The GOP’s Attempt to Memory-Hole Jan. 6th
But we can focus on what's important tomorrow: Democracy.
Recently at The Bulwark:
SONNY BUNCH: J.D. Vance Versus Film Twitter
DENNIS AFTERGUT: Navarro’s Nonsense Narrative
CHARLIE SYKES and MONA CHAREN: People We Used to Love 🔐
You can support The Bulwark by subscribing to Bulwark+ or just by sharing this newsletter with someone you think would value it.
New from me today: The GOP’s Attempt to Memory-Hole Jan. 6th
Immediately after the attack, prominent Republicans blamed Donald Trump for the chaos and bloodshed of January 6th. But in the ensuing debates—first over Trump’s second impeachment, then over how best to investigate the events of January 6th—Republicans started to shift away from blaming Trump to blaming, well, anybody else. They began to echo Rush’s talking points like the good dittoheads they are.
Collectively, it’s like they all suffered from amnesia—or as Rush might quip, Lindsey Grahamnesia.
One result was a vicious circle, in which the Republican base and Republican politicians reinforced one another’s worst impulses. Polls have repeatedly shown that a huge percentage of Republicans believe that the 2020 election was stolen and that Joe Biden was illegitimately sworn in as president. Republican politicians therefore rarely push back against the Big Lie, which in turn makes the base more extreme. Each pushed the other further toward unreality and indecency. And in this midst of this political psychodrama sits the ugliness of January 6th: violence in the service of a lie, now being lied about.
GOP operatives are none too pleased that Dr. Oz wants to be the next Republican senator from Pennsylvania. Democrats — who remember when the guy from The Apprentice was underestimated — are worried. Olivia Nuzzi joins Charlie Sykes on today's podcast.
MONA CHAREN asks: Did the January 6 Coup Fail?
It’s true that Trump didn’t quite know where the pressure points were last time, but he’s learning. He has supported secretary of state candidates who deny the validity of the 2020 result in four swing states. Meanwhile, Republican-controlled legislatures in a number of states have passed laws withdrawing power over election certification from local election administrators and handing it to legislatures.
But the most profound reason to fear a repeat of something like January 6th is that Trump has corrupted the minds of a substantial percentage of Republican party members. As Lincoln said in a debate with Stephen Douglas, “Public sentiment is everything. With it, nothing can fail; against it, nothing can succeed. Whoever molds public sentiment goes deeper than he who enacts statutes, or pronounces judicial decisions.”
JEFFREY C. ISAAC argues: January 6 Is a Day to Renew the Fight for Democracy, Not Commemorate an Ongoing Disaster.
It is good and fitting that leaders support a public reckoning with the meaning of the January 6 insurrection. And certainly, national healing can never be a bad thing.
But treating January 6 as an occasion for spiritual edification and public psychotherapy is a disastrous way for political leaders to reckon with a political threat to democracy that is ongoing. And efforts to sacralize that particular day distract attention from the broader attack on democracy that is going on every day—not on the steps of the Capitol, but in statehouses across the country, and on social media, and inside of the Capitol building itself, where House and Senate Republican leaders are doing their part to undermine constitutional democracy.
January 6 should not only be a day of prayers and testimony and healing.
It should be a day focused on the ongoing threats to democracy which were made corporeal on January 6, 2021.
And then focused on the actions that must taken to counter those threats before it is too late.
An unwelcome anniversary. I am not looking forward to tomorrow. The Discourse™ about January 6th is going to be bad and I know it is going to make me angry, like I was for weeks after the failed insurrection. Longtime readers know I worked there as a staffer, and later, as a journalist. I could give you a Capitol Tour walking backwards the entire time today, because, to me, the Capitol is like a second home.
I worked with a guy named Matt Fuller at Congressional Quarterly, and we became fast friends. I highly encourage you to read this recollection of being a journalist in the House press gallery on that day at The Daily Beast. I am not going to spoil any of it for you, but when Matt was posting pictures of the protesters trying to break into the House chamber and USCP officers drawing their guns on Jack Torrance doing his HERE COMES JOHNNY! impression, I zoomed in. One of those officers was also a friend of mine.
Like all of you, I was horrified at the display and the attack on our Democracy. But this was my second home for many years, these were my friends there, and under different circumstances, I could have been right there with them. Save some time for this item, read it and share it with a friend. It’s important, because as Matt writes, January 6 is far from over.
GOP ❤️’s NFTs. As Hunter Schwarz reports, conservatives of all stripes are jumping into the market. But will it last? Or “will all their apes be gone?”
Teachers shouldn’t be giving out vaccines. I mean come on, do we really need to go over this? I get wanting to help people, but you have to follow the rules!
Listen to Charles Fried… Former Solicitor General under Ronald Reagan has some thoughts about this current iteration of the GOP. Powerful stuff.
Read Andrew Beaujon… JVL gave B+ members an extended look, but his Washingtonian feature on the January 6th Insurrectionists’ time at the D.C. prison is a must read.
The 76ers / Metaverse Partnership is just getting weirder. At Defector, a professional NBA team has joined forces with a very suspicious Chinese company that seems to offer nothing in the way of actual products and seems like an all around shitshow. Read Part 1 here, Part 2 here.
More voter fraud! At The Villages, “America’s Friendliest Hometown™.” If you’re unfamiliar, my old neighbor in Cleveland, Dr. Steiner, lives there part of the year now, and I asked him to write an item for us back in 2020 about how things were heating up politically, do give it a read.
Republicans, COVID, and the rise of 'militant ignorance'… Writing in The Hill, Bill Schneider argues:
Many Americans long for certainty in their leaders as a sign of strength. But education — even science — is not the realm of certainty. Religion is. Which is why religious differences — churchgoers versus non-churchgoers — have been increasing in the political spectrum alongside differences by education.
That’s it for me. Tech support questions? Email email@example.com. Questions for me? Respond to this message.
Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. For full credits, please consult the article.