Following a year of denial, Republican Party leaders finally went whole hog yesterday, declaring the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol, designed to derail the counting of Electoral College votes, to be “legitimate political discourse” as they censured GOP Reps. Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney for participating in a formal inquiry into the insurrection.
Yes, that was very legitimate feces pro-Trump rioters smeared in the halls of Congress.
Give the Republican National Committee points for chutzpah, though. With this rather creative definition of political discourse in hand, all manner of incidents from U.S. history can be retrofitted. Perhaps the British burning of Washington in 1814 was just a proper display of political frustration. What was David Koresh’s campaign against the federal government if not a powerful statement of protest at centralized state authority?
When the highest echelons of a major political party find their way to excusing an effort to violently overturn a presidential election — an outcome that former President Trump now freely admits was the goal of his agitation — and punishes those who would seek to get to the truth, it is difficult to imagine what would constitute a bridge too far for them.
Some Republicans might feel that there’s no way out but through, but that’s not so. Former Vice President Mike Pence, who spent years excusing Trump’s dangerously impulsive decision-making and stark disregard for democratic traditions, has found his way to acknowledging that his former boss’ attempts to interfere with the election are unconstitutional and un-American. Perhaps being hanged in effigy will do that to a person.
It’s pathetic that calling an effort to subvert the electoral system that has sustained this country for hundreds of years beyond the pale counts as brave-truth telling, but here we are. GOP leaders have a choice to make. They will quickly come to learn that Dr. Frankenstein can only control the monster so long. Especially since Dr. Frankenstein is giddily trying to create new monsters daily.