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Four Decades Along the Rainbow Road

Monday, March 13, 2023

The Politics of Stupid

As a partisan Democrat, I admit I relish the Republicans’ political stupidity that is on full display. They used to be smarter and more strategic. Not anymore.

When Speaker (in title only) Kevin McCarthy handed over 40,000 hours of footage from the deadly, violent and unpatriotic insurrection of January 6, 2021, to perennial liar and senior conspiracy theorist Tucker Carlson of Fox “News,” they thrust the horrific event right back into the spotlight. That’s not a winner for Republicans as their leader and grand patriarch of the party Donald Trump sparked the attempted coup.

Polls have indicated the public’s anger at the attempted insurrection of January 6 was on the wane despite the excellent work of the bipartisan House Select Committee investigating January 6. The magnitude of the event had been receding in the rear-view mirror as the days and months went on.

But leave it to McCarthy who only received the title of Speaker when he sold his soul (and probably the country’s) to the far-right fringe of the Republican caucus in Congress—the majority of which denied the valid election of Joe Biden—to resurrect this day of infamy. Tucker exacerbated the problem for Republicans by cherry-picking the images to suit a bizarre and totally unbelievable narrative that the rioters were, in fact, peaceful, patriotic sightseers. Dumb move.

Here’s the rub: just about everybody had seen the events in real time and in subsequent news reports, Trump’s second impeachment and the presentation and report by the House Select Committee. People realize, except for those misguided MAGAs, that Carlson is a complete loon, and he is insulting the intelligence of Americans with his production of alternative facts. Clearly, he has made Republicans look foolish because not many of them publicly denounced this gambit so it will stick to the party like Velcro.

If that wasn’t enough, House Republicans are beginning to launch multiple probes into January 6, including examining the Select Committee’s actions from the last Congress, the security failures from that day and potentially even the treatment of January 6 defendants. 

All these efforts will keep January 6 front and center, a situation that is causing ugly divisions within the party and the donor class. It’s an unforced error as revenge has trumped common political sense, and I am delighted they are keeping the flame alive. Democrats must continue to equate Republicans to January 6.

The antics of McCarthy and Carlson will extend the January 6 shelf life.  But even after the Carlson fictional production eventually fades as a news story, January 6 may burst back to the spotlight as potential indictments of a former president may land.

Tourists, my ass!

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