Biden’s speech, SCOTUS hears arguments on mandates. And irony

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And more here:

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Bill Goodykoontz/USA Today:

‘A dagger at the throat of American democracy’: Why Joe Biden’s intense Jan. 6 speech was stunning TV

“He shifted the terrain,” Eddie Glaude said on MSNBC. “He’s no longer on his heels. He took the fight to those who are threatening democracy.”

That he did, in no uncertain terms.

“His bruised ego matters more to him than our democracy or our Constitution,” Biden said, speaking in Statuary Hall outside the House chamber. “He can’t accept he lost.”

And in what would doubtless infuriate Trump more than anything else, Biden said, “He’s not just the former president. He’s the defeated former president.” (In fact, Trump released a statement blasting Biden not long after Biden was done.)

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Robert P Jones/Substack:

Looking Back: Facing White Christianity’s Role in the January 6th Insurrection

White Christians have only begun the work of reckoning with white supremacy.

Shamefully, these 21st-century insurrectionists managed to do something the Confederate Army was never able to accomplish during the Civil War: fly the Confederate battle flag inside the Capitol. One widely shared image showed a rioter with the flag strolling by a portrait of William H. Seward, an anti-slavery advocate and Abraham Lincoln’s secretary of state, who was seriously wounded in the assassination plot that killed Lincoln in 1865.

Comfortably intermingled with these tributes to white supremacy were Christian symbols and rhetoric. There were numerous Bibles, crosses, “Jesus Saves” signs and “Jesus 2020” flags that mirrored the design of the Trump campaign flag.

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Karl Rove/WSJ:

Republicans’ Jan. 6 Responsibility

The GOP has a duty to condemn the riot and those who refuse to acknowledge it.

The leaders of this group were intent on committing violence, some having planned to do so for weeks. Many wore tactical gear. Some came armed with chemical agents, flagpoles, batons and sticks. They broke through barricades and assaulted approximately 140 police officers, in some cases with an officer’s own shield or gear. They smashed doors and windows, illegally entered the Capitol, ransacked offices and searched for leaders of Congress, and made dire threats about what would happen if they found them…

To move beyond Jan. 6, 2021, we must put country ahead of party. For Democrats, that means resisting their leadership’s petty habit of aggravating partisan fault lines by indiscriminately condemning all who came to Washington that day. [Many stayed at the Mall, protected speech].

We Republicans have a heavier burden. I’ve been a Republican my entire life, and believe in what the Republican Party, at its best, has represented for decades. There can be no soft-pedaling what happened and no absolution for those who planned, encouraged and aided the attempt to overthrow our democracy. Love of country demands nothing less. That’s true patriotism.

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Amanda Carpenter/Bulwark:

What It Means to Be a Republican in 2022

Inside the GOP, it’s a war of all against all.

Because here’s the rub: To the former president, being “Trump’s friend” means never saying no to him. Even when it comes to acting on lies that caused an insurrection.

It’s the friendship of the mob boss: Do what he tells you and there won’t be any trouble. Which explains a lot of the behind-the-scenes grumbling in Republican politics. The guys paying protection money never actually like the mob boss.

Then there is the handful of Republicans who decided to openly buck Trump.

Ten Republicans in the House and seven Republicans in the Senate voted to impeach Trump for inciting the January 6th insurrection. Mitt Romney was among them. Generally known as a mild-mannered Mormon, he reportedly yelled, “You have caused this!” at the Electoral College-objecting Josh Hawley as Trump’s mob breached the Capitol.

Another objector, Jim Jordan, attempted to escort Liz Cheney away from danger during that time. She slapped his hand away, telling him, “Get away from me. You fucking did this.”

Today it’s the Romneys and the Cheneys who are getting yelled at.

Too often unstated is the fact that what Republican politicos fear is Trump fracturing the party by turning his base against them. They fear the effects on their own power far more than they care about democracy or the future of the U.S. And it’s not even a close contest.

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Stuart A Thompson/NY Times:

Election Falsehoods Surged on Podcasts Before Capitol Riots, Researchers Find

A new study analyzed nearly 1,500 episodes, showing the extent to which podcasts pushed misinformation about voter fraud.

Weeks before the 2020 presidential election, the conservative broadcaster Glenn Beck outlined his prediction for how Election Day would unfold: President Donald J. Trump would be winning that night, but his lead would erode as dubious mail-in ballots arrived, giving Joseph R. Biden Jr. an unlikely edge.

“No one will believe the outcome because they’ve changed the way we’re electing a president this time,” he said.

None of the predictions of widespread voter fraud came true. But podcasters frequently advanced the false belief that the election was illegitimate, first as a trickle before the election and then as a tsunami in the weeks leading up to the violent attack at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, according to new research.

Researchers at the Brookings Institution reviewed transcripts of nearly 1,500 episodes from 20 of the most popular political podcasts. Among episodes released between the election and the Jan. 6 riot, about half contained election misinformation, according to the analysis.

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Tom Nichols/Atlantic:

All Hands on Deck

A new coalition for 2022.

Democracy is in danger and we have about a year to save it. What do we do?

We could, I suppose, keep bickering about policies and legislation. This would be reassuring and make us feel normal, as if we had survived our authoritarian moment. It would also be pointless, because if Americans elect a Republican House—and maybe even return the Senate to the GOP—the stage will be set for the accelerated collapse of American democracy. (I will write another time, soon, about what I think that would look like.)

Instead, I propose an active effort here for people of all political persuasions—liberal, conservative, libertarian, New Agers, Old Believers, you name it—to seek each other out and form a coalition.

And not just a political coalition. The past decade, and especially the past five years, has broken apart friendships and in some cases families. So maybe it’s time to make new friends, as intolerable as we might otherwise find each other

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