Conspiracy theories demand a suspension of disbelief from their subscribers that almost always collapses under the intolerable weight of their own simple insanity. If the hearings of the congressional committee on the Jan. 6 attack achieve little else, they are a reminder of that enduring truth.
Like many viewers, I suspect, I have found the antics of the Democrats in these proceedings dispiriting. Through her instinctual hyperpartisanship, Speaker
has nearly succeeded in turning what should have been a thorough investigation of the causes of that terrible event into a show trial of her political enemies. Keeping critics off the committee and letting its proceedings be run without a word of dissent undermines its legitimacy and persuasive force. And if the past few years have taught us anything they have surely taught us that any process in which
is prominently involved is discredited almost by definition.
Mrs. Pelosi nearly succeeded. But not quite. Because it hasn’t been Mr. Schiff and his comrades who have made the most effective case against Donald Trump. It has been Mr. Trump’s own, handpicked people.
The stolen-election theory carries many of the requisite concoctions of all fabricated conspiracies. But none are as implausible as the premise that the people who stopped Mr. Trump from claiming his rightful re-election were all sinister figures conspiring to hand the reins of power to the illegitimate
Think about the list of conspirators that you would have to conclude had somehow become late-convert enemies of Mr. Trump (and American democracy) to believe the former president’s story.
impeccable servant of the Republican Party, loyal (crueler observers might say servile) supporter of the former president, who sometime between Nov. 3 and Jan. 6 became a notorious RINO and traitor.
perhaps the most effective defender of Mr. Trump through the mostly manufactured controversies of his term, but who somehow became a double agent for Mr. Biden after the election.
of Georgia, who stood down
race-baiting charges of a stolen election himself and proved himself a strong conservative in office but somehow plotted with fellow Republicans in the state to confirm a fraudulent victory for his political opponents.
And let’s reserve a special word for
who stole the show last week with a memorable recounting of his conversation with Trump adviser
who, unimaginably, had still tried one last time the day after the Jan. 6 riot to get the election annulled.
“Are you out of your effing mind?,” Mr. Herschmann told him. “I only want to hear two words coming out of your mouth from now on: ‘orderly transition.’ ”
The same Mr. Herschmann defended Mr. Trump during his first impeachment hearing and left his law firm late in the Trump term to serve as an aide to the president. In the new narrative we are asked to believe he colluded in the fraud to deny the president’s re-election.
The list goes on and on. Men and women who, for their steadfast support of Mr. Trump over the last few years, had earned themselves the opprobrium of the media, the Washington establishment and even some in the Republican Party but who all became facilitators of the greatest electoral heist (on behalf of their political opponents) in U.S. history.
Perhaps even more disbelief needs to be suspended to think that the defenders of the stolen-election narrative are the wise and virtuous in this narrative:
• Rudy Giuliani, who once served his city with great honor and courage but whose career since 9/11 has gone down faster than a couple of whiskey and sodas before dinner.
• Mr. Eastman, the law professor who was, as we’ve noted, still trying to get the result overturned even after the Capitol riot, but who, it turns out, had such courage in his own convictions that he immediately asked to be put on “the pardon list” once he realized the game was up.
• Sidney Powell, the woman who could see Venezuelan ghosts in the machines and Biden vote-generators in Germany but whose Kraken turned out to be about as fearsome as a lame sheep.
• Mike Lindell, the celebrated authority on constitutional law who is known as the My Pillow guy.
Ladies and gentlemen, you have on one side some of the staunchest, most dependable people who have served in public office, bearing the standard for conservative causes through long careers, and among the most insistent advocates of the Trump presidency.
On the other side, you have a coterie of self-serving lawyers of shredded reputations, a superannuated politician not fit for public consumption after opening time, a pillow salesman and a crowd of hangers-on whom we last saw as walk-on characters in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”
The credibility of witnesses on each side is always central to a case. Have you ever seen a contest as lopsided as this one?
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