What a difference a decade makes.
As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pursues a politically driven impeachment of former President Donald Trump for his alleged role in the Jan. 6 incursion in the Capitol, a look back to the not-too-distant past shows Democrats haven’t always taken such a hard line against violent protesters in the halls of government.
And Pelosi herself is on record casting herself in “solidarity” with exactly the kind of behavior she now accuses Trump of inciting.
Even by Pelosi standards, the hypocrisy is breathtaking.
As Fox News reported on Monday, Twitter posts unearthed from 10 years ago show the Democratic House leader positively enthusiastic about a mob of trade unionists, teachers and assorted rabble who crowded the halls of Wisconsin’s state Capitol in Madison in 2011 to protest moves by then-Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to bring conservative values to the Badger State’s government.
There were no deaths during the Madison disturbances as there were, tragically, during the Washington incursion, but the Wisconsin situation was still, in many ways, worse.
As the Madison State Journal reported in a 2017 retrospective, the Wisconsin Capitol protests went on for weeks and gummed up the day-to-day work of government.
“Hundreds flooded the Capitol and occupied the building around the clock for nearly a month — moving in with pillows and blankets — turning the statehouse into a congested maze of protesters, lawmakers, lobbyists and reporters,” the State Journal reported. “At times, the crowds grew so large that Capitol staff worried the building’s upper levels might collapse under the weight of so many people.”
In a Jan. 14 piece in The Washington Post, Post columnist Marc Thiessen described an excerpt from a book he co-wrote with Walker about the Madison invasion. It sounds like some of the scarier moments of the Jan. 6 incursion:
“‘The tall windows that framed the lobby were plastered with people yelling and banging on the glass,’ we wrote. ‘They were trapped. The senators hid under a stairwell, out of view, while the police ordered a city bus to pull up in front of the building. Officers then formed a human wall on the sidewalk, parting the sea of protesters and creating a pathway for the senators to reach the bus.’
“Once the senators were on board, ‘the mob on the street began punching the windows and shaking the vehicle. … The police told the senators and staff inside to keep their heads down in case a window shattered.'”
Throughout the occupation, which lasted from mid-February to early March 2011, the liberal mob chanted slogans such as, “This is what democracy looks like,” but it was more like what “mobocracy” looks like.
At the time, Pelosi was the House minority leader, having lost her speaker post in the 2010 midterm shellacking Democrats received at the hands of American voters.
What did the leading Democrat have to say about the madness in Madison?
“I stand with the students & workers of #WI, impressive show of democracy in action,” she wrote in a Feb. 17, 2011, tweet.
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) February 18, 2011
That was then, as a mob of malcontents tried to impede the lawmakers of an American state from going about the work their voters elected them to do. Now, Pelosi is using an incident involving much the same behavior to justify the constitutionally questionable, political prosecution of a man who’s no longer even in an elected office.
Of course, there are differences between Madison in 2011 and Washington in 2021 — but they make Democrats, and Pelosi, look worse.
What the mob in Madison was attacking was a duly seated government carrying out the agenda of a governor who’d made no bones about his priorities while campaigning: balancing the state’s books and reining in the power of its public employee unions.
The spark behind the Capitol incursion — however misguided it might have been — was the belief that the American election system itself had been hijacked to oust Trump for the sin of succeeding in keeping his campaign promises.
That’s a different order of importance entirely from unionized public employees trying to keep their perks.
So, guess which event Nancy Pelosi praises and which she attacks?
— Ilene Pretorius (@Ilenetjie) January 25, 2021
Imagine the backlash if Trump would have made this statement after the storming of the Capitol. @twitter, shouldn’t Pelosi be banned from twitter for inciting and supporting occupying government buildings by force?
— MadDutchMan (@Broekm) January 25, 2021
This tweet didnt age well
— JustChillin (@gt973) January 25, 2021
On social media, one user even suggested Twitter should take action against Pelosi for supporting violence — even 10 years later.
@Twitter why is this account still active. She is fully supporting the attack of a state Capitol yet nothing? Does not matter that it was 10 years ago. The rules should still apply and they should be applied across the board. #hypocrisy
— Carl Miller (@CDMJr71) January 25, 2021
Given the serious allegations about voter fraud in the 2020 vote, the obvious, documented efforts of Democratic officials in states such as Pennsylvania to swing the election toward Democratic nominee Joe Biden and the obvious, undeniable bias of the mainstream media and social media giants against the Trump administration, the frustration of the Trump supporters is understandable, even if the actions were inexcusable.
The same dynamics weren’t in play in Wisconsin, yet Pelosi’s sympathies and open support were with those occupying the Capitol.
For the House speaker, neither event was a question of principle. They were both about power. And in both cases, Pelosi is choosing the course of action that will benefit the left.
Maybe a decade doesn’t change so much after all.
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