The Truth Is Marching On

Excuse me while I free associate for a while.

Today I ran into a post by Ed Morrisey at Hot Air providing testimony that the November election results matched the Trump campaign’s internal polling on the eve of the election, with the exception of Georgia, which internal polls showed Trump winning. They all knew good and well that Trump was losing and no fraud was going on. This is not a surprise to me, but it’s a surprise to see it reported on Hot Air.

Back in the heyday of political blogs, Morrisey was Captain Ed, a reliably hard-Right voice in support of George W. Bush and against liberalism. He was in lock step with the likes of Power Line and Instapundit, if you recall those blogs. Hot Air is a website founded by Michelle Malkin. So it’s a bit disorienting to find Morrisey being honest about bad actors on the Right. I haven’t been following Morrisey, however, and I don’t know if he was a Trump supporter until recently.

This testimony about internal polling is significant because it is more evidence — like we needed more evidence –that Trump planned to steal the election by declaring himself the winner based on an election night lead and then using courts to stop the counting of mail-in votes. That plot was foiled when Fox News called Arizona for Biden on election night. Trump’s very narrow path to victory required Arizona and Pennsylvania, it says here. Note that Arizona and Pennsylvania were the hills Cruz, Hawley, et al. were still trying to take at the end.

According to a YouGov poll out today, 45 percent of Republican voters approve of the riot in the Capitol building. The same poll showed 68 percent of Republican voters do not consider the assault on the Capitol to have been a threat to democracy. This puts Republicans way out of step with Democratic and Independent voters. But it also tells us that 55 percent of Republican voters don’t approve of the attempted insurrection, and at least some of that 55 percent do think it was a threat to democracy. We can hope some scales fell from at least some eyes.

James Ford, a Zen teacher and Unitarian Universalist minister, cited the YouGov poll on Facebook and quoted Hannah Arendt: “The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the convinced Communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction (i.e., the reality of experience) and the distinction between true and false (i.e., the standards of thought) no longer exist.” James continues,

What was believed as true has been revealed to be a lie. Here as the prince of the lies has been revealed for what he is.

Those 55 percent are at that place. That hard place.

They are being invited to see something about themselves. Personally, I am completely sympthetic. It is something we humans find terribly seductive. I’ve swallowed more than one lie in my life. …

…A painful thing. I know. I know. And. Most almost certainly will not succeed. It is too hard a thing.

But a door has opened.

That’s about how I felt when I saw Ed Morrisey’s post. Look at you, being all factual. What happened? I don’t expect Morrisey to stop being a lot more conservative than I am. But “conservative” doesn’t worry me. Reasonable people can reach different conclusions when they apply different values and philosophies to the same facts. In that case at least everyone is mostly dealing with facts, which hasn’t been the case for the U.S. political Right for some time. There’s a big difference between opposing views on tax policy and not living in the same time-space continuum.

Which brings me to former Missouri senator John Danforth. Danforth may be one of the last living old-school Republicans. Danforth was first elected to the Senate in 1976, a time when the GOP was splitting between the more ideological Goldwater-Reagan wing and the old eastern establishment, sometimes derided as the “Rockefeller Republicans.” As a Senator, Danforth was conservative, and I disagreed with a lot of his votes, but he was more pragmatic than ideological. He didn’t think in talking points. He was respected by reasonable people of both parties. He lived in the standard time-space continuum. And it’s significant that Danforth says today that campaigning for Josh Hawley to take his old seat was “the worst mistake I ever made in my life.”

I think Hawley has done irreparable damage to his political career. I could be wrong about that. Certainly, if you look at Missouri right now you might assume there is no limit to how far Right you can go and still win elections. My sense of things, though, is that the riot in the Capitol could end up being “movement conservatism’s” last hurrah. The pendulum that kept moving further and further Right, from Reagan to Gingrich et al. to Bush-Cheney-Karl Rove to the ascendance of Trump and the MAGA cult may be about to swing the other way. The powers that be on the Right are arrogant and greedy but not stupid; they must see they are on an unsustainable course, politically. The more grounded and traditionally conservative sensibilities of the old Republican establishment may come back into vogue and squeeze out the nutzoids. That would be a good thing.

And if that’s so, Josh Hawley just bet the mortgage money on the wrong horse.

A sign of the times: The Wall Street Journal is calling on Trump to resign. I agree with WSJ that the events of this week have probably finished Trump as a serious political figure. Yes, he still has a devoted following, but Trump probably never realized how much of his power derived from the consent of the Republican establishment and Murdoch media, not to mention the complicity of mainstream media to “normallize” him. If he loses most of that, and I believe he has, there’s no way he wins another presidential nomination. His influence within the Republican party could fade quickly.

And, frankly, this crew is not exactly a solid power base.

Let’s talk about the insurrectionists. They were dangerous, no question. There is evidence some of them were hoping to take hostages. Some of them might have hoped to seize and destroy the ballots. Somebody planted explosives. One security officer was killed by rioters who, as I understand it, smashed in his head with a fire extinguisher. There was vandalism. Offices were looted. Poop was smeared in hallways.

But most of them, once inside, seemed to be a loose ends. Why were they there? What did they expect? They issued no demands and made no statements other than to wave flags — American flags, Trump flags, Confederate flags. Some of them seemed to think this was a big lark, like the time they left a rubber snake in the teacher’s desk back in 6th grade. Like this guy:

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 06: A pro-Trump protester carries the lectern of U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi through the Roturnda of the U.S. Capitol Building after a pro-Trump mob stormed the building on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Congress held a joint session today to ratify President-elect Joe Biden’s 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump. A group of Republican senators said they would reject the Electoral College votes of several states unless Congress appointed a commission to audit the election results. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Behold 36-year-old Adam Johnson, a father of five from Parrish, Florida.  And yes, this is what White privilege looks like. It doesn’t seem to occur to him that he’s commiting a crime. Felony? What felony?

At least the fellow who put his feet on Nancy Pelosi’s desk has been arrested. That’s a start. He is Richard Barnett, 60, from Gravette, Arkansas, and when he left the building he bragged about looting Nancy Pelosi’s office to the New York Times.

See When the Mob Reached the Chamber by Megan Garber at The Atlantic.

The glibness was its own display of dominance. Apathy can be its own kind of weapon. The images of the rioters that came from the Capitol yesterday conveyed glee and anger and many things in between; what they convey very little of, however, is fear. The insurrectionists grinned at the cameras. They waved, merrily. They shuffled through Statuary Hall as the frozen faces of America’s past looked on. They overran the place. And then they were escorted out, calmly—politely—by Capitol Police. They were fueled by lies and fantasies; one thing they got right, though, was that their attack on the government—an attack motivated by their desire to overturn a free and fair election—would incur very few consequences. By the evening, as newspapers ran all-caps headlines about the trauma the Capitol had just endured at the hands of militant invaders, law enforcement had reportedly arrested some 50 people. News networks that had spent years stoking violent delusions scrambled to announce their shock that the delusions had turned violent. Politicians who had demonized peaceful racial-justice protesters this summer found acrobatic new ways to define “law and order.”

Those rioters who returned home and expected a virtual hero’s welcome on social media found something else instead — claims that the riots were the work of antifa! See MAGA World Is Splintering by Kaitlyn Tiffany at The Atlantic.Tiffany spoke withTrump fan Bryson Gray, who had attended the insurrection but claims to have remained outside the Capitol Building.

“When I left the Capitol, I actually thought I was going to get on Twitter and see a bunch of support, because it was actually a very beautiful thing,” Gray said. Instead, he was met with a strange message spreading across the site: Trump fans weren’t behind the riots. Instead, it was antifa, the decentralized left-wing group that has become a bogeyman for Republican commentators and politicians, and for President Trump in particular. Many of Gray’s former #StopTheSteal allies had disavowed the insurrection, and a good number of them were using leftist antagonists as their scapegoat. “The first tweet I saw was somebody saying ‘Patriots don’t storm buildings; there were no patriots in the Capitol,’” Gray told me. “I’m like, Uh, that literally makes no sense; what are you talking about?

I don’t disagree with Greg Sargent often, but today he writes that the insurgency scored a propaganda coup.

“Make no mistake: Wednesday was a watershed moment for the far-right extremist movement in this country,” Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, told me.

“By all measurable effects, this was for far-right extremists one of the most successful attacks that they’ve ever launched,” Jared Holt, who tracks far-right groups for the Atlantic Council, added. “This will be lionized and propagandized on likely for the next decade.”

I don’t think so, although it depends on whether the rioters are allowed to get away, unpunished. These people violated the Bigger Asshole rule, big time, which is why so many righties were so quick to blame antifa. And as their behavior in the Capitol Building revealed, they don’t actually have a cause. They have no coherent governing ideology or purpose other than Trump. They have resentments. They see themselves as victims. That’s it. In far Right circles Wednesday’s events may become legend, but I don’t see a sustained movement.

I am hopeful that most of the rioters who broke into the Capitol building will be identified, arrested, and convicted of something. And I am hopeful that they receive enough punishments to change their attitudes. Some of them have already lost their jobs. I am also hopeful that any government or security official who in any way colluded to make the insurrection happen will do penitentiary time. We’ll see.

See also David Graham, The Atlantic, The Insurrectionists Would Like You to Know That They’re the Real Victims.

As for Trump, I do hope the House impeaches him. Right now, it appears this will happen.

23 thoughts on “The Truth Is Marching On

  1. On Wednesday morning there were a 'Dirty Dozen' senators who pledged their fealty to overturning the election.  After the attempted coup, only six senators retained their loyalty to The Donald.  That is a 50% loss of 'the faithful'.

    I do know with certainty what percentage of rePuke congress-critters changed their minds, but my impression is that it was about 20%.

    I am hopeful that The Donald's coup attempt has cost him between 20% – 40% of his braindead cult.  That would be a major step forward.

  2. If the insurrectionists had been slightly more committed, trained and coordinated Wednesday would have been incredibly worse. There were unused explosives in the area. No hostages were taken. No explosions of note. No fires. If pillars of black smoke had billowed out the Capitol the chaos, surrealism and damage would have been much, much worse. After watching some of the videos it's amazing so few were injured and killed, it was mayhem with weapons brazenly being brandished everywhere.

    These were a bunch of entitled losers smiling, bragging and cosplaying their way to internet infamy even while they were confused as to what they were supposed to do next until they got shoved forward or followed particularly enthusiastic rioters. And they had zero comprehension or concern for the consequences of their actions. If there had been truly bad actors in that bunch the violence would have been horrible.

    The incident when the women was shot is utterly disturbing not only because she was injured and dying but because there were so many people milling around concerned about filming the scene instead of reacting in horror and/or trying to help. There's something seriously wrong and getting worse about our values and humanity – everything is being warped into evil. This also speaks to the inability to distinguish what's true and what's false, this is extremely dangerous to a functioning society and democracy. The blaming of Antifa was immediately conjured up to divert blame and the fact that the would-be-heroes are bewildered and hurt because the propaganda they always use or repeat themselves is being used to discredit their own great revolutionary moment, indicates how bizarrely entrenched their fantasies are. And terrifyingly the Antifa diversion is working much too well with way too many people.

    I have difficulty expressing my underlying feelings and thoughts of the causes and effects of the devastation being wrought by a large percentage of our fellow citizens. There's too much to comprehend.

    We're living in a very dangerous time. I don't know if the fever has been reduced for a bit as the repercussions of Wednesday reverberate. Lindsey Graham felt the ongoing wrath of his former allies at an airport terminal today. A mob quickly formed chanting "Traitor!" to his flip-phone averted face. Would you want to be on a plane with those people?

    • I'm not a prophet, but I can tell you how I think it's going to go down.

      These insurrectionists, as they start getting scooped up, are going to feel horribly betrayed. And think about it: if the election had *actually* been stolen; if everyone knew, for a fact, that it was stolen; and the Congress was in the process of validating that stolen election, wouldn't it be appropriate to take to the Capitol to roar defiance, maybe try to corner a few congress critters to call them names?

      And it won't be just them – it'll be friends and family members, and fellow travelers, and even people like me, who will feel Trump did betray the insurrectionists by telling them such evil lies.

      I don't think Trump could pardon the insurrectionists without getting impeached and removed at maximum speed, so he won't. What does he care about them? And Pence was targeted by the mob, so *he* won't.

      Even if the big fish don't get prosecuted, they let all these small fry flap in the wind. They had the *power* to protect them, but they didn't.

      I saw a Republican say you can't win with the base, minus the Trump-loonies. But every Trump loony who woulda if they coulda stormed the Capitol will be in a rage over the injustice, and I think they'll be equally angry with congresscritters who were, after all, complicit.

      If the big fish do get prosecuted, I'm betting the Republican Party will be in serious rebuilding mode, because I think there's blame to lay far and wide. Hell, I've long suspected Trump would roll on *everyone*, just out of vengeance. I like to imagine he then demands a good plea deal, not knowing that he should have had his lawyer and the prosecution discuss that, while he still had valuable information. An interesting case of "it *wouldn't* happen to a nicer guy."

      • Oh, quick clarification:

        …and the Congress was in the process of validating that stolen election, wouldn't it be appropriate to take to the Capitol to roar defiance, maybe try to corner a few congress critters to call them names?

        I don't mean "that's all the rioters did", I mean "I think that's what most of them were thinking was planned." In no way am I minimizing the siege – I saw the shooting, which incidentally shows just how violent and scary things looked, and how badly the cops were outnumbered. 

        And I've been thinking since I posed, and you know what? I might be entirely wrong. There was a lot of ugly chatter, and I think the peaceful ones may well have stayed home. So, yeah, maybe I'm wrong.

        Still: what I was *thinking* when I wrote that was "I don't think most of them realized just how bad this would become."

  3. Pickett"s Charge. A completely futile effort that will live in their mythology for years. regardless of the fact that it couldn't have accomplished anything anyway


  4. Brilliant, chilling, and entertaining article by Mike Davis, MacArthur genius, With the Capitol riot the Trumpists have become a de facto third party

    ..What was essentially a flag-wrapped biker gang wielding staves stormed America’s ultimate country club, chased senators into the Capitol’s catacombs, squatted on Mike Pence’s throne, trashed Nancy Pelosi’s office, and shot endless selfies to send to the dudes back home in white people’s country. Otherwise, they were clueless and when the serious cops finally arrived, filed out clutching souvenirs to show to Daddy Trump. Monty Python with four dead bodies…

    …Let’s be clear about what happened: the monolith has cracked and the Republican party is splitting up. Preparations for this have been in progress since the election, with various conservative elites loosely but energetically conspiring to take back power from the Trump family. Big business especially has been burning its bridges to the White House in the wake of the Covid-19 disaster and Trump’s chaotic war on constitutional government.

    …Institutionally, Senate Republicans, with a strong roster of talented young predators, will rule the post-Trump camp, a generational succession that will probably be cinched before their Democratic counterparts finally throw off their own octogenarian oligarchy. The internal competition will be fierce, another monster’s ball, but centrist Democrats should be wary of issuing death warrants. Liberated from Trump’s electronic fatwas some of the younger Republican senators may prove to be formidable competitors for the white college-educated suburban vote that has been the holy grail for the Democratic establishment…

  5. To the these bigoted and dangerous – but also whiny, precious and fragile little snowflakes – unwashed deplorables, Benedict Donald was the messiah who was "the last best hope" for White people.

    Time is running out.

    Power MUST be consolidated now, and then held brutally, at all cost, so that even when in the minority, White people can hold that power as long as there's life on this planet.

    They're terrified that in a few decades, when the current minorities here will finally outnumber the White people, that those former minority people will treat the White people the way they themselves were treated.

    Like shit.

    Like the "Untouchables" in the Indian caste system.

    These stupid, ignorant, and bigoted wastes of human life know how horribly they've acted in… Well, in forever, and are trying to eternally stave off Karma.

    Karma is what they fear.

    And Karma is almost here.

    And so, Benedict Donald became a demigod, a cult leader for White people fearful of disenfranchisement.

    Let's hope Wednesday was their last, best shot.

  6. This has been a good week for reading and writing, but not so much for understanding and agreement.  Protest and insurrection were words in the fray, and protest and protesters were quick losers.  By today both words had been found lacking and displaced.  This may have been the weeks big agreement, that it was not a protest.    Insurrection has its proponents, but almost no one suggests the word fits the occasion without modifiers.  I was happy to see Krugman use the word fascist, and he used the overused term with proper definition.

      "Donald Trump, however, is indeed a fascist — an authoritarian willing to use violence to achieve his racial nationalist goals. So are many of his supporters." 

     So defined, a fascist uprising might be the best descriptor and Krugman's caution about appeasement of fascism is well taken.

    Professor Calloway entitled his weekly musing No Mercy/ No Malice.  Unfortunately a link leads to access barriers. He, as usual, provides some great insight and perspective.  

    "When Trumpism began its march, it wasn’t the government or the media that we turned to for help, but big tech. Today, we plead with @jack to suspend the President’s account. The FBI, voters, our laws … all of them sit secondary to thirty-something innovators who hold the real power: algorithms that decide who sees what, how often, and from whom. 

    In this rudderless environment, where information flow is not a public good but a revenue stream, is it any wonder that misinformation — call it what it is, disinformation — has taken hold"

    The Maha Blog, IMO ,is quite and exception to this characterization, and it's information stream operates in the public good.  The professor here refers to Facebook and the like and goes on to admonish those who profit from an pander to disinformation.    Some of these lies and half-truths feed and pander to the type of fascist uprising we witnessed this week.  

    That is a long way to go to get one sentence, but a sentence with words that provides understanding of the weeks events.  Yes the attitude of no mercy yet no malice also makes sense.  Only with proper understanding and attitude have we a useful guide to the much needed course for a remedy.  May the truth march on.

  7. What happens when Trump doesn't pardon any of the 'patriots' he dispatched to do violence?

    They are retreating to blaming Antifa. (Were any of the dead Democrats?) 

    The conflict to watch is between the Trumpsters and the RNC. The stress is too much and the alliance will tear apart.

    • The conflict to watch is between the Trumpsters and the RNC. The stress is too much and the alliance will tear apart.

      I agree. The split is already starting.

      • Trump has spent the past five years trying to select for loyalty; but he doesn't know anybody.  Therefore he has to delegate, and he can only delegate on the basis of affect, so he winds up delegating to people who select for ideology.  Mostly, this looks like the same thing — particularly at first.

        The Executive Branch and the Party machine have been stocked with ideologues on Trump's watch; but that does not imply that Trump has been leading the idology.  In fact, he has been following the ideology.  He has had no other option: it is the only way for him to get any validation at all; and he will continue to have no other option. 

        The people who follow Trump the individual are vastly outnumbered by the people who are addicted to the ideology.  But Trump will remain the individual metonymy for the ideology until someone better comes along.  That is why the person to watch is Lin Wood.  He understands that it is an auction, and he is bidding high.

  8. Several things I'm thinking about this morning, with 12 days to Jan 20

    1) Although the rioters looked like clowns from a biker bar, some of them were deadly serious.  That dramatic photo of the commando rapelling from the balcony in the Senate chamber, carrying a fistful of white plastic twist-ties, used for hand-cuffing people, was in a whole different category than the clown wearing the viking helmet.  There were people who knew where the "hidden offices" where, which is where the congress-people actually do their work.  They knew the layout of the building and where to hunt Congress people, no doubt to round them up and execute them.  This was a lot more than right wing cosplay.

    2) The complete breakdown of security, to what degree facilitated by 1) Trump toadies installed at various points, and 2) sympathetic officers on the ground, who let rioters in and out, and even took selfies with them.

    3) 45% of Republicans were fine with this.

    4) The utter cowardice of Mike Pence, point man for the 25th Amendment.  The definition of "weenie".

    5) Anything can happen between now and the 20th, and I would expect another final battle, both at the US Capitol and in statehouses.  This is their last window, until Biden / Harris can clean house.  Fortunately the FBI is scooping up the Jan 6 participants, and social media is shutting these clowns down, so the risk of this isn't as bad as it first appears.

    6) Taking away Trump's megaphone – by Twitter and others – is critical to slowing contagion.

    7) I'm optimistic we'll make it to Jan 20, but it will likely be rough.  We thought we'd seen everything with Trump's phone call to Georgia, but it was all forgotten within a week.  Events are moving fast.

  9. They were making history they thought, but the capitol invaders had no understanding of their role as sacrificial pawns in this whole affair.  This was no Queen's Gambit.  

    American History is not my forte.  That the Republican Party arose from ashes of the Whig party is the kind of information I could only get correct by luck on a multiple guess test.  Well I am not too old to learn a few new things, but with age one's learning curve flattens and sags too. Thanks to Dana Milbank, writing for the Washington Post, for the education.

    So Dana poses the question that Doug comments upon in the battle of the Trumpsters vs. the RNC.  Will the Republican Party go the way of the Whigs?  He defines the political schism this way:

    But the seditious actions this week in Congress to overturn the election and overthrow the incoming Biden presidency provide a useful delineation: which Republicans have followed Trump off the cliff of authoritarianism and which still have some respect for democratic principles.

    Dana sees a silver lining in the idea that this may end the Republican Party.  

    Opinion | After Capitol mob, it’s time for the Republican Party to die – The Washington Post

    I am not as gifted as some of this blogs commenters, and can't close with rhyming couplets in iambic pentameter form.  But I can wax a bit about King Lear and the wheel going full circle.  Are we here talking about a party in rotation?  A party gone from Whig to Wiggy?

    • Don't write them off just yet, they all have a shared agenda and will not waste their years of "progress".  I have been amazed at how far down into the bottom of the septic tank they can go and find a new lower level of muck to wallow in. They are in a race to the bottom and happy with it: collapse will be a "buying opportunity". They are already bound together in their crimes.

      The only good news is that there is no honor among thieves.

  10. Great long-form article by Frank Rich:

    …Let’s not resort to euphemisms about what happened. There were no “very fine people” among these rioters. They are trash. They trashed the people’s house so they could feel right at home. They are heartless and brain-dead. They laughed and preened and took selfies as they smashed windows, threatened the lives of public servants, vandalized Congressional offices, and made a mockery of a building and a flag…

    So what is to be done? I’d say for starters let’s not forgive, let’s not forget, and let’s not delude ourselves. Let’s stop saying, “This is not America” every time “rogue” white cops kill a George Floyd or Breonna Taylor, or when white supremacists foment violence, whether in Charlottesville or Kenosha or Washington. Let’s stop pretending that if we read cynical best sellers like Hillbilly Elegy in book clubs and empathic magazine and newspaper interviews by mainstream journalists with those Trump-loving “folks” in diners and bars that we’ll suddenly unearth some conscience that isn’t there. Let’s stop taking seriously NeverTrumpers like David Brooks who as recently as August enthused about the “intellectual ferment” in the Republican party and touted to Times readers four senators who embody the “post-2020, post-Trump Republican future”: Josh Hawley, Marco Rubio, Tom Cotton, and Ben Sasse. (No Black men need apply, of course.)…

  11. Horn-Hat at the Capital Riot

    Viking 1: Check out the moron in the horn-hat.
    Viking 2: A wannabe.
    Viking 1: Doesn't that fool know that one tug on those handles, and he's blinded by his own helmet?
    Viking 2: You do that, I'll grab him from behind.
    Viking 1: We'll tie him up and sell him to the Paroski.

  12. Trump habitually innovates downwards. Inventing new ways to be worse is his signature move. There's not much lower than sedition and insurrection. So what's left?

    He'll order hits.

  13. Although I agree with taking away Trump's twitter account,  it only makes him more desperate and dangerous.  It's like grounding a teenager and taking away his/her celllphone.  They have nothing to do but stew in their own juice and plot vengeance.. 

    I just don't understand Pence.  Trump throws him under the boss, the mob wanted to get their hands on him yet he will not cooperate with initiating the 25th amendment.  What can he possibly get out of his actions politically?  He must have made a deal with the devil somewhere along the way.  More likely, he just has no spine.

    I also am concerned about Biden's inauguration.  Biden, Harris and Pelosi will be there.  Trump has stated he won't be there so it would be a perfect time for him to plot something sinister to happen.  Although his twitter account has been taken away, there is Don, Jr., Ivanka etc., etc.  We all need to appeal to the higher powers to help us poor puny humans get out of this mess.   I have been praying that the aliens would kidnap Trump and send him to a black hole somewhere. 

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