On January 6th, 2021 a mob attacked the U.S. Capitol building in an attempt to halt the certification of Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential election. Incited by Donald Trump, with his baseless claims of a “rigged system” and a stolen election, they aimed to allow Trump to remain in office, no matter what the voters decided.
It didn’t work. Hundreds were arrested and convicted, many on relatively minor charges, for their part in attempts to overthrow the government. While some expressed remorse for their actions, others stuck to their claims and declared themselves political prisoners. They were even backed by some of the very members of Congress they attacked.
Fast forward two years later: Republicans now have a narrow majority in the House. Investigations are moving at a snail’s pace, giving the new Republican majority an opportunity to further stall holding the ultimate perpetrators accountable and there are even cries to undo the dual impeachments of Donald Trump in yet another transparent attempt to rewrite the history of that infamous event.
This begs the question, who really won on January 6th?
The Squeaky Wheel
The old saying goes, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease”. It’s a matter of simple mechanics that, in order for something to work, all its parts must be properly lubricated in order to operate efficiently. And what’s true in mechanics is often true in life.
But should it be?
The recent fiasco of selecting the Speaker of the House witnessed a lot of greasing of palms as a small, but influential, group of representatives forced concession after concession in order to gain, not a vote of support, but at least a vote not to oppose Kevin McCarthy’s nomination. They are already organizing committees to investigate those who executed the search warrant for illegal documents at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence. The committee investigating the January 6th insurrection is being disbanded and efforts are being made to erase both impeachments of Donald Trump, while simultaneously launching a vendetta campaign against President Biden.
In education there are often programs aimed at reining in misbehaving students. They are given catchy names like “Catch ‘em Being Good”. They reward these recalcitrant learners for engaging in behaviors that are normal expectations such as bringing required materials to class or remaining in class three out of five days. They are given special lunches, awarded certain privileges and given deference over those students who are generally well behaved.
Experienced educators look on these programs with a jaundiced eye. Instead of improving student behavior, the once well behaved students see opportunity in acting out. They see that they can gain more by doing less.
As a result, such programs are doomed to failure. But that doesn’t stop well meaning, though misguided, social workers who will repackage these programs in a vain attempt to influence a future crop of students.
Apparently, certain Republican lawmakers were poor students (Take Lauren Boebert as an example) because they are doing exactly what they’ve come to expect from those in charge. Act up enough and your needs will be met. Sadly, it means they will likely be joined by others who see the benefits of getting their way by bucking the most sensible trend.
This is a perfect example of the squeaky wheel concept, and it’s one that the MAGA wing of the Republican Party is adopting to gain advantages in the new House of Representatives. It’s also why nothing can be accomplished without catering to this small, but influential, wing of the GOP.
They are Republican’s squeaky wheel.
Even before the detritus caused by the insurrectionists was cleared, there were those in the very halls where the attacks took place attempting to rewrite history. Despite the violent attacks, they still stuck to their unsubstantiated claims of voting irregularities that conveniently only occurred in the states where Trump lost. There were even efforts put forth to present a slate of alternative electors who would rule in Trump’s favor.
Despite myriad banners, flags and red MAGA hats in support of Donald Trump, Republicans tried to place the blame for the insurrection on Antifa, the FBI and members of the Black Lives Matter movement. They disputed whether it was even an insurrection at all (It was), whether it could be called an armed insurrection since no one was carrying firearms (they were), tried to claim those attacking the Capital were no more harmful than a group of tourists, and even called into question Joe Biden’s legitimacy as president by continuing to cite vague voter irregularities such as votes being mysteriously changed either by corrupt voting machines or agents from China or Venezuela.
Meanwhile, in sunny Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump recently launched yet another bid for the White House. He is aiming to become the second person to claim non-consecutive terms in office despite the fact he is still disputing the results of the 2020 election and demanding to be immediately reinstated. He is joined in the Sunshine State by fellow insurrectionist, Brazil’s Jair Bolsanaro and his potential 2024 rival, Ron DeSantis.
Historians may argue that, since Trump has refused to concede defeat, he is ineligible to run again in 2024 because the Constitution only permits presidents to hold office for two four-year terms. To run again, it can be argued that Trump must first admit that he lost in 2020. The likelihood of that happening is about as remote as peace in Ukraine.
The back door deals Kevin McCarthy made to gain the position of Speaker of the House are a mystery, but one of the rumors is a promise to “look into” expunging the dual impeachments of Donald Trump. That would definitely be an historic rewrite of history.
The Classified Paper Trail
The recent revelations of classified documents associated with Joe Biden’s time as vice president being discovered at multiple locations has Republicans salivating. They want to equate Biden’s turning over of multiple classified documents with Trump’s refusal to voluntarily surrender such after he left office. They are promising to conduct numerous investigations into the Biden documents while ignoring Trump. They claim there are already a number of ongoing investigations into the Mar-a-Lago scandal, so they want to deflect attention by focusing on President Biden. While a majority of Republicans support this, it is primarily being pushed by the MAGA wing of the party.
The irony is that the twin scandals, which may or may not result in a criminal investigation into both, could prevent either Trump or Biden from running again in 2024, which is exactly what a majority of Americans are seeking.
Who is In Charge?
The looming Federal deficit ceiling could be the first real glimpse of who actually controls the reins of power in the Republican Party. A group of lawmakers, dubbed the Taliban 20, is threatening to hold the government hostage unless specific demands are met. This is the same group of representatives who repeatedly stymied Kevin McCarthy’s ascension to the Speaker’s chair until certain issues were addressed. They warn that the same could happen if demands, such as repealing an over of the IRS, aren’t included in any pending legislation.
While McCarthy did eventually get the votes he needed, it was at the expense of making certain promises to this recalcitrant minority in the House. So, in essence, it is they, and not Kevin McCarthy, who hold the actual authority in the House. Without them, no significant progress can occur.
This group includes election deniers Jim Jordan, Marjorie Taylor Green, Lauren Boebert and Matt Gaetz. To gain their votes, or at least not vote against him, McCarthy had to promise them seats on highly influential committees. So, those who supported the Big Lie are the actual power holders in the House.
It’s as if they were the true winners of the January 6th insurrection.
Editor's Note: Unbelievably, the above commentary was written by CJ Waldron after he broke a hand in an accident at home. Quite a feat, Chris. Thanks for your effort!