The U.S. House of Representatives yesterday voted along party lines, meaning the vote was close and NeverTrumps Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger voted with the Democrats, to censure Representative Paul Gosar, an Arizona Republican, for posting a juvenile animated video that portrayed cartoon violence against Democrats and illegal immigrants. This was the first censure since 2010 and only the 24th in the history of Congress. The vote also stripped Gosar of his committee assignments.
In a vacuum and in principle, Ethics Alarms applauds the move. When I wrote about Gosar’s moronic stunt ten days ago, I headlined the story “Why Do We Let People Like This Idiot Into Congress?” This naturally assumes that I would not be sorry to see this idiot kicked out of Congress. I also wrote, in conclusion,
“This isn’t the kind of video a member of Congress should be having made, or put on social media. It’s an embarrassment to Congress, his party, his state, and his country. By what bizarre concept of public service and the House ethics rules could anyone conclude that such an assaultive, offensive, infantile piece of agitprop belongs in the public square?”
Gosar should have been censured, BUT…
Under the same principles, so should have Rep. Maxine Waters, the loudmouth, racist Democrat, for making real life exhortations that encouraged non-animated violence against Republicans. She wasn’t, and the totalitarian-minded Democrats show no signs of ever disciplining any of their own uncivil, violence-endorsing, unprofessional members, no matter what they say or do. Speaker Nancy Pelosi should have faced discipline for tearing up President Trump’s State of the Union speech on camera. Eric Swalwell should have been disciplined for having close relations <cough>with a Chinese spy. “Squad” member Rep. Rashida Tlaib called President Trump a “motherfucker” in public: if the House is serious about restoring respect for our institutions and ending divisiveness, that has to be considered at least as unacceptable as tweeting a badly edited and barely watchable video. On the other side of the aisle, the two Republican House members Bill Posey and Jeff Duncan who evoked “Let’s go Brandon!” during House business should be punished as well. This crap has to stop.
Democrats under Pelosi, however, only want to constrain the ugly impulses of Republicans, while allowing their own to run amuck. This is called a “double standard” in my field, as well as hypocrisy and an abuse of power and position.
“When a member uses his or her national platform to encourage violence, tragically, people listen,” Pelosi said, which would have set a record for gall if she hadn’t already set it so high herself that this was just a wan entry at best. “Depictions of violence can foment actual violence, as witnessed by this chamber on Jan. 6, 2021.” Wow, she managed to drag in the fake “insurrection” narrative AND attack the First Amendment too! When do we see the bill banning the “Die Hard” movies, Nancy?
Which is more likely to encourage real life violence, an African American Democratic Party leader telling her supporters, as Waters did in 2018, “If you see anybody from [Trump’s] Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. And you push back on them. And you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere!” or a lame anime knock-off on Twitter?
“I don’t think this should be an issue about party, about partisan politics,” Liz Cheney said. “If a Democrat had done this, that would require censure as well.” Except there would be no censure and you know it, you preening hack. “There’s an old definition of abuse of power: rules for thee but not for me,” Republican House leader Kevin McCarthy said, as he listed some of the House Democrats who should have been disciplined like Gosar. This was done in order to threaten GOP vengeance when the House has a Republican majority, as it likely will in a little more than a year. Vengeance, not fairness, order and mutual respect. Vengeance. Both parties are led by thugs, not statesmen.
What Republicans should have done, but lacked both the courage and ethical integrity to do, was to join in the censure of Gosar, and make it clear that they regarded this as a pledge by Democrats to enforce new standards of civility and respect on all House members going forward. including Pelosi and Waters.
Meanwhile, emboldened by his party’s blind support, Gosar gave a defiant speech, refused to apologize for posting the video, and after he was censured, retweeted the tweet with the video that praised it as “really well done.”