Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: The insurrection fallout continues

Gun News


The post-Trump GOP, gutted

The big picture: The losses are stark and substantial.

  • They lost their congressional power.
  • Their two leaders, Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy, are hamstrung by corporate blacklisting of their election-denying members.
  • The GOP brand is radioactive for a huge chunk of America.
  • The corporate bans on giving to the 147 House and Senate Republicans who voted against election certification are growing and virtually certain to hold.
  • The RNC is a shell of its former self and run by a Trump loyalist.

Norman Ornstein/USA Today:

The Capitol attack could have crippled America’s government. We need a backup plan.

After 9/11, our ideas for how our government could survive through crisis were ignored. COVID and the Capitol riot show we need them more than ever.

Our initial and primary focus, of course, was international terrorism of the al Qaeda variety — including, after the anthrax attacks, bioterrorism. Subsequently, we also focused on the threat of a pandemic. The threats were different than those of the Cold War era, where there would have been some time, an hour or more, if missiles had been launched from Siberia. This was an instantaneous set of threats, including devastating weapons like suitcase nuclear bombs that could create the worst nightmare at a presidential inauguration.

We did not get very far with any of the key actors. Our recommendations were ignored or shunted aside. With the devastation of COVID, we had already decided to reconstitute our commission. But now, after the horrific events of Jan. 6, our core recommendations are more urgently needed than ever.

John Feinblatt/USA Today:

With armed protests planned after D.C. attack, ban open carry of guns at state capitols

America’s political conversation should not be held at the barrel of a gun. We should be able to talk to each other without fearing for our lives.

It could have been so much deadlier. That may sound like a perverse thing to say about last week’s seditious riot at the U.S. Capitol, in which five people died, including one member of the Capitol Police. But it’s true: If Washington D.C. was like the 30 states that allow citizens to openly carry loaded long guns on capitol grounds, many more of the rioters would have been armed — and many more lives could have been lost.

This is not a theoretical threat. The FBI recently issued a warning: Law enforcement should be aware of possible armed protests at all 50 state capitols starting this weekend. Which means that officers may soon have to contend with far-right protesters who arrive at the capitol dressed in tactical gear and armed to the teeth, as if they were preparing for war, not a peaceful demonstration.

Emily Peck/HuffPost:

Trump Supporters’ Main Problem Was Never The Economy

The Capitol riot has ended the notion that the president’s hardcore base was motivated by economic anxiety. It has always been about race.

Safe to say, the Donald Trump supporters who ransacked the U.S. Capitol last week weren’t short on cash or propelled by severe economic anxiety.

Sure, some of them could’ve been impoverished former coal miners, as so many pundits have described a certain sect of Trump voters. But these people weren’t raging over the decline of the carbon-based economy. This was a riot about race and power. If there was economic anxiety, it was spurred by the rioters’ false notion that their place in the world is under threat.

We can stop talking about how white Americans voted for Trump because of economic interest. His appeal was never about money. (And Trump is leaving office with the economy in tatters, by the way. On Thursday, 1.15 million more people filed for unemployment.)

The insurrection was the violent cry of a group of (mostly) white men, afraid of losing power ―  not just of having their savior leave office but more broadly seeing their place at the top of the American caste system knocked down a peg.


Kelly Weill/Daily Beast:

Lusting for civil war and boasting of ties to cops and the military, the Oath Keepers thought their time had come.

High on a flyer of FBI suspects in Wednesday’s attack on the Capitol building is a picture of a shouting man in a cap with a yellow insignia. Though the FBI doesn’t name him, his identity is no mystery: he’s Jon Schaffer, guitarist in Ice Earth, according to the metal band, which has condemned his alleged actions at the Capitol.

But more striking than the appearance of a semi-well known musician at the Capitol putsch was the hat he wore. The baseball cap bore the logo for the Oath Keepers, a paramilitary group that cloaks itself in patriotic rhetoric and openly recruits law enforcement. With connections to politicians and police, the Oath Keepers spent the months ahead of the Jan. 6 riot promoting civil war.


Laura Bassett/TNR:

All That’s Left of Trumpism Is Hilariously Stupid, Deadly Serious Social Media Stunts

MAGA Nation’s thirst for viral clout is going to get more people killed.

The first sign that something may have been a bit amiss about last week’s MAGA insurrection at the Capitol arrived in a viral video on Twitter, amid the unfolding chaos. A distressed, red-eyed woman identifying herself as Elizabeth from Knoxville, Tennessee, cried to Yahoo News reporter Hunter Walker that she had just been maced inside the Capitol. “I got maced, yeah, I made it like a foot inside, and they pushed me out, and they maced me,” she complained in the video, while wiping her face with a towel. When Walker asked what she was doing there in the first place, she exclaimed, “We’re storming the Capitol! It’s a revolution!”

Upon closer inspection, you can see that this woman is cradling a raw, sliced onion in the folds of the towel that she’s assiduously rubbing into her eyes, presumably to give herself real tears and that freshly maced-in-the-face look. (Though it should be said there is a persistent theory that she may have been told onions were a mace remedy.)*  She was nevertheless camera-ready; the care she took to engineer her mise-en-scène suggested that she had an inkling that the moment had viral potential. As it happened, it did: Walker’s video, with a caption saying that Elizabeth had actually been maced, racked up two million Twitter views.

Matthew Gabriele/American Historical Association:


Misunderstood Historical Imagery at the January 6 Capitol Insurrection

A little over two years ago, I wrote for Perspectives about the 2017 white supremacist riot in Charlottesville, Virginia, the Far Right’s appropriation of the European Middle Ages, and how conversations between medievalists and Americanists could help us better understand the moment. The elision of “Crusade” and “Confederacy,” Templar shields and pseudo-medieval armor next to a secessionist battle flag and statue of Robert E. Lee, might have seemed like an odd juxtaposition at the time, but it made sense as a kind of double nostalgia. The throughline was a militant masculinity and religiosity, a glorification of “lost causes” in which white men fought off supposed “barbarians” (be they Black Americans or Muslims).

Those themes have not abated in the intervening years; if anything, they’ve only intensified. And so here we are in January 2021, in the wake of another right-wing riot, this time a direct attack on the United States Capitol in Washington, DC. The connection between Charlottesville and the insurrection at the Capitol, even across the four years in-between, are clear. So too, are the similarities in imagery seen in the crowd—a mixture of fascist authoritarianism, nostalgia for the Confederacy, and medievalism.


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