Capitol Riots Hearings Start Today with Political Theater

Emotional testimony from police will kick off the event.

Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Washington. As Congress prepares to affirm President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, thousands of people have gathered to show their support for President Donald Trump and his claims of election fraud. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

CNN (“Select committee holds first January 6 hearing with officers on the front lines“):

In its opening act, the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol holds its first high-profile hearing Tuesday with testimony from four officers who will give firsthand accounts of the horrors they witnessed and endured as rioters stormed the building. The officers are expected to recount the harrowing attacks they faced on January 6, including being beaten with a flagpolegetting crushed in a doorway, being the target of racial slurs and facing rioters who tased them. The committee also is expected to show never-before-seen videos depicting the violence from that day, just as House impeachment managers did during the impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump.

The emotional testimony kicks off the committee’s investigation into the circumstances surrounding the January 6 attack as Democratic leaders look to set the tone for a panel that congressional Republicans have dismissed as a political sideshow created merely to discredit the legacy of the former President.

The goal Tuesday, according to select committee member Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California, is to portray what it was like “to be on the front lines for the brave police officers” and to push back on efforts to whitewash the events of that day. “I’m hoping that the hearing will give the American people an even more vivid sense of what went on that day, the horror of that day, how these brave police officers saved so many lives,” Schiff told CNN.

Politically, it is somewhat amusing to see Democrats use “brave police officers” as a political prop against Republicans, who have been using “Blue Lives Matter” and “Defund the Police” as cudgels against Democrats. But I’m not sure who that hasn’t already made up their minds on these issues will be persuaded by the stunt.

Beyond that—and granting that I’m not the target audience for the hearings—I find this decidedly unhelpful. If the purpose is to glean new information, why kick off with a grandstanding rehash of what we already know? Let’s get to subpoenaing suspected planners and organizers, Trump officials, and others we haven’t already heard from.

FILED UNDER: Capitol Riot, Congress
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Cheryl Rofer says:

    I’m not sure why you see this as a “stunt.” One starts with a description of what happened. Who better to provide that than the officers who faced the crowd. And yes, there is a selection for stories that will encapsulate the day’s events. Calling every officer who faced the crowd would indeed be a stunt and would vitiate the effect of the events.

    As has been said many times on this blog, not everyone is a political junkie, and the organizers of the insurrection are spreading stories that these folk with zip ties and horn headdresses with Nazi tatoos were just innocent tourists, defecating in the halls of Congress.

    One purpose of the hearings is to tell the story of what happened. I can’t think of a better place to start than with those on the front lines.

    42
  2. JohnMcC says:

    Was going to say, before it was explained much better above, something about ‘getting it on the record’ and how bureaucratic behavior like starting one’s report at the beginning and proceeding to the end by way of the middle is sometimes not what one wishes. The problem isn’t that the Committee is starting there. If there is a ‘problem’ it’s with the editing of newsfeeds. Who would be breathlessly glued to the hearings if they were on CSPAN 3?

    Some editor-type people have decided their viewers want to see it. So what?

    3
  3. wr says:

    “If the purpose is to glean new information, why kick off with a grandstanding rehash of what we already know? ”

    Because if the information that comes out of this hearing is to have any impact at all, it must be placed within a context, and that context must come in the form of a narrative.

    When a suspect is put on trial for, say, murder, the prosecution doesn’t start out by trying to elicit the small pieces of information that will eventually lead up to proof — they lay out their narrative of the case, so that when the information does come out its meaning is apparent.

    In this case, before the committee tries to establish exactly who did what when, they are demonstrating why it’s important that we know and what’s at stake.

    To do anything less would be sheer incompetence.

    26
  4. mistermix says:

    Another voice joining the chorus to explain that you and I aren’t the audience for this event. Those who may have bought into the false narrative of protesters waltzing peacefully through the Capitol, and are paying attention, may have an eye-opening experience.

    12
  5. Barry says:

    James, will there be *anything* which would persuade you that these hearings are not useless?

    22
  6. KM says:

    What is it lately with people getting angry or disapproving of showing the truth even if it makes others look bad, mad or dangerous to know? There was an article yesterday about how it was cruel and unfair to dead anti-vaxxers to post their anti-ax or QAnon tweets and social media, showing them mocking the vaccine and proclaiming how stupid everyone is to believe the hoax. Now that the consequences of their actions have come home to roost, suddenly we’re all supposed to politely ignore what they did and how it’s caused their present problems. We’re all supposed to just accept “he’s dead” as a valid reason to not talk about how he essentially killed himself (and likely others) believing in insanity as it’s a stunt or agenda. Its not damnatio memoriae to point out your own words and actions did this to you.

    It’s not a stunt to show what happened or have the people there report on it. Those are just basic facts – it was a goddamn riot that was trying to invade the Capitol for purposes best described as a coup or overthrow of democracy if it happened in any other nation on Earth. These nut came damn close to causing bloodshed and it’s only right the people who had to deal with it – the same people the GOP has been putting down for months – get to give you a firsthand account. The only reason NOT to rehash this in all its infuriating, senseless madness is to downplay how bad it was; people died because of Trump’s lies and egging on of these folks. Many freely admit they were there to overthrow the election at his behalf so reminding everyone of the violence he sent to their door is the appropriate start.

    19
  7. charon says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    I’m not sure why you see this as a “stunt.”

    James is simply demonstrating a common way for Republicans to interpret the committee’s actions.

    15
  8. Jen says:

    It is essential to start these hearings off with those on the front lines precisely because the GOP has abdicated their responsibility to participate.

    This is precisely how they should start, absent a balanced number on the committee–which Republicans *did to themselves.*

    9
  9. charon says:

    Also, it is simply proper for what actually happened to be part of the permanent record of the proceedings.

    6
  10. Kathy says:

    The real theater begins when the next Congress is seated in late 2022, assuming the GOP takes the House and/or Senate, and they begin to “investigate” the January Putsch Select Committee.

    2
  11. But I’m not sure who that hasn’t already made up their minds on these issues will be persuaded by the stunt.

    I would argue that you are overestimating the number of people who have made up their minds on this issue. While I have no illusions about what hardcore Trump supporters think, I think you are forgetting the degree to which a lot of people don’t have even a rudimentary understanding of what happened on 1/6 save that there was a Shaman Dude in the Capitol.

    I say this because we know most people don’t pay that much attention to the news, even dramatic news.

    19
  12. Barry says:

    @KM: “What is it lately with people getting angry or disapproving of showing the truth even if it makes others look bad, mad or dangerous to know? ”

    If you are a liar, or somebody supporting the lie, you hate the truth. One method of fighting it is what’s called ‘tone policing’, where you switch from direct denial to attacking the truth indirectly. You object to the tone, or the timing, or anything else.

    It’s also part of DARVO: Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim and Offender.

    11
  13. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Politically, it is somewhat amusing to see Democrats use “brave police officers” as a political prop against Republicans, who have been using “Blue Lives Matter” and “Defund the Police” as cudgels against Democrats. But I’m not sure who that hasn’t already made up their minds on these issues will be persuaded by the stunt.

    I disagree with this analysis…this is clearly intended as a strong counter to those in the Sedition Caucus who have been pounding the “it was no big deal, just some patriotic tourists, and there was never any danger” talking points.
    Having said that I agree that:

    Let’s get to subpoenaing suspected planners and organizers, Trump officials, and others we haven’t already heard from.

    But democrats are prosecuting a case, and you do that from the ground up, laying out context, establishing facts and proceeding in that manner.

    5
  14. MarkedMan says:

    I disagree strongly with James’ view and mostly agree with the responders here, but with one difference in perspective. James still seems to believe in his heart that only high ranking Republicans can bring legitimacy to an investigation. I think this is 180 degrees wrong. The Republican leadership no longer has any legitimacy. They are incompetent yet malignant buffoons, and so any investigation they participated in would inevitably descend into malignant buffoonery.

    This is a serious undertaking and requires serious people. Let the mature and responsible step forward and conduct the investigation, whether they be from various Democratic factions, Independents or Republicans ostracized by the party leadership. Mainstream Republicans simply have nothing to offer anymore. Harking back to the days of a Eisenhower, Rockefeller and Ford, when there were still serious people in party leadership, is a waste of everyone’s time.

    15
  15. Ed says:

    The narrative from a significant number if GOP legislators that this was just a normal day of tourism is still there in the background. Having witnesses talk about being attacked and overrun by armed and violent “tourists” at least provides a first hand account of what actually happened.

    9
  16. Chip Daniels says:

    Its necessary to repeat, over and over again, exactly what happened because we are in a propaganda war with one side spewing lies and disinformation daily.

    20
  17. Jen says:

    @MarkedMan:

    This is a serious undertaking and requires serious people. Let the mature and responsible step forward and conduct the investigation, whether they be from various Democratic factions, Independents or Republicans ostracized by the party leadership.

    I agree with this completely, and if Speaker Pelosi is the tactician and statesman I believe her to be, she will shine a bright light on Kinzinger and Cheney and allow them considerable time in the spotlight.

    It will probably upset progressives, but it’s essential. Not just to bolster the validity of the proceedings, but to show that there are Republicans out there who believe in…reality? the rule of law?

    We cannot continue to operate with such utter dysfunction and chaos. This country needs at least two parties, grounded in reality, to function.

    9
  18. James Joyner says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: @JohnMcC: @Steven L. Taylor: These are fair points but I’m trying to fathom the citizen incurious enough to pay attention to rioting in conjunction with a plot to steal the presidential election in real time but will eagerly tune in for a Congressional hearing on same six months later.

    @wr: @Daryl and his brother Darryl: Maybe that’s the issue: you and many others seem to be viewing this as a trail and I’m looking at it as an attempt to uncover new information.

    @Barry: I’ll be persuaded that it’s valuable if it produces something I see as valuable. If the narrative of what happened remains what it was two or three weeks after the event, I’ll see it as a giant waste of time at best and a publicity stunt at worst.

    @MarkedMan: As a general rule, I don’t think Congressional hearings, which are inherently political, are useful fact-finding tools. That’s even more the case when one of two parties has refused to participate. I’d have preferred a 9/11-style commission (which was itself flawed) but understand that the Republicans scuttled that, too.

    6
  19. Nightcrawler says:

    I profoundly disagree. Eyewitness testimony isn’t a “stunt,” particularly since the witnesses didn’t just witness the violence; they were victimized by it.

    Politically, it is somewhat amusing to see Democrats use “brave police officers” as a political prop against Republicans, who have been using “Blue Lives Matter” and “Defund the Police” as cudgels against Democrats.

    It would be amusing if this weren’t so serious.

    10
  20. charon says:

    @Kathy:

    The real theater begins when the next Congress is seated in late 2022, assuming the GOP takes the House and/or Senate, and they begin to “investigate” the January Putsch Select Committee.

    By then the GOP will want the events of Jan. 6 down the memory hole plus whatever would remind people of those events.

    3
  21. charon says:

    @James Joyner:

    Maybe that’s the issue: you and many others seem to be viewing this as a trail and I’m looking at it as an attempt to uncover new information.

    I see it as a combination: an investigation, a documentation of an historical record plus, should it uncover some culpability of new suspects, the analog of a grand jury.

    7
  22. Nightcrawler says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    One purpose of the hearings is to tell the story of what happened. I can’t think of a better place to start than with those on the front lines.

    This is extremely important for future generations. If I’m right, and the U.S. collapses between now and 2024, we need to get these events on the record now, if for no other reason than to demonstrate to survivors that some Americans tried to stop all the destruction and death, that everyone wasn’t complicit. Thanks to the internet, the GOP can’t destroy all the evidence. Recordings and transcripts of this testimony will be saved in the cloud forever.

    If I’m wrong, and the U.S. doesn’t collapse, the evidence is still important so that future generations can understand how close we came to annihilation and why.

    8
  23. Nightcrawler says:

    @charon:

    Yep, and like I just said, thanks to the internet, they won’t be able to destroy it all, even if they do succeed in destroying the country, reducing cities to rubble, and killing millions.

    One of the bad things about the internet is that once you’ve uploaded something, you have no control over where it’s going, and copies of it will exist somewhere forever. But that’s also one of the good things about it. While you can’t remove all traces of whatever embarrassing things you wish you’d never posted, the GOP can’t remove all traces of this testimony.

    Survivors will be able to access it, incorporate it into their historical records, and hopefully learn from it as they rebuild.

    3
  24. Nightcrawler says:

    @charon:

    I see it that way, too. This is likely where the disconnect is.

  25. MarkedMan says:

    @James Joyner: I’m just a bit older than you and can remember how the Watergate hearings shook the nation. There is simply no way parsing the same information out story by story in the newspapers or on the Networks would have had the same impact. That is even more true today, with so many getting most of their information from Fox, with “helpful” pundits spinning everything into irrelevance.

    5
  26. charon says:

    I am old enough to have watched the Senate Watergate Committee on the TV machine, so that is my mental model for this sort of thing.

    3
  27. Teve says:

    @andrewsolender

    House GOP conference chair Elise Stefanik: “The American people deserve to know the truth. That Nancy Pelosi bears responsibility, as speaker of the House, for the tragedy that occurred on Jan. 6.”

    2
  28. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Teve:
    There’s really no other way to put this…these people are mentally challenged.

    8
  29. @James Joyner:

    These are fair points but I’m trying to fathom the citizen incurious enough to pay attention to rioting in conjunction with a plot to steal the presidential election in real time but will eagerly tune in for a Congressional hearing on same six months later.

    But it is not about them tuning in (although some will). It is about how coverage of the event penetrates the broader zeitgeist. As @Chip Daniels correctly notes: the truth needs to be repeatedly repeated.

    I am watching some of this in the background. I can guarantee the emotional testimony of one of the officers will go viral. The clip of his pounding the table about how disgraceful the response has been is going to be everywhere.

    13
  30. @James Joyner: BTW, I would agree about the limitations of Congressional hearings as fact-finding (although I will also say I am learning a bit by listening, at least in terms of details).

    But this is an inherently political event–we need to do whatever we can to underscore why 1/6 was a problem–so this is not just about fact-finding. (and yes, there are partisan politics going on here as well, but that is always true).

    6
  31. Teve says:

    @KevinMKruse

    Officer Fanone is just taking a goddamn flamethrower to the Republicans who are denying or downplaying the severity of what happened on 1/6.

    13
  32. @MarkedMan: @charon: I would caution against assuming there will ever be anything like the Watergate hearings again. When those hearings were on, it was almost all there was on TV. If you were watching TV, you were very likely watching those hearings.

    That media universe no longer exists and the ability of hearings to have that kind of impact are, likewise, gone.

    8
  33. @Teve: Yep.

  34. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @James Joyner:

    Maybe that’s the issue: you and many others seem to be viewing this as a trail and I’m looking at it as an attempt to uncover new information.

    Sure…OK…but aren’t both things a search for the truth?

  35. CSK says:

    @Teve:
    Which is why the mob was screaming about putting a bullet through Nancy Pelosi’s head, I guess.

    “We were looking for Nancy to put a bullet through her friggin’ brain, but we didn’t find her.”
    –Dawn Bancroft

    Just unarmed peaceful tourists, enjoying a leisurely stroll through our nation’s Capitol.

    9
  36. dmichael says:

    Suggestion to Dr. Joyner: Before you post some comment that inevitably leads criticism and your back-tracking, do the following:
    1. Eliminate your negatives like “stunt” and “grandstanding” unless you are prepared to justify them without reference to your political beliefs.
    2. Review the post before publishing it to eliminate the malapropisms and misspellings (you used “trail” instead of “trial” in two instances).
    3. If your fall back position is “these are fair points,” why not include them in the original post?
    You dashed this off and your Republicanism is showing.

    13
  37. Kathy says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    For all intents and purposes, Watergate happened in a different country.

    A better model would be the Iran-Contra hearings in the late 80s. Far more recent, the Kavanaugh hearings.

    5
  38. KM says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    No, they’re not – it’s insulting to people with legitimate mental illness to compare this crap. They know EXACTLY what they are doing and it’s blaming the Enemy for anything and everything negative they can. What we are seeing isn’t illness, it’s malice. A sickness of the soul, not the mind. They are choosing this narrative to deliberate push the Big Lie and keep their followers happy. People that join a cult aren’t crazy, rather they’re broken inside and want something to heal or explain it. The GQP gives them solace that they didn’t try to overthrow the government based on a narcissist’s whims – that nasty Pelosi made them break windows and kill people in order to restore their Lord and Master to his rightful place. They’re not Bad Guys ruining the world and propagating a plague but restoring what they think is right.

    We need to stop acting like these people are just ill or misguided – they’re malicious by choice. They’re choosing a lie and damn the consequences and death, they’ll keep doing it. They’ll keep painting targets on backs and lying their heads off so they can keep on doing as they please. They’ll do a lot worse since it looks like they can keep getting away with it, spreading disease and mayhem while stripping away right blatantly and without shame.

    19
  39. Teve says:

    @secupp

    I know I watched it in real time. I know I’ve seen the videos. But hearing this emotional testimony by police officers, I still CANNOT BELIEVE this happened. In America. And that Republicans, Trump and millions of his supporters are still lying about it, even defending it.

    15
  40. Tony W says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I would argue that to some degree it doesn’t matter if people are persuadable.

    Some of this is about the history books.

    6
  41. gVOR08 says:

    I expect the Ds are hoping to get a couple of good video clips of sympathetic cops that will make it to the evening news. Which is to say it’s like any other high profile congressional hearing. Here at OTB we’ve got Reynolds bitching all the time that Ds are horrible art messaging and James bitching when they try. Ds don’t have a codependent media empire like the Rs do. In order to convince the voters, they must first convince the supposedly liberal MSM to carry the message.

    13
  42. SKI says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    But it is not about them tuning in (although some will). It is about how coverage of the event penetrates the broader zeitgeist

    THIS.

    6
  43. Teve says:

    @yamiche

    Officer Harry Dunn describing being called a “nigger” multiple times while trying to defend the Capitol on January 6th.

    Another officer told Dunn the crowd told him, “Put your gun down and we’ll show you what kind of nigger you really are!”

    4
  44. Teve says:

    @jelani9

    Disgusting to hear just how many black officers protected democracy at the Capitol only to be called “nigger” for their efforts. A metaphor for American history.

    Pretty much.

    12
  45. Teve says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Some of my FB friends are retirees who don’t follow politics much and right now they’re posting things like ‘Are you watching this? Holy Shit!’

    6
  46. Teve says:

    @KevinMKruse

    The testimonies from all four of these officers have been absolutely brutal. Good God.

    9
  47. EddieInCA says:

    Watching this live, I agree with Dr. Joyner that this is political theatre. HOWEVER, I think it’s brilliant political theatre.

    What’s happening right now is that these Capitol Police Officers are just obliterating the GOP talking points. I believe that these moments are going to be turned into brutal, emotional, 30 and 60 second commercials against many of these GOP Congress persons and Senators. What will the response be? It will be on video.

    Brilliantly played by Pelosi. The news snippets are going to be brutal against the GOP.

    Most won’t be persuaded, but a 5-10% change of opinion on the margins will do huge damage to the GOP in close states.

    23
  48. Chip Daniels says:

    @Teve:
    We, meaning people like us who comment on political blogs, often forget how odd we are.
    Most people don’t follow politics as closely as we do, and don’t really see things like we do.
    I’ve talked to people in 2016 who were undecided…between Bernie and Trump (because they were both outsiders who were going to shake things up, you see).

    As others have pointed out, it could be that these hearings will be the sort of thing that nonpolitical people chat about at the breakroom or gym, and enter the national collective zeitgeist of the things that “just everybody knows”.

    6
  49. Barry says:

    @James Joyner: “I’ll be persuaded that it’s valuable if it produces something I see as valuable. If the narrative of what happened remains what it was two or three weeks after the event, I’ll see it as a giant waste of time at best and a publicity stunt at worst.”

    No. At this point, James, you are backtracking with the rest of the GOP base and leadership.

    11
  50. MarkedMan says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I agree that the era of the nation as a whole watching just about anything is over. But this fight isn’t about swaying 30 or 40% of the population (a number too high even for the Watergate Hearings), and it’s not even about partisan politics. Instead it’s about moving enough to shift power from the do-nothing incompetents into the hands of people willing to actually do the work needed for the country to prosper. If the hearings can shift 2% of the people away from the defeatists it will have done significant good. Once they start losing elections they can be swept aside. As long as enough are replaced by people willing to do the work needed I don’t care what party they are from.

    6
  51. inhumans99 says:

    @charon:

    You hit the nail on the head that even if the GOP retakes both chambers of Congress they will try to forget that the events of January 06, 2021 ever took place. This is an event caused by the malfeasance of the GOP, not an event caused by their political enemies (Democrats, folks who claim they are independent/liberal/libertarian’s/and most importantly of all this event did not take place under a Democratic President or a woman named Hillary Clinton).

    If this was a “Benghazi” type situation that the GOP could could look at as something that could have been avoided if say, Nancy Pelosi had just showed that she cared enough to send in the National Guard and crushed the attempted insurrection before it could really get going than they would go berserk investigating anyone with a D in front of their names that they could connect to this event.

    But alas, this is an event where McConnell, Kevin McCarthy and others senior ranking members of the GOP showed themselves to be profoundly frightened of Donald Trump and the GOP does not want to remind the general public of how a bunch of scardey cats were (and currently remain) at the helm of the ship that day.

    Speaking of McCarthy, for some reason he is inexplicably hyper-frightened of Donald Trump, I would joke that Trump has pictures, but in this case maybe he really does have them, as that might explain why McCarthy is fine with Trump treating him as nothing more than a doormat to wipe his feet on. I suspect that even Trump looks at McCarthy as one of his weaker acolytes, such a weak-willed man that all McCarthy is good for in Trump’s stable is heaping fawning praise towards Trump when demanded by Trump but not good for much else.

    It says a lot, too much actually, so much that it makes me feel a bit sad for McCarthy that he knows in his heart that this is the way Trump sees him. and is too weak to do anything about it but apply childish names to Cheney and Kinzinger (calling them Pelosi’s Republicans, which Cheney called him out on saying he was being profoundly childish).

    As Trump himself might say, so sad.

    Anyway, this is political theater that needs to be aired even if not one single Republican mind is changed by what is said during the testimony of folks convened by the panel.

    2
  52. D Mills says:

    I am new to this site and to watching this investigation/hearing.

    Besides ensuring everyone knows what happened on this day by first hand accounts, what is the purpose of this hearing? Will someone be charged?

  53. CSK says:

    @Teve:
    You know what the Trumpkins will say, don’t you? That Dunn made all this up out of whole cloth.

    5
  54. CSK says:

    @CSK:
    I was right.

    Commenter at Lucianne.com: “The four cops sounds like pathetic weaklings, chosen for their ability to emote.”

    2
  55. Kathy says:

    Are the hearings being shown live on the trumpy media?

  56. Neil J Hudelson says:

    @Kathy:

    FoxNews.com is featuring an article about how Simon Biles “illness” (their dick quotes, not mine) cost the US a medal to Russia, with only a small sidebar on their front page detailing the hearings.

    But, to their credit, the TV side has been airing the hearings all day. We will see if any of it is featured after 5 pm, when most people actually watch.

    1
  57. Moosebreath says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    “There’s really no other way to put this…these people are mentally challenged.”

    No, they are morally challenged.

    4
  58. Mikey says:

    @Moosebreath:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    “There’s really no other way to put this…these people are mentally challenged.”

    No, they are morally challenged.

    Por que no los dos?

    3
  59. Just nutha ignint cracker- says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I think you are forgetting the degree to which a lot of people don’t have even a rudimentary understanding of what happened on 1/6 save that there was a Shaman Dude in the Capitol.

    I say this because we know most people don’t pay that much attention to the news, even dramatic news.

    Serious question: How many people from the cohort you just described are going to be watching these hearings instead of The Price is Right or Kelly and whoever she’s partnered with this week?

  60. Just nutha ignint cracker- says:

    @Teve: Have to admit that if she was able to make that statement either a) without breaking into giggles or b) with the proper disappointed outrage in her voice, the GOP have a new rising star.

    1
  61. Just nutha ignint cracker- says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: Have to disagree completely. The people wo are listening to and believing this are mentally challenged. The people who are creating this story line are sociopaths.

    4
  62. Nightcrawler says:

    One more aspect just occurred to me after I saw this and similar tweets:

    https://twitter.com/TheTNHoller/status/1420061672149069825?s=20

    In addition to creating an indelible historical record, these hearings give Capitol Police Officers what may be their only chance to tell their stories publicly and on an official record. That’s important for them personally.

    8
  63. Nightcrawler says:

    @Moosebreath:

    Why not both?

  64. Nightcrawler says:

    @Chip Daniels:

    And maybe, just maybe, that will turn the tables and prevent the unthinkable from happening.

  65. Just nutha ignint cracker- says:

    @Tony W: Probably more about the Poli Sci books as this is a Congressional hearing, but thank you for making the first reasonable argument for this circus that I’ve heard. (Obviously, I’m not a fan of the circus.)

  66. @Kathy: Even Iran-Contra is from another country: pre-internet and pre-FNC.

    The Kavanaugh hearings (and Trump’s two impeachments) are the better analogs.

    1
  67. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: Okay. That probably means that the answer to my question to Dr. Taylor is “more than I would imagine will.” Not a high bar for this cynic, but thank you for the report. Everything is progress.

    1
  68. Nightcrawler says:

    @Teve:

    I know I watched it in real time. I know I’ve seen the videos. But hearing this emotional testimony by police officers, I still CANNOT BELIEVE this happened. In America. And that Republicans, Trump and millions of his supporters are still lying about it, even defending it.

    I wish I could say I can’t believe this happened, but I’m not surprised. This mindset fuels my dark predictions about 2022/24.

  69. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @inhumans99: I’m not sure they are afraid of FG or the base. They might have been caught up in the hubris and actually have been trying to see if they could turn enough of their own to void the election and install whoever they chose to by Congressional Republican consensus. It may well have been a “let’s see if we can pull this off” exercise. Of course, I start from the basis of Republican leadership having been okay with FG because he was portraying who they really are in the dark night of their souls, so I’m coming from a different perspective. It’s reasonable that my conclusions will be different.

    4
  70. JKB says:

    Well, after an emotional morning, the real questions needed to be answered is who in the House and Senate made the decision to deny the Capitol Police Chief’s request for National Guard reinforcement BEFORE the event? A force that could have stopped not only the incursion but also most of the much hyped violence against the officers.

    Or why was the riot gear that would have been invaluable to the Capitol Police was locked in a bus that was far enough off the Capitol site as to be unavailable for use?

    And, of course, the American People would like to know why it took months for the real cause of Officer Sicknick’s death to be determined by supposedly the “top” medical examiners in the country. Or what is the actual law that justified the use of deadly force to intentionally kill Ashli Babbitt, who was not armed and any perceived threat was not imminent at the time the officer intentionally killed her.

    1
  71. dazedandconfused says:

    I would agree with James were the GOP not actively still trying to gaslight this into a loving reception of the patriotic peaceful protesters by Capitol Security. That Trump IS the GOP has been well established, to the degree that Republicans serving on this committee can’t be considered real Republicans anymore, and he’s still gaslighting it. Can’t think of one (real) Republican who has directly contradicted Trump on this matter.

    Theater? Perhaps, but Trump’s theater of the absurd make it sadly warranted if not a necessary tale to tell, one to be repeated until the gaslighting ceases.

    3
  72. Kathy says:

    @dazedandconfused:

    Can’t think of one (real) Republican who has directly contradicted Trump on this matter.

    Of course not. Once anyone contradicts or criticizes the Supreme Cheeto, they are ipso-facto Democrats. Like Kelly and Mattis, for instance.

    Three was some fleeting hope right after the putsch, but it evaporated quickly when Congressional Democrats insisted there be real consequences for the Grand Orange Ass.

    1
  73. KM says:

    @JKB:

    Or what is the actual law that justified the use of deadly force to intentionally kill Ashli Babbitt, who was not armed and any perceived threat was not imminent at the time the officer intentionally killed her.

    Breaking and entering into a secure area by literally crawling through a window she smashed doesn’t entail use of deadly force? Self-defense from a mob the officer has no way of knowing is armed or not and is definitely not following the lawful commands of LEOs? Wow – home owners, businesses and cops all over the country would very interested to learn there’s no actual law that justifies such force. I’m sure 2A fans would love to talk to you about it……

    No, he didn’t intentionally kill her. She was shot in the shoulder not the head or chest but surprise, surprise guns kill and even a shot not intended to be fatal can be. Nice try defending the criminal though, I’m sure you’ll be lining up to defend every other unarmed person shot by cops for the rest of your life in her honor. Do it for Ashli, @JKB- go forth and defend all those innocents cops shoot!

    22
  74. CSK says:

    @KM:
    Now, really, KM. Why would anyone, anywhere, ever suspect that a crowd screaming “Hang Mike Pence” and searching for Nancy Pelosi in order to “put a bullet in her friggin’ brain” mean to do harm?????

    Perhaps I should address my query to JKB.

    7
  75. Gustopher says:

    @JKB:

    Or what is the actual law that justified the use of deadly force to intentionally kill Ashli Babbitt, who was not armed and any perceived threat was not imminent at the time the officer intentionally killed her.

    Natural selection.

    8
  76. Jen says:

    @JKB: Nice deflection.

    Again, what exactly were these people who stormed the Capitol trying to accomplish? Who suggested they arrive there and disrupt a typically very normal and boring part of counting electoral votes?

    Are you in the “these were just tourists!” camp, or are you in the “must have been antifa/no wait BLM/no wait [insert excuse here]…” crowd?

    Ashli Babbitt and many, many other people made scores of bad decisions before arriving at the Capitol on Jan. 6. One would think that the Party of Personal Responsibility (TM) would understand that.

    7
  77. EddieInCA says:

    When you’ve lost Fox News….

    Bret Baier Calls Out Republicans Downplaying Riot: ‘You Cannot Watch This Testimony and Say That Is Not a Big Deal’

    https://www.mediaite.com/tv/bret-baier-calls-out-republicans-downplaying-riot-you-cannot-watch-this-testimony-and-say-that-is-not-a-big-deal/

    4
  78. CSK says:

    @EddieInCA:
    I watched this. And I thought, “Now the Trumpkins are going to hate Baier even more than they already do.”

    5
  79. Mister Bluster says:

    @JKB:..the real questions needed to be answered

    Why don’t you ask your boyfriend Trump why he lied when he said “…I’ll be there with you…” and then ran off to hide in the White House like the coward he is.

    6
  80. CSK says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    Well, clearly Trump meant “I’ll be there with you in spirit.”

    4
  81. Teve says:

    @Mister Bluster: people who support Trump always wind up humiliated in the end. And in hundreds of these cases, in jail to boot! 😀

    Back in the late 80’s when I first started listening to Limbaugh he was fond of saying “Actions…have consequences.” Some Trumper half-wits are discovering that now, and they’re very whiny about it.

    5
  82. al Ameda says:

    Beside the fact that an investigation of the nearly historically unprecedented insurrection of January 6th is needed for every reason obvious to non-Republican citizens, I believe all of this is also necessary as we now have the not-so-subtle background noise of Trump launching his 2022-2024 Revenge Tour.

    It’s important for 2 reasons: (1) fact finding – among a lot else find out which White House and Congressional members or staff aided and abetted the attack on the Capitol, and (2) control the narrative – put out there on a daily basis testimony, video footage, and reports that show/tell us exactly how we ended up at January 6th. This can be the background noise that counters the onslaught of disinformation and lies of the Revenge Tour.

    3
  83. Stormy Dragon says:

    @JKB:

    who in the House and Senate made the decision to deny the Capitol Police Chief’s request for National Guard reinforcement BEFORE the event?

    Congress doesn’t have any control over the DC National Guard, the President does.

    16
  84. KM says:

    @CSK:
    Ah my friend, don’t you know? They bore the Mark of the Beast MAGA upon their brow and chest – surely all Good Men know instinctively it signifies their harmless brethren out to do the Will of God? That’s why they think Ms Babbitt a saint for if she were to have done what she did in their own home at midnight, they’d have shot her just like the officer did. I’m very, very sure had his Ashli broken @JKB’s window late at night and keep trying to get in despite him warning her back off, she’d have suffered the same martyrdom…. err fate.

    Truly it’s a wonder why this blatant criminality is something they hold up and declare innocent. Perhaps she didn’t need to be shot but hey, back the blue, 2A rights trump all and remember a good guy with a gun can save lives. The cops are the heroes of the story…. till some MAGA moron gets themselves shot being incredibly stupid and suddenly they’re evil, EVIL!

    3
  85. Kathy says:

    @KM:

    You’d think JKB would be pissed at Kevin for not allowing any real “Republicans” in the committee so they could ask those questions.

    They’ve been reduced to this instead.

    1
  86. wr says:

    @JKB: “Or what is the actual law that justified the use of deadly force to intentionally kill Ashli Babbitt, who was not armed and any perceived threat was not imminent at the time the officer intentionally killed her.”

    Why don’t you pop over to Mar-a-Lago and start smashing through windows to get to Trump and see what happens to you?

    17
  87. CSK says:

    @KM:
    Ashli Babbitt’s mother was introduced at the Trump rally in Phoenix and got a standing ovation from the crowd.

    A conservative commenter and Never-Trump er made a remark about Babbitt, to the effect that she reminded him of the kind of simple tool who’d show up at a Tea Party rally. He’d hand her a tricorn hat and a drum and she’d march around for hours wearing the hat and banging the drum like a mechanical chimpanzee and think she’d accomplished great things.

    9
  88. Lounsbury says:

    Really mate,

    Beyond that—and granting that I’m not the target audience for the hearings—I find this decidedly unhelpful. If the purpose is to glean new information, why kick off with a grandstanding rehash of what we already know?

    For God’s sake, as you already admit there will be few minds directly changed, and dry intellectual investigation of something already well publicized frankly has virtually zero potential for really new information. If one is going to do TV then bloody well know your game is just that, a presentation to the convincable – which the police officer play seems perfectly suited for (as well as to dump the hard Lefty anti police image).

    3
  89. Neil J Hudelson says:

    @JKB:

    You’ve been commenting here for well over a decade, and I just want to congratulate you that after 10 years of hard work you just posted one of the most breathtakingly stupid comments ever posted here.

    All those years of Zelsdorf Ragstlaff, Tsar Nicky, Whizbang/Jenos, Gavrilo, et al, filling up space with hot air, you kept your head down knowing one day it would be your day to shine.

    And today, my friend, is that day. Go on, take a victory lap. Hold your fist high. Bask in the applause. You deserve it.

    26
  90. Scott F. says:

    @EddieInCA:
    Exactly. Theater has been influencing the culture and moving minds since the Greeks.

    And it was deployed pretty effectively today, I would say. It was Cheney and Kinzinger who brought up Trump today, not the Democrats on the committee. And Fanone demanding some respect from those GOP legislators who are downplaying January 6th will be played over and over.

    3
  91. Neil J Hudelson says:

    @Neil J Hudelson: @JKB:

    I mean, seriously, in order to make that comment you had to pretend that you’ve been comatose in a sensory deprivation tank since 10 a.m., January 6th, have never had a basics civics class, and do not know how google works. Those are a lot of plates to keep spinning, but you pulled it off.

    Could you have just googled “who controls the DC national guard?” Of course you could’ve. But why do something as simple as that and deny yourself a spanking from every commentor here?

    At any time in the past half year, you could’ve read an article . But reading is for winners, and the only way to win the contest of greatest loser is to continue to lose. [Checks that sentence again. Goes with it anyway. ]

    Again, bravo, réclame, a thousand huzzahs, etc., etc.,

    15
  92. Scott F. says:

    And, of course, the American People would like to know…

    Blow all the smoke you want under your own alias, JKB. But, don’t you dare to presume to speak for the American People, you sick twist!

    3
  93. charon says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    The Kavanaugh hearings (and Trump’s two impeachments) are the better analogs.

    That depends on your POV, such as how many people are talking about it around the water cooler the next day, sure, the TV ratings are relevant to that.

    If you are, instead, looking at what sort of event it is, the Watergate hearings are still, IMO, the closest analogy I cab think of.

  94. Teve says:
  95. @charon:

    That depends on your POV, such as how many people are talking about it around the water cooler the next day, sure, the TV ratings are relevant to that.

    If you are, instead, looking at what sort of event it is, the Watergate hearings are still, IMO, the closest analogy I cab think of.

    How would these hearings be closer to Watergate than to the Trump impeachment hearings? (I have to admit, that sounds like wishful thinking to me).

    Again: in 1972 there were, max, 3 broadcast channels, PBS, and maybe an independent UHF channel or two. There were, maybe, two newspapers in a major city. The bottom line: it was a far more shared experience than anything that can be generated in the 2020s.

    2
  96. Chip Daniels says:

    @Scott F.:
    But that’s the thing, is that conservatives assume that they alone ARE the only real Americans. Everyone else is a (barely) tolerated guest.

    This is why they love our Olympic Athletes, unless they express an idea that makes conservatives unhappy, in which case they root for an opposing nation.
    They love the troops unless a general expresses an unapproved thought, in which case they ridicule him as a coward.
    The love the cops until one stands in their way, in which case they attempt to murder him with his own gun.

    8
  97. charon says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    The bottom line: it was a far more shared experience than anything that can be generated in the 2020s.

    Except my point was looking at something other than the TV ratings aspect, the bean counting.

    But as far as the bean counting goes, my recollection is different than your revisionist history. My recollection is Watergate poked along month after month without many people paying much attention to it. Sure, I was paying attention but that was because even back then I was a political junkie.

  98. Barry says:

    @inhumans99: “Speaking of McCarthy, for some reason he is inexplicably hyper-frightened of Donald Trump, I would joke that Trump has pictures, but in this case maybe he really does have them, as that might explain why McCarthy is fine with Trump treating him as nothing more than a doormat to wipe his feet on.”

    Trump can blow his political career into dust by opening his mouth. McCarthy likes his political career.

  99. @charon: I feel like we are talking past one another, but I am not sure why.

    My point is about the nature of the media environment, which shapes the water cooler aspects of all of this.

    What am I missing about your position?

    1
  100. Jay L Gischer says:

    You know, Trayvon Martin didn’t have a gun, either. Nor was he in anybody’s house, much less a highly secure area, with highly confidential information, that normally requires clearance. And yet his killer walked away. What did @JKB have to say about that?

    9
  101. JohnSF says:

    @JKB:
    It should be noted: Ms. Babbitt was wearing a backpack, a massive red flag to protection officers, while trying to forcefully breach a security perimeter in Congress, with a raging mob inside, and both legislators, and national chain-of-command persons in the vicinity.
    Of course she was shot.

    Frankly, a lot of others there that day should consider themselves lucky they weren’t shot when making the initial breach.

    12
  102. Jim Brown 32 says:

    Dr Joyner is correct here, these hearings are useless–as tools of persuasion. They are, however, perfect for creating tension for 2022 turnout and fundraising.

    We all know what happened, we know who done it, and we know the means by which it was done. When the supposed smart voters no longer accept theater as a response to authoritarians, misinformationists, and the enablers…accepting no less that the wheels of government rolling over these people…THEN we will round a corner in this downward spiral.

    Much is said here about Team Red voters holding their Party accountable, when does that apply to team blue voters. Your kid comes home with a busted eye socket and the answer is a committee to find out what happened.

  103. charon says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    What am I missing about your position?

    You are familiar with the old saw about the group of blind men and the elephant they each feel a different part of? Each blind man has a unique perception of what an elephant is, while the elephant has an underlying nature.

    You are making some assumptions about public current understanding of the hearings, based on the different media environment than the past, analogous to the blind men. (Your assumptions may or may not be accurate, but that is a separate issue).

    I am focusing more on the actual underlying nature of the hearings, analogous to the actual elephant and also of the underlying subject. (By the way, the Kavanaugh underlying issue – who gets onto SCOTUS, or some substitute Federalist Society hack, strikes me as pretty trivial in significance compared to the Jan. 6 events).

  104. Nightcrawler says:

    I really hope these hearings manage to right this ship before it crashes.

    I don’t think that will actually happen, but you never know.

  105. Dude Kembro says:

    Imagine the cynicism, lack of empathy, and political obtuseness it takes to dismiss the sincere, detailed, riveting testimony and gut-wrenching video America saw today as “grandstanding” and a “stunt.”

    Thank you to Officers Dunn, Fanone, Gonell, Hodges and their colleagues. Thank you to Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats for making this committee happen instead of caving to the Boomer yt guy conventional “wisdom” and defeatism epitomized by this post. Thank you to Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for putting country before party.

    Shame on the terrorists in those videos, on Treason Trump and his right wing enablers, on Moscow Mitch, on Qevin McQarthy…and on James Joyner. In spite of their clownery, today was a good day for the truth, for American democracy, and for Democrats and decent Republicans both.

    8
  106. Lounsbury says:

    @Jim Brown 32: I don’t think he is right at all. As Dr Taylor has noted. Certainly the hearings will not change the opinions of the Trumpists. But that is not the poential focus. Rather it is the passive or semi-passive fellow-travellers, or the on-the-fence classic Republicans (thus the importance of Madame Cheney and Mr. K). As someone noted supra, a 5-10% impact (even a 3-5% impact) in the right geographies can change entirely the face of your political map.

    It also (as I caught a bit of this on the international news segment) has a salutory effect of counter-dezinformatsia.

    3
  107. Dude Kembro says:

    @Lounsbury:

    As someone noted supra, a 5-10% impact (even a 3-5% impact) in the right geographies can change entirely the face of your political map.

    This. Hillary lost the electoral college in 2016 by about ~80,000 votes across three Rust Belt states. Biden won them back in 2020. He also won Georgia and Arizona, by less than a percentage point.

    These point of these hearings is helping make those voters permanently anti-Trump/GQP and keep them in the Democratic column in 2022. Besides just doing the right thing and actually seeking the truth, both of which have, apparently, gone out of fashion for some.

    7
  108. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jay L Gischer: As I recall, JKB’s take was that Trayvon was a thug and a nKLANNNNGGG to boot. Stand your ground functioned exactly as intended.

    3
  109. Matt Bernius says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    He has a long record of only defending the white.. oops, I meant right… Nah eff it I really meant white people.

    Yes he’ll quote Thomas Sowell and Clarence Thomas. He’d probably quote Candice Owens and Diamond and Silk if push came to shove. And that, plus the contents of his posts, tells us everything we need to know

  110. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Lounsbury: Im in the middle of Trump land…its not going to happen. You’re not going to get the persuadable margin shift you want from cable TV Theater. Modt of these people arent even watching cable news. Now that I live amongst these people, I see exactly where the Dem messaging strategy is flawed.

    They will only pick off margins by messaging on local issues. It makes sense now why the Republican Party has made local politics national culture politics. If they had to run on the local shitty economy they’d get their asses run out of town on a rail.

    Healthcare is a money issue, but not the way Dems frame it. These people are poor, unhealthy, and live the hustle life. You can see the hard life on most of their faces.

    Im hitting alot of rural communities for my latest job…its the same story. Sometimes I ask myself if this is really America.

    Im convinced what Stacy Abrahams did could be replicated in many places in the South, she saw people across Georgia eyeball to eyball and discussed their LOCAL issue.

    I repeat: Mitch McConnell, Insurrection, Supreme Court, etc are dead issues in these places. You know what wouldn’t be dead? A new factory, plant, business relocation that brough income into the community.

    2
  111. wr says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: “I feel like we are talking past one another, but I am not sure why.”

    It reads to me as if you are talking about the Watergate hearings, and she is talking about the entire Watergate investigation, in which case you are both right, you are talking past each other, and I don’t understand why she seems to be getting angry…

  112. Dude Kembro says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    Im convinced what Stacy Abrahams did could be replicated in many places in the South, she saw people across Georgia eyeball to eyball and discussed their LOCAL issue.

    I repeat: Mitch McConnell, Insurrection, Supreme Court, etc are dead issues in these places. You know what wouldn’t be dead? A new factory, plant, business relocation that brough income into the community.

    As someone who grew up in Georgia amongst these people — and who went home to Georgia in 2020 to canvass, talk to voters, and help flipped Georgia blue — very little of this true.

    No, the work we did was not just about local issues.
    Yes, the Georgians who came out for Biden were and are still concerned about national issues, including the Supreme Court.
    Yes, removing Mitch McConnell from power (especially in the runoff elections) and Trump’s generous sore loser election lies were major concerns for those voters.
    No, local issues are not magically separate from national issues.
    Yes, it is possible to be concerned about both so-called local issues and so-called national issues, and yes, Democrats should demonstrate they can walk and chew gum simultaneously by addressing both.
    Yes, you do get persuadable margin shift from theater — that’s the entire Republican oeuvre from talk radio to the Fox News nightly lineup.
    No, Democrats should not follow the advice in this terrible take.

    4
  113. charon says:

    @wr:

    Perhaps it’s you who is not so great at the reading comprehension thingy.

    Dr. Taylor is focused solely on the political theater aspect, how this is playing in the cheap seats. I am am more interested in what the Select Committee is actually doing, what else it is accomplishing or at least trying to.

  114. wr says:

    @charon: “Perhaps it’s you who is not so great at the reading comprehension thingy.”

    You guys have been arguing about Watergate, and frankly your messages have been coming across as increasingly angry, which is not your common mode of discourse. And now you are taking my comment as some kind of personal attack.

    I don’t know what’s going on with you. I don’t know if you’re going through a stressful time and you’re taking it out here — surely we all channel our bad moods into series of comments here from time to time, and it’s easy to see that waxing and waning in various threads.

    I do know that you are generally a more generous commenter than you have been in this discussion. I hope that everything is generally all right with you and that we see the old Charon back soon.

    1