Republicans can’t govern, so they resort to cynical stunts

To hear Republicans, the U.S. Constitution has been beaten, caned and willfully misconstrued by radical socialists and liberal Democrats who hope to twist it to promote abortion, promote transgender rights and confiscate Americans’ guns.

But fear not, they say. Help is on the way! Since the new Republican majority took over the House of Representatives last month, the Constitution and the basic principles of American democracy have been defended and protected once again.

Here’s how: First, new House Speaker Kevin McCarthy instructed members of Congress to read the entire document aloud from the floor of the House of Representatives, which they did for 43 minutes last week. This will fix things! McCarthy started the show himself and read the preamble.

Stipple style portrait illustration by Nicholas Goldberg

opinion columnist

Nicholas Goldberg

Nicholas Goldberg was the editorial page editor for 11 years and is a former editor of the Op-Ed page and the Sunday Opinion column.

Then Republicans on the Judiciary Committee, led by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), introduced a new rule requiring the Pledge of Allegiance to be recited before each committee meeting. (Unfortunately, according to the Daily Beast, Gaetz accidentally invited an accused murderer who was awaiting trial to lead him on day one.)

Next, the House of Representatives passed a resolution denouncing “the horrors of socialism” and opposing the implementation of socialist policies in the United States. Republicans apparently tried to associate progressive Democrats with Pol Pot, Joseph Stalin and Kim Jong Un.

And finally, the GOP leadership removed the metal detectors outside the House of Representatives chamber. It appears that some Republicans had argued that their Second Amendment right to carry guns everywhere was violated.

Together, these bold steps should work well something to make our once great republic great again and stand up against those who undermine our national principles. After all, hasn’t Donald Trump told us that the Constitution – our “cherished and precious heritage” – is threatened with destruction by left-wing mobs, radicals, socialists and liberals?

The only problem is it’s not true.

Indeed, this is an utterly cynical and empty display of performative patriotism on the part of House Republicans. These moves are not balm for an injured national soul, nor will they ensure internal calm or make us a more perfect union, to use the words of the preamble McCarthy read. They’re just part of Republicans’ ongoing effort to prove they’re more energetic flag-wavers than their opponents.

And this from the people who refused to accept the 2020 election results.

In Republican defense, this isn’t the first time politicians have donned the flag and flattered American chauvinism to win votes.

They hardly exist in their defense either may do if they only control the House of Representatives and not the Senate or the White House. Of course, they are thrown back at symbolic, attention-grabbing gestures.

I assume the Republic will survive these stunts.

But part of all of this isn’t just performative and harmless; it could have significant consequences. That means getting rid of the weapon detectors at the entrance to the chamber of the house.

You may not have realized that this was a contentious issue on Capitol Hill. But it appears that after the January 6, 2021 events, multiple metal detectors were installed to enforce the rule that guns are prohibited on the floor of the house.

That didn’t go down well with members of the GOP’s mad fringe, who objected to having to walk through the machines like the public and chafed at the limitation of their ability to carry guns wherever they chose.

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), for example, on at least one occasion refused to turn over her bag to Capitol police for a search, even after triggering the magnetometer. Boebert is an outspoken gun rights enthusiast who often carries a Glock pistol.

Several Republican congressmen were fined for bypassing the metal detectors.

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), then leader of the House Freedom Caucus, told Axios that “I’m fine” when members carry guns in the Capitol. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) said she opposes “ALL gun-free zones.”

But surely we can agree that Capitol security is a serious matter?

No, we can’t seem to agree on that.

The Capitol was the scene of violence before January 6, 2021. For example, in 1856 Senator Charles Sumner, an abolitionist Republican from Massachusetts, was defeated on Senate floor by cane-wielding, pro-slavery Rep. Preston Brooks (DS.C.). Imagine if he had a Glock!

In 1954, four Puerto Rican Nationalists armed with handguns entered the gallery of the House of Representatives and opened fire, injuring five congressmen on the House floor.

Over the years, there have been other duels, gunfights, fistfights, and attacks at the Capitol and its grounds, including bombings in 1971 and 1983.

More recently, in 2022, Capitol Police investigated some 7,500 threats against members of Congress. Then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) was shot in 2011 and Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) was shot in 2017, although neither of those shootings took place on the Capitol grounds.

All of this strikes me as so serious that partisan gunplay should be put on hold and security decisions made on their merits. As another of America’s founding documents might put it, that goes without saying.

What’s happening on Capitol Hill today is truly demoralizing. Malicious, counterproductive politics rule the day. Even as we recover from two recent impeachments, a mob attack on the Capitol, and a near-constitutional crisis, the United States faces formidable military, economic, public health, and environmental threats that require immediate, concerted attention.

Certainly there is a more effective way of meeting these challenges than reading biasedly from the country’s founding documents, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance multiple times a day, denouncing a nonexistent socialist threat, and urging members to take guns to the floor of Congress bring.

@Nick_Goldberg Republicans can’t govern, so they resort to cynical stunts

Alley Einstein

Alley Einstein is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Alley Einstein joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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