Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news media and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.
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Paul Krugman: This Putsch Was Decades in the Making
G.O.P. cynics have been coddling crazies for a long time.
One striking aspect of the Capitol Hill putsch was that none of the rioters’ grievances had any basis in reality.
No, the election wasn’t stolen — there is no evidence of significant electoral fraud. No, Democrats aren’t part of a satanic pedophile conspiracy. No, they aren’t radical Marxists — even the party’s progressive wing would be considered only moderately left of center in any other Western democracy.
So all the rage is based on lies. But what’s almost as striking as the fantasies of the rioters is how few leading Republicans have been willing, despite the violence and desecration, to tell the MAGA mob that their conspiracy theories are false.[..]
This coddling of the crazies was, at first, almost entirely cynical. When the G.O.P. began moving right in the 1970s its true agenda was mainly economic — what its leaders wanted, above all, were business deregulation and tax cuts for the rich. But the party needed more than plutocracy to win elections, so it began courting working-class whites with what amounted to thinly disguised racist appeals.
Not incidentally, white supremacy has always been sustained in large part through voter suppression. So it shouldn’t be surprising to see right-wingers howling about a rigged election — after all, rigging elections is what their side is accustomed to doing. And it’s not clear to what extent they actually believe that this election was rigged, as opposed to being enraged that this time the usual vote-rigging didn’t work.
Joseph Stiglitz: s Donald Trump an aberration or a symptom of a deeper US malady?
The underlying causes of Trump’s rise to power must be addressed, from taming social media to tackling inequality
The assault on the US Capitol by Donald Trump’s supporters, incited by the president himself, was the predictable outcome of his four-year-long assault on democratic institutions, aided and abetted by so many in the Republican party. And no one can say that Trump had not warned us: he was not committed to a peaceful transition of power.
Many who benefited as he slashed taxes for corporations and the rich, rolled back environmental regulations and appointed business-friendly judges knew they were making a pact with the devil. Either they believed they could control the extremist forces he unleashed, or they didn’t care.
Where does America go from here? Is Trump an aberration, or a symptom of a deeper national malady? Can the US be trusted? In four years, will the forces that gave rise to Trump, and the party that overwhelmingly supported him, triumph again? What can be done to prevent that outcome?
A swift impeachment is imperative but from Rudy Giuliani and Don Jr to Fox News and Twitter, the president did not act alone
Call me old-fashioned, but when the president of the United States encourages armed insurgents to breach the Capitol and threaten the physical safety of Congress, in order to remain in power, I call it an attempted coup.
The rampage on Wednesday left five dead, including a Capitol police officer who was injured when he tangled with the pro-Trump mob. We’re fortunate the carnage wasn’t greater.
That the attempted coup failed shouldn’t blind us to its significance or the stain it has left on America. Nor to the importance of holding those responsible fully accountable.
Trump’s culpability is beyond dispute.
“There’s no question the president formed the mob, the president incited the mob, the president addressed the mob. He lit the flame,” said Elizabeth Cheney, the No3 House Republican.
Trump should be impeached, convicted and removed from office – immediately. [..]
He should then be arrested and tried for inciting violence and sedition – along with Donald Trump Jr and Rudy “trial-by-combat” Giuliani.
Those who attacked the Capitol should also be prosecuted. They have no first amendment right to try to overthrow the US government.
Trump’s accomplices on Capitol Hill, most notably the Texas senator Ted Cruz and Missouri senator Josh Hawley, should be forced to resign.
Trump acted willfully by inciting and supporting an insurrection — so why are some journalists afraid to admit it?
After four years of nonstop abuse from Donald Trump, it should be beyond a shadow of a doubt that, while Trump is indeed an ignoramus, his ugly behavior is largely motivated by malice, not stupidity. Yet, as we’ve seen through the years of Trump’s presidency, mainstream media outlets have continued to cast his actions as the choices of a man too numpty-headed to know right from wrong, instead of the behavior of a shameless villain who does vicious and cruel things out of a deeply felt sadism. Since Trump sent an unruly mob to ransack the Capitol, however, mainstream journalists have woken up, describing Trump’s actions accurately as incitement, instead of using euphemisms or casting around for an “innocent” explanation.
They are now signs of slippage back to old habits.
On Monday night, the Washington Post published a report detailing Trump’s refusal to do anything to discourage the insurrectionist mob after they penetrated the Capitol. The headline: “Six hours of paralysis: Inside Trump’s failure to act after a mob stormed the Capitol.”
This headline is wildly misleading. Trump did not suffer from “paralysis,” nor was his inaction due to “failure.” Both words imply that there was a desire to act, but that Trump was somehow incapable. The reality: Trump refused to act. [..]
And yet, the latest Washington Post story, while bristling with examples of how Trump acts out of malice and not ignorance, keeps framing his actions in a more innocent light, describing Trump as “a president paralyzed” and “more passive viewer than resolute leader”.
This is flatly false. Trump was not being passive at all. He actively incited the mob and he willfully refused to do anything to call them off. He did this deliberately, having exhausted every other avenue he pursued to steal the election. These were not the actions of a man too stupid to act. These were the actions of a man knowingly trying to overthrow a legal election.
Jamelle Bouie: Sure, Now Ted Cruz and Kevin McCarthy Want ‘Unity’
Where was that spirit when election results were being counted?
The Republican Party has devised its response to the push to impeach the president over his role in the attack on the Capitol last week, and it is so cynical as to shock the conscience. [..]
There are a handful of Senate Republicans, like Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, who are open to impeachment. But much of the Republican response is exactly this kind of threat: If you hold President Trump accountable for his actions, then we won’t help you unify the country. [..]
Accountability is divisive. That’s the point. If there is a faction of the Republican Party that sees democracy itself as a threat to its power and influence, then it has to be cut off from the body politic. It needs to be divided from the rest of us, lest it threaten the integrity of the American republic more than it already has. Marginalizing that faction — casting Trump and Trumpism into the ash heap of history — will be divisive, but it is the only choice we have.
This does not mean we must cast out the 74 million Americans who voted for the president, but it does mean we must repudiate the lies, cruelty and cult of personality on which Trump built his movement. It means Republicans have to acknowledge the truth — that Joe Biden won in a free and fair election — and apologize to their voters and to the country for helping to stoke the madness that struck at the Capitol.
The alternative is a false unity that leaves the wound of last Wednesday to fester until the infection gets even worse than it already is.