The big story in both Politico Playbook and Punchbowl's morning newsletter is the scheduled House vote on censuring Rep. Paul Gosar for the infamous video he tweeted on November 9. It featured the opening credits from Japanese anime series "Attack on Titan," with Gosar, flanked by Reps. Marjorie Taylor Green and Lauren Boebert, stabbing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the neck and preparing to murder Joe Biden. By no stretch of the imagination is this okay, and it is of a piece with the increasingly unhinged and violent rhetoric that permeates every aspect of the GOP.

And it's not just rhetoric, as we all witnessed on January 6.

According to the Book and the Bowl, Gosar apologized to his Republican colleagues at a caucus meeting yesterday, although he has yet to apologize to Rep. Ocasio-Cortez herself. Most but not all of the Gippers rallied around him and agreed not to vote for censure.


Rep. Liz Cheney, whom Republicans recently stripped of her position as conference chair as punishment for her support for Trump's impeachment, is also expected to vote in favor of censure, describing House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's refusal to sanction Gosar as "indefensible, morally and ethically, and it's crazy politically."

Having agreed that they would do nothing to reprimand a congressman for threatening a colleague, the Republican caucus moved on to more important business: deciding how to punish their own members for the grievous sin of voting with Democrats on the infrastructure bill. Moderate New Yorker John Katko, who voted in favor of impeachment and the BIF, has been in the sights of the GOP fringe for a while. He appears to have saved his position as ranking member of the Homeland Security Committee by promising not to vote in favor of the Gosar censure, although he did vote to strip Marjorie Taylor Greene of her committee assignments back in February.

"What's a guy up in New York have to do with Homeland Security? Shouldn't it be someone down along the border?" Georgia's savviest pol said yesterday. She's also, like, really good at geography.

Playbook and Punchbowl can be forgiven for analyzing this censure resolution through an entirely political lens, since Kevin McCarthy's every move is dictated by his personal dream of regaining the speakership in 2023, and he has to keep the crazies on side if he wants to win.

From Playbook:

MCCARTHY'S BALANCING ACT — You can't watch all this drama without also asking how this plays into House Minority Leader KEVIN MCCARTHY's bid for speaker. On Tuesday night, MTG told reporters that if McCarthy doesn't punish Republicans who voted for BIF, she might not back him for the top post if Republicans retake the House next year. On the other side, moderate members are frustrated that he hasn't done more to rein in the far-right members coming after them.

Well, fair enough. But there's no honest discussion of this without acknowledging that only one side is deploying violent rhetoric, even after its followers invaded the building shouting "Nancy, come out and play!" and "Hang Mike Pence." And yet, here's how Playbook describes the censure vote itself:

The House will vote on a resolution to censure Gosar and strip him of his committee assignments, an extraordinary move by Democratic leaders. But it perfectly demonstrates what we're talking about — the anger, the deep distrust and lack of decorum or civility between members on many occasions.

Really? The censure resolution embodies the "lack of decorum or civility" that's eroding congress? Not the fact that a member publicly fantasized about killing someone, and his own party leader won't even make him call her up and apologize?

This isn't a game. These threats lead to real-world violence, as we saw less than a year ago. Here's some language from the bill describing what's really at stake here:

Whereas the Speaker of the House made clear that threats of violence against Members of Congress and the President of the United States should not be tolerated and called on the Committee on Ethics of the House and law enforcement to investigate the video;

Whereas depictions of violence can foment actual violence and jeopardize the safety of elected officials, as witnessed in this chamber on January 6, 2021;

Whereas violence against women in politics is a global phenomenon meant to silence women and discourage them from seeking positions of authority and participating in public life, with women of color disproportionately impacted;

A vote is scheduled for later this afternoon.

[Politico / Punchbowl / HR 789]

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.

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