Friday, February 11, 2022

Last Week in Political Stupidity and Courage

Last Friday, the Republican National Committee passed a resolution censuring Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) for their work on the bipartisan January 6th Select Committee which is responsible for investigating the attempted insurrection.  In the resolution, the RNC states that the investigation is the "persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse."

"Legitimate political discourse" is a phrase that will live on in infamy.  The sheer stupidity of including that phrase seemed lost on RNC Chair Rona McDaniel and the RNC committee members.  It didn't take

Rona McDaniel
long for politicians, Republicans and Democrats, to pounce on the language in denouncing the RNC resolution.  Immediately, McDaniel tried to walk back the offending language, saying that the phrase "legitimate political discourse" only referred to those who were protesting peacefully on January 6th, not those who were involved in the violence that day that resulted in 140 police officers being injured trying to repel the attack, and the ultimate death of five participants.  

The RNC's assertion is nonsense.  The January 6th Committee was formed solely because there was a violent attack on the Capitol that day. The goal of the Committee is to find out who was behind it, including who funded it, and to consider measures to ensure it won't happen again.  The Select Committee would not exist if it was simply a peaceful protest on January 6th.  The problem for MAGA world is that some high-level Trump officials, and perhaps Trump himself, appear to have been involved in encouraging and organizing the assault on our nation's Capital which was aimed at stopping Congress from counting the electoral votes.

Last Friday, saw another development.  Former Vice President Mike Pence found his backbone.  Speaking at a Federalist Society event in Orlando, Florida, he said "President Trump is wrong" to claim he could not have overturned the 2020 election.  CNN reports: 

Former Vice President Mike Pence called out his former boss by name on Friday, saying that "President (Donald) Trump is wrong" in claiming that Pence had the right to overturn the 2020 election on January 6, 2021.

Speaking at the Federalist Society Florida Chapters conference near Orlando, Pence delivered his strongest response yet to Trump's ongoing efforts to relitigate the 2020 presidential election, calling it "un-American" to suggest one person could have decided the outcome.

Pence warned against conservatives who continue to insist the vice president can alter an election, and said it could be a problematic position for Republicans in the next presidential contest.

"Under the Constitution, I had no right to change the outcome of our election, and (Vice President) Kamala Harris will have no right to overturn the election when we beat them in 2024," Pence said.

Pence has spent years cowering in Trump's shadow fearful that expressing any opposition to Donald Trump would doom his chances of eventually becoming President.  By that calculation, the Federalist Society speech should have been the final nail in the coffin holding Pence's political career. But a funny thing happened after the speech.  Pence earned praise across the political spectrum, including from Republican elected officials and donors who are desperate for a leader who will finally speak truth to power. 

Pence's Federalist Society speech is no doubt too little, too late when it comes to reviving his political career.   But for Pence it is a refreshing change that his political fortunes have finally ticked up, if only slightly.

*****

I can't pen a political column discussing political stupidity last week without mentioning Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.  Admittedly, I'm not an Abrams fan.  Her claim that voter suppression cost her the 2018 gubernatorial election is even more bogus than Trump's claim he won the state in 2020.  Yet, Abrams, unlike the former President, is constantly given a pass from the media when it comes to her Big Lie.

Last week, a photo was published of Abrams appearing maskless sitting on the floor in front of a throng of school children all wearing masks.  Abrams has denied that she violated CDC protocols.  While I'm not sure I buy that, her actions belie a political stupidity that is undeniable.  How could she not know that the photo would be used against her?  The photo is so damning, it may help end her political career.

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