2024 Profiles: Matt Gaetz

Matt Gaetz is a congressman from Florida. He’s the Republican version of Eric Swalwell, an overgrown frat boy who had the family connections necessary to get involved in politics and who has a safe seat. Much like Swalwell, he’s not a particularly effective Congressman but he is a skilled troll. (In fact, he’s better at trolling than Swalwell and Ted Lieu combined.) Much as Swalwell is known for getting drunk and tweeting, Gaetz is rumored to have a nose for using something a little stronger while he’s tweeting. Much as Swalwell is known for screwing a Chinese spy, Gaetz has been accused of trafficking in minors. And, like Eric Swalwell in 2020, Matt Gaetz has been talking about running for president.

Haven’t we suffered enough?

To be honest, though, I doubt Gaetz will run for president. He’s obviously having too much fun pissing off the liberals in Congress and, assuming he doesn’t lose the 2022 primary, he’ll probably have his seat for life. (That Democratic donors are wasting money on Rebekah Jones’s “campaign” to defeat him is a huge joke.) If Trump runs, there’s no way Gaetz gets in. Gaetz will probably always talk about running but, much like Alan Grayson, I doubt he’ll ever take the plunge.

2024 Profiles: Marjorie Taylor Greene

Since I made fun of Adam Kinzinger yesterday, I suppose it’s only right that I make fun of Marjorie Taylor Greene today.

I would be surprised in this Georgia congresswoman ran for President in 2024 but she did visit Iowa last month, which has led to some speculation. Most of that speculation, of course, has come from Democrats who are gleeful about the idea of Marjorie Taylor Greene having the national spotlight during a Republican presidential primary.

And indeed, a Taylor Greene presidential campaign, even if it was just a primary campaign, would be a nightmare for most Republicans. Imagine this, a QAnon candidate who has just enough of a national profile to probably last through the South Carolina primary. Regardless of how she did in the primaries, she would command the majority of the press coverage. How long before she starts talking about Jeffrey Epstein and the space lasers? How long until she says the fire can’t melt steel and that David Hogg is a paid actor? Not very long, I imagine.

(Make no mistake about it, David Hogg is an idiot but he’s not a paid actor.)

Fortunately, there’s a good chance that Taylor Greene won’t win her Congressional primary in 2022. And, if Trump runs in 2024, it’s doubtful Taylor Greene would run against him. That would be like AOC running against Bernie. So, hopefully, we’ll be able to avoid the spectacle of Marjorie Taylor Greene on the debate stage.

(My personal prediction is that Marjorie Taylor Greene will eventually run for President as a candidate for the Constitution Party. Hopefully, the Libertarians will be smart enough to just say no for once.)

2024 Profiles: Adam Kinzinger

This is the first in an occasional series of posts that will look at some of the people who might run for President in 2024.

Adam Kinzinger is a politician from Illinois who served in the U.S. House since 2010 and whose seat is probably going to be destroyed by redistricting in 2022. He’s a Republican but he’s one of those Republicans who spends most of his time talking about how much he hates other Republicans.

That’s one reason while you will occasionally see an article or a report that lists Kinzinger as a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2024. There’s nothing the media loves more than a Republican who hates other Republicans and, during nearly every presidential primary season, there’s always one Republican who gets a lot of media attention for being a “moderate” but who also gets very little support from the people who actually vote in Republican primaries. Jon Huntsman is an obvious example. Way back in 1996, Arlen Specter and Pete Wilson tried to pull it off. And who could forget John Kasich?

Kinzinger’s claim to fame is that he’s a critic of Donald Trump’s. What the media ignores is that there are a lot of Republicans who have been critical of Donald Trump but who haven’t also damned the entire party in their criticism. Kinzinger would be toxic to GOP primary voters and the Democrats would never forgive him for being a Republican in the first place but he obviously loves the media adulation so it’s not impossible to imagine him running.

It’s also not impossible to imagine him hooking up with one of the third party movements that have popped up in the wake of the Trump presidency. SAM (which stands for Saving America) seems to be a popular destination for Republicans that no one cares about anymore. It’s easy to imagine him and David Jolly barnstorming the country in search of nonexistent votes.

Of course, a more realistic possibility is that Kinzinger will either switch parties or he’ll just end up hosting a show on CNN.

One thing that will not happen will be an Adam Kinzinger presidency.

Vote Conservative, Canada

Canada, in case you missed it, is having an election in 4 days.

No one could blame you if you did miss it. Justin Trudeau called a snap election that no one was expecting. That’s one of the many fun things about living under a Parliamentarian system. You never know when Parliament might dissolve. Sometimes, Parliament is dissolved as the result of a crisis. Sometimes, it’s because a certain number of years have passed. And sometimes, it’s because an overly confident Prime Minister is convinced that their opposition is so weak that they can be wiped out by a sudden election.

That third reason seems to be the case here. Trudeau figured that he would easily defeat the Conservatives and that he would end up with a stronger governing coalition than he had before. That was certainly the logic that Theresa May used when she called a snap election in the UK back in 2017. However, it looks Trudeau may have overestimated his strength, much as May did.

I’m not a Canadian voter and I don’t want to fall into the trap of assuming, as many Americans do, that the Liberal and Conservative Parties are the same as the Republican and the Democrat Parties. They’re not, just as the UK’s Tories tend to be much more to the left than the average Republican in America.

With that in mind, Pop Politics endorses the Conservatives in the upcoming Canadian General Election for the simple reason that Justin Trudeau is incredibly annoying.

Best of luck to everyone running up north.

The Results Are Coming In From California

All of the votes haven’t been counted yet but it seems pretty safe to say that Gavin Newsom is going to survive the recall.

Am I disappointed? Of course. I can’t stand Gavin Newsom and it’s hard for me to understand people who do. Anyone who is serious about getting people vaccinated or masked should resent a politician like Gavin Newsom, one who can’t even follow the same rules that he imposes on everyone else.

Am I surprised? Not really. There was a point when the Republicans could have defeated Newsom but they didn’t take advantage of the moment. Instead of duplicating Schwarzenegger’s strategy of trying to appeal to all voters, Larry Elder concentrated only on Republican voters. You’re not going to win in a deep blue state like California by only trying to appeal to hardcore Republicans because there’s just not enough of them to swing the election. Newsom was able to shift the focus away from his own failings as governor and California’s naturally blue tint carried him to victory.

From the point of view of someone who enjoys following politics, an upset victory is always more interesting than a predictable win, which is why it was enjoyable to fantasize about the media freakout if Newsom had been recalled. (Also, I’d be lying if I said that nostalgia for the truly wild 2003 California recall wasn’t a factor when it came to my interesting in the current rcall.) In this time of intense polarization, it seems more likely that unexpected victories are going to become something that happens in primaries but not general elections.

Newsom survived so expect to hear a lot of talk about how this proves Biden is more popular than people realize. It’s like when the Republicans convince themselves that Ossoff losing a House race meant that 2018 wasn’t going to be as bad as everyone thought it was going to be. That’s the general rule of politics in the 21st Century. Elections only matter when your side wins.

Norm MacDonald, R.I.P.

Through the Shattered Lens

I’m still in shock about the news that Norm MacDonald died today, at the age of 61. He died of cancer, which he had been battling for nine years.

Norm MacDonald was the funniest man alive, though he often didn’t seem to get the appreciation that he truly deserved. There are so many comedians who claim not to care what people think about them and their jokes but, when it came to Norm, it was no act. He would joke about anything and anyone, delivering his punchlines with deadpan but savage nonchalance.

Like a lot of people, I first knew Norm MacDonald as the anchorman of SNL‘s Weekend Update. He was the last great Weekend Update anchor, which unfortunately led to him losing his job when NBC president Don Ohlmeyer took offense to his frequent jokes about OJ Simpson.

Personally, I liked Norm MacDonald’s takes on the movies:

After…

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California, have you voted yet?

Today is the California recall election!

I’ve been pretty up front about how much I dislike Gavin Newsom and I do think that it would enjoyable to watch the media freak-out if he was replaced by Larry Elder.

But, to be honest, I expect Newsom will survive.  Hopefully, the polls will be slightly off and the vote will be narrow enough that it will end any speculation about Newsom as a presidential candidate but, given that he’s a Democrat, I doubt we’ll see too many negative takes on him regardless of how the vote goes.

Times have changed since Gray Davis has recalled in 2003.  As much as I dislike him, Gavin Newsom is a better politician than Davis.  And Larry Elder is not as strong a campaigner as Arnold Schwarzenegger.  If the recall fails, Elder will probably get much of the blame.  That’s not quite fair, of course.  But that’s how politics goes and the media will be more than happy to play their part.  There’s nothing scarier to those people than the thought of a black Republican winning a high-profile election.

If Newsom’s recalled, expect to see the story played down.

If Newson survives, expect at least a week of “The Democrats are back, baby” cheering.

Mostly, just get out there and vote!

Old Man Yells At Cloud

This was taken at one of the 9/11 ceremonies. When I first saw this, I assumed it was photoshop but no, this is an actual picture.

On the one hand, it’s very easy to look at a picture like this and assume the worst. Joe’s yelling. Obama looks embarrassed to be near him. Jill appears to be glaring at whoever took the picture. That’s the out-of-contest interpretation and, if you dislike Biden, it’s a very attractive one. As is often the case with picture like this, the truth is probably more mundane.

I remember during the Kavanaugh hearings, there was a picture that circulated on twitter that people interpreted as showing that all the women sitting behind him were disgusted by his testimony. It later turned out that all the women in the picture (one of whom was Kavanaugh’s wife) had shown up specifically to support Kavanaugh and the photographer just happened to snap the picture at an emotional moment. However, people saw what they wanted to see.

I don’t like Biden so I look at this picture and I see a senile old man yelling inappropriately. The truth, though, is that I’m seeing what I want to see. Still, it would be nice to know the context of this picture. What is old Joe doing?