Five moments will be etched in our minds from last night’s gripping primetime presentation:
1. The testimony of the anonymous White House security official who said that members of VP MIKE PENCE’s detail were calling their loved ones to say goodbye because they “thought that this was about to get very ugly” and “were starting to fear for their own lives."
2. The panicked voices on the radio chatter from Pence’s security detail as they raced to whisk him to safety when they were just steps from the advancing mob after it had been re-intensified by Trump’s 2:24 p.m. tweet criticizing his vice president. “We need to move now,” a Pence agent said. “If we lose any more time, we may lose the ability to do so.”
3. Gen. MARK MILLEY’s testimony, expressed with astonishment , that the President of the United States refused to defend the Capitol. “You know, you're the Commander in Chief,” he said. “You’ve got an assault going on on the Capitol of the United States of America, and there's nothing? No call? Nothing? Zero?"
4. The outtakes from Trump videos on January 6 and 7, in which the then-president struggles to condemn the attack or declare that the election was “over.”
5. The slow-motion clip of Sen. JOSH HAWLEY (R-Mo.) fleeing the Capitol as the mob descended — not long after he raised his fist in solidarity with its members. Video of reaction to the Hawley clip inside the hearing room
Where Was Kevin McCarthy?
The GOP leader was MIA from critical discussion as the Capitol was under siege and VP Pence was giving “unambiguous orders.”
Around 4 p.m. on January 6, 2021, staffers inside the White House were “emotionally drained,” according to new testimony revealed by the House Jan. 6th Committee. The staffers felt their work was done, since then-President Donald Trump had finally put out a statement about the events of the day: a video message expressing love for the rioters, perpetuating the idea the election was stolen from him, and asking them to go home.
But even though the White House was ready to call it quits, the Capitol was still under attack. Then-Vice President Mike Pence was on the phone with Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller, demanding he “Get the military down here, get the guard down here, put down this situation.” And congressional leaders from both parties huddled to coordinate a plan to finish certifying the election for Joe Biden.
Someone was notably missing from the photos and video of those conversations among congressional leaders working to resume business: then-House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy.
The modern Republican party in a nutshell.
And in other news...
Giuliani Ordered to Testify in Georgia Criminal Investigation
After Rudolph W. Giuliani failed to show for a hearing in Manhattan, a Georgia judge ordered him to testify as part of an investigation into election interference in the state.
Fani T. Willis, the prosecutor in Fulton County leading the investigation, has indicated that she is considering conspiracy or racketeering charges, which could take in a broad spectrum of people engaged in multiple efforts to sway the election results.
Oz is, of course, LARPing as a Pennsylvania resident.
Bipartisan Senate Group Strikes Deal to Rewrite Electoral Count Act
The changes outlined by the senators are intended to prevent a repeat of the effort on Jan. 6, 2021, to overturn the presidential election in Congress.
The legislation aims to guarantee a peaceful transition from one president to the next, after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol exposed how the current law could be manipulated to disrupt the process. One measure would make it more difficult for lawmakers to challenge a state’s electoral votes when Congress meets to count them. It would also clarify that the vice president has no discretion over the results, and it would set out the steps to begin a presidential transition.
A second bill would increase penalties for threats and intimidation of election officials, seek to improve the Postal Service’s handling of mail-in ballots and renew for five years an independent federal agency that helps states administer and secure federal elections.
Top GOP governor candidate: Mich. abortion ban should cover rape, incest
Tudor Dixon told interviewer Charlie LeDuff on his podcast, “No BS Newshour,” that procedures needed to save the “life of the mother” should be the only exception to abortion bans.
“Do you think you can win with that?” LeDuff asked. He dug in: “The question would be like, a 14-year-old who, let’s say, is a victim of abuse by an uncle, you’re saying carry that?”
Dixon responded, at times speaking over LeDuff: “Yeah, perfect example … okay … because I know people who are the product — a life is a life for me.”
Jeffrey L Fisher/Politico Magazine:
The Supreme Court Reform that Could Actually Win Bipartisan Support
The most common version of this reform contemplates justices serving nonrenewable 18-year terms, staggered so that one term ends every two years. This would mean that presidents would get to nominate new justices in the first and third years of their own administrations. Retirements and nominations would occur like clockwork. The result would be a court whose membership, at any given time, would reflect the selections of the past 4-1/2 presidential administrations.
Because Article 3 of the Constitution confers life tenure upon all federal judges, term limits would likely require a constitutional amendment. Yes, constitutional amendments are hard to enact. We have not amended our Constitution since 1992, and we have done so only once in the past half-century. But there is reason — even in these politically polarized times — to believe that constitutional reform is possible.
Perry Bacon, Jr/WaPo:
Why progressive Democrats are losing ground
More than that, real-world events were, in fact, validating the left’s arguments. Child poverty plummeted when the federal government simply gave families money directly through the tax credits in the stimulus, the kind of big-government policy the left has long urged. The political struggles of Biden and McAuliffe showed, as the left has argued, that voters won’t be satisfied with a do-little Democratic Party even if it is fairly moderate ideologically and focused on wooing White swing voters. The murder rate surged even as police spending either stayed the same or increased, bolstering the progressive argument that reducing crime will take more comprehensive strategies than just relying on law enforcement.
But despite all that, the centrist arguments gained traction. That’s partly because the mainstream media, the wealthy and Biden himself are skeptical of progressives and inclined to take the side of centrist Democrats in intra-party fights. One telling example: Presidents don’t usually comment on local elections, but Biden joined much of the media in casting last month’s recall of San Francisco district attorney Chesa Boudin as a sign that voters across the country want more police spending.
And because these anti-left arguments have become conventional wisdom in Democratic circles, they are resulting in policy and electoral defeats for the party’s left wing. Biden started downplaying police reform while he and other Democrats leaned into pro-police rhetoric and funding increases. Most of BBB has been shelved. The Federal Reserve, with the encouragement of many centrist Democrats, is taking aggressive steps to rein in inflation that are likely to reduce wages and increase unemployment.
Majority in US want legal abortion nationally
A majority of Americans say Congress should pass a law guaranteeing access to legal abortion nationwide, according to a new poll that finds over half say they feel at least somewhat “sad” or “angry” about the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
The high court’s decision asserted that abortion is not a constitutional right and handed states the authority to severely restrict or ban abortion. The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll shows many Americans back some restrictions on abortion, especially after the first trimester, but the most extreme measures introduced in some Republican-led states are at odds with the public — and with many of the people who live in them.
Faith Murphy, a 41-year-old in Coshocton, Ohio, said she was “quite upset” that the court overruled Roe and wants to see abortion access federally protected. While she’s voted across the aisle, Murphy considers herself a Republican and doesn’t want to see Republican leaders in her state and others push for restrictions.
Confessions of a Conservative Apostate
What does it mean to be a conservative now?
I don’t speak for all conservatives. (Or any of them, if you listen to my critics from the GOP or among the anti-anti-Trump gripers.) And I am not going to launch into a long discourse here on Burkean conservatism or John Mill or John Locke or any of that. I have written, in bits and pieces, about what I think—at least for me—constitutes a conservative temperament, including ideas about human nature, the role of government, civic virtue, and the balance between freedom and responsibility.
The fact remains, however, that many of us are now in a coalition with an array of groups to our left. Among our former comrades on the right, this makes us apostates, defectors, heretics.
Still, we cannot make a permanent home with our temporary liberal roommates: We don’t like the panties on the curtain rod, and they don’t like the notes we leave on the pillow. And yet, here we are, because none of the issues that would normally matter between right and left matter as much as the future of democracy. A conservative who cares about the future of the constitutional order must face the reality that the Republican Party has become a menace to the Constitution and our system of government.
I am a one-issue voter: I am pro-democracy.