It was 80-some degrees but not too humid, a perfect day for swamp creatures great and small to put off work and laze in the sun. Swamp Rabbit was bored, of course, and determined to find news that would put me in a bad mood.
“Check it out,” he said, climbing onto my porch with his laptop and directing me to a story with this headline: “73% of Republicans blame ‘left-wing protesters’ for Jan. 6 riot.”
This was two days before Republicans used the filibuster to block approval of a bipartisan congressional commission to investigate the causes of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
“The Republican senators have it all figured out,” I said. “They know they can blow off the commission because rank-and-file Trumpers don’t want it to happen.”
Swamp Rabbit pretended to be shocked. After all, the Jan. 6 attempt to break the U.S. government was unprecedented, unless you count the siege of Fort Sumter and the Civil War that followed. Republicans can’t pretend the MAGA mob stormed the Capitol without encouragement from Donald Trump and his gang. They can’t pretend the rioters were just tourists, or that 147 congressional Republicans didn’t vote on the same day as the siege to overturn election results in states Joe Biden won fair and square.
“Yes they can,” I replied. “What’s the point of telling lies about an attempted coup if you don’t tell big lies? Republican senators know the people who elected them expect them to lie. That the truth isn’t welcome because it would mean rejecting Trump and what he stands for, which is the same thing they stand for.”
Swamp Rabbit was playing devil’s advocate to get me worked up. “You’re way too cynical, Odd Man. If you’re right, it means the Republican Party ain’t gonna abide by election results no more.”
“Thank you for stating the obvious,” I said. “The insurrection was and is about doing away with the laws that ensure fair elections. The Republicans’ next step is to pass voter restriction laws that ensure unfair elections. They’re working on it.”
He pretended to be angry. “This American democracy thing is almost three hundred years old, Them Trumpers can’t just all of a sudden throw the whole system out the window.”
I tried to tell him that Republicans have been lying with impunity for decades thanks to the docile media and complacent establishment Democrats. But they weren’t quite ready to tell the Big Lie — i.e., the election was stolen — until 2020, when the liar-in-chief was turned out of office and they realized they would have to game the system to regain control of Congress and the presidency.
Swamp Rabbit shook his head. “They can’t get away with it. Not if all the peeps get out there and vote in the midterms.”
“That depends on who’s allowed to vote,” I said. “And who’s in charge of counting the votes.”