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YESTERDAY IN “Republican Theater of the Absurd, Act I,” we commented on this theater genre’s dramatic circularity, starting with initial logic, then deteriorating into irrationality, and culminating where it all began—but in silence. Our particular drama has its plot revolving around the January 6 insurrection by Trump supporters at the U.S. Capitol and the subsequent Republican reaction. 

Republican Theater of the Absurd, Act II. Capitol building dust had barely settled before Republicans were blaming fictitious antifa masquerading as Trump supporters. The absurdity of this was investigated by NPR.

Image from The Shovel.

Now you tell one, though The Shovel’s satire is hard to top.

As noted, this marks the transition from logic to irrationality in traditional Theater of the Absurd (TofA, for short). Giovanni Russonello described in The New York Times, May 20, 2021, “How Hopes for a Bipartisan Commission Fell Apart.”  

“Just weeks ago,” Russonello wrote, “it looked as if a solid chunk of Republican legislators might be willing to support a commission to investigate the Capitol riot of Jan. 6…. Some establishment G.O.P. strategists and former lawmakers have said they see this as an opportunity to make a clean break with Trump (though, admittedly, we’ve heard that one before)….”

However, Russonello noted, “All of a sudden, it appears unlikely to pass the Senate, where it would need 60 votes to override the threat of a filibuster. It’s the latest sign, and possibly the clearest yet, that Trump retains an iron grip on the party’s direction. And that Senator Mitch McConnell’s old obstructionist approach—which he refined into an art form during the Obama presidency—may be the surest way to maintain it.”

Mitch McConnell, Senator minority leader.

VINO and Rhino. McConnell is akin to characters in Eugene Ionesco’s TofA play Rhinoceros. He’s very much active in Republican Theater of Absurd’s Act II divergence from truth. This, by the way, is why he also qualifies for my VINO moniker, as in “Vertebrate in Name Only.”

“I’ve made the decision,” McConnell said on May 19, 2021, “to oppose the House Democrats’ slanted and unbalanced proposal for another commission to study the events of Jan. 6.”

The TofA Holdout. In good TofA tradition, there should be at least one holdout role, the honest person, the one who doesn’t succumb to becoming a rhinoceros. Mitt Romney is clearly one in this drama; Liz Cheney is another. And again in good TofA tradition, she suffers for her belief in truth.

A Grand Absurdity: Representative Andrew S. Clyde (R-Georgia) may hold some sort of TofA record. The Washington Post, May 18, 2021, reported that Clyde “last week downplayed the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol, comparing the mob’s breaching of the building to a ‘normal tourist visit.’ “

Image from The Washington Post, May 8, 2021. Clyde is the distraught fellow at left.

“But,” The Washington Post continued, “photos from that day show the congressman, mouth agape, rushing toward  the doors to the House gallery and helping barricade them to prevent rioters from entering.” 

TofA Circularity. I certainly hope this Republican Theater of the Absurd reaches its culminating silence soon. ds 

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2021 


  1. phil ford
    May 27, 2021

    It seems that one almost needs Thompsonian* amounts of pharmaceuticals to follow the checkpoints of Republican conspiracy logic. Thanks for risking your moorings to translate for us.

    *Hunter S.

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