Sunday, June 12, 2022

The lie is what these hearings are about

The polls say Liz Cheney will get scorched in August's Wyoming primary.

No surprise there. Donald Trump is The Man in a state where carbon is god and carbines are currency.

Wyoming's ruling majority embodies Trump's boast: "I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose any voters."

Or he could sit on his hands during a terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Or revel at chants about executing his vice president.

Or piece together a political conspiracy to flush this democracy down the drain.

The horrors portrayed by the Jan. 6 committee will not penetrate enough consciences in Cheney's state to reward her own acts of conscience.

But Cheney won the evening – and assured herself a role in history's retelling -- when she said of her many Republican cohorts, "There will come a day when Donald Trump is gone, but your dishonor will remain."

The Fox News crowd can ignore them. The hearings will pierce enough consciences to further wound Trump and the party that continues to look the other way at his crimes and conniving.

In advance of the hearings, I was concerned that Day 1 mostly would be a chronology of the Capitol riot, a "seen it" matter for those not inclined to relive it.

To my immense pleasure, the first night did a masterful job of interweaving two crimes: the terrorist attack and the Big Lie that underpinned it.

Wow. What a testimony in the widened my-dad's-a-serial-liar eyes of Ivanka Trump.

What a testimony in the shrug of Jared Kushner, that the threatened resignations of those Trump put atop the Justice Department team were just "whining."

"Whining." I imagine that's what Kushner had to say about Capitol Police officer Caroline Edwards who told of getting bear-sprayed, tear-gassed and crushed under a big-bellied mob.

All of this suffering. All of this trauma. All because of a lie and a liar. The most skilled and practiced liar in American history.

As former Missouri senator Claire McCaskill said on MSNBC, Donald Trump "embraced immoral lying all his life and thought he could get away with the ultimate lie of all."

A lie? Tucker Carlson says the whole Jan. 6 narrative is one of those. "It wasn't an insurrection," he hyperventilated as the committee convened. Tucker is going to play the semantics game. The terrorists were playing a head-cracking game.

The good thing about where these hearings appear headed is that the lie is the thing.

Ah, but, "Trump was just exercising his right to free speech at the Ellipse." "He couldn't know a riot would emanate." "There's no evidence he conspired directly with the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers." 

The fact is, all of these matters are immaterial. This is all about the lie and the conspiracy to make it into reality.

The lie was why the rioters were there. Co-conspirators like Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, Mike Lee, Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity are central to why rioters were ready for war.

Trump continues to prosecute that lie, continues to raise money to advance the lie. This is not good for the party that has sworn allegiance to him.

What becomes of Liz Cheney after conscience-less voters vote her out? Here is my fondest wish:

Cheney should run as a third-party candidate for president. Former GOP chairman Michael Steele asserts there's a growing political segment called "accountability Republicans" who would cringe to vote Democrat but don't want another Trump presidency.

It would also mean that at every debate, and every step of Trump's candidacy, she would be there, reminding voters of what he is all about.

Cheney as an option on the ticket would be the death knell for the Trump phenomenon.

Then Trump truly will be gone, leaving in office only those whose dishonor will remain.

Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email:


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