Schwab: Getting to know the Republicans’ House of cards

Scratch a trove of texts from GOP House members and out spills conspiracy theories and calls for ‘Marshall law.’

By Sid Schwab / Herald columnist

The website Talking Points Memo (www.talkingpointsmemo.com) got hold of thousands of texts between Mark Meadows, Trump’s one-time chief of staff, and a basketful of members of Congress (34 of them) along with a bunch of other Republican role-players around the country. Tons of texts, 450 of which went to the 34, regarding the fair election Trump lost, and ways to overturn it; plus the runup to the failed Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, and beyond. It’s illuminating.

Reading the TPM series, there’s no denying the seditious depth of their intentions; their undisguised disregard for democratic processes; their willingness to turn to violence and totalitarianism. Perhaps surprising to people less intent on observation is the amount of paranoid, conspiratorial, uninformed insanity of those people. Elected people. Reelected; not, presumably, in spite of their derision of democracy, but because of it.

Key players included Jim Jordan R-Ohio, Jody Hice, R-Ga., Mo Brooks, R-Ala., Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, Ted Cruz R-Texas), and others. Maybe some of them actually believed the ridiculous “news” and theories they were pushing. If so, they’re too lacking in judgment to play any role in the future of our country. If not, they belong in prison. Well, prison either way, probably. Some examples:

From Texas Congressman/dental-American, Brian Babin: “Mark, when we lose Trump we lose our Republic. … [We] refuse to live under a corrupt Marxist dictatorship. Liberty!” Seriously? Among the Foxotrumpified, he’s not alone in his delusion, nor in a lack of irony: corrupt Marxist dictatorship! From a guy plotting to overthrow a democratic election. Like a Marxist dictator. And, contra rightwing media screamers, absent anything to suggest impending Marxist dictatorship, if he even could define it. Same with those who believe that’s exactly what the Biden presidency is.

Paul Gosar, R-Az., another dental-American who can’t separate tooth from fiction, forwarded a claim from a website named, not kidding, “Some Bitch Told Me,” that China had purchased Dominion Voting Machines for $400 million (false), proving dark deeds afoot.

Jordan, likely upcoming chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, quoted Alexander Hamilton, who wrote that if a law passed by Congress is unconstitutional, it can’t be valid. Therefore, he concluded, duly elected Electoral College electors must be invalid. The gaps in that brilliant extrapolation from A to somewhere weren’t filled in. He’ll make the Judiciary Committee great again, for sure.

Then there’s Rick Allen, R-Ga. You’ll have to read it yourself, because I can’t even (tinyurl.com/rickallen4u).

Ted Budd, R-N.C., claimed that all-powerful, all-knowing, has-a-plan-for-us-all George Soros manipulated the voting machines. Probably from space.

Three days before inauguration day, Ralph Norman, R-S.C., wrote to Meadows, “we are at a point of no return in saving our Republic!! Our LAST HOPE is invoking Marshall Law!!” MTG called for the same. It’s bizarre. It’s insane. It’s bad spelling; on two counts (Outsider: tinyurl.com/marshall4u).

There’s far too much to address in a single, space-limited newspaper column. Follow the link to TPM. Then consider the implications for the future of America. Ponder the delusional and dangerous depths to which the Republican party has descended. Mull the promise maybe-Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy has made to put the worst of the worst, including Gosar, Taylor Greene, and others featured ravingly in the texts, on important committees. Chair them, even. The doodoo in which we find ourselves, thanks to them, is deep.

Embarrassing to the U.S. as their behavior is on some level, and subject to ridicule, it’s also really, really scary. These are so-called Republican so-called leaders. About to take charge of half of a third of our government. Fully in the thrall of a sociopathic narcissist and his pre-packaged election lies, they were, like him, unable to accept that he’d lost fair and square. When they’re in charge, we can hope they’ll reveal their unseriousness so undeniably that they’ll turn away enough voters to bring their party back to its former respectability. In preparation for that day, I’ll be selling umbrellas strong enough to protect from airborne Sus scrofa domesticus (tinyurl.com/2cfp4u).

To a somewhat heartening degree, there’s evidence that, since the time of those texts, Trump’s star is waning among Republicans. But, lest we allow the cooling power of hope into our overheated minds, consider the person vying to be next: Ron DeSantis, currently following up on his derelict pandemic policies, which placed Florida — 14th — among the states with the highest covid death rates per population, by seeking a grand jury investigation of vaccines. And who believes attacking and lying about LGBTQ people, criminalizing teaching about gender issues, is winning political policy. This bodes well neither for his party nor for America.

But gas prices and inflation are dropping. Blamed by Trumpublicans for the rise of both, no doubt President Biden is about to receive accolades from the same people. So there’s that.

Email Sid Schwab at columnsid@gmail.com.

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