President Joe Biden and administration officials have described conservative Republicans as “a threat to democracy.” Though some attempts have been made to walk back Biden’s ill-considered comment, most believe the statement is indicative of the progressive left.
Given the volatile political landscape and midterms being just weeks away, some were surprised Biden nominated Coleen Shogan as the next leader of the National Archives and Records Administration.
Today, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) questioned why Biden, the self-proclaimed “unifier and chief,” would nominate Shogan, a partisan political asset who once wrote that Republicans are “stupid.”
During Wednesday’s Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing, Hawley noted that Shogan had written a paper “disparaging every two-term Republican president since World War II,” according to The Daily Wire.
Hawley asked Shogan:
“You have talked in today’s hearings so far and in your pre-hearing Q&A about how much it’s important to be a non-partisan leader, correct?”
Hawley continued: “And so if you’re confirmed, you will attempt to stay politically neutral in your decision making, is that fair to say?”
Shogan acknowledged that Hawley’s statement was accurate.
Hawley then noted an article Shogan wrote titled “Anti-Intellectualism in the Modern Presidency: Republican Populism.” In her 2007 article, published by the American Political Science Association, Shogan demeaned Republican presidents Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush and suggested their “leadership posturing place them on the explicitly anti-intellectual side of the spectrum.”
After a review of the article, Hawley asked Shogan: “Do you consider this piece to be non-partisan?”
Attempting to thread the needle, Shogan replied: “I consider it to be an academic article publication 16, 17 years ago, a scholarly piece.”
Hawley noted that Shogan had referred to modern-era GOP presidents as having an “anti-intellectual posture“ and asked her to define the phrase.
Shogan replied: “The ability to speak in very plain, common-sense terms to Americans.”
In the article, Shogan wrote that while “Republicans tend to exhibit anti-intellectual qualities, Democrats coalesce on the intellectual tail of the continuum.”
After reading that statement to those participating in the hearing, Hawley asked, “So is your point that Republicans are stupid and Democrats are intellectual?”
Shogan tried to argue that was not her meaning, noting that GOP presidents had a “rhetorical connection with the American people.”
Hawley pressed Shogan on her evasive answer: “A rhetorical connection that you say is anti-intellectual and you feature every two-term Republican president since Dwight Eisenhower.”
Hawley continued: “It’s a piece on rhetoric, but you attribute part of the ‘anti-intellectualism’ of the Republican party, to in your words, to the rise of the religious Right. Because those voters are stupid?”
Shogan was at a loss for words but disagreed with that characterization.
Hawley continued: “You wrote an article saying basically that Republican voters are stupid, that Republican presidents deliberately appeal to anti-intellectualism.”
With anger rising in his voice, Hawley concluded by pointing out:
“You roll it all up in this thing called Republican populism, yet you’re trying to present yourself here as a non-partisan. In fact, you’re an extreme partisan. … You’re someone who has denigrated Republican presidents; every two-term Republican president … since the Second World War and their voters.”
Hawley noted that political bias is a problem in Biden’s administration, referring to the FBI raid on former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home and the recent dismissal of agents who overtly exercised political bias in their work for the bureau.
“This is not just a theoretical set of questions,” Hawley said, “because, as you know, we have seen what happens when you have political activists in a position that you are up for confirmation for. And we are living through that as a nation right now.”
Hawley continued: “We are living through the weaponization — the political weaponization — of the National Archives, the political weaponization of the Department of Justice, the political weaponization of the FBI — such that half of the people of this country cannot trust those institutions. We’re living with a president who calls half the voters of this county semi-fascists, who has said they are a threat to democracy.”
Hawley concluded with a rhetorical statement: “How can you assure them that you will be truly non-partisan given what you have said?”
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