So the Republicans elected a House speaker this weekend, sending news shills across the nation scrambling for the next thing that will be all the better to terrorize you with while maxing out the current news cycle. The Democrats and their minions realized that at least a contingent of the GOP was not going to willingly comply with whatever the agenda would be on any given day and that the number of Republicans willing to engage in “bipartisan” kabuki may not be as large as it once was.
And so began the subtle and not-so-subtle attempts to sow the seeds of paranoia among those who breathlessly follow their every utterance. Not that those poor souls who spend their days careening through Twitter on a blue jihad are not worked up enough already. Naturally, there have to be some preemptive strikes before the Republican majority gets to work.
And of course, J6 has to be a part of the narratives. J6 has become the new hot sauce — everything needs a dash of it. It is the latest incarnation of the “cowbell” joke: “More insurrection!”
For example, Democrat Reps. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) and Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) immediately began experiencing night terrors over the removal of the metal detectors from the House. But their concerns are not limited to hordes of red-hatted, Mega-MAGA Monsters. No, they are paranoid that their own colleagues are plotting an attack. Fox notes that Swalwell, whose own loose interpretation of national security issues seems to have magically disappeared, lamented, “A lot of my Republican colleagues glorify violence and proudly display the firearms they have in their offices, so it just makes me nervous that we could have a workplace violent (sic) event. They’re not the most stable people.”
Jayapal fretted about living a in “QAnon reality,” accusing Lauren Boebert of “playing coy” about whether or not she would carry her gun on the floor. Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) said, “There have been increased threats to members of Congress. There’s been an increase in political violence in this country, and I think we have a responsibility to make sure that people come to work—this is a workplace—that they could do so safely and free from any fear of violence, particularly gun violence.”
It’s almost as if Democrats want to see Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) in a battered Stetson and serape, a hand-rolled cigar dangling from her lips, her fingertips brushing her holster while she whispers “Draw, varmint.” Or Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) on top of his desk, AR-15 in one hand, American flag in the other, shouting “Pizzagate!” at the top of his lungs. I think the Dems will be disappointed with anything less.
Meanwhile, Lesley Stahl took advantage of her 60 Minutes platform to lament that the fight for the speaker’s chair was an embarrassment to the GOP and the nation. According to Stahl’s tea leaves, the issue calls into question the Republicans’ ability to lead. George Stephanopoulos, on This Week, ABC’s contribution to the useless buffet of Sunday morning talk shows, also predicted doom and gloom. The Daily Wire had this quote:
On the second anniversary of the January 6th insurrection, Kevin McCarthy clinched his decade-long quest to be speaker of the House. It came with concessions to the most extreme members of his caucus, the help of the former president he denounced on the House floor two years ago, and the prospect of two more years of brinksmanship over his hold on the office, the fiscal security of the United States and the basics functions of governing.
J6! More cowbell!
And of course, Gavin Newsom made good use of his inauguration as governor of California (also known as the Desolation of Gavin) to summon the ghost of J6 to the banquet. Via the Washington Free Beacon:
“The ugliness that overflowed on January 6, 2021, we know this, was in fact decades in the making,” Newsom said in his address, adding that the riots were “fomented by people who have a very different vision of America’s future.” The governor also made thinly veiled jabs at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R.), slamming states that “silence speech, fire teachers, kidnap migrants, subjugate women … and even demonize Mickey Mouse.
Some of this is just the usual spin from the Democrats. And it may be, as the House gets ready to vote on investigating federal law enforcement, that the Dems are doing a little pre-show damage control to cast doubt on a potential investigation. Both of those may be true and probably are. But there is also the hubris and arrogance that comes with believing that you are entitled to rule instead of serve, which makes a Republican majority, no matter how small, unthinkable to the Democrats.