Commentary, National Commentary

Hero of Jan. 6 Hearings, Jamie Raskin Rallies N. Va. Democrats

U.S. Congressman Jamie Raskin, now a national star as a principal member of the Select Committee Investigating the January 6 Attack on the Capitol, delivered a rip-roaring speech to an energized room full of Democratic activists in McLean, Virginia, Sunday night on the importance of this fall’s midterm elections in the fight to preserve democracy in the U.S.

Raskin will return to his role on the committee at its next hearing tonight in prime time. That hearing, the eighth in the series so far, will focus on the activities of President Trump on the day of the attack, and is sizing up to be a true blockbuster.

Rankin, who led the Congressional effort in the second impeachment of Trump that led to a 57-43 Senate vote to convict in January 2021, is one of the highest profile members of the Special Committee now.
He ventured across the Potomac to deliver his remarks Sunday to a partisan crowd of activist Democrats in the first large public event of its type since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in February 2020.
The enthusiasm exhibited at the event, including a rousing and sustained standing ovation at the conclusion of Raskin’s barnburner speech, signals that Democrats are fired up to take on the midterm elections this fall. Fairfax County, at over a million residents directly across the Potomac from Washington, D.C., is famous for spearheading the conversion of formerly “red” to “blue” jurisdictions, nationally, often tipping the balance in key Virginia state election outcomes.

Raskin was accompanied on the program by U.S. Rep. Donald S. Beyer Jr. of Falls Church, who introduced Raskin as a personal friend who is a “unique combination of intellect and heart.”

Beyer focused on the need to return to Congress all three Virginia women whose election in 2020 created the House majority that is now threatened, but with success can be returned to end the “racist, anti-democratic filibuster” in the “fight to save democracy.”

Beyer was followed by Rep. Gerry Connelly, who noted that only a few months ago prior to the Supreme Court ruling ending Roe Vs. Wade, Republicans were 9 percent up in the polls for this fall’s elections, but since then, the Democrats have soared to take a 2 percentage point lead.

Representatives Raskin and Connolly with Nicholas F. Benton of the News-Press.

“The whole country is counting on us Democrats to make sure what was done to reproductive rights doesn’t happen again,” he said.

Raskin, who has inlaws attending schools in Northern Virginia including Marshall and Madison High Schools, praised the Fairfax activists Sunday night “for showing all America how you turn a red state blue.”

As a law professor at American University, he cited the basics of the fight to establish the U.S. and its Constitution against royalists and theocracy advocates. He cited one of his favorites, Thomas Paine, who mobilized the effort for democracy as “a cause of all mankind.” It is a fight today against forces of tyranny from Moscow to Mar-a-Lago to defend democracy and human rights, he said.

As for the Second Amendment, he quipped, “we do not call for it to be repealed, so much as for its proponents to actually read what it says.”

The Constitution being the “motor of democracy,” it has been altered by amendments more than a half-dozen times to expand and clarify the notion of “government of, by and for the people” that rules “with the consent of the governed,” he said.

This is what is now under attack in the U.S. and in the world, and notwithstanding the best efforts of U.S. Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinsinger, the two Republicans on the Select committee, there is now, he said, “Only one party left” fighting for these values. “The Democratic Party is now the sole party of democracy.”
It is now, he said, the ongoing fight for the maintenance and growth of democracy (he cited John Dewey who argued that “the only cure for the ills of democracy is more democracy”) is pitted against the nihilism of its opponents.

He concluded his remarks by quoting Thomas Paine in his pamphlet urging on the fight for democracy in 1776. “These are the times that try men’s souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”