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Republican hypocrisy is hardly breaking news these days. But if the cravenness of one of the country's two main parties is a "dog bites man" story, the GOP condemnation of Rep. Maxine Waters for her comments about the Derek Chauvin trial is noteworthy for its sheer shameless chutzpah. They really sank their teeth into this one.

"We gotta stay on the street, we've got to get more active, we've got to get more confrontational, we've got to make sure that they know that we mean business," the 82-year-old congresswoman said in Milwaukee Saturday when asked what should happen if the jury does not convict Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd. At which point, rightwing media exploded, because MAYDAY MAYDAY, Black person expressing an opinion, RED ALERT!

When Donald Trump incited actual violence on January 6, that was protected First Amendment speech, according to Republicans. Ditto for Rep. Mo Brooks, who addressed the crowd that day and said, "Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass" to a bunch of maniacs who turned around and broke into the Capitol while chanting "Hang Mike Pence."

But if Maxine Waters says that Americans should refuse to accept routine police violence against Black people, then the cops are the Real Victims™ here.


"After traveling across state lines to incite riots, her orders recorded on video last night at the Brooklyn Center, directly led to more violence and a drive by shooting on National Guardsmen in Minnesota early this morning," tweeted that howling windsock Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, adding that Waters had "threatened a jury demanding a guilty verdict and threatened violence if Chauvin is found not guilty."

And in case the racist subtext wasn't clear enough, she made it text.

"Black Lives Matter domestic terrorists to fire gunshots at National Guardsmen in Minnesota," she said in an official statement on her House website.

There is literally zero evidence that the shooting had anything to do with Waters's speech, and in any event, it was certainly not incitement in the legal sense — incitement requires foreseeable "imminent lawless action," not some rando taking potshots at the cops more than 24 hours later. But legal niceties and objective reality aren't Greene's thing, so she promised to introduce a censure resolution and demanded that Waters be expelled from Congress.

Yes, that would be the same person who posted a photo of herself pointing a gun at three congresswomen to social media and liked a post endorsing a "bullet to the head" for Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

But batshit crazy is the new Republican mainstream, so Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is hopping on the BS bandwagon, too.

"Maxine Waters is inciting violence in Minneapolis — just as she has incited it in the past," he tweeted. "If Speaker Pelosi doesn't act against this dangerous rhetoric, I will bring action this week."

Action that he knows will accomplish exactly nothing, since he doesn't hold the speaker's gavel any more. Well, it will ensure another news cycle where the wingers get to pretend an octogenarian black lady is violently bullying them, so WIN-WIN.

The Chauvin trial judge's bizarre suggestion that Waters might have prejudiced the Chauvin jury is not helping either, although he did refuse to declare a mistrial based on the congresswoman's comments.

As for Waters, she violently murdered the smear campaign like a wingnut weenus reporter.

"Republicans will jump on any word, any line and try to make it fit their message and their cause for denouncing us and denying us, basically calling us violent … any time they see an opportunity to seize on a word, so they do it and they send a message to all of the white supremacists, the KKK, the Oath Keepers, the [Proud] Boys and all of that, how this is a time for [Republicans] to raise money on [Democrats] backs," Waters said in an interview with The Grio, adding later, "But that does not deter me from speaking truth to power. I am not intimidated. I am not afraid, and I do what needs to be done."

"I talk about confronting the justice system, confronting the policing that's going on, I'm talking about speaking up," she said. "I'm talking about legislation. I'm talking about elected officials doing what needs to be done to control their budgets and to pass legislation."

And Speaker Nancy Pelosi brushed it aside with her usual aplomb, alluding to the Republicans' consistent bad faith attacks and attempts to conflate protest with violence.

"Maxine talked about confrontation in the manner of the Civil Rights movement. I myself think we should take our lead from the George Floyd family," Pelosi said on CNN. "They've handled this with great dignity and no ambiguity or lack of misinterpretation by the other side."

"No, no, I don't think she should apologize," she continued.

If the GOP wants to play this game, let them. We, on the other hand, are keeping our eyes on the prize.

[Grio / Politico]

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.

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