In the era of Il Trumpe, I realize it’s trite to point this out, but we have yet another instance where the press reaction to Republican malfeasance is muted compared to the reaction a Democrat would receive. We go to the state of Washington (boldface mine):
State Rep. Matt Shea planned and participated in domestic terrorism against the United States before and during the armed takeover at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, an investigation commissioned by the Washington state House found.
The 108-page report found that beginning in November 2015, Shea, working with militia leader Ammon Bundy, helped “in the planning and preparation” of the Malheur takeover, a six-week conflict in which dozens of armed protesters occupied the refuge in rural Eastern Oregon. The standoff ended after one protester was shot and killed and dozens were arrested.
“Representative Shea, as a leader in the Patriot Movement, planned, engaged in and promoted a total of three armed conflicts of political violence against the United States Government in three states outside the state of Washington over a three-year period,” according to the report released Thursday. “In one conflict Representative Shea led covert strategic pre-planning in advance of the conflict.”
…Shea participated in four phone calls with Ammon Bundy in advance of the January 2016 Malheur occupation, the report found. The day after the occupation began, Shea, using the code name Verumbellator, created a detailed military-style plan called Operation Cold Reality that laid out roles and responsibilities for militia members and for an organization that Shea chaired, the Coalition of Western States.
Days later, Shea traveled to Burns, Oregon, the site of the standoff, identified himself as a state representative and met with local and national law enforcement, the report found. He “gathered intelligence” about law enforcement strategies and operations from that meeting and then met with Ammon Bundy and other armed occupiers of the refuge, the report found, despite warnings from law enforcement…
Two other Washington Republicans, then-state Rep. Graham Hunt and Steve McLaughlin, the party’s 2016 nominee for state lands commissioner, were included on emails planning the Malheur occupation, the report found.
Uncharacteristically for Republicans in the Trump era, the Washington state Republican Party has completely disavowed him and has removed him from their caucus, though it remains to be seen if he will be expelled by the House.
Here’s the thing–and I realize it has been a busy week (though every week is a busy week): if a Democrat had done something like this Fox News would be flogging this for weeks. They would be accusing Democrats of supporting terrorism–all Democrats. It would go on for weeks and weeks and warp the political discourse (such as it is). But when a Republican does it? (and, as the last quoted paragraph makes clear, it wasn’t just one Republican either). Nothing.
Democrats should be pounding this as one more instance of Republican malfeasance. They should be making every Republican state and federal eat this shit sandwich. But they won’t because they suck at politics. So Republicans really won’t pay the price for playing footsie with very dangerous people. Again.
And the congregation responds: This is yet another reason why we can’t have nice things.