Republicans Dodge the Truth

6 mins read

A few hours into yesterday’s eight-hour impeachment debate, Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) said the Democrats, in bringing impeachment, are “tearing families apart.”

She said this without a touch of irony.

Not long afterward, Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IND) said the Democrats have not brought “one single piece of evidence” to support impeachment. (If anyone wants to see the evidence, I assembled a timeline here.)

Dear Rep. Walorsky: This is an impeachment, not a trial. If you want more evidence, that’s for the trial. Will you push for evidence at the trial? Or will you say (absurdly) that the Grand Jury didn’t have the evidence so we won’t pay attention to it now?

Many hours later, Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX) defended Trump’s behavior by saying, “The president is in charge of foreign policy, not career diplomats.”

Um, a few problems with that. First, asking Ukrainian President Zelensky to open in investigation into Burisma and the Bidens isn’t foreign policy. In Trump’s letter to Pelosi, he revealed that his concern was about getting to the truth about what happened in 2016. That is also not foreign policy.

About the career diplomats who testified against Trump, Weber said, “They ride the bus. They don’t drive the bus.”

This brings us to the second problem. What, exactly, is the policy difference between the career diplomats and Trump? The diplomats repeatedly testified that supporting Ukraine against Russia is in U.S. security interests. So is Weber saying that that Trump doesn’t agree with that?

Here is what the Republican leadership dances around, but doesn’t come out and say: Trump’s foreign policy is contrary to the career diplomats’ because Trump takes Russia’s side against Ukraine.

The third problem with Weber’s statements: In saying that the president drives the bus, and career diplomats ride the bus, Weber seems be arguing that if Trump wants to call for investigations that (1) exonerate Russia and (2) transfer the blame for 2016 election attack to Ukraine, Trump should be able to do that, if he chooses.

Um, no. In fact, the president isn’t solely responsible for foreign policy. The president shares responsibility for foreign policy with Congress):

Weber, Lesko, Walorski, and all the others, are kicking up dust. This kind of thing happened repeatedly:

  • A Republican shouted “No crimes are alleged!” 
  • A Democrat listed the crimes.
  • The Republicans ignored the list, did not engage with the substance of the refutation.
  • A Republican shouted “No crimes are alleged!”

Here we are in a quasi-legal proceeding, and they are trying to obscure the truth, not get to the truth.

Mindy Schwartz asked:

The GOP leaders know they’re lying. 

Some are lying because they want to “win” and they see lying as the way to win. Some are afraid of stepping out of line. Others understand that the lies destroy, and they want to destroy.

(For more on how the lies destroy, see my Slate article)

They want to destroy because the GOP has morphed into a reactionary party. “Again” in MAGA signifies reactionary politics, a desire to loop back to the past. They long for the past, when (white) men had much personal liberty.

  • They could grab women.
  • They could grab land (the frontier!)
  • Before regulatory agencies they could manipulate markets, fix prices, launder money, and pollute rivers.
  • They embraced the hierarchy that placed them at the top, and black women at the bottom.

To get back to those days, they have to dismantle the entire federal government put in place since the New Deal and Civil Rights legislation. You can either dismantle slowly, or you can bring in a human wrecking ball.

The agencies they want to destroy includes the FBI—because the FBI stops them from doing whatever they want. From Trump’s letter to Pelosi:

If you’re wondering how the Republicans think they can get away with such outrageous lies, Hannah Arendt, in the Origins of Totalitarianism, explains:

While the GOP leaders know they are lying, I’d say their followers and the Fox viewers are divided. Some cheer the lies because they want their “team” to win. Others are victims of expert propaganda and we should view them as victims.

The antidote is numbers: There are way more people opposed to the Republican tactics than who embrace them. The United States still has a functioning democratic republic. Democrats won in 2018 and 2019. Trump’s Operation Ukrainian Shakedown was foiled because enough people pushed back and said, “No.”

Republicans are dodging the truth, but most of us know the truth. In the end, that’s what matters.

Originally posted on Musing About Law, Politics, and Books.
Re-posted with permission.

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Teri has written novels, short stories, nonfiction for both young readers and adults, and lots of legal briefs. She is currently working on a book on disinformation to be published by Macmillan Publishers. Her political commentary has appeared on the NBC Think Blog and Her articles and essays have appeared in publications as diverse as Education Week, Slate Magazine, and Scope Magazine. Her short fiction has appeared in the American Literary View, The Iowa Review, and others. For twelve years she maintained a private appellate law practice limited to representing indigents on appeal from adverse rulings. She believes with the ACLU that when the rights of society's most vulnerable members are denied, everybody's rights are imperiled. She also believe with John Updike that the purpose of literature is to expand our sympathies. Teri lives with her family on the beautiful central coast in California.

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