Montreal The January 6th House Congressional committee keeps on plugging away. In plodding detail and with public testimony, they continue to lay out their case for the outrages that drove the insurrection at the Capitol. In the latest review, they highlight the arguments between former President Trump and former Vice-President Pence over his refusal to stand in the way of certifying President Biden’s election victory. Typical of Pence, his legacy will now be what he didn’t do, more than anything that he ever did do, either in Washington or Indiana.
There’s no doubt that Trump knew what he was doing, and that he knew it was illegal. When your crazed, conservative, conspiracy lawyer, John Eastman, advises you to do something, claiming that it is legal, and then asks for a pre-emptive pardon from you, because he knows it was a bizarre, marginal opinion and knows that you have lost, if you are Trump, you can’t have any doubt in your mind that nothing but specious baloney is coming out of your mouth. Any pretense that he believed that he was standing on legal ground has now disappeared.
We’re at the point where we now have to ask, “Does anyone care?” Are these hearings just a pile-on for folks who have always known Trump was lying? Are any of his true-believers being moved by the evidence, or have they simply hunkered down? Reading an analysis in the Washington Post, the conclusion seems to be doom-and-gloom. No one cares, positions are hardening, and, for the most part, it doesn’t matter. I’m more positive. They write about one old guy who thinks Trump was OK, but it got out of hand, and concludes that it’s time for Trump to stand aside. I think his view will be shared by the moderate majority left in the Republican ranks. You can’t every completely cure crazy, but people know when it’s over, and they don’t like to lose, so my bet is that many don’t want to publicly throw Trump the rest of the way under the bus, but they see the tire tracks all over him and know he’s history.
There’s some evidence that Democrats are helping push marginal, whack Republican candidates forward both in open voting primaries and with their donations. This may be too Machiavellian for many, but there’s a logic to it. American voters tend to break towards the middle, not the extremes. They don’t like to be embarrassed and radicals scare them, both right and left.
There’s a certain zany logic to all of this as well, not only at the local level, but even on the big stage. I wouldn’t be surprised if there aren’t some Democratic strategists that are pining away for a Trump-Biden rematch, believing that might be one of the few ways that they could retake the White House with any certainty. For them, continuing to make Trump the strawman and the face and force of the opposition works. Don’t be so certain that I’m wrong. Even Mitch McConnell seems to be operating from the premise that Trump is done and get on with it.
Give the devils their due. There are a lot of them out there. Many more than most realized before these recent events.