Yesterday’s hearing was intense and engaging. I have a few more substantive thoughts before getting to the funniest hearing related thing that happened yesterday.
I can’t praise the performance of Shaye Moss and Rusty Bowers enough. They were well-prepared by Adam Schiff and committee staff, but they had a lot to work with. Witnesses like this don’t come around very often. I’ve never seen or had witnesses as good as either of them. They brought them out, swore them in, and the witnesses told the truth. The unembellished truth is the best antidote to the Big Lie.
Shaye’s story was deeply moving, especially when she discussed how much she loved her job before former President* Pennywise and Racist Rudy ruined it for her. Southern Black women have a special reverence for voting because they’ve only been able to vote since the mid-1960s. Shaye cited this fact in her testimony.
Shaye Moss did what she did because she liked helping people, older people in particular. It left me verklempt. Thanks to frequent commenter Snarki, child of Loki for pointing this out in my full hearing post.
Republicans specialize in belittling government workers. They dehumanize them by referring to them as bureaucrats. There are many fine people working in the public sector. Public service should be celebrated, not demeaned.
I watched the MSNBC wrap up show last night with Dr. A. I told her the hearing was must-see TV. She agreed. If I were grading it as an episode in a mini-series, I’d give it 4 stars and an Adrastos Grade of A.
While watching Rusty Bowers again, I was struck by his use of language. He may be an ultra-conservative but he’s also an artist and speaks like one. This passage from his personal journal was Faulknerian in its beauty:
It is painful to have friends who have been such a help to me turn on me with such rancor. I may in the eyes of men not hold correct opinions or act according to their vision or convictions, but I do not take this current situation in a light manner, a fearful manner, or a vengeful manner. I do not want to be a winner by cheating. I will not play with laws I swore allegiance to. With any contrived desire towards deflection of my deep foundational desire to follow God’s will as I believe He led my conscience to embrace. How else will I ever approach Him in the wilderness of life? Knowing that I ask this guidance only to show myself a coward in defending the course He let me take — He led me to take.
There’s a 19th Century cadence to Bowers’ words. He also sounds like a Deadwood character but one who would never say fuck or cocksucker.
Perhaps we need more artists in politics and fewer lawyers. We certainly need fewer real estate developers and sleazy businessmen in public life.
I recognized people I have known in life in both Rusty Bowers and Shaye Moss.
Bowers reminds me of conservative but kindly Mormon friends of my father who he knew from growing up in Utah.
Moss and her charming mama remind me of the nice Black ladies who live in my New Orleans neighborhood and work the polls every year.
Rusty Bowers, Shaye Moss, and Ruby Freeman are characters with character. I call them characters because they’re interesting people with interesting life stories. They’re not greasy hustlers like the Trump campaign lawyers who called themselves Team Normal when they were really Team Shallow. There’s no loyalty among election thieves.
In their vastly different ways, Bowers and Moss are excellent stand-ins for the millions of decent people in this country who tell the truth and do the right thing regardless of the consequences. Those are the people the January 6 Committee is trying to reach. Those are the people we need to reach to save our democracy. They’re still out there.
Let’s move from the sublime to the ridiculous right-wing extremist senator from Wisconsin.
Senator Ron Johnson was called out for offering to be a conduit for fake elector documents from Wisconsin and Michigan. The committee learned this from texts from a Johnson minion to a Pence minion.
Here’s what happened after the news broke:
Sen. Ron Johnson so much didn't want to talk to reporters about his office trying to pass fake elector lists to the vice president's office that he tried to pretend he was on the phone. pic.twitter.com/V1VwBDs42t
— Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) June 22, 2022
“How much did you know about what your chief-of-staff was doing with the alternate slates of the electors?” asked Thorp.
“I’m on the phone right now,” replied Johnson.
“No you’re not. I can see your phone. I can see your screen,” said Thorp.
Johnson then put his phone down and addressed their questions, dismissing the evidence as a “non-story.”
Johnson claimed he wasn’t aware of the messages sent by his aide, calling it a “staff-to-staff exchange.”
“I was basically, you know, unaware of it,” he said.
That’s what the Impeached Insult Comedian would call a perfect non-call. It’s also why Rusty Bowers cited this book in his testimony:
There you have it. The dipshit defense for partaking in the Dipshit Insurrection. I expect the Kaiser of Chaos to do likewise. Why not? It worked in the “perfect phone call” impeachment trial, after all.
The last word goes to The Kinks, ELO, and 10cc with my favorite telephone songs: