Discover more from Slack Tide by Matt Labash
Was January 6 an Inside Job?
Plus, Ask Matt Labash explores the "ick" in politics
Have you been asking yourself some tough questions lately? You sound like you’re not rowing with both oars in the water. Stop talking to yourself, and start asking Matt Labash. That’s why we call this Slack Tide feature “Ask Matt Labash.” That’s why the email you send questions to is firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s all straightforward enough. If you don’t want your real name used, include your preferred alias, or your nom de plume, if reading our French-language edition. All questions cannot be answered. But they will all be prayerfully considered and banked for potential future use.
My husband doesn’t like me to consume news. He says it’s all fake – except for that handsome Greg Kelly on Newsmax TV, and Lou Dobbs, who I believe is now on ham radio. But in your opinion, was January 6 an inside job?
Ooof. That’s a tough one. By inside job, I presume you mean the FBI, posing as Antifa, posing as angry middle-aged guys in MAGAwear? Or whatever the triple bank-shot theory of the moment is? I wasn’t on the ground that day. All I have to go by is the hundreds of hours of television, surveillance camera, and social media footage documenting just about every second of the attempted coup……sorry, the insurrection……sorry, the civics field trip that got a little spirited. (I’m trying to stay fair, balanced, and unafraid. Also, I don’t want the Oath Keepers firebombing my house.)
Therefore, I wasn’t there to smell the fresh winds of freedom blowing through the Capitol building. (Or was that the whiff of patriots smearing the halls in feces?) I wasn’t there to feel the electric crackle of excitement. (Or were those the sparks that flew from the mob zapping Officer Michael Fanone with a taser as he was getting dragged down the steps?) I wasn’t there to see Vice President Mike Pence soil his drawers when he realized his boss’s followers were out to hang him for not “correcting” the election results.
However did he get that idea? Well, they had breached the building, were chanting “Hang Mike Pence,” and went to the trouble of erecting a gallows on the grounds. But sheez-Louise, some people are so literal-minded. My sources on Gettr tell me that the gallows with the lynchin’ noose was mostly ceremonial. It was a flimsy structure. They probably couldn’t even have hanged AOC, who’s just a slip of a gal, let alone swing a Midwestern, corn-fed plate-cleaner like Pence.
And my sources on Gab tell me they weren’t actually chanting “Hang Mike Pence.” (It can be hard to hear clearly when patriots are loudly cracking police officers over the head with Blue Lives Matter flagpoles.) They were chanting “Sang Mike thence.” It’s sort of an archaic English formulation (before becoming the MAGA-version of Antifa, plenty of these folks used to be in the Tea Party, where they sometimes dressed in period frilly blouses and tricorn hats at rallies). They were basically rooting on the vice president to sing. The entertainment hadn’t been that stellar at the January 6 rally, unless you count Rep. Mo Brooks setting his hair on fire as entertainment. And though you don’t immediately think “godfather of soul” when looking at Pence, he does have some pipes. If he hadn’t run for his life like a cuck-RINO, he probably could’ve crooned Lee Greenwood’s “Proud to be an American.” Or maybe his boss’s campaign fight song, “YMCA,” which my sources on Grindr tell me used to be a gay anthem. Though Pence had a bit of a reputation for not being gay-friendly, I say you judge a man by his deeds, not just his words. And he did spend four years fellating Mr. Trump. So a homophobe, he is not.
But let me do some quick back-of-the-envelope math on this inside-job business. You had a president who spent two solid months whipping his followers into a froth that the election was stolen when he ultimately lost it 306-232 in the electoral college, and by over seven million in the popular vote. (And he still claims it was stolen nearly every day, over a year later.) The name of the rally that day was literally “Stop the Steal,” and his followers made the short walk from there to the Capitol building at Trump’s direction, where they redecorated the place in broken glass and poo stains, while injuring around 150 cops. Meanwhile, 147 Republican members of congress still voted to overturn election results after the Capitol invasion (sorry Oath Keepers, I meant “renovation”). Including super-patriots/professional oil slicks like Senators Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz, desperate to curry favor with Trump, and even more desperately, with Trump’s enraged supporters.
So yeah, I’d say it was an inside job. If the guy who then lived inside the White House hadn’t spent all that time laying track, the train would have never left the station.
Why don’t you write more often about Sleepy Joe?
I’m sorry. I nodded off there for a minute. Next question?
If Donald Trump doesn’t run again, who do you like to take the Republican field?
“Like” is such a strong word these days. Believe it or not, I am a lifelong Republican. Back when I was in first grade, and my class was straw-polled by the teacher over the upcoming election, my entire class pulled for Jimmy Carter. I pulled for the electrifying Gerald Ford. I couldn’t articulate much of a distinction between Republicans and Democrats back then. Nor did I have any idea what Ford’s platform was. Or what a platform was, period. I thought platforms were shoes, the kick-ass ones I wore with my Toughskins and fringed vest. (It was the seventies.)
Political inclinations are often visceral, more than intellectual or rational. Who knows why I liked Ford? Like most Republicans of another era, I was probably impressed by his golf handicap. Not to mention, his wife could really hold her liquor, before she became a quitter. Sure, like all youth seem to do at one point or another, I went through a brief liberal flirtation. (I voted for George H.W. Bush in ’88 and ’92.) But I do generally tend to vote for Republicans when I vote in presidential elections. The operative word being “when.” For one reason or another – from the Iraq war, to Sarah Palin, to well……Trump in all his Trumpiness - my conscience hasn’t permitted me to vote in four of the last five elections. (Hey, I guess I am a RINO! I barely support Republicans, and I still have a conscience!)
All that said, I do still stay up at night worrying about the once-grand old party. I worry that they haven’t become dumb and dishonest enough. For that reason, you’d think I might favor the aforementioned Ted Cruz or Josh Hawley, both of whom seem to have been running for president since they were small children. Or maybe Ron DeSantis, who, if Trump didn’t resent his popularity with the base so much, would seem a shoo-in to have the Trump baton passed. After all, being a Florida governor, he has the shortest commute. If he leaves Tallahassee early enough in the morning, he could hop in the car, get down to Mar-A-Lago, throne sniff for a few hours, and still be home in time for dinner.
But alas, though Cruz, Hawley, and DeSantis have proven plenty dishonest, they’re not that dumb. DeSantis went to Yale, then Harvard Law. Cruz went to Princeton, then Harvard Law. Hawley mixed things up a bit, going to Stanford, then Yale Law. You know, just like all honest-to-God populists do.
That’s why if you’re pulling for the dumb-and-dishonest ticket, you have to endorse someone like Lauren Boebert/Madison Cawthorn, the spiritual future of the party. Sure, they might be a little green. In fact, Cawthorn, at 26, is not even old enough to be president. But as the Trump years demonstrated, rules were made to be broken.
Personally, I think they could run on an environmental platform. They both seem to spend a lot of time around trees. Boebert’s family waving their firearms around them, Cawthorn, punching them. Plus, they tick all the other ideological boxes required to win elective office in the Republican party these days: they both believe the last election was stolen, or pretend to. They’re both social-media whores. They both believe “give me liberty or give me death” means not having to wear masks while blowing COVID fumes on your Walmart cashier. And neither have ever authored a meaningful piece of legislation. Who has time when you have to service your MeWe followers?
Yes, I realize it’s a bit nihilistic for me to cheer them on. But perhaps the only way for the Republican party to come back from the moral abyss is to go down in flames, and start over. As we used to say back in ‘Nam, sometimes you have to burn a village to save it.
Are you sick of getting premium content for free? I know I am. That’s why I’ve subscribed to Slack Tide by Matt Labash before the paywall goes up soon. (And I am Matt Labash, so I probably could’ve gotten comped.) You should subscribe, too.