On Friday, February 4, the Republican National Committee voted to formally censure Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois for their work on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s select committee on the January 6, 2021 insurrection. Liberal Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent was quick to slam the RNC as morally bankrupt, but the criticism not only came from the left; the following day, the conservative National Review published a scathing editorial attacking the RNC in no uncertain terms.
“The Republican National Committee has voted to formally censure Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for ‘actions in their positions as members of the January 6th Select Committee not befitting Republican members of Congress,’” the Review’s editorial board wrote. “This is both morally repellent and politically self-destructive.”
The editorial board continued, “The action of the mob on January 6 was an indefensible disgrace. It is deserving of both political accountability and criminal prosecution. Aspects of it are also fit subjects for a properly conducted congressional inquiry. It is wrong to minimize or excuse what happened that day. Republicans who did nothing to encourage the mob — and there are many such Republicans — need not wear a hair shirt over January 6, but when they choose to talk about it, they should tell the unsparing truth.”
The editorial goes on to praise former Vice President Mike Pence for calling out former President Donald Trump during a recent gathering of the right-wing Federalist Society. Pence told the crowd, “I heard this week that President Trump said I had the right to overturn the election. President Trump is wrong. I had no right to overturn the election. The presidency belongs to the American people, and the American people alone.”
The Review’s editorial board stresses, “There is also no conceivable political benefit to the Republican Party or its members — other than Donald Trump — in looking to defend or minimize January 6 rather than simply move on…. This will, quite predictably and not wholly unreasonably, be read as an argument that the action of the mob was nothing but ‘legitimate political discourse’ and that nobody should be prosecuted. It will be used against hundreds of elected Republicans who were not consulted in its drafting and do not endorse its sentiment.”
The Review concludes its editorial by warning that the RNC has just given Democrats a major weapon to use against Republicans.
“The RNC bought the entire party a bounty of bad headlines and easy attack ads,” the editorial laments. “It did so for no good purpose, and its action will only encourage those who see riots as legitimate political discourse — a mistake, and worse, a shame."
Reprinted with permission from Alternet