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Posts published in “Day: January 30, 2021”

Officially joining the Tinfoil Hat Brigade


Oregon Republicans want to you do know that former President Donald Trump did not foment insurrection against the United States government with inflammatory rhetoric.

Nonetheless, they apparently think fomenting insurrection against the United States government with inflammatory rhetoric might be a damn fine idea.

The Oregon Republican Party released a resolution Jan. 19 that insists Democrats and a handful of turncoat Republicans want to establish "a dictatorship void of all cherished freedoms and liberties." President Joe Biden apparently plans to help by clamping down on all political political opposition by labeling conservative groups as terrorist organizations and rounding up critics without due process.

"The entire way of life and the entire economic future of Oregon and America is under attack," reads the resolution.

So now is clearly not the time to convict the former president of incitement to insurrection. Surrounded by enemies and traitors out to stomp us all under their Stalinist heel with their wild accusations of inciting people to insurrection, this is a time to listen to reason and calm down.

This whole idea that a conservative mob was whipped into an hysterical frenzy by Trump or anyone else is pure hogwash. Conservatives are famously sober-minded, peaceful and rational folk not given to fits of emotion. Told that Democrats want to take away all their cherished freedoms and liberties, they would stay home and reserve judgment -- at least until after the "Best of Alex Jones" marathon.

There must be another explanation. And there is. Strap yourself in. It's a corker.

"There is growing evidence that the violence at the Capitol was a 'false flag' operation designed to discredit President Trump, his supporters and all conservative Republicans," according to last week's resolution. (By "growing evidence," by the way, they mean as reported by such nefariously objective news outlets as the Epoch Times.)

You know, for a bunch of "libtards," those Democrats and their co-conspirators really are tricky devils.

Trump apparently played right into their hands, Even before he was elected in 2016, he said over and over the only way he could lose was if the election was rigged. He did his best to keep the electoral process on the up and up, going so far as to extort the president of Ukraine for dirt on Biden.

As the 2020 election loomed, he pre-emptively blamed mail-in ballots and tried to hobble the postal service. When that failed, and he lost to Biden anyway, he insisted the election was stolen -- in defiance of all the facts. He launched some 86 lawsuits to overturn the results, all but one of which failed. He asked, surreptitiously he thought, Georgia election officials to give him the votes he needed to take back the state.

Before Congress met to certify the election results, he told his supporters to come to D.C. for a rally he promised would be "wild." During the rally, he exhorted the crowd to march on the Capitol to overturn the election. Then those evil Democrats unleashed their master plan.

They replaced hundreds, if not thousands, of members of the original crowd and violently attacked the Capitol. This is where it gets truly cunning. They managed to convince hundreds of genuinely conservative seditionists caught on camera to admit to their crimes.

Of course, Oregon Republicans are not advocating armed insurrection against the legally established government. And neither did former President Trump. They just want you to know that you and everything you hold dear is about to be plunged into a merciless dictatorship, and you will likely be rounded up without charges and separated from your family -- like some sort of Latinx refugee under the previous administration. But they don't expect you to do anything about it.

Fortunately, you don't have to. None of this is going to happen. It's all caca. Even if the guy you supported didn't win, this is still America with our cherished freedoms and liberties firmly intact. No one is going to persecute you for your political beliefs -- unless you are one of the 10 Republican senators who voted for impeachment.

Then Oregon Republicans will call you out by name and liken you to Benedict Arnold.

Again, this is just the Oregon GOP defending their Glorious Leader from charges of inciting the insurrection by reliving every paranoid fever dream that incited the insurrection.

The truly sad part of all this is that the Oregon Republican Party once boasted the likes of Mark Hatfield, Tom McCall, Wayne Morris, Vic Atiyeh and Dave Frohnmayer.

Now they might as well call themselves the Tinfoil Hat Brigade. Of course, now is not the time to sow such division. Our nation needs to heal. Republicans can start by getting some serious psychiatric help and heavy medication.

P.S. Since this piece was filed, all 23 Oregon House Republicans issued a statement Jan. 27 against the party's resolution, saying that "there is no credible evidence to support false flag claims."

The statement continued, "Oregon is in crisis. Vaccines are not going to our most vulnerable, our students are still not in a safe classroom setting, main street businesses are in a tailspin, our health data is a mess and here we are, talking about a political party resolution."

Sorry, folks, this is still your dance. And these the ones what brung ya.

The unbearable lightness of mediocrity


Thomas S. Foley, the former Democratic congressman and one-time speaker of the House from Spokane, often said that if he didn’t take at least one vote every year or so that was unpopular with his generally conservative constituents he figured he probably wasn’t doing his job.

“The most important thing,” Foley said, about votes taken and the positions espoused in politics, “is when you consider them at election time you’re able to say with some satisfaction that you can still vote for yourself.”

Making a tough vote, Foley said, merely meant you needed to try and explain yourself to voters who might disagree. Level with them. Tell them the truth.

When Foley lost re-election in 1994 in the Republican wave that made Newt Gingrich speaker of the House, as much as any event in the last 25 years a catalyst for the pollution of American politics, he was philosophical. “It’s not a disgrace to lose,” Foley said, “it’s part of the process.”

Eastern Washington voters finally decided Foley’s work on behalf of farmers and free trade and his position atop the House was less important that his opponent’s characterization that the erudite, Jesuit-educated lawyer was “a liberal” who had grown too big for his Spokane britches.

I’ve been thinking about Foley’s rule – a vote every once in a while that cuts against the grain of what most voters think they believe – because such votes have never been scarcer than they are right now. Fifty Republican members of the United States Senate, including the two passionately obtuse backbenchers from Idaho, will confront such a vote in the next few days. Most of them, and certainly Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, are going to take the gentle path of least resistance.

They’ll vote to acquit Donald Trump on charges that he incited the insurrectionist mob attack on Congress on January 6, even though both senators were targets of and witnesses to the attack. They’ll twist themselves once again into a position of pro-Trump denial, a helix of political contortion more dexterous than you’d normally think possible for two guys aged 69 and 77.

Both senators voted this week to not even proceed with a Senate trial of Trump on grounds, not supported by most legal experts by the way, that it is somehow unconstitutional to consider punishing a former president for conduct that was clearly designed to disrupt the work of Congress and ended with the Capitol damaged, scores injured and five dead.

Other Republicans – the slippery Marco Rubio for one – have said a Trump trial is “stupid” since it would further divide the country, a division that Trump, of course, set out to accomplish. The illogic is numbing since Rubio’s rationale, as the conservative columnist Charlie Sykes noted, “insists that holding Trump accountable is more polarizing than Trump’s actual behavior.”

This GOP line of resistance will almost certainly prevail, and Trump will survive impeachment for a second time even as by the hour evidence grows that Trump summoned the mob, used his campaign funds to organize it and then set them off to sack the Capitol. Even the chants of “hang Mike Pence” aren’t enough to convince a Crapo or a Risch that the person they fear most should be held to account for the most serious assault on our government ever incited by an American president.

Crapo, who must be the least known and most minimally accomplished senior member of the Senate of his generation, worries that should he suddenly discover a backbone the same kind of mob Trump incited earlier this month will come for him during his re-election next year. Crapo voted to both impeach and then remove Bill Clinton for lying about a consensual sex act, but now the oath he swore to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution” doesn’t extend to sanctioning presidentially inspired insurrection.

Even Kentucky’s senior political weathervane, Mitch McConnell, who a week ago was saying “the mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the president and other powerful people,” voted at first opportunity to let Trump skate.

In the more than three weeks since the mob came after Congress, neither of Idaho’s senators has uttered a syllable of concern about Trump’s election lies or his incendiary rhetoric on the day the Capitol was stormed. Not one word. No statement. No interview. No tweet. Nothing.

Each did praise Capitol police officers who risked lives to protect them so they could live to exonerate the guilty. They gladly celebrated the hundreds of Idaho National Guard troops dispatched to Washington to ensure “the peaceful transfer of power,” but neither Crapo or Risch bothered to connect the presence of the troops or the attacks on the cops to the president who caused it to happen.

The see no evil twins of Idaho’s Senate delegation watched quietly while the arsonist Donald Trump laid the fire, said nothing while he spread the gasoline and went silent when the blaze ignited. Then, as if by magic, they watched the criminal responsible slink off to Palm Beach while celebrating the fire fighters standing around in the cold outside the Capitol.

The belief that a true conservative party, one not dominated by Proud Boys, white supremacists, QAnon conspiracists and guys perpetually decked out in animal skins and Hawaiian shirts, would ever reckon with the disaster that is Trump is as dead as Ronald Reagan. What’s left is a bunch of cowering non-entities like Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, complicit in supporting a level of criminal conduct that will forever be at the center of their mediocre careers.

At the end of the day, you have to wonder what these guys are afraid of? Are these comfortable, secure Republicans afraid that Trump will sic the racist mob on them? Are they betting that the country is ready to move on from a president they lock step condoned even as he tried to steal an election and when that failed tried to prevent Congress from certifying the real winner? Are they simply betting on national amnesia about the first attack on the Capitol since 1814?

Crapo and Risch will never make the kind of tough vote a Tom Foley envisioned as being more important than sacrificing your integrity in order to win an election. But then again, it’s not possible to sacrifice something you’ve never had.