Here it is, Jan. 6, a day that doesn’t exist on the GOP calendar anymore. Now think back one year, to the day when the U.S. Capitol was overrun by oafs trying to validate the whims of a losing presidential candidate.
You remember Jan. 6, 2021, don’t you? Five people died and more than 140 police officers were assaulted at the Capitol; at least four of those officers committed suicide shortly afterward. So much for “backing the blue,” eh?
Come to think of it, that was the worst attack on the seat of U.S. government since the British sacked and burned the Capitol during the War of 1812 — more than 200 years ago.
The official position of most Congressional Republicans is that last year’s rampage was just another day, no different than any other. They might concede that some high-spirited tourists got up to some, er, shenanigans at the Capitol, but it wasn’t an attack on our democracy. Heavens, no. And even though hundreds of people were chanting it, nobody really wanted to hang Vice President Mike Pence.
Which is, of course, hogwash. The assault on the U.S. Capitol was a sophomoric attempt to stop the peaceful transition of power, something that had never happened in this country before.Never.
To those who bray about a stolen election, the remedy is to bring actual evidence before a court. It’s called the “rule of law,” and that’s how we correct injustice in America. After dozens of courtroom challenges, and dozens of failures, it’s fair to conclude the stolen election shibboleth is simply more hogwash.
Oblivious to irony, this new strain of GOP “patriots” picks and chooses which laws to obey. They’re big on the Second Amendment — that’s the one about guns — and they’re also fond of the First Amendment, as long as they’re doing the talking. It’s all about freedom and liberty for them, leaving it to others to supply the nutrients for a civil society.
Unable to articulate what they want, but willing to put America through hell until they get it, these are the voters who elect increasingly unhinged Republicans to public office. Their agenda is still largely inchoate — something about tyranny, I gather — so their elected representatives spend most of their time swinging wrecking balls rather than doing anything constructive.
Here’s the fundamental question: Are there any responsible Republicans left in American politics? Do they solve problems anymore? Or has the modern GOP fully morphed into the Chaos Caucus?
It’s not an idle question.
Think about all the anti-government Republicans now smug in the insolence of office. In Congress, it’s provocateurs such as Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, Matt Gaetz, Paul Gosar, Mo Brooks, Madison Cawthorn, Jim Jordan and the brilliantly articulate Louie Gohmert.
The anti-government rot isn’t confined to Washington, D.C. either. Idaho has wanna-be governor Janice McGeachin and wanna-be lieutenant governor Priscilla Giddings. Now there’s a pair for you. Elect them and it’ll be political theater for years to come; not much will get done, and the state will lose some costly lawsuits, but there will be lots of attention-grabbing stunts and maybe a campaign to repeal the law of gravity.
The question no one seems to be asking is why people vote for these anti-government kooks.Seriously. Would you take your car to a mechanic who is anti-automobile? Or trust your investment portfolio to a Bolshevik? Probably not.
So why do GOP voters elect politicians willing to topple the pillars of democracy?
“The Republican Party is at a turning point,” wrote Rep. Liz, Cheney, R-Wyo., in a recent op-ed for The Washington Post, “and Republicans must decide whether we are going to choose truth and fidelity to the Constitution.”
I don’t have much in common with Liz Cheney, who is an old-school Republican, but I applaud her commitment to genuinely conservative values. She won’t shape-shift her beliefs to stay on-sides with delusional voters.
Given her commitment to principal, Cheney probably will lose her job this year. Meanwhile, finger-in-the-wind politicians like Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., will remain in office by playing rope-a-dope with reality.
So c’mon all ye faithful Republicans, which side are you on?
Brock has been a Daily News columnist for 20 years. He has lived on the Palouse even longer.