It's January 6 again, so our "weird annual tradition," as our guest describes it today, continues on The BradCast. Sadly, so does the GOP's continuing threat to American democracy, two years after the deadly assault at the U.S. Capitol. [Audio link to full show follows below this summary.]
First up, it is also Day 4 of the House Republicans' failures to select a Speaker. There were some breakthroughs for GOP leader Kevin McCarthy on Friday, however, after 13 unsuccessful ballots (for the first time in 134 years). His desperation to give away pretty much everything in exchange for winning the weakest Speakership in history earned him another 15 votes or so from his GOP opponents. And, with that, he was finally able to get more votes than Democratic House leader Hakeem Jeffries. Nonetheless, he was still shy of a majority as we went to air today. So, the "Never Kevins" are still winning the day and the 118th Congress is still unable to get underway.
As one Democratic member, elected last November for a third term, noted about his time, so far, in Congress: "1st term started with a GOP-led govt shutdown. 2nd term started with a deadly insurrection incited by the former Republican president. And my 3rd term has yet to begin due to @HouseGOP’s failure to elect a speaker. Notice a pattern?"
All of this on the second anniversary of the deadly, Donald Trump-incited insurrection at the U.S. Capitol back in 2021, as one of his last, desperate, failed attempts to steal the Presidency from the American people.
A memorial was held by House Democrats outside the Capitol today, in remembrance of those law enforcement officials who lost their lives while, and just after, defending it on January 6, 2021. We observed no Republicans at the ceremony.
At the White House, President Biden marked the occasion by awarding 14 individuals with the Presidential Citizens Medal. The awardees including three law enforcement officials who lost their lives and five who were critically injured that day. Also, a collection of bipartisan election officials, poll workers and others who defended the 2020 election at great personal threat, after being personally targeted by the former President of the United States and his supporters were honored as well. We share an excerpt from Biden's remarks today on the need to continue defending democracy and recognizing those who "stand watch" over it.
Finally, our "weird annual tradition" of visiting with the author and longtime Philadelphia Inquirer national columnist WILL BUNCH on January 6 continues today. He was with us on the program as the Capitol was under attack back in 2021, initially to talk about a different insurrection of sorts by Republicans at the state Senate in Pennsylvania.
Today was the third January 6 in a row he was able to be with us, and we focused today on the still-missing accountability for the ringleaders of the 1/6/21 attack, and on his latest column tying together that assault on democracy with this past week's GOP chaos and failure to select a Speaker in the U.S. House. They are all, it seems, of a piece, suggests Bunch, noting "the irony of this going on during the January 6 anniversary."
"No matter what sound minds want to get done, this band of obstructionists is in control," he argues. Citing them as "the spoiled children of Trumpism," Bunch says, "I would call them nihilists. They really believe in nothing other than their own air time, raising their own profile."
"Everybody in this [GOP House] leadership group voted to throw out people's votes in the 2020 election," Bunch, a resident of Pennsylvania, whose vote they tried to steal from him on January 6, 2021, notes. And it's not only those who tried to undermine democracy two years ago who have still failed to be held accountable. "The five freshmen who voted against McCarthy all ran as Trumpified election deniers."
"I mean, is it against the law to overthrow the government or not?," Bunch quips today, only somewhat rhetorically.
"The common thread is minority rule," he goes on to observe. "They believe they have some kind of divine right. It's really linked to these hierarchies of American life --- white supremacy, or white privilege, the patriarchy and other things. Running for office as the protectors of that. You're not going to do anything affirmatively to help people. You're just going to stop these people you see as destroyers of your way of life, your culture. It doesn't matter who gets the most votes, because the culture is more important than democracy. I think that motivates these people."
We discuss all of that and much more, as both Bunch and I share our frustration and hope that those who created all of these messes may finally face accountability some day soon...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)