion policy: “I understand that you’re frustrated, everything sucks — but that person thinks that you can’t get pregnant from rape, that person believes in QAnon. … I know you don’t like Democrats — but do you actually want to vote for that person?”…

On Wednesday, House Democrats will roll out a series of recommended talking points to members that include focusing on a message that “extreme MAGA Republicans care about only one thing: their own power,” according to a presentation viewed by CNN. Republicans, the presentation argues, will criminalize abortion and roll back marriage rights, end Social Security and Medicare, and “continue to attack our democracy, undermine free elections and make it harder for Americans to vote.”

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Some voters will vote Republican this fall for “Yes Chad” reasons, many will do so out of simple partisan conviction that the libs are always worse, and many more will do so to signal their dismay at the all-around malaise in America, to borrow a word from another era. I think attacks on “extremism” might help Dems in individual races where it’s really obvious — ahem — but as an overarching organizing message of the campaign, swing voters will dismiss it as Democrats saying what Democrats always say.

I’ll leave you with this.

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