Wednesday’s assault on the Capitol unfolded like a TV mini-series. I binge-watched and rejoiced in the failure of an insurrection by American terrorists incited by Donald Trump. Now, we’re being inundated with pangs of conscience.

The attempt to overthrow our democratic process prompted much “soul searching.” I’m skeptical. To engage in that activity, you need a soul.

Wednesday night, some Republican lawmakers walked back supporting objections to the Electoral College votes of Arizona and Pennsylvania. They included Kelly Loeffler, who just lost her Georgia Senate seat to Raphael Warnock, and Lindsey Graham (South Carolina). Like the serpent in the Garden of Eden, they slickly speak out of both sides of their mouth.

I give little credence to the resignations of Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s former acting chief of staff and special envoy to Northern Ireland; Stephanie Grisham, Melania Trump’s chief of staff; Elaine Chao, Secretary of Transportation and wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell; and Education secretary Betsy DeVos. 

All drank the Trump Kool-Aid from the outset. All were complicit.

Thursday morning, Trump promised a peaceful transition after Congress certified Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory. What a con! This grotesque presidential impersonator defamed American principles during the 2016 campaign, upped the ante after winning and over four years thereafter, then called out his dogs. They obeyed, just as after the election, they donated more than $200 million to him.  

Many commentators suggest that Wednesday’s insurrection represents a national wake-up call. I agree—in theory. 

“Centrist” Republican Senators, including Mitt Romney (Utah), Ben Sasse (Nebraska), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska)—even the spine-challenged Susan Collins (Maine)—have the opportunity to break away from the Trump cultists, forge an alternative Republican caucus and work with Joe Biden and the Democrats. They can remain conservatives, which is fine, while reaching across the aisle to meet the nation’s needs, putting Constitution over career.

There will be challenges. Millions of American voters will continue to sleep-walk through a world of alternative fact and fantasy. I know first-hand. Wednesday, Carolyn commented about the insurrection on Facebook. Her brother pushed back. He was in Washington with, he claimed, two million Trump supporters. The people he was with were fun, the protest peaceful. The rioters who attacked the Capitol? Antifa and Black Lives Matter. His source: InfoWars, run by the conspiracy advocate Alex Jones, who inspired a violence-inciting character on Showtime’s Homeland.

What goes around comes around. In June 1954, Senator Joe McCarthy (R-Wisconsin) led innuendo-filled hearings into Communist infiltration of the U.S. Army. This followed smear campaigns against innocent people in Washington and Hollywood, tolerated by the Republican Party. On national television, an exasperated Judge Joseph N. Welch asked McCarthy, “Have you no sense of decency, sir?” The balloon burst. The Senate later censured McCarthy. A broken alcoholic, he died in 1957, still in office.

As to Judge Welch’s question, Republicans like Ted Cruz (Texas) and Josh Hawley (Missouri) would be hard-pressed to answer, “Yes.”

Note: Roy Cohn, a lawyer reviled by many, served as an advisor to McCarthy/ Later, he counseled a New York real-estate developer named Donald Trump. 

Yesterday, the conservative Wall Street Journal called for Trump’s resignation. It’s past time for many “loyal” Americans to wake up and smell the coffee. A little java beats Trump Kool-Aid chugged down by the mob buying into endless delusions.

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  1. Michelle de Grasse on January 8, 2021 at 11:33 am

    Right ON, David! Shabbat Shalom!

    • David Perlstein on January 8, 2021 at 11:35 am

      Thanks, Michelle. This story will continue to unfold.

  2. Joan Sutton on January 8, 2021 at 1:55 pm

    David, you haven’t mentioned the Pentagon. I think it has been corrupted. The Pentagon provided no federal protection for the Capitol on the day of the insurrection and the Pentagon delayed sending the National Guard for almost two hours while the lives of our Congress members were under threat. I think this was a planned coup attempt; it stinks of Giuliani’s mindset and trump’s thumbs up. I’m sure nobody needs to be reminded that trump purged the Pentagon a couple of months ago.

    • David Perlstein on January 8, 2021 at 2:35 pm

      Joan: I hear (or read) you but disagree. The Pentagon cannot send in National Guard or regular troops on its own. It must receive a request through channels, including the Secretary (or acting) of Defense. Trump delayed, and any request to the White House was probably delayed by the D.C. mayor’s office, D.C. police and Capitol police. A thorough investigation will follow. If the Joint Chiefs had wished to stage a coup, they would have sent troops to escort the terrorists into the Capitol, disarmed the Capitol and D.C. police and forced, if that was possible, Congress to successfully object to the Electoral College votes in questions.

      As to Trump and Giuliani, they certainly attempted a political/terrorist coup. The House may start move to impeach on Monday should Mike Pence not call on the cabinet to remove Trump via the 25th Amendment—unlikely. The House would vote to impeach, but whether the trial would go to the Senate with nine or so days left in Trump’s term remains to be seen. Stay tuned.

    • David Perlstein on January 9, 2021 at 12:10 pm

      Joan: I have to back off what I said about the Department of Defense (civilian led). According to Forbes and Slate, Maryland governor Larry Hogan—a Republican—said that federal officials repeatedly denied his request to deploy the state’s National Guard. A thorough investigation must be made and if wrongdoing is discovered, those found responsible must pay a serious penalty as must the terrorists who invaded the Capitol.

      • Joan B Sutton on January 9, 2021 at 12:49 pm

        David, this smells to high heaven. Something is very wrong. As someone else said, we spend trillions on defense, yet we can’t even defend our own Capitol. This has got to be an inside job.

  3. Tracy on January 8, 2021 at 3:10 pm

    Amazing that we spend roughly eleventy trillion dollars a year on defense and we can’t secure the Capitol Building from mouth breathers cosplaying as Daniel Boone with viking hats on. But I’m sure the solution will be: MORE GOVERNMENT.

    Joe Biden looks into camera: This…can…never…happen…AGAIN. Signs Patriot Act II.

    What a fecal fiesta.

    • David Perlstein on January 8, 2021 at 3:27 pm

      Spoken as a true Libertarian, Tracy. But not quite the way I look at it. We had a colossal security failure, but not because manpower and equipment were lacking. An investigation (or more than one) will seek to find out just what happened on the security front.

  4. Joan Sutton on January 9, 2021 at 11:56 am

    I hope we are finally given all the details about the security failure which put the lives of our Congress in danger.

    • David Perlstein on January 9, 2021 at 11:59 am

      Totally agree, Joan. The ball was dropped with shattering results.

  5. Joan B Sutton on January 9, 2021 at 12:50 pm

    “fecal fiesta” Priceless.

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