Hannity goes after Barnette for attacking… Obama and Islam

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One of the most surreal Fox segments I’ve ever seen.

“Hannity as the avatar of a RINO system on the wrong side of a populist insurgency is a kind of karma.” Dan McLaughlin tweeted last night about Hannity going all out for his friend, Mehmet Oz. Hey, I don’t know anything about that. Hannity was a well-established guy during the Bush years, when maintaining his position in the conservative media required tirelessly defending Dubya from the left. When the Republican Party was ousted from power and the base shifted to small-government populism, Hannity shifted as well, becoming a Tea Party insurgent. When his friend Trump caught fire in 2015, it was easy for him to shift back, this time to a more nationalist, anti-establishment conservatism.

It goes where the base goes. Trump and his courtiers are now the de facto Republican establishment and that establishment wants Dr. Oz to win in Pennsylvania, so Hannity naturally took that view too, believing the base would agree. He may have miscalculated.

But if he did and Barnette ends up winning, you can be sure that in a few months you’ll be the loudest and proudest Barnette fan in America.

For now, though, he’s hard at work dragging his friend Oz across the finish line. Wednesday night he highlighted some of Barnette’s more outlandish tweets and invited Oz to declare Barnette a “mysterious” candidate who has not been properly vetted. That was part of what Politico describes today as an informal “Operation Stop Barnette” it is being launched within the party, with operatives from the Oz and Dave McCormick campaigns, as well as several Trump supporters joining. With days to go before the vote, the GOP is panicking that there isn’t enough time to launch a serious opposition research effort that will penetrate Pennsylvania’s Republican voters before they cast their ballots. Anti-Barnette forces from all sides are fighting to circulate whatever dirt they can find on her.

Or that they can invent, in some cases:

Trump-aligned populist websites are also in action. beard noted that Barnette told an interviewer this week that one of his first votes in Pennsylvania was for Trump in the 2016 primary, contradicting a claim in his book published two years ago that he had not voted for Trump. (apparently she did not vote in Pennsylvania at all in 2016.) max news posted a story this morning titled “Barnette fades as erratic record comes under fire” which is flat out false. There is no evidence in any poll that she is fading. But given the choice between doing something solid for Trump’s soft-spoken RINO Oz and coming to the defense of a bona fide populist like Barnette, imagine outlets like Breitbart and Newsmax going to fight for MAGA’s establishment.

Hannity is too. But the difference between Breitbart and Newsmax on the one hand and Hannity on the other is that the former are limited to complaining about Barnette’s sins against Republican orthodoxy, specifically the fact that she was anti-Trump during her first primary race in 2016. Hannity is making a broader argument that Barnette can’t win a general election in Pennsylvania, which requires her to revisit some of her old tweets that could possibly scare undecided voters.

Which brings us to this mind-blowing show from last night, in which an outspoken MAGA cheerleader tsk-tsk an “ultra MAGA” candidate for once saying harsh things about gays, muslims and barack obama. As you watch, ask yourself what percentage of Hannity’s viewers probably share most of Barnette’s views on those topics. Eighty percent, maybe? Plus?

My favorite part is when he insists he doesn’t want Barnette canceled. not? Not from gainful employment, perhaps, but certainly from the Pennsylvania Senate race.

She was once scheduled to speak at a QAnon event, she says, breathlessly. You can imagine? a populist republican in QAnon?

If he wants to ask her about all this in person, she says she’s ready:

That would be great television. But forced to choose between great television and helping his friends Trump and Oz in Pennsylvania by denying Barnette some free media on election eve on a show watched by millions, this particular TV host will almost certainly choose door number two.

Meanwhile, though he’s doing his best to use his megaphone to ward off the undecided in Pennsylvania from Barnette, it’s late in the game:

The adviser noted that Oz still has a decent shot at a win, but admitted that it was clearly possible for Barnette to win, given that he has “the most room to grow, with less than a week remaining” after “months of watching these guys bomb each other.”…

Some GOP strategists believe it may be too late to sink Barnette with negative ads, given that she hasn’t faced any attack ads so far.

“When you get momentum so late in a campaign and people probably won’t hear a lot of new things about you because there’s not a lot of time, I think it’s hard to stop that momentum,” Brabender said.

Normally, this is where Mitch McConnell’s Super PAC would swoop in and dump a ton of money on ad spending to try to prevent a possibly ineligible candidate from winning the nomination, but it’s too late for them too.

Perhaps Trump holding a last-minute rally for Oz in Pennsylvania on Monday is the Republican establishment’s only hope of stopping her.

I’ll leave you with Barnette’s question about some of her old tweets. She… she’s not really going with the “I got hacked” excuse, is she?

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