BY THE KANSAS CITY STAR EDITORIAL BOARD
JANUARY 07, 2021
If Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley had shown any evidence that there’s a conscience in there somewhere, underneath the ambition and the artifice and the uncommon combo of striving and laziness that he’s somehow made work for him, then we wouldn’t be where we are right now.
We wouldn’t, that is, be wondering what to say to a man who, having so disgraced his office, and our state, must either resign or be removed from the U.S. Senate.
Having led the parade to the edge of a cliff, Hawley pretends to be astonished by what happened next. And unlike those Republicans who sobered up after seeing the U.S. Capitol trashed, he continues to pretend that the election was stolen from President Donald Trump, who claimed widespread voter fraud even when he really did win, in 2016.
Former Missouri Sen. John C. Danforth, an actual man of honor, told The Star that he blamed his former protégé for Wednesday’s riot. “But for him it wouldn’t have happened. But for him the approval of the Electoral College votes would have been simply a formality. He made it into something that it was a specific way to express the view that the election was stolen. He was responsible.”
Danforth also said he blames himself for helping launch Hawley’s political career: “I thought he was special. And I did my best to encourage people to support him both for attorney general and later the U.S. Senate and it was the biggest mistake I’ve ever made in my life.”
If Hawley had more in common with Danforth, he’d be ashamed of himself for cheering on those waving Trump and Confederate flags who desecrated and ransacked what really is a sacred civic space.
But he doesn’t and he won’t.
This is someone who even after surveying the wreckage and the body count — four dead, among those in the MAGA mob who believed the lie that the election had been stolen — did not change course at all.
Instead, he praised the police, meekly tut-tutted at the violence and delivered more false remarks about nonexistent election fraud just as planned.
Other Trump supporters are lining up to say they’ve finally had enough.
Even The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page called Trump’s actions “impeachable,” and said he should resign. “In concise summary,” they wrote, “on Wednesday the leader of the executive branch incited a crowd to march on the legislative branch.”
The Journal columnist Peggy Noonan wrote that, “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.”
Other Senate Republicans who had been planning to keep pretending Joe Biden hadn’t won in a free and fair election backed out after Wednesday’s riot. And after Trump told those on a violent rampage, “Go home. We love you. You’re very special.”
Even the president’s golfing buddy, South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, said he was done: “Count me out; enough is enough.” Not our man in Washington, though. Not long after shots were fired and lives lost, Hawley got up and promised to keep right on objecting to the election results.
We can’t appeal to a sense of decency that doesn’t exist.
But we can say that Hawley, who gave a raised fist of encouragement to the likes of that proud lout who put his feet up on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s desk, cannot continue to be our man in Washington, and so will have to be expelled.
Those of you in the Senate who understand what he did, in full possession of the facts and the consequences of twisting them, must do more than censure his treasonous behavior.
He’ll still be the poster boy of the radical right, but if we’re going to keep our democracy, there has to be a penalty for being the ringleader of those encouraging overturning an election.
Newly sworn-in Republican Kansas Sen. Roger Marshall also disgraced his office by objecting to the Electoral College results confirming President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. Marshall is a follower, not a leader, and since he made no sense in his first speech on the Senate floor at least cannot be accused of misleading anyone.
If Hawley had stepped to the microphone on Wednesday night and said even one true thing — that the election wasn’t stolen — it would have meant something. Because some among those millions who really have been convinced that Trump won in a landslide would have listened to him.
Now, as Republicans at least discuss invoking the 25th Amendment to remove the president from office, Josh Hawley has shown that he’ll be the last Trumper standing. In fact, he may finally have achieved his goal of out-Trumping Trump, since even the president finally conceded on Thursday and said the fight was over.
It will be up to those senators who’ve only recently remembered they do know the difference between facts and fiction to end Hawley’s short and shameful political career.
And ultimately, it will be up to Missouri Republicans to penalize his cynical bet that anything he did, as long as he kept quoting Abraham Lincoln and genuflecting before Donald J. Trump, would without fail be rewarded by you.
Hawley said in a statement that he would “never apologize for giving voice to the millions of Missourians and Americans who have concerns about the integrity of our elections. That’s my job, and I will keep doing it.”
They have concerns because you and others told them lies. That you think it’s your job to keep telling them the lies that have already gotten four of them killed is inexcusable. And it’s why you don’t deserve to stay on our payroll.
BY THE KANSAS CITY STAR EDITORIAL BOARD JANUARY 06, 2021
No one other than President Donald Trump himself is more responsible for Wednesday’s coup attempt at the U.S. Capitol than one Joshua David Hawley, the 41-year-old junior senator from Missouri, who put out a fundraising appeal while the siege was underway.
This, Sen. Hawley, is what law-breaking and destruction look like. This is not a protest, but a riot. One woman who was apparently part of the pro-Trump mob was fatally shot by Capitol Police as lawmakers took cover. Some of those whose actions Trump encouraged and later condoned brought along their Confederate flags.
And no longer can it be asked, as George Will did recently of Hawley, “Has there ever been such a high ratio of ambition to accomplishment?” Hawley’s actions in the last week had such impact that he deserves an impressive share of the blame for the blood that’s been shed.
Hawley was first to say that he would oppose the certification of Joe Biden’s Electoral College win. That action, motivated by ambition, set off much that followed — the rush of his fellow presidential aspirant Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and other members of the Sedition Caucus to put a show of loyalty to the president above all else.
After mayhem broke out, Hawley put out this uncharacteristically brief statement: “Thank you to the brave law enforcement officials who have put their lives on the line. The violence must end, those who attacked police and broke the law must be prosecuted, and Congress must get back to work and finish its job.” So modest, Senator, failing to note your key role in inspiring one of the most heartbreaking days in modern American history. We lost something precious on Wednesday, as condolence notes to our democracy from our friends around the world recognize.
Among those Hawley got to emulate him was Kansas Sen. Roger Marshall, whose very first act as a member of the world’s greatest deliberative body was to sell out his country by attempting to overturn the outcome of a legitimate election.
This revolt is the result, and if you didn’t know this is where we’ve been headed from the start, it’s because you didn’t want to know.
“The Frankenstein just tore down the doors to the palace,” U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, a Democrat from Missouri, told The Star. Which happened because, as he said, “One-third of the nation has bought into a bald-faced lie, and they are living in a fact-free America.”
“I’m currently safe and sheltering in place while we wait to receive further instruction from Capitol Police,” tweeted U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, a Democrat from Kansas. “Today is a dark day for our country. It’s unacceptable that we have a President who has repeatedly condoned and even encouraged this despicable behavior. It must stop.”
We’ll say again what Davids is too polite to say: Trump did not manage this madness on his own. Far from it.
REPUBLICANS KNEW TRUMP’S FRAUD CLAIMS WERE BOGUS
Just before the putsch began, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said sadly that we need to once again work from an agreed upon set of facts. Only now has he noticed that lying to the public on a daily basis poisons democracy.
“People have taken this too far,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said on Fox News. Until he had to run for cover, McCarthy was fine with this sick stunt.
U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, a Republican from Kentucky, said in a statement, “Today’s events at the U.S. Capitol are tragic, outrageous, and devastating. They are wholly inconsistent with the values of our constitutional Republic.”
Yes, they are. But they are wholly consistent with Trump’s calls to overturn this election to address nonexistent fraud. And they are wholly predictable, given the willingness of most Republicans to repeat these baseless claims.
When we wrote that Hawley’s actions were dangerous — and that those of Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt and others were too, in their pretending for far too long that the election wasn’t over — some readers found that absurd. “Oh my goodness, how will democracy and our country survive?” one reader wrote in sarcasm. “How will Biden possibly govern? The Star editorial board’s hysteria over nothing is approaching CNN levels.”
No doubt plenty of Americans will see even this free-for-all in the temple of democracy as defensible. And those of you who have excused all of the brazen lawlessness of this administration can take a little bit of credit for these events, too. They couldn’t have done it without you.
Hawley, Marshall and other Republicans who upheld Trump’s con about widespread fraud knew all along that his claims were bogus. Now that they’ve seen exactly where those lies have landed us, decency demanded that they try to prevent further violence by making clear that President-elect Joe Biden did not win by cheating.
Others did back off their claims that the election isn’t over, including newly defeated Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who said Wednesday night, “I cannot now in good conscience object” to approving the Electoral College vote.
Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham told his colleagues, “Count me out; enough is enough.” He said plainly that Biden had been lawfully elected. Republican Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey called Trump a demagogue, and Republican Utah Sen. Mitt Romney suggested that the better way to calm those who believe the election was stolen would be to tell them the truth that it was not.
Marshall, however, rose, rambled, and stuck to his corrupt insistence that Trump’s fraud claims warrant further exploration.
Hawley, as he likes to do, quoted Abe Lincoln, who was not there to object, and then doubled down on his pretended alarm about possible fraud.
For “those who have concerns about what happened in November,” he said, “this is the appropriate means, this is the lawful place where those objections and concerns should be heard.” And once again Hawley, as he likes to do, isn’t telling the truth.
From ‘irregardless’ to ‘insurrection’: Parsing the language of the Capitol breach | Angry Grammarian
by Jeffrey Barg, January 8, 2021
You’d have to be a pretty awful person to have the word irregardless be the least offensive thing you say on the floor of the U.S. Senate, just hours after an attempted violent overthrow of our government. But at 9:18 p.m. on Wednesday, while lying through his teeth about our own Pennsylvania constitution, Missouri’s Josh Hawley managed to deliver.
“Pennsylvania elected officials passed a whole new law that allows universal mail-in balloting, and did it irregardless of what the Pennsylvania constitution said,” the Republican senator whined while perpetuating the same election lies that fomented this week’s crisis.
Irregardless is a word, albeit an imprecise and stupid one. But in Hawley’s defense, language changed a lot on Wednesday, and quickly. When people showed up at the Ellipse in Washington, D.C., that morning, they were protesters. By nightfall, those same individuals had become something else entirely, leading everyone to ask the same burning (no pun intended) question: What the hell was that?
I mean that literally.
What to call the action: Terrorism? Sedition? Treason? A coup? Insurrection? Rebellion? A revolution, as some there hoped for? And what to call the actors: Insurrectionists? Domestic terrorists? A mob? Rebels?
Each of these words carries its own history, and on Wednesday and Thursday Merriam-Webster’s website saw lookups skyrocket for most of them — including irregardless.
Most of these words are many centuries old, and for many of them, their headiest days are behind them: Language trackers show that sedition, insurrection, rebellion and treason were prevalent through the American Revolution, but usage plummeted around 1818. After a spike during the Civil War, when rebellion and insurrection experienced their highest usage ever, all four fell out of favor, though rebellion has had a renaissance since the late 1960s. The first documented use of coup in English came in 1646, though it’s derived from the French coup d’etat. Its usage jumped in the late 1960s and has remained high, unlike its compatriots, whose usage declined until, um, Wednesday.
Terrorism has had a checkered history since 9/11, and distinguishing terrorists from domestic terrorists is a false dichotomy meant to ascribe racial assumptions to what should be racially agnostic words. A Google Image search for terrorist produces predominantly nonwhite or covered faces, while a Google Image search for domestic terrorist surfaces predominantly white faces — an uncomfortable truth for all of us, and probably disappointing for American Taliban John Walker Lindh and D.C. sniper John Allen Muhammad.
Even if no one is able to agree on common terms, many media outlets had consciously rejected using protesters by the time the Capitol police started to regain control of the building. Before 4 p.m. Wednesday, the Inquirer’s editors nixed protester and greenlit use of insurrectionist, mob, and seditionist, as Inquirer reporter Jonathan Lai tweeted. Media reporter Ben Smith noted the Washington Post’s decision to use mob and not protesters, while the New York Times has continued using protesters alongside mob and other descriptors.
Historians and political scientists will debate the nuances of terms like sedition, coup, insurrection and others, but their dictionary definitions show that any and all of them could apply to different participants at Wednesday’s mayhem. Because so many have fallen into disuse, no one term stands out as the frontrunner. And because the act of sacking the Capitol hasn’t happened here in more than 200 years, we needed to reach back into our mustier thesauruses to find words that felt weighty enough.
But irregardless of which terms end up in the history books, at least we can remember Sen. Josh Hawley as an opportunistic traitor who needs to get our commonwealth’s name out of his mouth.
The Angry Grammarian, otherwise known as Jeffrey Barg, looks at how language, grammar, and punctuation shape our world, and appears biweekly. Send comments, questions, and agent nouns to firstname.lastname@example.org.
GOP Sen. Josh Hawley loses book deal, mentor, major donor after Capitol assault, gains 2 scathing editorials
Snowflake Josh Hawley Seems To Think The 1st Amendment Means Simon & Schuster Has To Give Him A Book Contract
First of all, anyone who thinks that one of the world’s biggest publishing houses is a “woke mob” is delusional. But, it’s even worse to use the word “mob” the day after you helped inspire an actual mob to storm the Capitol building in order to overthrow the results of an election.
Hawley has no legal claim here at all. The 1st Amendment doesn’t govern this at all. He has every right to speak his mind, but he has no right to force a giant publishing house to give him a massive book contract to help his nascent Presidential campaign. If he wants to publish such a book, I hear Amazon has pretty good self-publishing tools that would allow him to do so. As to a bunch of other self-publishing platforms. Isn’t technology amazing?
And, since Hawley wants to be “clear” the only Orwellian here is Hawley himself — trying to spread his populist authoritarianism by redefining what words mean to suit his own naked greed and ambition.
But, really, all of this is just consequences for your own actions, Josh. You know, the kind of thing you used to pretend was what “conservatives” believed in.