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For Republicans, ‘Crisis’ Is the Message as the Outrage Machine Ramps Up


Last week, the target of Republican outrage was Ms. Omar, after a tweet she posted that appeared to equate the actions of Israel and the United States with the human rights abuses of Hamas and the Taliban. Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the minority leader, called the tweet anti-Semitic — though it did not mention Jews or Judaism — and threatened to try to remove Ms. Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee, an action they have yet to take.

Republicans are also pressing their case that the push by some progressive Democrats to “defund the police” has led directly to a very real surge in crime facing the nation’s cities.

It can get difficult to keep up with all the catastrophizing. On Tuesday, minutes after Representative Michael McCaul, the lead Republican on the Foreign Affairs Committee, warned of Moscow’s aggressive cyber attacks and a looming Russian stranglehold over Europe’s power supply, Mr. Scalise said, “I don’t know if Vice President Harris understands the crisis is not in Europe, it’s at America’s southern border, and she and President Biden created it.”

There are plans to put together some Republican policy proposals. Mr. McCarthy has assembled seven task forces: jobs and the economy; Big Tech censorship; the “Future of American Freedoms”; energy, climate and conservation; American security; “healthy future”; and China. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, who leads the big tech task force, said the panels will take a year to come up with legislative and policy responses to take into the midterm elections.

“The goal is to be ready on Day 1,” should the Republicans take back the majority, she said.

For now, even Republicans who have been critical of their leaders say they have time to formulate an agenda beyond the outrage machine they are eagerly feeding. Representative Chip Roy, Republican of Texas, noted that Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America really didn’t emerge until September 1994, two months before Republicans’ resounding midterm sweep.

“There’s night-and-day difference between Republicans and Democrats, say, on border security, where we’re fairly united that we need to secure the border, and I don’t think they care,” he said. “We’re watching small businesses unable to hire people because they’re paying people more not to work. We’re pretty united on those key differences. Thematically bringing all that together and how you message that the American people, I think that’s something you work on.”

As for the Democrats, most simply don’t think the crisis talk is working, beyond spinning out clicks for right-wing media outlets and Facebook algorithms that thrive on outrage over such things as the decision by Dr. Seuss’s estate to cease publishing works that include egregious racial and ethnic stereotypes or the switch by Hasbro to a non-gendered brand name for its iconic plastic toy, now known as Potato Head.



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