by Mark P. Painter

As of February 2022, it is now official and incontrovertible: the Republican Party is the party of sedition.

The official governing board, the Republican National Committee declared that January 6, 2021, rioters who attacked the Capitol were “ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse.”  So the rebels and thugs breaking into our Capitol, by hitting, choking, and smashing police officers in the head with fire extinguishers, shouting “Hang Mike Pence,” were engaging in the same activities as a high-school debate club.

These “ordinary citizens” had just been whipped into insurrection by the Big Lie—by Donald Trump, the execrable Jim Jordan, and others who wanted the mob to forcibly stop congress from doing its duty to certify the results of an election that Trump’s own Department of Homeland Security called “the most secure in American history.” 

We have since learned that the insurrection was planned.  Not a “demonstration” that went too far, but an attempted coup. The plan was to intimidate Mike Pence to refuse to certify the duly elected electors, have the Republican House pick bogus electors from states that voted for Biden, and keep Trump in office.  

Fortunately, this scheme was devised by idiots like Rudy Giuliani, Jim Jordan, and Sidney Powell.

But even that brain trust came closer than it should have.  Mike Pence, knowing that he had no power to do what Trump insisted, held firm.  After four years of groveling at Trump’s feet, treason was a bridge too far—he followed the law.  But later in the day, the sedition caucus of 147 Republicans in Congress, sadly including our own Steve Chabot, voted to overturn a free and fair election.

Most sane Republicans were shocked.  

But in the year since the insurrection, when even more proof of the plot has come out, the Republican leadership has continued to insist, against all evidence, that the 2020 election was stolen—Big Lie One. 

Now we have Big Lie Two—that the rioters’ coup attempt was just a bunch of Rotarians visiting the Capitol.

Surely, most Republican office holders are not so stupid as to believe either lie themselves.  But they still parrot it to the gullible.  Because these people know better, they are both liars and hypocrites.  

The GOP I proudly was a part of for over four decades has become not the party of Lincoln, freedom and civil rights—but of voter suppression and outright racism; not of Teddy Roosevelt, national parks and trustbusting—but of slashing taxes on billionaires; not of William Howard Taft, Robert A. Taft, and principled conservatism—but of worship of an authoritarian sociopath of no beliefs except in his own rantings of the day; not of Dwight Eisenhower, Stan Aronoff, John Rhodes, and effective bipartisanship—but of hate and disruption; and the party of sane and measured foreign policy has become I know not what.  

Until about last week, some of us thought that possibly, just possibly, the GOP could be saved.  Perhaps when Trump and his ilk were gone, sanity could be restored.  But when Mitch McConnell said of the GOP Big Lies, “We saw it happen. It was a violent insurrection for the purpose of trying to prevent the peaceful transfer of power after a legitimately certified election, from one administration to the next. That’s what it was,” he was not praised and honored for defending truth.  He was excoriated by most other Republicans for contradicting the Big Lies.

If there was a time when the GOP breathed its last dying breath, this was it.  The Republican Party became the Big Lies Sedition Party, mandating that its members believe the obvious lies.  (I would term it Treason Party, meaning the common definition, but someone will counter that the Constitution has a specific definition.) 

There is no hope for resurrection.  Everyone associated with the present GOP who has supported what the party has become must be driven from office.  A new party must be formed, based on some of principles above.  Trump may comment from prison for countless felonies.

GOP delenda est.  What’s to be done with the ashes I must leave to others.

Mark P. Painter served as a judge for 30 years—13 on Hamilton County Municipal Court, 14 on the Ohio Court of Appeals, and 3 on the United Nations Appeals Tribunal.  He is the author of six books including “Write Well” and “The Legal Writer.”  He is now with the Cincinnati law firm of Helmer, Martins, Tate & Garrett.

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