After elected Republicans lost the presidency and Senate, after their quotient of ostentatiously insane elected trolls increased and their elite, high-profile caucus leaders joined their loser president to foment a deadly insurrection that threatened their own physical safety, they had a choice. For just a moment there, it looked like they might choose self-preservation.
When Mitch McConnell, wattles trembling with outrage, made a floor speech condemning the violence and their loser president’s part in it, when Kevin McCarthy read a script apportioning blame to said loser (albeit with hostage video affect), it almost looked like they would do the right thing.
The right thing is this: amputate the loser, cauterize the stump and rebrand — perhaps as 4-to-8-year deficit-scold cicadas. It worked after the disastrous presidency of Bush II.
But something (or several somethings) changed between that moment and the present day. The loser maybe threatened to build a third party. Perhaps elected Republicans were inundated with death threats from their unhinged voters. Maybe they had an epiphany about the nature of the GOP, i.e., that the Q/pro-insurrection/white supremacist faction is THE animating force within their party. Maybe all of the above.
For whatever reason, they reversed course and threw in their lot with the Gaetzes and Gohmerts and MTGs and Qberts. They reaffirmed fealty to the loser. Well, not all of them:
GOP Rep. Peter Meijer: “If Liz Cheney is the person who suffers the most from the events on January 6th, politically, it’ll be a very sad, sad day for my party.” pic.twitter.com/NSrTnBp0NT
— The Hill (@thehill) January 29, 2021
But enough of them to mark a clear choice. I think it’s as simple as what I see in my district: the majority of Republican voters are still in the loser ex-president’s cult, and their craven elected officials don’t have the courage to tell them the truth nor the leadership skills to chart a new course.
So, the only option is to keep Republicans from regaining power at the federal level and beat back their control where it exists at the state level as best we can. There are many ideas about how to pull this off. We discussed some in the morning thread, including hanging the words and deeds of the most floridly insane elected Republicans around the necks of their swing-district colleagues who won’t condemn the crazies.
I liked what Nancy Pelosi and AOC had to say about Kevin McCarthy and Ted Cruz (respectively) yesterday. Both are clear-eyed about the threat, and neither has any intention of making nice with the violent extremists Republicans have let loose in their workplace.
Brian Schatz and Chris Murphy in the Senate weren’t putting up with hypocritical Republican bullshit on legislative procedure (as outlined in the morning thread), which indicates that they and their colleagues are committed to delivering for the American people. They understand that’s their only shot to retain power in 2022 and 2024.
So, the Republicans have made their choice, and so have the Democrats. Now it’s up to the unaligned to make theirs. The only thing that hangs in the balance is the fate of the republic. Weirdly, I feel optimistic about our chances. How about you?