Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news media and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

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Paul Krugman: Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Boom?

Rising prices here and there aren’t a sign of runaway inflation.

“If it rains, we might want to open our umbrellas,” said the Treasury secretary.

“Oh my God, she’s predicting a torrential downpour,” shouted panicked pundits.

OK, that’s not exactly what Janet Yellen said on Tuesday. Her actual words were, “It may be that interest rates will have to rise somewhat to make sure that our economy doesn’t overheat.” Her remark wasn’t a forecast, it certainly wasn’t an attempt to influence the Federal Reserve, and it was simple good sense. [..]

Luckily, the furor was short-lived, and as these things go, Yellen’s moment of honesty wasn’t a big deal. Market expectations of future monetary policy, as reflected in long-term interest rates, don’t seem to have moved at all in the past couple months.

But the hair-trigger media response was part of a broader phenomenon: Many commentators just don’t seem able to keep any perspective about the bumps and blips of a booming economy.

There definitely is a boom underway, even if a vast majority of Republicans claim to believe that the economy is getting worse. All indications are that we’re headed for the fastest year of growth since the “Morning in America” boom of 1983-1984. What’s not to like?

Charles M. Blow: Liz Cheney, We Have a Memory. You’re No Hero.

Doing the right thing now doesn’t erase your past.

Representative Liz Cheney may lose her leadership role among House Republicans because she hasn’t been slavishly loyal to Donald Trump and the lies he fed the Republican Party.

Not only did Cheney vote to impeach Trump in January, she also insists that Republicans — who continue to happily regurgitate his lies — tell the truth. (I’m fake-clutching my fake pearls.) [..]

In some way, we are watching a dynastic clash, duplicitous titans fighting to the death.

Liz Cheney and her father are positioning themselves as protectors of the old order, as paragons of truth and as defenders of our American norms. They want us — and history — to view them as the Republicans who got it right and did the right thing.
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As if we don’t know what they are, as if the horribleness of Trump redeems them for relative measure.

Nah. No amnesia for me, thank you.

With respect to Dick Cheney, I ask you to recall just one thing: the torture program under the Bush administration. He’s said that if he had it to do over, he would torture again.

The torture gene must run in the family, for Liz Cheney praised the Trump administration’s review of the treatment of terrorism suspects.

Amanda Marcotte: The insurrectionist caucus turns to schoolyard bully tactics to take over the GOP — and it’s working

Tucker Carlson and Marjorie Taylor Greene are conquering the insipid Kevin McCarthy with middle school taunts

That Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., is a wimp is not news.

After Donald Trump incited an insurrection on Jan. 6, McCarthy reportedly phoned Trump and begged him to call off his QAnon-drunk dogs, only to get the reply, “Well, Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are.” McCarthy had done everything in his power to show fealty to Trump — and to Trump’s attempted coup —by publicly supporting Trump’s “right” to overturn the election and voting against certifying the electoral win of Joe Biden. But that wasn’t good enough for Trump, who continues to clearly believe there was One Simple Trick© Republicans could have pulled out of a bag to overrule the legal election results. Rather than tell that bitter old wannabe dictator where to shove it, McCarthy has instead spent the past few months publicly licking Trump’s boots. He even, at the end of April, pretended that his call with Trump had been about Trump wanting to end the Capitol riot when it was quite clearly the opposite.

And yet, McCarthy theatrically submitting to Trump has not been enough to placate the insurrectionist wing of the GOP, who continue to be suspicious that McCarthy harbors doubts in his heart about the wisdom of having a President-for-Life Trump. The new demand is that McCarthy defenestrates Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., for the sin of continuing to insist that the insurrection really happened.

The main tactic to bring McCarthy into line? Schoolyard taunts that are, frankly, beneath the average middle schooler.

And the admittedly darkly funny part of this is that it’s working. McCarthy, like a substitute teacher who has lost control of a 7th-grade classroom, is caving to some truly childish bullying from the likes of Tucker “Dan White Society” Carlson.

George T. Conway III: What Trump has to fear from Rudy Giuliani

The raid of Giuliani’s apartment is bad news for the once esteemed lawyer — and for his former client, Donald Trump.

To borrow the infamous line of his ex-presidential ex-client, it looks like Rudolph W. Giuliani is “going to go through some things.” Like possibly being charged with a crime. Worse, some people who might have tried to save him from that fate might have actually guaranteed it. [,,]

If Giuliani has anything to offer prosecutors to save himself, it would have to be Trump, the only bigger fish left. And it was arguably criminal for the then-president to have used his official powers to try to coerce foreign officials into aiding his reelection campaign. In fact, Giuliani’s admission that he wasn’t conducting foreign policy, but merely helping Trump personally, is exactly what would make the scheme prosecutable. The former guy just might want to rethink stiffing Giuliani on those bills.

That’s not the ultimate irony of Giuliani’s predicament. Federal prosecutors in Manhattan tried to get permission last fall for a Giuliani raid but were rebuffed by senior officials serving under Trump. And last June, for reasons still opaque, then-Attorney General William P. Barr ousted the U.S. attorney there and tried to handpick a successor.

If any of that was intended to protect Giuliani — or Trump himself — it might end up backfiring spectacularly. If a warrant had been executed before Jan. 20, it’s hard to imagine that Trump wouldn’t have pardoned Giuliani, out of spite, self-interest or both.

Now it’s too late. As Giuliani cautioned on the newly disclosed transcript, “be careful of the people around you, because they can very easily, they can very easily get you into trouble.” That might be the only advice he gave that turned out to be right.

Jennifer Rubin: Rep. Zoe Lofgren embarrassed Republicans with their own words. Now they seek to silence her.

They can’t seem to stand truth-telling women.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) earned kudos from truth-tellers in March when she released a report simply documenting the social media posts of Republicans “who voted to overturn the 2020 presidential election.” She compiled their words, revealing a hodgepodge of conspiracy-mongering and lying about the 2020 election. This was too much for the snowflake Republicans.

They have now filed a complaint, a copy of which I have obtained, with the Communication Standards Commission, an obscure body in the House formerly known as the Mailing Standards Commission, as it historically dealt primarily with franking issues. [..]

Republicans’ political stupidity is hard to fathom. They chose to attack a strong, informed woman (arguably the most knowledgeable on the subject of impeachment and a master of House rules) for airing their own rhetoric. Did they really think they were going to silence Zoe Lofgren, of all people?

It’s hard to think of a better way for Republicans to remind Americans of their own wholly irresponsible conduct. (The complaint will go nowhere since the commission is split 3-to-3.) What’s more, the timing is priceless. This comes the same week the GOP is attempting to banish Cheney from leadership for the “crime” of honesty, for refusing to sweep Jan. 6 under the rug and for refusal to kneel (as they have) before the MAGA cult leader. They simply cannot abide truth-telling women.