Tuesday, January 05, 2021

Not The First Time

It didn't start yesterday.

George Will is accurate and being celebrated on left Twitter after noting "on Wednesday, the members of the Hawley-Cruz cohort will violate the oath of office in which they swore to defend the Constitution from enemies “foreign and domestic.” They are its most dangerous domestic enemies." And you can't beat (emphasis Will's) "Hawley — has there ever been such a high ratio of ambition to accomplishment?"  (Hawley is right about $2,000 stimulus checks but the push by him and Sanders hasn't succeeded.)

Nonetheless, Will is trying to blow smoke up our posteriors when he advances the notion that there are three discrete parties in politics:

America’s three-party system — Democrats, Hawley-Cruz Republicans, and McConnell-Sasse Republicans — will continue to take shape on Wednesday. Watch how many of these Republican senators who might be seeking reelection in 2022 have the spine to side with the adults against Hawley-Cruz et al. and the Grassy Knollers among their constituents: John Boozman, Richard Burr, Mike Crapo, Charles E. Grassley, John Hoeven, Mike Lee, Jerry Moran, Lisa Murkowski, Rand Paul, Rob Portman, Marco Rubio, Tim Scott, Richard C. Shelby, John Thune, Todd C. Young.

Today, they are assuring what was already assured, that Joe Biden will be inaugurated President on January 21, 2021. However, each one has sided with the authoritarian on nearly every vote in this regime. All of them delivered a stunning rebuke to the rule of law and American democracy when they ignored the overwhelming evidence against President Trump in order to vote not guilty at his impeachment trial.

During the impeachment hearing early this year, House impeachment manager Adam Schiff warned 

Can we be confident that he will not continue to try to cheat in [this] very election? Can we be confident that Americans and not foreign powers will get to decide, and that the president will shun any further foreign interference in our Democratic affairs? The short, plain, sad, incontestable answer is no, you can't. You can't trust this president to do the right thing. Not for one minute, not for one election, not for the sake of our country. You just can't. He will not change and you know it.

What are the odds if left in office that he will continue trying to cheat? I will tell you: 100 percent. A man without character or ethical compass will never find his way.

After the President was impeached, all 15 of those GOP senators, though (or maybe because) aware that Trump would cheat, then not go quietly if defeated for re-election, voted for acquittal.

This isn't the GOP's first rigging rodeo. CNN political analyst Julian Zelizer recalls

On November 21, the Florida Supreme Court authorized manual recounts in four counties and set a November 26th deadline. The next day, the Miami-Dade County canvassing board decided to focus solely on the contested ballots in order to meet the deadline. To hunker down and avoid the media frenzy that had descended on Miami, the officials decided to move to a smaller room on the 19th floor so they could be closer to the ballot-scanning machine, according to an account in Salon.

But Republican operatives, congressional staffers and lawyers had organized a group of protesters to fly to Florida, and the mob of "50-year-old white lawyers with cell phones and Hermes ties," as described by the Wall Street Journal, gathered in the high-rise building where the recount was taking place.

When New York Congressman John Sweeney, who was working for the Bush campaign, learned that the recount had been moved to another room, he ordered, the troops to "shut it down."

The protesters yelled and screamed, accusing the canvassers of trying to steal the election. The chants became fiercer and the demonstration increasingly raucous as they directly confronted the county officials. "Stop the count. Stop the fraud," they chanted.

Miami-Dade Democratic County Chairman Joe Geller bore the brunt of the protesters' ire. When someone handed him a sample ballot to test one of the voting machines, the protesters surrounded him and demand that he desist, accusing him of stealing ballots.

"This one guy was tripping me and pushing me and kicking me. At one point, I thought if they knocked me over, I could have literally got stomped to death," he recalled. The police escorted Geller so that he could safely leave the building. Republican organizers denied that the situation ever became violent.

The strategy worked. Hours after the riot, the board decided to shut down its operations and the manual recount in Miami came to an end. (David Leahy, one member of the canvassing board, told the New York Times, "This was perceived as not being an open and fair process. That weighed heavy on our minds." But days later he denied the protests played a role in ending the manual recount.) The Supreme Court later handed the victory to George W. Bush, and a number of the participants in the Brooks Brothers Riot went on to serve in the administration and work in conservative politics.

Nor did the lying about the election process begin in 2020 as

“This one guy was tripping me and pushing me and kicking me,” recalled Geller, who is now a state legislator. “At one point, I thought if they knocked me over, I could have literally got stomped to death.”

Brad Blakeman, a Bush campaign operative who proudly admits to coordinating what he prefers to call the “Brooks Brothers Rebellion,” denies that things got violent.

“That’s all bulls---,” he told The Post. “There was no violence. There was no threatening behavior.”

Although senators Hawley and Cruz are straight-up authoritarians, their GOP colleagues chose to condone the President's crimes when they had the chance to shut them down.  Assaulting democracy is how Donald Trump rolls. But it's also how the Republican Party rolls.


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