Monday, May 11, 2020

Republicans Pounce! Dept.: Staunch Opposition! Newly harsh rhetoric! An avid, a ferocious, and an unapologetic Trumpist!

Check out the language of the Fake News media — The birth of a Trumpist: How Elise Stefanik became one of the president's most ferocious supporters. Avid! Ferocious! Right in the league of "The Right Pounces!" A ferocious tiger! A tiger who pounces! An unapologetic Trumpist! Harsh rhetoric! Routinely frustrating Adam Schiff!

The Yahoo article — written in the midst of the impeachment hearings — comes from Yahoo, which Donald Trump famously said had little credibility, and it goes into how Elise Stefanik used to be "moderate" and cooperative, which makes her change of attitude just the more baffling and bewildering, even freakish. Check out some of the words and expressions (in bold, below) to vilify the right as wicked and monstrous while branding the left as moderate and tolerant.

Only in early November 2019, wrote Alexander Nazaryan later that month, Elise Stefanik, the third-term Republican congresswoman from upstate New York had no problem collaborating as she did "with a progressive like [Antonio] Delgado, who is also from New York. Or with a moderate Democrat like Anthony Brindisi, with whom she worked, also in early November, to secure funding for parts of New York devastated by floods."
When she wasn’t tending to her district, the 35-year-old Albany native was attending closed-door witness depositions in the impeachment inquiry into President Trump’s alleged attempt to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate political opponents. Those depositions were held in a basement room of the U.S. Capitol.

At first, Stefanik didn’t seem overly invested in the proceedings. … In the eight witness depositions she attended, Stefanik stayed largely silent, asking a total of five questions. Those five came in the depositions of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a former official on the National Security Council, and Laura Cooper, a high-ranking Pentagon deputy. The questions were not especially confrontational, nor the kinds of diatribes members of both parties frequently use to tout their own partisan bona fides.

Most of Stefanik’s questions came during her single substantive exchange with Vindman, whom she questioned about the phone calls between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that are at the heart of the impeachment inquiry.

And a good portion of that Vindman exchange has Stefanik explaining to Vindman’s attorney, Michael Volkov, that she is a member of Congress, not a congressional staffer.

“I don’t know who you are,” Volkov said.
Intentionally or not, this is an incredible insult. But since it comes from Democrats, you can count on the media types not to notice it…
He probably knows now. Since the impeachment inquiry entered its public phase earlier in November, Stefanik has become one of Trump’s most avid defenders. The only Republican woman on the House Intelligence Committee, she has routinely frustrated the committee’s chairman, Rep. Adam Schiff, with criticisms of his procedural decisions (in particular, refusal to summon certain witnesses demanded by Republicans). After the hearings last week, she held press conferences with Trump loyalists like Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina.

The days of working with progressives like Delgado seem like an eternity ago. And it may be another eternity yet until anyone left of center works with Stefanik again, given how confused she has left a Democratic establishment.

Stefanik, who had previously kept her distance from Trump, did not previously seem enthusiastic about the prospect of defending the president. Only weeks ago, there had been talk on Capitol Hill that she might be one of two or three Republicans to vote in favor of opening an impeachment inquiry. She didn’t, but even the mere suggestion seems outlandish now.

Trump has certainly noticed. After her first eruption at Schiff on national television, the president declared on Twitter that a “new Republican Star is born.” He made the same point as the witness testimony concluded in the impeachment inquiry and the House Intelligence Committee prepared to file a report of its findings to the House Judiciary Committee. “I’ll tell you what, this young woman from upstate New York, she has become a star,” Trump said on “Fox & Friends.”

He had likely seen her primetime interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News the evening before, an appearance during which Stefanik called herself an “outspoken advocate for the facts” who had been maligned by the “Hollywood left.”

Stefanik’s newly harsh rhetoric has left many of her Democratic colleagues stunned. “I was really bummed to see her go the Trump route like this,” says Katie Hill, the former progressive congresswoman from the Los Angeles area. “She was one of the few that often broke with Trump. I was very surprised.”

Like others who spoke to Yahoo News for this article — most of them on the condition of anonymity — Hill praised Stefanik, who graduated from Harvard University in 2006, as exceptionally intelligent. And like most of the Democrats asked to explain Stefanik’s transformation, she could not fully account for the decision to side with Trump.
Uh… How about her conviction about the impeachment proceedings amounting to a witch hunt?
However surprising her evolution into an unapologetic Trumpist has been, Stefanik has been preparing for high-stakes politics for the better part of a decade. Whatever else is at work, sophisticated political calculation is doubtlessly guiding her in this strange political season. That calculation, people say, has been there for decades.

Josh Schwerin was a young political operative in early 2009, working on a House race in upstate New York that would decide who would replace Kirsten Gillibrand, who had just been appointed to the U.S. Senate seat held until then by Hillary Clinton. Schwerin’s candidate was Scott Murphy, a Democrat.

 … Especially flabbergasted by Stefanik’s recent volte-face are Democrats who have worked with her on the House Armed Services Committee and who saw her as above the petty vendettas and cynical alliances that mark so much of the daily business on Capitol Hill. “She always billed herself as a moderate focused on national security,” said an aide to a Democrat on the Armed Services Committee. “Now she’s producing political theater,” he lamented, describing the committee’s Democratic majority as “pretty shook” by Stefanik’s staunch opposition during the impeachment hearings.
Hello? Are you deaf 'n' dumb?! Maybe — could it be?! — the impeachment hearings fit into the production of political theater, and perhaps they show a party that is not — far from it — "above petty vendettas and cynical alliances" in any way.
Exactly why Stefanik has chosen this moment to raise the Trump flag is difficult to say. Some believe she is motivated by an antipathy for Schiff, and in particular because of his handling of the impeachment inquiry. If that were the case, however, she could have expressed her frustration during the inquiry’s private phase. She declined to do so in the eight hearings she attended, remaining fully silent for six of the witness depositions, according to the transcripts that have been publicly released.

 … Katie Hill, the former progressive congresswoman from the Los Angeles area, … responded on Twitter with a pithy message that seemed to encapsulate Democrats’ disappointment, their amazement that a woman as smart as Stefanik would stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Trump.

“Wait, wut,” she wrote.
Update: it turns out that “Republicans rejoice” is just a variation on “Republicans pounce”

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