Friday, February 5, 2021

Last Call For Totaling A Shelby

U.S. Sen. Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, the Senate’s fourth most senior member, has told confidantes that he does not intend to run for reelection next year — prompting some Republicans to urge the powerful, establishment politician to reconsider, even as potential replacements prepare to run for his seat.

The senator in recent weeks told one close Alabama ally that he was not planning on running in 2022 for what would be his seventh term, according to the ally, who was not authorized to discuss the matter and spoke with The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. The person said some in the state were still trying to get Shelby to change his mind out of concern about losing clout and worries that the senator might be replaced by a fringe candidate who would not be as effective.

Shelby spokeswoman Blair Taylor said Friday that the senator has not made a decision, “but there will likely be an announcement forthcoming in the next few weeks.”

A titan of Alabama politics, the 86-year-old politician has spent 42 years in Washington, serving first in the House and the Senate. His stepping down would leave a power void for the region. It would also set off a free-for-all primary in a national party deeply divided between traditional Republicans like Shelby and those who model themselves on former President Donald Trump.

Shelby was elected to the Senate in 1986 as a conservative Democrat during the party’s waning days of power in the Deep South, but he switched to the GOP in 1994. He's spent the last two years as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, before Democrats gained control of the chamber. All along he has used his influence to benefit the state's interests, particularly ports and military manufacturers. He played a key role in bringing an FBI campus and the newly announced Space Command to Huntsville.

“I don’t know anybody who knows how to wield power like Shelby does," said David Mowery, an Alabama-based political consultant.

“I would say that is his greatest accomplishment, to get money allocated to the state for many different projects,” said former Alabama Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead.

Alabama's political circles have long braced for a Shelby retirement. Armistead said the senator told him during his 2016 bid for reelection that it was his last campaign, but Armistead added the caveat that, “Things change.” Several months ago, Shelby told a group of business leaders at a private meeting that he would retire rather than run again, according to a person in attendance who was not authorized to discuss the event and also spoke on condition of anonymity.

A list of potential GOP replacements is waiting in the wings. Possible candidates include Shelby’s former chief of staff, Katie Boyd Britt, who now heads an influential business lobby and who would likely have the senator’s backing if she decided to enter the race. Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, who suspended his 2020 Senate campaign when former Attorney General Jeff Sessions jumped in the race, said he would consider a run. Rep. Mo Brooks is also expected to eye the seat. Brooks has faced criticism for his role in the Jan. 6 siege at the U.S. Capitol. At a rally before the deadly riot, he told the crowd it was time for “taking down names and kicking ass,” but has maintained since that he was talking about fighting at the ballot box


I'd love to see Doug Jones get another crack at this seat for the Dems, but I'd have to admit that much like Jaime Harrison or Amy McGrath's quixotic attempts that ended up in double-digit failures, Jones would lose by an even larger margin than the 20-point asskicking he took from Tommy Tuberville.

Then again, with the GOP all but assuring there will be massive Black voter disenfranchisement in the years ahead at the red state level, Jones could lose by 30 points next time around, as would any Democrat.

Trial Of The Century 2.0, Con't

The last thing Republicans want is a lengthy impeachment trial where witnesses describe in detail how the Trump terrorists were in the US Capitol building with the intent of killing Democratic lawmakers (and Mike Pence, if the chants are to be believed). With hours of footage ending up in attack ads against Republican seditionists and enablers, they'd be doomed in 2022.  And Republicans are absolutely terrified of that.

Allies of former President Donald Trump are imploring his impeachment team to avoid one specific topic when they defend the ex-president at his Senate trial next week: the deadly riot that unfolded at the U.S. Capitol.

Despite Trump’s likely acquittal on charges that he incited an insurrection, some of his most ardent supporters fear the trial could further damage his reputation if his attorneys wade into the events of Jan. 6, when five people were killed — including a Capitol police officer — after pro-Trump demonstrators stormed the halls of Congress.

The former president, whom House Democrats have accused of inciting the rioters at a rally earlier the same day, is already hemorrhaging support within the GOP. Recent public polls have shown a sharp decline in support among Republican voters for a potential Trump comeback bid in 2024. And a widely televised trial that reminds voters and lawmakers of the disturbing moments when MAGA devotees assaulted law enforcement officials and broke into the Capitol building could harm his future political aspirations even more.

“The Democrats have a very emotional and compelling case,” said former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon. “They’re going to try to convict him in the eyes of the American people and smear him forever.”

Trump’s legal team appears to have similar trepidations that next week’s proceedings will turn into a high-profile retelling of the riots and his role in them. To prevent that from happening, his lawyers have centered their case on whether it is constitutional to impeach a president after he’s left office. They also plan to argue that he did not engage in insurrection, saying his fiery speech on the ellipse of the White House was protected by the First Amendment, without indulging a lengthy discussion about what happened on Jan. 6.

“We don’t need to focus on Jan. 6 because this is unconstitutional,” said a person familiar with the strategy, who was not authorized to speak publicly. “There’s a lot of legal technical arguments that are going to be discussed.”

The concern among Trump’s allies that the trial will be a relitigation of the events at the Capitol underscores the degree to which next week is being viewed as a public relations matter for the optics-obsessed former president. It was notable on Thursday that in a letter dismissing the House impeachment managers’ calls for Trump to testify at the trial, the ex-president’s lawyers decried the request as a “public relations stunt.”

Still, there is little Trump’s team can do to stop the trial from veering towards a discussion of Jan. 6, since the impeachment managers are likely to focus intensely on the riots — and could, indeed, call witnesses to testify about what happened. In advance of that happening, top Republicans have begun to warn that Democrats are trying to score political points rather than address substantive constitutional matters.
Good luck with that, folks.
You bought the ticket, now you take the ride.


Retribution Execution, Con't

Donald Trump has emerged from his winter lair as his impeachment trial gets under way next week, but his real target is exacting bloody revenge against all the Republicans who refused to support him.
Donald Trump has been largely silent since leaving the White House last month, but he's making preparations for a comeback grievance tour.

The former president is planning a nationwide speaking tour intended to target the 10 Republicans who backed his impeachment and any GOP senators who speak out against him at next week's trial, reported Insider.

"I'm sure he wants to get out a roulette wheel with all their faces on it," said one Republican who speaks to Trump.

However, the former president is waiting until the trial ends and seems to understand Americans needed a break from his antics.

"Even he recognizes that we have Trump fatigue," said the Republican source. "Even he knows that you can get overexposed, and he wore the electorate out, and that was part of the problem. He clearly wore the country out with his behavior between the election and the inauguration."

Trump has been stung by the loss of his Twitter account and surprised by his swift impeachment -- his second in one term -- over the U.S. Capitol insurrection, but he's eager to return to the public eye.

"Trump is clearly shell shocked from the reaction to Jan. 6 and losing his social media platform," said Doug Heye, a former spokesman for the Republican National Committee. "We don't know how long that will last, but it's safe to assume we'll be hearing from him at some point."

There are no plans in place for his plans for the 2022 midterm campaigns, but some Republicans would prefer Trump take a lengthy break from politics.

"Trump would do best for himself and the party by laying low for a few years," said GOP strategist Mike DuHaime.
The good news is if Huckleberry Graham follows through on his threat to call witnesses and stretches Trump's impeachment trial for months, Trump clearly won't have the discipline to keep his mouth shut and he'll go rogue.

We'll see if he does, but watch for some fireworks.


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