Peggy Noonan Spits Poison On Trump, Hawley, Cruz Like One Of Those Frogs That Spits Poison
Peggy Noonan wrote a fiery condemnation of Wednesday's Capitol takeover that's so good, we won't even call her "Dame Peggington Noonington" or make any jokes about gin ... this time. She calls for the perpetrators to be swept up and prosecuted, noting that "[i]t is our good luck they are idiots" who posted photos of themselves all over social media. But she saves her real fire for "the devil and his apprentices" — that is, Donald Trump and all his enablers in the White House and Congress, calling for Trump to be removed from office immediately, via the 25th Amendment or impeachment, "whichever is fastest."
It's a hell of a good column!
And it's a column we hope will be read by the anonymous and pusillanimous Republicans profiled in this infuriating piece from The Hill about GOP senators who, as of Wednesday, are suddenly asking themselves whether they should perhaps have stood up to Trump "sooner." If you can call sniping at the Great Man while still asking to be quoted anonymously any kind of "standing up." Come, let us compare and contrast a little!
Noonan notes that if members of the mob escape punishment, that doesn't just send the message that similar crimes will be fine; it also constitutes an
attack on democracy itself. That is not just a phrase. Rule by the people relies on adherence to law and process. The assault and siege was an attempt to stop the work of democracy by halting the peaceful transfer of presidential power, our crowning glory for more than two centuries.
As for Trump and company, she argues Trump must be removed from office as a matter of justice, because he incited a crowd to attack Congress, and kept egging them on, even in statements pretending to be calls for calm. Beyond that, it's also a simple matter of "prudence":
Mr. Trump is a sick, bad man and therefore, as president, a dangerous one. He has grown casually bloody-minded, nattering on about force and denouncing even his own vice president as a coward for not supporting unconstitutional measures. No one seems to be certain how Mr. Trump spends his days. He doesn't bother to do his job. The White House is in meltdown. The only thing that captures his interest is the fact that he lost, which fills him with thoughts of vengeance.
Ah, but what about the anonymous Republican senator who spoke to The Hill about "regrets" — his own and those of his colleagues — for not doing much of anything to stand up to Trump? It's certainly a compelling mea culpa:
We should have done more to push back, both against his rhetoric and some of the things he did legislatively. [...] The mistake we made is that we always thought he was going to get better. We thought that once he got the nomination and then once he got a Cabinet, he was going to get better, he was going to be more presidential.
Yes, that is a Republican senator speaking in January 2021, not in the week following the Unite the Right rally in 2017. Sorry, "we thought the office would mature him" stopped being an excuse after then, but there you go again. The senator and his colleagues also thought — he says now — that Trump would surely come to accept, grudgingly, that he'd lost the election once the legal challenges fell through.
And besides, there were those runoff elections in Georgia! If anyone had contradicted Trump's lies about the November election being stolen, he might have sabotaged those!
Noonan doesn't exactly address Georgia but what she says to Trump staffers who held their noses and kept working for him applies just as well:
[The] garbage they talk to rationalize their staying is no longer acceptable to anyone. "But my career." Your career, in the great scheme of things, is nothing. "But my future in politics." Your future, even if your wildest schemes are fulfilled, is a footnote to a footnote. There are ways to be a footnote honorably. "But my kids." When they are 20 they will read the history. You want them proud of your role, not petitioning the court for a name change.
Democracy was in danger, and you let it down. And who else, boyos?
To the devil's apprentices, Sens. Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz. They are clever men, highly educated, well-credentialed, endlessly articulate. They see themselves as leading conservative lights, but in this drama they have proved themselves punks practicing punk politics. [...]
They backed a lie and held out the chimera of some possible Trump victory that couldn't happen, and hid behind the pretense that they were just trying to be fair to all parties and investigate any suspicions of vote fraud, when what they were really doing was playing—coolly, with lawyerly sophistication—not to the base but to the sickness within the base. They should have stood up and told the truth, that democracy moves forward, that the election was imperfect as all elections are, and more so because of the pandemic rules, which need to be changed, but the fact is the voters of America chose Biden-Harris, not Trump-Pence.
Here's to you, boys. Did you see the broken glass, the crowd roaming the halls like vandals in late Rome, the staff cowering in locked closets and barricading offices? Look on your mighty works and despair.
While we're at it, let's look at Lindsey Graham's "mighty works"; in the Hill piece he offered the gentlest possible not-criticism, saying Trump had "tarnished" his reputation by not condemning the riot, but mostly Graham just felt sad:
it breaks my heart that my friend, a president of consequence, were to allow yesterday to happen, and it will be a major part of his presidency.
As President @realDonaldTrump stated last night, it is time to heal and move on. If Speaker Pelosi pushes impeac… https://t.co/xrJcDv8RKV— Lindsey Graham (@Lindsey Graham)1610120349.0
@realDonaldTrump Any attempt to impeach President Trump would not only be unsuccessful in the Senate but would be a… https://t.co/2RVbvTFp43— Lindsey Graham (@Lindsey Graham)1610120459.0
Yeah, the precedent we need to worry about is holding a president accountable for encouraging a coup. Heavens, that would be dangerous, wouldn't it? Graham may want to consider another precedent that Noonan brings up:
There have been leaders before who, facing imminent downfall, decide to tear everything down with them. They want to go out surrounded by flames. Hitler, at the end, wanted to blow up Germany, its buildings and bridges. His people had let him down. Now he hated them. They must suffer.
I have resisted Nazi comparisons for five years, for the most part easily. But that is like what is happening here, the same kind of spirit, as the president departs, as he angrily channel-surfs in his bunker.
Damn right she went there. Because right now, Donald Trump is "a bad man and not a stable one and he is dangerous. America is not safe in his hands."
And he needs to go.
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.