In the aftermath of the Capitol riot on January 6, there was a movement among the GOP establishment to root out all of President Trump’s supporters. I’m not sure who they thought would be left and, more importantly, who would vote for the sad, putrid remains, but that was the BIG IDEA. My guess is that a lot of them were yearning to be like a latter-day William F. Buckley using the platform of the National Review; this was back when people still read it, and the writers there had something to say, to purge the GOP of the John Birch Society. (I know, for a fact, that there were writers on this site who, in 2015-16, boasted that was their mission.) For instance, see A Delusional Liz Cheney Claims President Trump Does Not Have ‘Role As A Leader’ Of the Republican Party Going Forward.
One of the foremost in this regard is Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney. Cheney, you’ll recall, voted to impeach an out-of-office President Trump on the fraudulent grounds that he was involved in an “insurrection” against the US government carried out by some of his supporters and some people who were not his supporters on January 6. Even though Cheney remains as GOP Conference Chairwoman after surviving a no-confidence vote (see Liz Cheney Will Probably Survive but It Won’t Mean What the Media Will Tell You It Means and Liz Cheney Survives, and the Vote Breakdown May Surprise You), she has been censured by the Wyoming GOP (Liz Cheney Takes Aim at Kevin McCarthy After She Earns Scorching Rebuke From Her Home State Party) and has already drawn a highly credible primary challenger (New Survey Reveals Rep. Liz Cheney’s Political Future Is Looking Rather Bleak).
All of which is to say that the only course of action for her to pursue is doubling down on her previous duplicity and hoping that the official narrative established by the media and the Democrat Party will be the only narrative that Wyoming voters remember in 2022 and, along with tons of corporate cash, allow a severe beclowning. To that end, she made an appearance on Face the Nation yesterday.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, unfortunately, last night the Pres– the former President seemed to be talking in a proud way about the crowd size on January 6th. He gave the speech at Mar-a-Lago. He was the keynote speaker at the RNC fund-raiser and– and talked about Vice President Pence not doing more to stop the election certification, according to reports in the Times and– and The Post. So is he really the best messenger for the party?
REPRESENTATIVE LIZ CHENEY: You know, the– the former President is using the same language that he knows provoked violence on January 6th. You know, as a party, we need to be focused on the future. We need to be focused on embracing the Constitution, not embracing insurrection. And I think it’s very important for people to realize that a fundamental part of the Constitution and– and of who we are as Americans is the rule of law. It’s the judicial process. The election wasn’t stolen. There was a judicial process in place. If you attack the judicial process and you attack the rule of law, you aren’t defending the Constitution. You’re at war with the Constitution. And for us as a party going forward, we have to embrace the Constitution and we also have to put forward positive solutions. We’ve got to be the party of hope, of aspiration,–
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.
REPRESENTATIVE LIZ CHENEY: –of inspiration. The party that recognizes and understands that, you know, that the taxes need to be low, the government needs to be limited in size,–
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.
REPRESENTATIVE LIZ CHENEY: –strong national defense, those substantive things, not the party of– of insurrection.
Two things here.
Unlike in January, we now know pretty conclusively that what happened in the Capitol on January 6 was not an insurrection (read Kurt Schlichter’s Stop Calling It an ‘Insurrection’). We also know that the first rioters entered the US Capitol 20 minutes before President Trump finished his speech which was about a 20-minute walk from the Capitol, making it highly unlikely that his speech had any bearing on the events. (Just in case any “fact-checkers” have read this, and beshat themselves, I offer the official Bill Moyers timeline. Trump started speaking shortly after noon. According to Moyers, he “continues speaking for more than an hour.” The “inciting” words about marching on Congress peacefully are the last paragraph of the speech. The Moyers timeline says the Capitol police declared an emergency at 1:09 p.m., just as President Trump was wrapping up his speech two miles away.)
Notice the tag line that Cheney fluffs at the end of her statement? “We’re the party of inspiration, not insurrection.” That’s the kind of carefully crafted and focus-tested phrase that public relations consultants, particularly those in crisis communications, turn out for clients.
When you combine it with Cheney’s call for a 9/11-style commission to investigate the January 6 riot in the same interview (I didn’t know this was still a thing), a pattern emerges.
REPRESENTATIVE LIZ CHENEY: Look, January 6th was clearly an attack that was attempted to stop the counting of electoral votes. I just listened to Speaker Pelosi say that, quote, “Right now we’re in a good place.” We’re not in a good place. We absolutely need– and it is her responsibility to create a commission, a bipartisan commission to study what happened, to understand what the provocation was, to understand what happened, to make sure that it never happens again. After every major crisis in this country whether it’s September 11th–
MARGARET BRENNAN: There wasn’t– there wasn’t Republican support for the version she put forward–
REPRESENTATIVE LIZ CHENEY: Well–
MARGARET BRENNAN: –which would have had a Democratic majority.
REPRESENTATIVE LIZ CHENEY: The version that she put forward was not bipartisan. It was very heavily partisan towards the Democrats. This is a serious issue. It shouldn’t be a partisan issue. You just had a hundred and forty national security officials from Republican and Democratic administrations–
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-Hm.
REPRESENTATIVE LIZ CHENEY: –send a letter to Congress saying we need a commission. I think that’s the single most important thing we need to do–
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.
REPRESENTATIVE LIZ CHENEY: –to make sure that kind of attack never happens again.
No one else is talking about the January 6 riot. Cheney emerges from the wings and picks up a demand for something no one really wants — an ugly, divisive, inconclusive commission turning out an ugly, divisive, inconclusive report in a crucial off-year election — and she has a cute little slogan tailor-made to go along with it: “We’re the party of inspiration not insurrection.” One has to wonder who paid for this and why anyone thought it was a good idea.
It looks like Cheney, and we have to assume clowns like Kinzinger and others, have decided that their only way forward politically is to wage war upon the GOP and its voters by labeling them “insurrectionists.” If they have to help the Democrats win so they keep their jobs, well, that’s just too bad for the GOP and the nation.