Republicans F*cked Around. Now We All Have to Find Out.
Everything we are seeing is fruit of the Big Lie. And it’s going to get worse.
1. The January 6th Committee
Before we go to the indictment, I want to remind you of an extraordinary moment during the House January 6th Committee hearings when former White House lawyer Eric Herschmann recounted an exchange he had with John Eastman on January 7, 2021:
“[Eastman] started to ask me about something dealing with Georgia and preserving something potentially for appeal, and I said to him ‘are you out of your f–king mind?’” Herschmann told the panel.
“I said ‘I only want to hear two words coming out of your mouth from now on: ‘orderly transition.’ I said ‘I don’t want to hear any other fucking words coming out of your mouth no matter what, other than ‘orderly transition,’” he continued.
“Eventually he said ‘orderly transition.’ I said ‘Good John. Now I’m going to give you the best free legal advice you’re ever getting in your life: get a great fucking criminal defense lawyer, you’re going to need it.’ And then I hung up on him.”
Think about this for a minute. Herschmann is not a Never-Trump, Deep-State cuck. He’s a high-powered lawyer who did time as an assistant DA in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. He defended Trump during the first impeachment trial. He worked hard to push the Hunter Biden laptop story.
This is the man who stood in the White House during the weeks leading up to January 6th and concluded that a bunch of the people running around trying to overturn democracy might fucking go to jail.
Today John Eastman is unindicted co-conspirator #2.
One of the phrases small-town, MAGA stalwarts like to use is, “Fuck around. Find out.” I’m sure you’ve seen it on the bumper stickers, on the t-shirts.
Last night the people who thought that the Constitution and the peaceful transfer of power were toothless pieties, who thought that going where no American president had dared go before was just a game, who thought that legal shitposting was a troll you did for the lulz, arrived at the Finding Out stage.
You can see how this stage might be a good thing: if the legal consequences of what Trump and his confederates did shocked both Republican voters and elites; pulled the scales from their eyes; convinced them to disavow this mode of politics.
But that isn’t going to happen. So now the rest of us are at the Finding Out stage, too. Because while I don’t know what happens next, I can promise you it won’t be good. These same people are now going to try to tear down the rule of law and they will bring their political movements with them.
One of the things I like to say is that “We’re all in this together.” And normally I mean that in the hopeful sense. But there’s a fatalistic version, too. The further this movement strays from the tenets of classical liberalism, the worse it gets for everyone. Societal fissures open. Barricades get manned. Overton windows shift. You cannot have a healthy polity if 40 percent of the country has gone insane.
This is going to get worse before it gets better. Let me explain why.