TURES COLUMN: Calling 1/6 ‘legitimate political discourse’ will haunt the GOP for years
Published 9:30 am Thursday, February 10, 2022
In attempting to censure Republicans investigating the insurrection of January 6, the RNC criticized these members of Congress for their participation in a “Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse.” With those three words, the Republican National Committee joined the biggest historical blunders, perhaps costing the party dearly. It’s time for the members of the GOP to take back the RNC from the Trump faction.
Mistakes are common throughout history. There’s “Dewey Defeats Truman” and “The Unsinkable Titanic.” But this 2022 RNC party resolution might even top naïve British Conservative Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s assertion that the Munich Pact brought us “Peace in our time” when Hitler was on the verge of launching World War II.
“History is not a burden on the memory, but an illumination of the soul,” Lord Acton said. And thankfully, the soul of the Republican Party is starting to wake up to dangers of one-man party rule, which leads to resolutions like this.
GOP Indiana Senator Todd Young said “Don’t know any American who views Jan. 6 as ‘legitimate political discourse.’” North Carolina GOP Senator Thom Tillis disputed the characterization of 1/6 as legitimate political discourse. Utah Senator Mitt Romney of the GOP said “To suggest that a violent attacks on the seat of democracy is legitimate political discourse is so far from accurate as to shock and make people wonder what we’re thinking.” He added “Anything that my party does that comes across as being stupid is not going to help us.”
Former GOP New Jersey Governor Chris Christie decried the resolution as made by “a small group of Trump loyalists,” bemoaning how the resolution is distracting from the GOP message. Republican Senator Mitch McConnell labeled 1/6 a “violent insurrection.”
Is the use of dangerous and deadly weapons on officers, hitting officers with bear spray, threatening the lives of leaders, theft and damage to the U.S. Capitol in the millions of dollars, really “legitimate political discourse?” Why is law enforcement prosecuting them if it was actually legitimate?
The damage will go well beyond the RNC as well as Trump. As the conservative National Review magazine wrote, the words “legitimate political discourse” and saying nobody should be prosecuted would “be used against hundreds of elected Republicans who were not consulted in its drafting and do not endorse its meaning … its wording is political malpractice of the highest order.” The magazine also noted that McDaniel seems to be trying to walk back these printed words as further evidence of how troubling they are. Republican politicians and most of their supporters were clearly not consulted about these words. If they had, few if any would opt for such terms that could well cost the party the election in 2022 and 2024. Turning the party message over to the anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers was a serious error, while attacking an economy, which improved over what Trump left us, was another mistake (they should be focused on all of the red ink and government spending). But now the RNC is firmly aligning itself with those who committed perhaps the darkest act in U.S. history. By calling it “legitimate political discourse,” it insults the intelligence of anyone who watched any video of the coup attempt.
The Republican Party could have generally written off the actions of those who stormed the U.S. Capitol as a few hundred crazies who don’t speak for the party, targeting the GOP as much as Democrats on January 6. Not anymore. To save the party, the Republican faithful must reclaim it from those who see their priority as protecting a man who never really reflected the party.