Democrats’ cynical ‘Jan. 6’ politics: Goodwin

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If you still think Democrats still think ex-President Donald Trump’s speech incited the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, you aren’t paying attention. The claim was impeachment bait that expired when the former president was acquitted. 

Ever since, Dems have been shifting toward another politically convenient bogeyman. Their latest claim is that there was nothing spontaneous about the riot, that it was a plot from the start. 

“It was a planned insurrection, we know that now,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota said after a Tuesday congressional hearing. A fellow Dem, Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan, echoed her, calling the riot “domestic terrorism” by white supremacists and others. He likened the intelligence failure to see it coming to the failure to stop 9/11. 

As Lily Tomlin once said, “No matter how cynical you become, it’s never enough to keep up.” 

So it is now as Dems keep finding ways to use Jan. 6 for partisan purposes. Even something as awful as that day cannot be treated honestly and with facts, lest a crisis go to waste. 

In the real world, there is room enough for there to be truth about Trump’s provocative speech playing a role and also the role of planned rioters. They aren’t ­mutually exclusive. 

But by treating them as if they are, Dems and a few Republicans are creating the false impression that there is one explanation for the entire event and one motivation that unites all participants. It’s just that the one explanation they cite keeps changing, depending on their political needs of the moment. 

They focused exclusively on Trump for impeachment, and now are focused on what they call domestic terrorists as they aim to turn the national intelligence apparatus away from foreign terrorists to focus more on Americans. 

The result is they lack credibility on both counts. 

To a TV viewer on Jan. 6, the obvious differences in the crowd revealed differences in motive. Some people dressed in fatigues, came armed with crowbars and baseball bats, engaged in combat with police officers and wreaked havoc inside the building. 

Most others waved Trump and American flags and had a holiday air as they strolled around the Capitol like well-behaved tourists. Similarly, some police officers fought like hell to keep people out of the Capitol, while others politely opened doors for them. 

Yet too many in Washington are trying to obliterate rather than reconcile those crucial differ­ences. In addition, they are taking a curious vow of silence about the death of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick. 

Recall that early reports said Sicknick died after being struck on the head by a fire extinguisher thrown by a rioter, and House impeachment managers mentioned his death in unveiling their case against Trump. Sicknick’s remains were laid in honor at the Capitol Rotunda, with President Biden and congressional leaders in ­attendance, effectively turning the 42-year-old into a martyr. 

However, the fire-extinguisher reports were debunked and the supposed FBI hunt for a killer faded from the news after police said he did not suffer blunt-force trauma. Complicating matters further, media reports said Sicknick texted his brother on the evening of Jan. 6 and said that while he had been pepper-sprayed twice, he was fine. 

Later, he collapsed and was rushed to a hospital, where he died the next day before his family could arrive. 

This week, his mother, Gladys, told the Daily Mail the family still doesn’t know the cause of death. 

President Joe Biden, left, and First Lady Jill Biden pay their respects in front of the remains of U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick in the Rotunda of the US Capitol in Washington, DC on Tuesday, Feb. 2.
President Joe Biden, left, and First Lady Jill Biden pay their respects in front of the remains of U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick in the Rotunda of the US Capitol in Washington, DC on Tuesday, Feb. 2.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

“He wasn’t hit on the head, no. We think he had a stroke, but we don’t know anything for sure,” Gladys Sicknick, 74, was quoted as saying. “We’d love to know what happened.” 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, always one to bring gasoline to a fire, is adding to the confusion. Her choice to head a commission into the riot, Retired Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré, claimed Capitol Police and the House and Senate sergeants at arms were “complicit.” 

He also blamed the Pentagon for not having troops on standby and the FBI for an intelligence failure, while saying “I think once this all gets uncovered, it was complicit actions by Capitol Police.” 

Republicans blasted those remarks and say they should disqualify Honoré from leading a probe. 

The blame game was on full display at Tuesday’s hearing before two Senate committees. Steven Sund, who resigned under pressure as head of the Capitol police after the riot, said Honoré’s remarks about him were wrong, but also said he did not get sufficient warning from the FBI. 

“None of the intelligence we ­received predicted what actually occurred,” he said. 

Two other former Capitol security officers and the acting head of the Washington, DC, police took turns pointing fingers at federal law enforcement and the Defense Department, citing information failures and halting decisions to call in National Guard reinforcements. 

In short, the hearing, sluggish at best, resolved nothing and confirmed suspicions that Congress is not seriously interested in the facts. Most in the GOP want to forget the day and Dems want to keep it alive for their own aims. 

Their goal is to get law enforcement and intelligence agencies to focus less on foreign terrorists and more on Americans, especially those from the far right. Indeed, it became obvious during the summer riots across the nation that Biden has no interest in left-wing violence, making the new focus decidedly one-sided. 

A clear example of the bias came during the confirmation hearing of Merrick Garland, the next attorney general, who ­bizarrely tried to draw a legal distinction between nighttime attacks by Antifa on a federal courthouse in Portland, Ore., with the daytime riot at the Capitol, as if the time of day was an important distinction. 

A look around Washington shows the result of that view. Six weeks after the riot, it still resembles a garrison city, with the National Guard, chain-link fences and barbed wire giving the appearance of a city under siege, even though there have been no further incidents. 

Because of the unexplained ­security measures, I can’t shake the feeling that many on the left and in the media are disappointed that the event they call an insurrection was just a one-off. After all, unless there is serious violence and continuing efforts to destroy our democracy, they’re going to find it difficult to justify spying on Americans, trashing the First Amendment and crushing all political dissent. 

Still, they clearly intend to try.

Hard Times for joe

New York Times headline: Biden Takes On Trump’s Migrant Policies and Confusion Reigns at the Border 

When the Times makes Trump look good, Biden must really be screwing up. 

HOME-STATE HYPOCRITES

Reader Marilyn Sherman feels ignored by New York officials, writing: “I have sent e-mails to Senators Schumer and Gillibrand about the nursing-home debacle and the loss of almost 15,000 of their constituents. No response except one acknowledgement from Gillibrand. 

“Yet Schumer goes after the state of Texas, Ted Cruz and climate change. But when it comes to his own state and the failure of Cuomo, we get only crickets.”



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