What do you call it when rightwingnuts do something horrible and then pretend it was leftwingnuts conducting a “false flag” operation? Is that a “false flag false flag” operation?
Pence Says He Won’t Invoke 25th Amendment, Setting Stage for Impeachment Vote
Some Republican lawmakers say they would vote to impeach Trump in the wake of Capitol riot. House Democrats passed a resolution Tuesday demanding that Pence and a majority of the cabinet invoke the 25th Amendment.
Pence had no good options. Or, to put it another way, “lie down with dogs, rise up with fleas” is a cosmic law, and he lay down with a dog in 2016.
Michael Sherwin, the acting U.S. attorney in Washington, said his office had established a team of senior national-security and public-corruption prosecutors to examine the most serious cases, including the use of explosives and attacks on police officers.
“Their only marching orders from me are to build sedition and conspiracy charges related to the most heinous acts that occurred in the Capitol,” he said at a news conference Tuesday. “We’re looking at and treating this just like a significant international counterterrorism or counterintelligence operation.”
I am really looking forward to some of those jerkwads serving 20 years for seditious conspiracy.
To illustrate the depths of that deception, consider the sentiment among Republicans in Wisconsin, a state Mr Biden won by 20,608 votes. The president’s lawyers have filed six failed legal challenges to the result, including in the US Supreme Court. They also instigated a recount in Wisconsin’s most populous counties, Milwaukee and Dane, adding 87 votes to Mr Biden’s tally. Wisconsin’s Republican senator, Ron Johnson, held a Senate committee inquiry into Mr Trump’s allegations; he subsequently told The Economist that he saw no reason to question the results in his home state. Yet Terry Dittrich, chairman of the Waukesha County Republican Party, Wisconsin’s biggest, maintains that Mr Trump won it, in an election riddled with fraud, and he claims to know no Republican who thinks otherwise.
For evidence the 59-year-old real-estate professional offered a list of concerns about the vote that Wisconsin’s conservative chief justice dismissed—including a big increase in postal voting that Mr Dittrich considered “absolutely fraudulent”. He also raised the simple fact that Mr Biden performed creditably in leafy Waukesha County, on the outskirts of Milwaukee, just as the Democrat in fact did in affluent white suburbs across the country. “There is absolutely no way Biden outperformed Barack Obama in Waukesha County by the numbers they are proclaiming,” Mr Dittrich said. “We’re not giving up on this. It’s not about being a bunch of Cry Babies or sore losers. We are law-abiding citizens who just want a clean election.”
… A majority of Republican voters have in effect accepted Mr Trump’s claim that Democrats cannot win legitimately and that a lack of proof of their machinations is proof of a cover-up.
What is it about “Donald F. Trump is a uniquely hot steaming mess that tens of millions want hauled out and left at the curb” you don’t understand, Mr. Dittrich?
One of the chief reasons I couldn’t vote for Donald Trump is the ugly way he talks about human beings. That said, I underestimated how many people may have voted for him because of his rough, threatening, even violent talk, rather than despite. I never thought we would see what we saw in the Capitol. I do think it reached a whole new level post-election, but as I said in my syndicated column this week, people such as Jonah Goldberg, Jay Nordlinger, and David French were right to constantly sound alarms.
This is a time for humility and repentance, and for the Left, too. We’ve been too polarized and ideologically driven with a religious-like fervor on both sides. Hurt people are hurting hurt people. We need a president who honestly wants to be president of all Americans. Including peaceful ones at the Trump rally last Wednesday.
Kathryn Jean Lopez, A Mea Culpa
What the healing of America should look like:
At a joint press conference, a dozen or more of the most prominent figures in the “Stop the Steal” movement gather. There’s Kevin McCarthy, Rep. Steve Scalise, Newt Gingrich, and a claque of Fox News primetime anchors. (Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley are at a separate table, because no one will agree to sit with them.)
“We are here to ‘revise and extend our remarks,’” McCarthy begins in an attempt at congressional wit.
“Joe Biden is president-elect. He won. Donald Trump lost. This has been the case since a few days after election night. There was no fraud worth speaking of; the courts from one end of the country to the other have thrown out every claim of irregularity. To our eternal regret, many in my party, out of ignorance, delusion, mendacity, or fear of our own constituents, endlessly repeated outright lies emanating from the fevered mind of our delusional president, whom we never should have nominated in the first place. This helped create the climate for the most violent assault on the Capitol in 200 years. I am ashamed personally, and for my party.”
Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell is next.
“While I urged my colleagues to accept the electoral vote count, I bear heavy responsibility in spending the last four years ignoring the increasingly lunatic actions and rhetoric of the president. As long as he gave me my judges, I turned away from the behavior that culminated in a presidentially triggered riot. In the interest of unity, I am asking the various committee chairs to move swiftly to put President-elect Biden’s economic and national security team in place as close to January 20th as possible.”
Newt Gingrich rises—slowly, with great difficulty—to acknowledge that “as a world-class historian, I knew better than to embrace the mad-as-a-hatter fantasies of the president. It’s not as if I have the mental acuity of Louie ‘Bag of Hammers’ Gohmert. But I was too busy selling my books, CDs, and commemorative coins to think about the harm I was doing to the country. I am now offering a ‘Collector’s Item’ special of videos and pen holders in honor of Joe Biden’s inaugural, just call this toll-free—”
When Gingrich has returned—slowly, painfully—to his seat, Senators Hawley and Cruz take the podium together.
“Of course we know the truth,” they recite together. “We are two of the smartest, best-credentialed senators ever: Stanford and Princeton, Yale Law and Harvard Law. But our joint lust for the presidential nomination unmoored us from any sense of decency. We are resigning our seats and—like the British politician John Profumo, who left in scandal and spent the rest of his life doing charity work—we intend to spend the coming years doing menial labor for the Little Sisters of the Poor, while engaging in prayerful meditation so that we might somehow become less reprehensible human beings.”
A few moments later, after the Fox News primetime team pledges a vow of silence, the gathering ends. And peace and tranquility settle upon our divided land.
Jeff Greenfield, Yes, by All Means, Let the Healing Begin
I have been a Republican for 62 years. I have been a Goldwater conservative, a Reagan conservative, and a W conservative.
And I have now left the Republican party. A party that has been at the center of my entire adult life. A party that defined me to others and to myself. It has become the opposite of what it was. It has become a cult idolizing a ruler, a trasher of institutions of democracy driven by falsehoods and hatreds.
Consider the big issue of the last two months: The “steal” of the 2020 election. Who are the supposed forces of evil who have perpetrated this “steal”? Take Arizona. The governor, a Trump supporter and conservative, certified that Trump lost a fair election in his state. The governor of Georgia, a Trump supporter and conservative, said Trump lost a fair election in his state. The conservative Republican Trump supporters who lead the Michigan legislature said Trump lost a fair election in their state. Dozens of courts—including judges appointed by Trump—said there was no evidence of fraud. The Supreme Court, dominated by conservatives and including three Trump appointees, tossed out Trump’s claim of a stolen election. Unanimously. Bill Barr, the attorney general and Trump loyalist, said there was no evidence of anything that questioned the validity of Trump’s loss.
Despite all that, Trump supporters attacked the United States Capitol. A police officer was killed by the mob; another took his life after the fact. Staffers and members feared for their lives. Journalists were assaulted. And after all that, nearly 150 Republican members of Congress still fed the falsehood that the validity of the election was in question. These were not citizens with no access to truth; they are not ignorant of the facts. They knew everything I’ve spelled out about the validity of Donald Trump’s electoral loss. They knew—but they fed the falsehood; they provided the fuel for an attack on the heart of American government, an attack that killed an officer trying to protect them. An attack by Americans against America. Supported and cheered on by Republicans. My Republicans. There were Republicans who refused to play along with the charade—men like Governor Ducey in Arizona, Governor Kemp and election officials in Georgia—but for the most part even those Republican members of Congress who didn’t join the attempt to overthrow the election remained unforgivably silent out of party loyalty and fear, making them complicit nonetheless in this bloody attack on their own country.
I’ve left the Republican party. I will not be going back.
Mickey Edwards, A Republican Journey. Edwards represented Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District in Congress for 16 years. He was a member of the Republican leadership and chairman of the party’s policy committee in the House. He now teaches at Princeton’s School of Public and International Affairs.
I hadn’t thought, before sometime in the last year, about the connotation of “impunity.” The real “tells” in last week’s riots at the U.S. Capital were the maskless rioters, smirking and taking selfies, obviously thinking that Trump and sundry Congressrats had their backs and that they were acting with impunity.
Dumbasses. Some of them are going to prison for long terms.
And, by the way, after some initial hesitation about calling the riots a “coup attempt,” because the rioters did not want personally to govern, I’m now entirely comfortable with calling a “coup attempt” one’s effort to disrupt the peaceful transition of power to the duly elected President so that one’s demagogue can remain in power.
If the price of winning your next primary is remaining silent on the question of Trump and his post-election behavior, which culminated in the storming of the Capitol by a “Hang Mike Pence!” mob, then you have lost your priorities. If you cannot explain to voters why they are wrong to give a pass to a president who behaved as Trump has done, and what it means to have a president who fouls American democracy by rousing the rabble to break down the doors of the Capitol and shout for lynching the vice president, then why are you in public service? If that’s what it takes to keep your job, why would you even want a job like that? Honestly, I do not get it.
I had an extremely frustrating conversation this evening with a friend who believes all of this was invented by the Left to discredit the president. The narrative is unfalsifiable. It’s not a question of a political disagreement; it’s about living outside of reality. All day long I’ve been getting e-mails from people who are really suffering because beloved friends and family members — even elderly parents — are completely lost in this toxic unreality of paranoia and conspiracy. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life, aside from woke militants. Something demonic is in the air. We might not need an impeachment and conviction so much as we need an exorcism.
Rod Dreher, Impeachment As Exorcism
Nothing, absolutely nothing, has disturbed me more over the past four years, than the weird misuse of Christian religious language, spirituality and mysticism in service of the Trumpist political agenda ….
Rod Dreher, Impeachment As Exorcism
Conservative writer and radio host Erick Erickson expanded upon some of the themes we touched on above in his newsletter yesterday. Cancel culture exists, and it is a threat, he writes. But that’s not what we’re seeing in the wake of last week’s insurrection. “No, I am not sympathetic to you over major corporations deciding not to give you a penny. No, I am not sympathetic to you getting your internet social media accounts canceled. No, I am not sympathetic to you having your rising career in politics ruined,” he writes of those facing repercussions for their role in Wednesday’s events. “This was bound to happen because you overplayed your hand and your action is causing a reaction. It is an equal and opposite reaction. Trying to cancel a presidential election causes a cancelation rebound.”
If you asked today “what’s an evangelical?” to most people, I would want them to say: someone who believes Jesus died on the cross for our sin and in our place and we’re supposed to tell everyone about it. But for most people they’d say, “Oh, those are those people who are really super supportive of the president no matter what he does.”
Ed Stetzer, interviewed in ‘How Did We Get Here?’ A Call For An Evangelical Reckoning On Trump. Overall, I found this interview terribly boring, which may simply reflect that Stetzer’s not washing the family’s dirty linen in public.
A related argument, lent weight by the president himself yesterday, is to suggest, hint, insinuate, or outright proclaim that impeachment could lead to violence. It could tear apart the country. Yada, yada, yada.
“This impeachment is causing tremendous anger and you’re doing it and it’s really a terrible thing that they’re doing,” he added, in his first public comments since the deadly assault on the Capitol.
“For Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to continue on this path, I think it’s causing tremendous danger to our country and it’s causing tremendous anger. I want no violence,” Mr. Trump concluded before heading across the South Lawn to Marine One.
Maybe it could spark violence—and even if that were the case, since when do conservatives argue that we should appease potential rioters? I’ve been writing about the pernicious “riot ideology” of the 1960s left for 20 years. Lo and behold, the right has now embraced it. Moreover, the mere fact that it is plausible that Trump’s second impeachment could spark violence is an argument for why he should be impeached. Forget that he’s threatening Congress with the possibility of violence; the fact that the threat is plausible is testament to the environment he deliberately created.
But here’s my point: If Trump actually believes this stuff, the incandescently obvious moral choice is for him to resign, to spare America even greater turmoil and strife. That would be a display of Trump putting the interests of America first. The only reason for him to stick around is vanity. It’s not like there’s anything more he can do policy-wise, save issue a bunch of easily rescinded executive orders or hand out more pardons.
Having found proof that no Indiana Republican Representative voted to impeach Trump this afternoon, I was about to turn it into a “what a bunch of gutless weenies” blog. Then I realized that I have no truly firm opinion on whether impeachment for Trump’s impeachable offenses is really necessary. All I had was reliable data from Politico.
Our minds and emotions can combine in toxic ways.