How long can GOP dance the two-step?

How long can GOP dance the two-step?

**Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.**On the roster: How long can GOP dance the two-step? – I’ll Tell You What: Like gettin’ popcorn at the movies – Biden pushes stimulus, virus curbs – Team Trump drops key request in Pennsylvania suit – Flushed with excitement for antiquitiesHOW LONG CAN GOP DANCE THE TWO-STEP?
Where is President Trump setting the price point for his fellow Republicans on the question of his ongoing refusal to accept the results of the presidential election that ended two weeks ago? Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine thought he knew what the market conditions were like when remarked in a Sunday show appearance. DeWine said that the president was well within his rights to contest the outcomes of various state contests in court — even charitably suggesting that what Trump is doing is not “irregular.”But he also said this: “On the other hand, it’s clear that, certainly, based on what we know now, that Joe Biden is the president-elect. And that transition, for the country’s sake, it’s important for a normal transition to start through.”DeWine, the popular governor of red state Ohio, also served two terms as the state’s attorney general, one term as the state’s lieutenant governor, four terms representing Ohio in the House and two terms in the Senate. He’s also very aware of what’s happening right now in the state with regard to the coronavirus pandemic. Consider him an expert witness.The president was not impressed. “Who will be running for Governor of the Great State of Ohio?” Trump wondered aloud on Twitter “Will be hotly contested!”Judging by DeWine’s performance and public sentiment about his handling of coronavirus challenges, one would tend to think Ohio would not be that hotly contested of a race. You might see Democrats making a play in the general if conditions were just right, but a primary challenge to a popular governor would not have entered anybody’s minds — except for the president.That’s the way in which things are getting tricky for Trump and his party. The lines we’ve heard from mainstream Republicans for two weeks have been similar to what DeWine said in the first part of his own comments. The gist is: Recounts are fine, lawsuits are fine, leave the president alone as he explores his options.But now the options are running out. Trump’s remaining legal challenges look reedy at best, so he and his campaign have shifted to an alternate narrative which is that massive electronic fraud took place across multiple states. If, however, that was the case, it would also say the Republican gains in the Ohio statehouse and successful efforts to hold off challengers in congressional races was also potentially illegitimate.The good thing about Trump’s allegations about widespread secret violations is that they are unprovable in both directions. While Trump and his supporters cannot prove that the 2020 elections were a fraud, neither could anyone conclusively disprove them.If you say that they stuffed the ballot box in this precinct or that precinct, you can investigate. If they say votes were counted that should not have been counted, elections officials can look them up. But in the world of an electronic conspiracy, you may not be able to get your case into court, but you never have to watch it get thrown out, either. That’s great for Trump as he contemplates his life post presidency. He would never have to admit that he lost and would get to maintain an animating grievance that would motivate his supporters for the purposes of political power and/or financial advantage. But that’s not the kind of standard that Republicans who are still in the game can match. Certainly there are red districts in red states where Republican officeholders will very happily say that the election was stolen from Trump. But for big jobs or politicians in somewhat competitive states, this status quo can’t go on much longer.Republicans can’t take credit for their successes in 2020 and simultaneously agree with the president that a massive fraud has been perpetuated against the American voting public. Nor can Republicans who rely on help from Democrats on the state and federal level afford to sound like they are following Trump down an increasingly fragile branch of reasoning.We suppose the conclusion of this awkwardness will come as more Republicans follow DeWine and an increasing number of prominent GOPers are ready to talk about what’s next. Trump’s ability to enforce order will steadily decrease. And one day they will all pretend like they never really disagreed at all.On the other hand, if Trump makes Republicans choose between doing what their voters want and supporting him in his claims for weeks and weeks, this could be the beginning of a lasting rupture for the GOP.
 
THE RULEBOOK: CHA-CHING
“The prosperity of commerce is now perceived and acknowledged by all enlightened statesmen to be the most useful as well as the most productive source of national wealth, and has accordingly become a primary object of their political cares.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 12TIME OUT: YOU, PENCIL
The Humble pencil gets a nod on this year’s “Made in the South” awards from Garden & Gun magazine. Garden & Gun: “Most people probably never stop to ponder the provenance of a pencil, but when gripping a Tennessee Red made by the Musgrave Pencil Company, it’s hard not to. ‘You see the discoloration, the natural pores and knots and streaks of the wood,’ says Henry Hulan, the chairman of Musgrave, which has produced pencils from the same plot of land in Shelbyville, Tennessee, for the last 104 years. While Tennessee red cedar was the pencil material of choice for much of the early 1900s, California incense cedar proved a faster-growing alternative, and by the end of the century, some pencil production had moved overseas. Last year, the company resurrected the Tennessee Red, the original wood Hulan’s grandfather built the business on around World War I. A just-off-center lead core, a quirk courtesy of the red cedar from local slat mills, and a strong woodsy aroma lend the pencils a charming homespun quality.”Flag on the play? – Email us at [email protected] with your tips, comments or questions.GOT A WILD PITCH? READY TO THROW A FASTBALL?
We’ve brought “From the Bleachers” to video on demand thanks to Fox Nation. Each Wednesday and Friday, Producer Brianna McClelland will put Politics Editor Chris Stirewalt to the test with your questions on everything about politics, government and American history – plus whatever else is on your mind. Sign up for the Fox Nation streaming service here and send your best questions to [email protected]’LL TELL YOU WHAT: LIKE GETTIN’ POPCORN AT THE MOVIES
After engaging in the debate that is going to the dentist during COVID, Dana Perino and Chris Stirewalt discuss the continued aftermath of the 2020 election. They talk about the runoff election in Georgia, the pick of Ron Klain as Chief of Staff and other possible cabinet projections, the relevance of ticket splitters in 2020, and the potential for more COVID stimulus during a lame-duck administration. Plus, Chris answers incumbent defeat trivia and the podcast gets a new mascot. LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE HEREBIDEN PUSHES STIMULUS, VIRUS CURBS
NYT: “President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. warned that a ‘very dark winter’ is ahead and called on Congress to pass an economic stimulus package immediately to help workers struggling to cope with the coronavirus pandemic. In his first economic address since winning the election this month, Mr. Biden said he supported a national mask mandate to help curb the rise of the virus and he called on Congress to provide trillions of dollars in fiscal support to workers, businesses and state and local governments. ‘For millions of Americans who’ve lost hours and wages or have lost jobs, we can deliver immediate relief and it needs be done quickly,’ Mr. Biden said. ‘Congress should come together and pass a Covid relief package’ along the lines of the $3 trillion bill that House Democrats passed earlier this year. Mr. Biden said that combating the virus remains the most urgent matter, however, and called on President Trump to begin the transition process promptly.”Team Pelosi discourages members from eyeing administration posts – NY Post: “Confronted with a shrunken majority, House leaders are discouraging fellow Democrats from taking jobs with the incoming Biden administration — out of concern that Republicans could nab any vacated seats, sources told The Post on Sunday. Insiders variously accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., of urging Dems to stay put to preserve their fragile majority. ‘Nancy is telling House members, ‘Now is not the time to leave,’’ a Democratic Party official who’s been briefed by Democratic congressional reps said. But another House insider said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., is urging Democratic congressional reps to stay put, and told the Biden transition team not to poach its members because of the party’s slim majority following the Nov. 3 elections. The sensitive topics of jumping ship to work for Biden amid the loss of House seats came up at a House Democratic caucus meeting last week.”Pergram: Forsooth? – Fox News: “Few other writers give us better insight into politics than William Shakespeare. It’s easy to pluck lines and observations from the Bard’s more famous political plays: Julius Caesar. Hamlet. Macbeth. Richard III. Casual Shakespeare observers ignore his play ‘Coriolanus.’ But the work named after a Roman leader lends particular insight into where we find American politics between the 2020 election and inauguration day. Consider the President disputing the election results. Should we have anticipated anything else? ‘Why did you wish me milder? would you have me False to my Nature?’ is an interrogative posed by the title character Coriolanus to a Roman senator in Act III, Scene 2. In other words, should we have anticipated President Trump to respond differently to the election outcome? He telegraphed this move. As Shakespeare writes, it was doubtful Mr. Trump would be ‘False’ to his ‘Nature.’”TEAM TRUMP DROPS KEY REQUEST IN PENNSYLVANIA SUIT
AP: “President Donald Trump’s campaign is withdrawing a central request in its lawsuit seeking to stop the certification of the election results in Pennsylvania, where Democrat Joe Biden beat Trump to capture the state and help win the White House. Ahead of a Tuesday hearing in the case, Trump’s campaign dropped its request in the lawsuit that hundreds of thousands of mail-in and absentee ballots — 682,479, to be precise — be thrown out because they were processed without its representatives able to watch. The campaign’s revised lawsuit, filed in federal court on Sunday, maintains the aim of blocking Pennsylvania from certifying a victory for Biden in the state, and it maintains its claim that Democratic voters were treated more favorably than Republican voters. The campaign still contends in the lawsuit that hundreds of thousands of ballots weren’t properly processed. … The campaign said in a statement Monday that it ‘strategically decided to restructure its lawsuit to rely on claims of violations of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.’”Trump acknowledges Biden’s win but still hasn’t conceded – AP: “President Donald Trump on Sunday appeared to acknowledge for the first time that Joe Biden won the White House, but made clear he would not concede and would keep trying to overturn the election result. Trump’s statements came in tweets that included several baseless claims about the Nov. 3 vote, which state and federal officials say was safe and secure. Trump, without using Biden’s name, tweeted that ‘He won,’ something Trump had not said before publicly, though he said the Democrat’s victory was only ‘in the eyes’ of the media. Biden defeated Trump by winning back a trio of battleground states that switched from the Democratic column in 2016 — Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — and topped the 270 electoral vote threshold to clinch the presidency. Biden so far has 78.8 million votes, the most ever by a winning candidate, to Trump’s total — more than 73 million.”Biden denounces ‘all acts of violence’ after attacks on Trump supporters at MAGA rally – Fox News: “President-elect Joe Biden denounced ‘all acts of violence’ in a statement to Fox News after attacks on President Trump’s supporters at the so-called Million MAGA March in Washington, D.C., on Saturday. ‘President-elect Biden continues to denounce all acts of violence,’ Biden spokesperson Andrew Bates said Monday, although he did not name Antifa or Black Lives Matter. ‘Likewise, he also condemns the repugnant displays of white supremacy that were made in Washington, DC this weekend,’ Bates continued, citing a sign displayed at the march that read ‘Coming for Blacks and Indians first welcome to the New World Order.’ Fox News’ inquiries about violence against Trump supporters to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer were not returned.”GEORGIA RUNOFFS FOCUS ON HEALTH CARE AND SOCIALISM
Politico: “Republicans want to save Georgians from socialism. Democrats want to save their health care and flip the Senate. The dueling messages last week defined the kickoff of the two runoff elections in Georgia that will decide control of the Senate in January. … The eight-week sprint to the Jan. 5 runoffs comes amid the backdrop of rapidly rising Covid-19 infections, along with the start of Biden’s transition — even as Republicans defend President Donald Trump’s efforts to undermine and fight the results of the election. Both sides agree on one thing: Georgia is about to determine the shape of American politics for at least the next two years. But they diverge sharply on how that prospect motivates voters. … [Jon] Ossoff, who is challenging GOP Sen. David Perdue, and Rev. Raphael Warnock, who is running in a special election against appointed Sen. Kelly Loeffler, both focused on protecting health care in their first events last week, a continuation of Democrats’ general-election message.”GOP cash is flooding in – WSJ: “The National Republican Senatorial Committee has combined with the campaigns of Georgia Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler to raise $32 million over the past six days, as they prepare for two runoff elections that will determine which party controls the U.S. Senate. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee declined Thursday to share its fundraising numbers, but the group has said it would commit to spending millions to register Georgians for the Jan. 5 runoffs and to get out the vote. Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams’s voting-rights group, Fair Fight, said Tuesday that GASenate.com had raised about $9.8 million for the runoffs since 7 p.m. last Friday. The group didn’t provide The Wall Street Journal updated figures Thursday, but tweeted that in five days, more than 125,000 supporters had contributed to Democrats’ runoff efforts in the state.”Ossoff, Warnock may not have same luck as Biden – Politico: “Joe Biden turned Georgia blue. Compared to what they’re up against now, that was the easy part for Democrats. To repeat Biden’s feat in a pair of Senate runoffs on Jan. 5, with control of the Senate on the line, the Democratic Party will have to defy a long track record of failure in overtime elections. They’ll need to overcome the entire weight of the Republican Party descending on the state — from organizers and operatives to potentially hundreds of millions of dollars. One of their Senate candidates, Jon Ossoff, would have to make up the nearly 90,000 votes he ran behind the GOP incumbent on Nov. 3. And Democrats will have to manage all of that without Donald Trump on the ballot to motivate their voters — while Republicans energize their base with warnings that electing Ossoff and Democrat Raphael Warnock would allow liberalism — or even socialism — to run amok in Washington.”Perdue won’t debate again, Ossoff wants six – Fox News: “Sen. David Perdue won’t debate Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff before the Jan. 5 Georgia runoff election despite pressure from the challenger to do so, sparking a heated back-and-forth between the campaigns less than two months before voters will head to the polls in a race that could decide control of the U.S. Senate. Ossoff last week challenged Perdue, R-Ga., to three debates before the runoff. The pair engaged in two debates ahead of the general election, where neither candidate reached 50% of the vote, which would have been needed to avoid a runoff. Ossoff upped the demand to six debates on Monday morning. … ‘If Sen. Perdue doesn’t want to answer questions, that’s fine, he just shouldn’t run for reelection to the U.S. Senate,’ Ossoff said in a Monday morning statement. ‘I offer the senator any or all of these six debates, if he has the self-confidence to debate in public.’”Warnock tries to take Schumer out of the picture – Fox News: “Raphael Warnock, the Democratic candidate running in one of two high-profile U.S. Senate runoffs in Georgia, tried on Sunday to refocus the race as not about regaining control of the Senate, but as ‘about the people of Georgia.’ Appearing on CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ on Sunday, Warnock, 51, sought to reframe to race as a referendum on the progressive agenda, with things like providing access to affordable healthcare. ‘Chuck Schumer’s name is certainly not on the ballot,’ Warnock said. ‘I will you what is on the ballot. Health care is on the ballot — access to affordable health care. We have got 500,000 Georgians in the Medicaid gap. We have got 1.8 million Georgians with preexisting conditions.’”FISCAL CLIFF APPROACHES
Roll Call: “Despite hopeful talk on both sides of the aisle, the odds are against congressional leaders reaching agreement on a COVID-19 relief package and omnibus appropriations bill to wrap up this year’s unfinished business in the lame-duck session. The mostly likely outcome is another stopgap spending bill, perhaps into late February or early March, with some limited bipartisan COVID-19 aid attached. That’s the view of Capitol Hill officials in both parties and other legislative experts. ‘I think I’d peg the odds as pretty low’ on getting everything done before January, according to Gordon Gray, director of fiscal policy at the right-leaning American Action Forum. … Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., say they want to pass a pandemic bill and omnibus, but the differences over the size and content of a COVID-19 package that held up agreement before the election are still there.”PLAY-BY-PLAY
Report: Second coronavirus vaccine shows success in U.S. tests – APGovernors bring back severe coronavirus lockdowns, tighten restrictions as cases hit record highs – Fox NewsAUDIBLE: DO WE REALLY WANT THEM DRIVING, THOUGH?
“Without cocaine monkeys, there’s no tax cuts and no roads!” – Ron Klain, chief of staff to President-elect Joe Biden, in an interview with Politico’s Michael Grunwald for a book about the 2009 Obama stimulus. Klain was explaining how much-derided stimulus provisions, like studying addiction in primates, were politically necessary additions to ensure final passage.FROM THE BLEACHERS
“I find it disconcerting that the media – including Fox News – has recently reported assertions made by Trump as ‘unfounded.’ The statements may be unproven, unsupported by available evidence, or alleged, but unless we accept the media as the arbiter of truth, I don’t think it’s right for the media to pass final judgement. I don’t see similar characterizations of Biden’s equally ‘unfounded’ claim that he will guide the country through the COVID crisis better than Trump, or his ‘unfounded’ claim he will not raise taxes for anyone making less than $400,000, and so on. There’s no proof these statements are true, nor is there proof they are false. I hope whoever serves us as President these next four years helps us make our country a better place!” – David Zick, Bloomfield Hills, Mich.[Ed. note: A good hope for all of us to the president-elect, Mt. Zick! But I think where Biden would probably quibble with you a little bit is on the difference between a promise and a fact. Certainly, anyone who has been around politics for as long as he has knows that not all promises come to pass, even the ones politicians mean to keep. When the president-elect promises to defeat coronavirus, that’s an aspirational statement. When he points to the details of his tax plan, one is free to point out back door increases on lower earners, like the potential out-year hikes to the payroll tax. So that’s something that he can claim with confidence but that can also be questioned on detail. He has a plan, but you may disagree with how it would really affect taxpayers. What the current president is doing, though, is different from both is those things. He’s calling for the overturning of a presidential election but doesn’t have evidence of the massive criminal enterprise he claims happened. If you accuse people of crimes, you have to have proof. That’s the American way.]“The New York Times and other media outlets are quoting ‘a group of federal, state and local election officials, who issued a statement on Thursday declaring flatly that the election ‘was the most secure in American history’ and that ‘there is no evidence’ any voting systems were compromised.’ So, essentially, a group of those who RAN the election, stated ‘the election was the best darn election that we’ve ever had (thanks to us).’ Now I’m not suggesting that there was or wasn’t small or wide-spread voter fraud in the election we just had, but what would you expect the people who were the most responsible for the accuracy and integrity of the election to say?  Can’t we find someone capable and a bit more objective to determine how well or accurate the most recent election was?” – Kent Haldorson, Beaverton, Ore.[Ed. note: I hear you, Mr. Haldorson. But maybe think of it more like this: This would be like the report from various agencies after a hurricane season. These are the folks we selected to do the work of protecting our elections. They say it was smooth sailing. You may disagree with them or believe them to be corrupt. But these are the folks we picked to do the job. I suppose we, through or representatives in Congress, could select new people to check their work. Maybe that would put some minds at ease. But given the lack of any evidence of significant fraud, I doubt a new set of findings would convince folks inclined to believe the whole thing was rigged. There’s nothing so intellectually liberating as conspiracy theorizing.]“The Republicans had many more seats in the Senate up for grabs this year. What is the outlook in 2022 in terms of Democrats vs. Republicans up for reelection? Is there a good possibility that the Republicans could grow their Senate majority in 2022? It sounds like a Republican takeover in the House is now a distinct possibility.” – Glenn Fuller, Laurel, Md.[Ed. note: With a Democratic president, you’d have to like the Republicans chances for more pickups in the House. But on the Senate aside, there are just so many GOP seats up in swing states — including ones with controversial incumbents like Wisconsin — that it will be another brutal battle for control.]“The clarity of the HR these past few weeks, to use the overworked term of my Grandson’s generation, have been ‘awesome.’ Have an ASK of you…can you look into the Stirewalt Crystal Ball and give your readers a glimpse of where you see our Nation in a decade? From reading HR since its inception, I think the readership would like to read your views on where we are heading… politics, religion, CV19, global economy… all that stuff.” – Rick Randell, Bradenton, Fla.[Ed. note: You are very kind, sir. Certainly, too kind if you think I know where this lashed up buggy is rolling! But I certainly do think that we are reaching a point where so many good things are again possible. What remains to be seen is how great the appetite for brain-dead partisanship is. In some ways, it’s getting worse every day. But in other, perhaps more significant ways, we see voters at the breaking point on a dysfunctional system. I think Biden’s victory as nominee and in the general election over the strenuous resistance of the progressive left is one such sign. The next six months or so will tell us a great deal.]Share your color commentary: Email us at [email protected] and please make sure to include your name and hometown.FLUSHED WITH EXCITEMENT FOR ANTIQUITIES
AP: “A bust of the ancient god Hermes, in good condition, was discovered in central Athens during sewage work, authorities said Sunday. The Greek Culture Ministry said that the head, one of many that served as street markers in ancient Athens, was found Friday and it appears to be from around 300 B.C. — that is, either from the late fourth century B.C., or the early third century. It depicts Hermes at ‘a mature age,’ the ministry said, in contrast to his usual depictions as youthful. The head is in the style of famed Greek sculpture Alcamenes, who flourished in the second half of fifth century B.C., the ministry said. After serving as a street marker, the head, at some point, had been built into the wall of a drainage duct, the ministry said.”AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“The slide back away from liberal democracy is well underway. That was perhaps to be expected: History has been unkind to every stripe of utopian thinking.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) in an excerpt from his 2017 essay “The Authoritarian Temptation,” published in his posthumous book, “The Point of It All,” seen in the Washington Post on Nov. 8, 2019.Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.

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