You’ll have to forgive Nancy, whose attempts at solemnity somehow always end up super-cringe. Remember after the Derek Chauvin verdict when she thanked George Floyd for dying?
That was less awkward than this is.
Although this may not have been the most awkward element of today’s events. Watch, then read on.
.@SpeakerPelosi introduces @Lin_Manuel who introduces other Hamilton cast members to sing "Dear Theodosia." pic.twitter.com/rNRprgGrau
— CSPAN (@cspan) January 6, 2022
Nothing says “searing national tragedy” or “grave crisis of democracy” like a show-tunes interlude. It reminds me of this Onion goof on how out of touch elite Democrats were following Trump’s victory in 2016:
DNC Aiming To Reconnect With Working-Class Americans With New ‘Hamilton’-Inspired Lena Dunham Web Series https://t.co/WqsfdWQT05 pic.twitter.com/BaUjFciccS
— The Onion (@TheOnion) November 15, 2016
If the “Hamilton” number wasn’t the most awkward moment today, what was? Arguably it was the arrival of none other than Dick Cheney in the House chamber, one of just two Republicans to attend the House’s formal commemoration of January 6.
Dick Cheney and Liz Cheney in front row of GOP side on House floor pic.twitter.com/PmrBCVKHqU
— Howard Mortman (@HowardMortman) January 6, 2022
Adam Kinzinger, the other Republican member of the January 6 committee, wanted to be there but was on “baby watch” back home. Dick Cheney being present on the House floor isn’t the awkward part; as a former member, he’s entitled to visit. The awkward part is how warmly he was received by House Democrats, a testament to how wildly the politics of the Trump era have scrambled the politics of what came before.
One by one, Democrats are coming over to introduce themselves to former VP Dick Cheney and shake his hand.
There aren’t any GOP House members on the floor.
— Ben Siegel (@bensiegel) January 6, 2022
Pelosi on Dick Cheney coming to the Capitol today – "We were very honored by his being here. I was happy to welcome him back."
— Emily Wilkins (@emrwilkins) January 6, 2022
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee told me she was "delighted" to see Dick Cheney on the House floor today for Pelosi's remarks and moment of silence
"We have some of the same views about love of this country.”
Rep. Pramila Jayapal told me she thanked Liz Cheney for being there.
— Eliza Relman (@eliza_relman) January 6, 2022
At the moment of silence for the Capitol Police officers who died, there were only two Republicans who showed up.
Rep. Lynn Cheney. And her father. The 80 year old former Vice President.
An extraordinary image of where this country’s politics are right now. pic.twitter.com/IJ2YS2y2yN
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) January 6, 2022
It’s, uh, “Liz” Cheney, Chris, but close enough. Asked why House Democrats were lining up to greet a man known to their base as “Darth Vader,” Steny Hoyer said, “I think what it reflects is the great respect that we have for Liz Cheney. I mean, he’s her father. Yes, he’s the vice president, but I think you saw the line because, first of all, we appreciate the fact that he’s here, supporting his daughter in what is otherwise a very significant minority position in the Republican Party, which is very sad.”
This blog began halfway through Dubya’s second term so let me tell you as someone who saw it firsthand: No one but no one was more widely reviled by the American left than Dick Cheney was. In fact, search his name on Twitter this afternoon and you’re apt to stumble across scores of tweets by progressives wondering why a man whom they regard as a war criminal wasn’t turned away at the chamber door. “Celebrating Dick Cheney followed by Nancy Pelosi introducing a insurrection carol written by Lin Manuel Miranda is the most Democrat thing I’ve ever heard,” quipped one.
Presumably Dick showed up to signal solidarity with Liz’s crusade to hold Trump responsible for January 6, not just on his own behalf but symbolically on behalf of the entire pre-Trump Republican establishment. He spoke briefly to the media after the House ceremony:
He added, “I’m deeply disappointed we don’t have better leadership in the Republican Party to restore the Constitution.”…
As Cheney departed the House chamber, walking alongside his daughter, he told ABC News, “Very proud of Liz,” when asked for some parting thoughts.
“It’s great coming back,” he told a swarm of reporters. “Liz is doing a hell of a job. I’m here to support her.”
When asked for his reaction to Republican leadership’s handling of this day, Cheney — not one to mince words — said, “Well, it’s not a leadership that resembles any of the folks that I knew when I was here for 10 years — dramatically.”
Byron York pointed out that one reason why the current leadership doesn’t resemble the leadership when Cheney was a House member is because Democrats had a huge majority when he got to Congress in 1977. Right, but that’s because American voters decimated the GOP in the 1974 House elections to punish them for Watergate. Almost 50 years later, not only are Republicans poised to pay no penalty for “stop the steal” and January 6 in the 2022 election, they’re looking at a huge landslide victory. Hypothesis: Maybe we have worse leadership in the House now because we have an electorate that cares far less about imposing electoral penalties for corruption.
I’m sure it’ll be fine. I’ll leave you with this from Liz Cheney, confirming on the record one of the zestier anecdotes from the Capitol riot.
She confirms a now infamous moment from Jan 6th. pic.twitter.com/5v0lU5CN7S
— Michael Barbaro (@mikiebarb) January 6, 2022
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