Symbolism Matters

I’m as cynical as the next pundit. I’m the creator of the malaka of the week, after all. But there’s something about the work of the J6 Committee that has brought out my inner idealist.

When the committee started, it was met with skepticism and scorn even among some who supported its mission. The line then was that Trump’s support was so solid that nothing would affect his followers. That was bullshit from the beginning. The revelations of the committee and another disastrous election later, he’s in deep shit and sinking fast.

While I don’t discount the possibility of a comeback, many once strong supporters now see him as a LOSER. The NFT trading card thing was such a blatant scam that it backfired badly. I hope he enjoys the money because it was his latest politically maladroit move. There will be more to come.

The latest spurt of cynical J6 Committee commentary was inspired by the criminal referrals that I praised in yesterday’s post. While it is true that their importance is largely symbolic, so what? Symbolism matters.

The rise of Reaganism was fueled by symbolism. Reagan may have not been a major star, but his Hollywood years taught him the importance of images and symbols. Team Carter responded by bringing out the 1964 LBJ playbook but it didn’t work. Why? Ronald Reagan was the genuinely genial front man for a harsh ideology. Symbolism matters.

Liz Cheney is not a popular figure among our readers but her presence on the committee was vital to its success. She’s not just a dissident Republican, she’s GOP royalty. Symbolism matters as do sound bites like this:

I got my political nerd on last night and watched The West Wing followed by The Last Word with the Puppetmaster and Larry Tribe followed by reading the J6 Committee’s executive summary. It’s 154 pages of text and footnotes. I haven’t read all the footnotes yet, but the text is a fine narrative history of the major points of the committee’s work and conclusions.

One of the most interesting things about the summary is its discussion of Mark Meadows. The TPM Meadows texts stories placed him at the center of the coup conspiracy. His name is not as ubiquitous in the report as one would expect. I’ve long thought that Meadows might be cooperating with DOJ: the committee thinks so too. The tell is that he was not charged with contempt of Congress by DOJ. Despite his clueless facade, he knows where the bodies are buried.

The summary names names:

I’d list Eastman above Rudy in order of culpability, but otherwise the list is impeccable. I see Eastman as among the most likely to flip. He publicly derided the fake electors scheme not long before pitching it to Team Coup Plot. He also put everything in writing. Flip, John, flip.

FYI, Goodman was behind the Mar-a-Lago Model Prosecution Memo that was published last month. It’s a roadmap to where we might be headed in that case. I wonder if there’s a sequel in the works.

I drew another conclusion while reading the summary. The referrals make charges in the documents case even more likely. Trump has officially been branded as a criminal by a Congressional committee. I know what you’re thinking: many of us have thought that all along. But the symbolic importance of the criminal referrals should not be underestimated.

Repeat after me: Symbolism matters.

The last word goes to ELO, we’re heading to a Showdown: