A (Slightly) Different Approach
More focused, less scattered
Note: This site can also be accessed by entering FeathersOfHope.net in your browser window
For new readers, here are links to some previous posts that will bring you up to date on what the Feathers of Hope network has been doing :
Wait, Exactly How Will We Do This? — (January 28)
Replacing McCarthy - A Progress Report — (February 16)
Moderate Republicans? Really? — (March 2)
You’ve Got To Be Kidding, Kevin! — (April 26)
Escape From MAGA World — (May 3)
Is There A Crack In The Wall? — (June 29)
More Sand In The Gears — (July 21)
How Long Is This Journey? — (August 22)
Feathers of Hope is a network of ordinary citizens committed to advocating for the removal and replacement of Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House, thereby diminishing the power and influence of MAGA extremists in the chamber.
We have been urging moderate Republicans and Democrats in the House of Representatives to form a temporary bipartisan majority voting bloc for the purpose of passing a motion to “vacate the chair” and elect a new Republican Speaker who owes nothing to the minority MAGA group.
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The House won’t reconvene until September 12.
With most Representatives still out of town, and no more indictments or arraignments of the former President expected, this week we have a unique opportunity. There’s a brief 7-day window for us to be heard by political media, as they prepare for the first order of business next week: the coming fight over government funding bills in the House of Representatives.
Because media favors drama, and extremism is by definition dramatic, political opinion writers and broadcasters routinely shower attention on MAGA and the Freedom Caucus. So until they return, we can expect to read and hear mostly re-caps of what happened in July or speculation about what’ll happen next week. In other words, there’s a lot of empty media space to be filled.
Our challenge is to attract some of that idle media attention right now.
Since early Spring we’ve mostly been contacting the offices of Representatives themselves, urging them to “vacate the chair” and elect a new Speaker. And in two weeks, we’ll be doing so again. But right now it’s time to turn our attention to the media.
Over the next several days, we need to elevate the idea of removing and replacing Speaker Kevin McCarthy from the margins of our political discourse into the mainstream. The sooner that happens, the sooner normal order will return to the House of Representatives.
Our task at this time is to encourage political opinion writers and broadcast journalists to focus less on the antics of the perpetrators of chaos, and more on the potential response of problem solvers.
What we are asking of them is to simply initiate conversations about the formation of a cross-party alliance in the House, a bipartisan majority, to confront MAGA extremists right away rather than waiting until we’re again on the brink of crisis.
To this end, last week’s post had a lengthy section of Media Contact Information, which was also incorporated into our Updated Contact List . This is all well and good, but . . .
There’s a big flaw in our strategy.
Trying to include as many media sources as possible, our listing names over 50 individual writers and broadcasters. The plan was to reach a diverse sample of journalists — left, right and center — because we’re convinced that marginalizing the influence of MAGA extremists is in everyone’s interest. After all, avoiding a default on our debt is as important to Wall Street as it is to Main Street. Likewise, funding the operation of government is part of the normal functioning of the legislature.
Unfortunately, we undermine our effectiveness by spreading ourselves too thin. In order to be heard, we need to concentrate our efforts. While our network continues to grow, there’s simply not enough of us yet to be noticed unless we all focus on contacting the same one or two individuals.
With that in mind, I’m recommending that everyone set aside a few minutes Today, or another day This Week, and write to Jennifer Rubin and/or Rachel Maddow.
1. Jennifer Rubin: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jennifer Rubin is an attorney and featured columnist at the Washington Post. A former Republican, before 2016 her column was called “Right Turn” reflecting her conservative perspective. She left the party when Donald Trump was nominated, joining other prominent conservative objectors like Michael Steele, Nicole Wallace and Steve Schmidt. Her book Resistance: How Women Saved Democracy from Donald Trump, was published in 2021:
“From the White House to Congress, from activists to protestors, from liberals to conservatives, Resistance delivers the first comprehensive portrait of women’s historic political surge provoked by the horror of President Trump.”
Last week Ms. Rubin wrote about what Responsible Media Coverage in the Trump Era would look like:
“The media could educate the public and defend democracy. . . . Treating the GOP like an ordinary party — and the 2024 election like a run-of-the-mill race — allows the media to cling to false equivalencies and feigned neutrality. However, as long as the mainstream media practices business-as-usual journalism, millions of voters will remain oblivious to the dire state of American democracy. And worse, Trump and his party will benefit from the bizarre insistence on treating neo-fascists and their apologists like normal politicians.”
Ms. Rubin’s challenge to political journalists echoes the criticism of her fellow Washington Post contributor, Professor of Public Affairs at George Mason University, Steven Pearlstein. As featured in our August 18 post We Need To Be Talking About This, Professor Pearlstein shares our advocacy for a cross-party alliance to confront MAGA extremists in the House of Representatives. In his column about their obstruction of the debt ceiling increase and their plans to shut down the government, Professor Pearlstein points out:
“The media reflexively blames a small band of ideological zealots for fomenting another crisis and perpetuates the notion that there is nothing anyone can do to stop the serial hijacking of the legislative process.”
Jennifer Rubin is inviting our support as she attempts to avoid normalizing the outrageous, while focusing more on the struggle to defend our threatened democracy. That is precisely what we’re all about. We recognize that the MAGA extremists in the House are not normal politicians, and that bold steps need to be taken if they are to be stopped. We want to see the replacement of Speaker McCarthy as a solution worthy of being considered, for it to be part of the national narrative.
Write to Jennifer Rubin today, here: email@example.com
2. Rachel Maddow: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rachel Maddow is one of the most erudite broadcast journalists on TV. A Rhodes Scholar and PhD from Oxford, Ms. Maddow has written books about the American military, the Russian oil industry, Vice President Agnew’s bribery scandal, and her latest is about anti-fascism in the U.S. in the early 20th century, Prequel: An American Fight Against Fascism, scheduled to be released next month.
Ms. Maddow once told Katie Couric in an interview that she sees her role as trying to increase the amount of useful information in the world. In a New Yorker piece, Janet Malcolm quotes her as saying
“The thing that defines whether or not you’re good at this work is whether you have something to say when it’s time to say something.”
Rachel Maddow is always looking for substantive content that doesn’t just reflect mainstream opinion. Typically she starts her show with a brief history lesson on a subject that ties into her lead story. For example, if she were to be introducing a story about the potential removal of a sitting Speaker of the House, she might note that it’s never actually happened. But it almost did in 1997 when Newt Gingrich nearly lost the Speakership. This a dramatic tale, loaded with intrigue. It’d be a perfect way to initiate discussion about the potential for a cross-party alliance to out-maneuver the MAGA/Freedom Caucus faction, pre-empting their threat to remove Speaker McCarthy by doing it first.
When writing to Rachel Maddow, it may be helpful to refer to the 1997 incident. Professor Pearlstein’s column above is also worth mentioning, as she likes to interview an expert on the subject she’s featuring.
Write to Rachel Maddow today here: rachel@msnbc
What to say in your email
Both of these professionals are extremely well-informed and need no education on the details of how the “motion to vacate the chair” works. Only the suggestion that a bipartisan majority might use the procedure is novel. What we’re asking is simply that they raise the subject for discussion.
How you word your request will reflect your own style of writing and your own priorities. I’m attaching a copy of what I sent to each of them yesterday to help you get started. You’re free to copy, but if you do I’d recommend doing something to personalize it a little. They deserve our respect and we don’t want them to feel spammed.
Kevin McCarthy is threatening to impeach President Biden.
There’s no evidence of any “high crime or misdemeanor”, and not even enough Republican votes to authorize a formal inquiry. It’s all bluster and posturing, just like the MAGA threats to defund the Justice Dept. or to shut down the government. As Jennifer Rubin reminds us, these extremists are not normal politicians. And we don’t have to let them dominate the media for the next few weeks.
A robust public discussion threatening the removal and replacement of Speaker McCarthy would dramatically alter the dynamic in Congress. Let’s make it happen!
In Other News . . .
Talks between the United Auto Workers (UAW) and the “Big 3” auto makers are not going well, to say the least. Last week rank-and-file members voted (by a 97% majority!) to authorize leaders to call a strike when their current contract expires Sept. 14.
In addition to overall wage demands, members are adamant about ending the “tiered employment” system which puts newer employees on a lower pay scale with worse benefits, sometime as little as half as much, for the same work. UPS employees recently won an end to that system in their new contract.
The UAW is asking the public to leave a message for Big 3 CEO’s in support of the union by calling this number: 318-300-1249. You can find a list of the union’s position points and learn about other ways to help here: Quick Action Guide . (Thanks, Jessica Craven)
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