Do Republicans Really Want to Talk About the Economy? - The Friday AM Quickie 7/15/22

Try not to melt this weekend, and I'll do the same. Jack will have you covered on Monday morning. - Corey

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Bad News for Army Recruiters Is Good News for Workers

Depending where you looked for news, the big headline yesterday was that Donald Trump might announce that he's running for president in 2024 sometime in September, before the November midterms, which could have consequences for the outcome in close races. Some Republicans increasingly thing Trump is a backward-looking distraction that hurts the party's chances of maintaining an effective death grip on the United States government even when it's out of power. Per the Washington Post:

"Of all the selfish things he does every minute of every day, [announcing his presidential campaign before the midterms] would probably be the most," said one prominent Republican strategist, speaking on the condition of anonymity to offer a candid assessment. "Everything we are doing that is not talking about the economy is going to be a disaster."

So Republicans want to talk about the economy. Okay, fine. A few headlines from yesterday suggest it cuts both ways.

  • Demand remains high at food banks across the country. That's obviously bad news but it's not like the Republicans are going to run on providing free food to people who need it.
  • Housing shortages are hitting middle America, not just the coasts, as average monthly rents in New York City surpassed $5,000 for the first time. Neither party seems interested in talking about this, much less solving it.
  • Military recruiters are struggling -- because the employment market is favorable to workers right now, with more jobs than people to fill them and rising wages. That's a bright spot in this economy and if Democrats are smart they'll make it clear they stand on the side of labor and push for even higher wages no matter what it means for corporate profit margins.
  • Top U.S. economic planners still fear energy costs could spiral out of control, producing "a 1970s-style oil shock" and dragging down the global economy, as a result of Russia's war in Ukraine and the resulting sanctions. This, as far as I can tell, is the main reason President Joe Biden is visiting Saudi Arabia.

So the political implications of this economy are not clear. The Republicans don't really have a message beyond "inflation bad, Biden to blame!" (while Biden in turn blames Vladimir Putin). But they're going to run with that message, because their criminal figurehead is still obsessed with denying he lost the last election, and what else can they say for themselves? They really don't want to talk about their massively unpopular abortion bans, for instance. Which brings me to the rest of the day's news...


GOP Manages to Make Abortion Ban Horror Story Even Worse

Indiana Republican Attorney General Todd Rokita announced he would criminally investigate the doctor who treated the 10-year-old rape victim who traveled to the state from Ohio because her home state had banned abortion. Rokita said his office would be "looking at her licensure" and was "gathering the evidence as we speak" although it's not at all clear the doctor, Caitlin Bernard, did anything wrong. Rokita called her an "abortion activist acting as a doctor" so I think it's fair to call him a medieval inquisitor looking for a witch to burn at the stake. A Telemundo reporter doorstepped the girl's mother yesterday as right-wing propagandists who initially denied the victim's very existence tried to decide whether to attack the journalist who broke the story, the accused rapist, or the girl's family -- anything to change the subject from the consequences of their policies. Speaking of which, Jim Bopp, the author of model anti-abortion legislation for the National Right to Life Committee, confirmed to Politico his proposed laws would force the child to give birth. Finally, as the White House dithered about whether to declare a public health emergency over state abortion bans, Texas sued the Biden administration to block new Health and Human Services guidelines requiring doctors nationwide to provide abortions in emergencies where the mother's life is at stake.

Fire Season Hits Europe; California Town Runs Out of Water

Temperatures in the United Kingdom are expected to hit 104 Fahrenheit (or 40 Celsius) for the first time in the history of meterological records in the coming days, and with the extreme heat could come "disruptions of services, including water, electricity and travel, and related illnesses such as heat exhaustion." And pretty much nobody in that country has (what they call) aircon. "This isn't just a typical July hot spell," a Met Office meteorologist warned. Of course it isn't, and extreme weather made more dangerous by climate change isn't a problem confined to the UK. As we mentioned yesterday, wildfires are sweeping through parts of Europe. Large parts of China are also enduring a record heat wave. The city of Shanghai has reportedly issued only 17 "red alert" heat warnings since 1873 -- but it has issued three such warnings in the past six days. Meanwhile in the U.S., the Los Angeles Times visits a small town near Fresno that "ran completely out of water" in the ongoing megadrought; when a small electrical fire broke out, it consumed an entire house because the fire department couldn't get water from a nearby hydrant. Southwest Virginia had the opposite problem this week -- too much water. Floods and landslides followed heavy rainfall, damaging more than 100 homes in rural Buchanan County. Nobody died, but that seems to have been on account of luck, as 44 people were reported missing for a full day; roads were impassable until the waters receded.

Quickest Quickies

  • Secret Service Deleted Jan. 6 Records Text messages relevant to the 2021 coup investigation were erased after an inspector general requested them, and a congressional source warns that if Mike Pence had followed Secret Service orders that day, "it could've been a successful coup, not just an attempted one." via the Intercept.
  • Ivana Trump, Donald's First Wife, Found Dead in Her Apartment Police say there were no signs of a crime. via ABC News and the New York Times.
  • Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi Announces Resignation His right-wing coalition government lost the support of the Five Star Movement; early elections could come in the fall. via the Guardian.
  • Sri Lanka Protesters Retreat from Several Government Buildings They wanted to avoid a confrontation with the military; the president's resignation is expected to be made official today. via the Associated Press.
  • Senators Agree Vice President Shouldn't Have Veto Power Over U.S. Elections A bipartisan bill to overhaul the Electoral Count Act in response to one aspect of Donald Trump's Jan. 6, 2021 coup attempt could be introduced next week. via CNN.
  • Lauren Boebert's Disgusting Restaurant Shuts Down The landlord refused to renew the lease on the Trumpist Colorado congresswoman's Shooters Grill, where staff were told to open-carry firearms. via the Denver Post.


1 in 3

That's how many students in the U.S. attend a racially segregated public school, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.


7/15: It's Casual Friday! Sam and Emma host Ryan Grim, DC Bureau Chief at The Intercept, to round up the week in news. Then, they're joined by Matthew Film Guy!

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"Every day Russia is destroying the civilian population, killing Ukrainian children, directing missiles at civilian objects. Where there is no military. What is it if not an open act of terrorism?"

-- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in a message posted to Telegram after Russian cruise missiles yesterday hit buildings in the city of Vinnytsia, southwest of Kyiv, killing 23 and injuring more than 100 people.

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