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Response to MerryHolidays (Reply #49)

Fri May 14, 2021, 08:29 PM

50. LOL Well to unpack that



As usual ( ), we agree on most everything, particularly on how different the Rs are now vs during Watergate. However, there are a few specific points that I disagree, one pedantic, one kinda' relevant, and the last most relevant.

1) Howard Baker was not the Senate Minority or Majority Leader during Watergate. He only took on those roles on/after 1977, well after Nixon resigned and the criminal cases were over.


Howard Baker was an influential Senator at the time and ranking Member on that Committee, and yes he didn't take leadership over the GOP conference until later (the one at the time was one of the Senators from my state of PA), but he was an overarching voice on that Committee and for a direct comparison, was like a day and night opposite of someone like a Lindsey Graham when it came to "common sense".

I.e., back then, they were in essence the quintessential "annoying Republicans" as I call them. They were definitely "loyal" to their party and their own, and would battle for their stalwart principles. But they hadn't jumped on the crazy train like has happened now, and back then they at least had sense enough to finally realize that they needed to cut bait and quit while they were ahead (especially after they had already lost Spiro Agnew, another who had been right on the precipice of being impeached for his own issues).

2) Howard Baker and Minority Counsel Fred Thompson fed a lot of information directly to Nixon and his lawyers. They were not independent of Nixon by any means but actually aided him in the cover-up, probably unwittingly.


That was for their party's self-preservation because they at least had "an agenda" that tied to their party's platform. At this point, the GOP not only threw out the previous platform but they neglected to replace it with anything that might have been a revision or update to one from the past. Their modus operandi essentially became "following wacky orders" depending on the whims of a social media blitz. And of course as a reminder, there was no "social media" back then to magnify the propaganda that was already swirling in the print and broadcast media.

3) The battle today is for the hearts and minds of people. I do believe that, if trump and/or Congressional Rs were directly tied to the insurrection, there would be a massive loss of R votes. That's clearly why the Rs don't want a full blown investigation. Yes, we have the Department of Justice going after the foot-soldier insurrectionists, but a multi-prong attack (Congressional investigations, criminal investigations, and even civil cases) as to who or what was the real cause of the insurrection could expose the awful truth. That's the only way you crack conspiracies. It is most definitely not through part-time Commission members who do not have any real subpoena power. The Rs did us a lot of damage with a bare minority in the Senate in 2017-2019, and we should do the same.


One of the things I have posted a number of times before as one of the biggest causes of what we are seeing, is someone who is STILL there behind the scenes planning and scheming and instigating. And that is Newt Gingrich. I had posted excerpts from an "Atlantic" interview with him and it was basically there in black and white. I posted this OP a couple days after the insurrection - https://www.democraticunderground.com/100214854444 and I included that excerpt in a reply -

The Man Who Broke Politics

Newt Gingrich turned partisan battles into bloodsport, wrecked Congress, and paved the way for Trump’s rise. Now he’s reveling in his achievements.

Story by McKay Coppins
November 2018 Issue

Updated on October 17, 2018

[snip]

On June 24, 1978, Gingrich stood to address a gathering of College Republicans at a Holiday Inn near the Atlanta airport. It was a natural audience for him. At 35, he was more youthful-looking than the average congressional candidate, with fashionably robust sideburns and a cool-professor charisma that had made him one of the more popular faculty members at West Georgia College. But Gingrich had not come to deliver an academic lecture to the young activists before him—he had come to foment revolution.

“One of the great problems we have in the Republican Party is that we don’t encourage you to be nasty,” he told the group. “We encourage you to be neat, obedient, and loyal, and faithful, and all those Boy Scout words, which would be great around the campfire but are lousy in politics.” For their party to succeed, Gingrich went on, the next generation of Republicans would have to learn to “raise hell,” to stop being so “nice,” to realize that politics was, above all, a cutthroat “war for power”—and to start acting like it.

The speech received little attention at the time. Gingrich was, after all, an obscure, untenured professor whose political experience consisted of two failed congressional bids. But when, a few months later, he was finally elected to the House of Representatives on his third try, he went to Washington a man obsessed with becoming the kind of leader he had described that day in Atlanta. The GOP was then at its lowest point in modern history. Scores of Republican lawmakers had been wiped out in the aftermath of Watergate, and those who’d survived seemed, to Gingrich, sadly resigned to a “permanent minority” mind-set. “It was like death,” he recalls of the mood in the caucus. “They were morally and psychologically shattered.”

But Gingrich had a plan. The way he saw it, Republicans would never be able to take back the House as long as they kept compromising with the Democrats out of some high-minded civic desire to keep congressional business humming along. His strategy was to blow up the bipartisan coalitions that were essential to legislating, and then seize on the resulting dysfunction to wage a populist crusade against the institution of Congress itself. “His idea,” says Norm Ornstein, a political scientist who knew Gingrich at the time, “was to build toward a national election where people were so disgusted by Washington and the way it was operating that they would throw the ins out and bring the outs in.”

[snip]

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/11/newt-gingrich-says-youre-welcome/570832/


This "no-holds barred" behavior that we are seeing from the GOP, literally "breaking all the rules" and Congressional regular order, is HIS doing. He started it off back in the '90s under Clinton, when after 40 years of the GOP being out of power in the House, he "delivered" the House for them in 1994 on this type of behavior. He eventually got his hand slapped and run out of office, but he has been getting his "just desserts" the past 4 years.

And as a note in this case, remember that doing investigations like this requires starting at the bottom and working your way to the top. That's often what happens when they do RICO cases. They go after the bagmen, the fixers, the small time burglars and hitmen and whatnot, who eventually point the fingers up the chain to the "Captains", and eventually to "the boss".

January 6, 2021 happened less than 4 months ago and they are only at the embryonic stages of the DOJ portion of the investigation. There were hearings by the House, for example, that established issues with the Capitol Police and DOD with respect to what was and was not done. So all of that is a parallel thing going on that DOJ would eventually get to.

And most importantly, since we control the DoJ and the US Attorneys, going after witnesses for contempt, perjury, and/or obstruction is now a real prospect. By contrast, that was NOT the case in 2017-2021 (and hasn't really been the case since January 2011, when we lost the House and Senate). This is first time in a decade we control the Congress and the USDoJ.


Well that was definitely my point. Congress and it's Rules and decorum have been officially "broken". So it will be up to the Executive Branch (DOJ), which has the power to do those "raids" and door knocks and that is not something that Congress, which is a non-criminal legal entity, can do.... although I know there were many calls on DU about getting the Sergeant at Arms to frog-march people defying subpoenas, and charging people with inherent contempt, and actually locking them up in the basement of the Capitol. That's not going to happen. But it is something that can happen if DOJ presents a subpoena.

They have to work their way up that chain. We know there are members of Congress on the GOP side who were intimately involved in what happened but there needs to be irrefutable proof or the entire operation will be dismissed out of hand.

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