What's Tony Thinking

First Hearing: My Take


While I usually agree with David Brooks, I disagreed with him today. His June 9 column declared the January 6 Investigative Committee hearings a failure before they had even started. I think he is wrong. Despite it all, this matters.

But the real story was Liz Cheney. She did an outstanding job laying out the issues, previewing the steps the Committee will take in the hearing and, most importantly, telling the country what is at stake here.

Moreover, she told it like it is to her silent, cowed and baleful GOP colleagues. “The day will come when Donald Trump is gone, but your dishonor will remain.” Or to put it biblically, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36)

To me this was as significant as Joseph Welch’s challenge to Joe McCarthy. “At long last, sir, have you no decency?”

I would think that all those Republicans who so gutlessly voted against Trump’s conviction at his second impeachment, must have been feeling pretty uncomfortable tonight. At least I hope they had the decency to feel uncomfortable.

What Liz Cheney said wasn’t all that different than Mitch McConnell’s face-saving attempt following the vote not to convict Trump. McConnell too said that Trump was guilty of planning and promoting the insurrection. The difference is that McConnell wanted to have it both ways. To vote against impeachment and say that Trump was guilty.

Anyhow, in my book Liz Cheney has written a new chapter in “Profiles in Courage,” one all the more worthy for how unexpected it has been. Who knew that this scion of such a famous Republican political family would stand up for truth and for democracy, and at so great a cost?

Before the hearing I had said to Linda that I doubted that the hearings would change any minds. “People are too stuck in their camps and positions.” And that likely will remain true, but I hope I am wrong.

But at least the record will stand. The truth will have been told.

One of the clearest truths tonight was with regard to Trump’s claim of fraud and a stolen election. “There is no there there,” Mark Meadows his chief-of-staff was reported to have said. Even members of Trump’s staff, cabinet and family told him that. But he pushed on with his lie and various right-wing megaphones kept repeating it relentlessly.

Well, tonight the truth was spoken in measured, dignified and solemn words and tones. And that, regardless of the outcome, is good.

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