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  • Writer's pictureDavid M. Rubin

Nance Mace Bobs And Weaves On CNN

Guess who surfaced on CNN for its 4 pm segment on June 18? Representative Nancy Mace.

Give her credit for venturing onto an actual news program rather than luxuriate in the warm bath of Fox News that is the refuge of all Republicans.

But understand why she did it. She knows her district and how slim her victory was last November with Donald Trump on the ticket: 5,340 votes out of 425,000 cast. If she comes across like other South Carolina House Republicans--- the bullying and divisive Ralph Norman and Joe “You Lie” Wilson---she is sunk. So she demonstrates her bipartisan, moderate bona fides by showing up on CNN.

That’s a start. Now let’s examine what she said to CNN host Pamela Brown.

Brown asked Mace if she “regretted” voting against formation of a commission to investigate the origins of the January 6 insurrection. Mace never directly answered. Instead, she pivoted to the Republican talking point that there are investigations going on in the House, the Senate, and within the Department of Justice, so there is no need for a commission.

Mace alleged that Republicans in Congress, on these committees, are capable (even interested) in asking the questions that will provide answers to the origins of the insurrection.

But Mace, who spouts “bipartisanship” at the drop of a question, knows full well that Republicans do not want to investigate the role played in fomenting the insurrection by Donald Trump, Michael Flynn, and Trump’s loyalists salted throughout the Department of Defense and elsewhere in the Executive Branch. So she hid behind the ongoing work of the Congressional Committees and the Department of Justice.

Then Brown asked her if she would denounce the conspiracy theorists in her party (and on Fox News) who have now suggested that the insurrection was an FBI plot!

In response to this she pulled out another standard dodge: “I don’t know anything about it.” She claims not to have heard those charges. “If that’s a theory that’s out there today,” she said, she has faith that both Democrats and Republicans can get to the bottom of such conspiracy-mongering. She conveniently ignores entirely that it’s the Republicans, not Democrats, fabricating such incendiary theories.

Mace thinks being ignorant of the FBI slander, even when it was spouted by the likes of Tucker Carlson on Fox News, is a sufficient response to Brown’s question. Call it her “ostrich defense.” She never did clearly denounce it and all those who traffic in it.

Mace has painted herself into a dangerous corner strategically. She keeps offering bipartisan investigations of the events of January 6 as a solution when it is obvious to all that the Republican half of her “bi-partisan” approach has no interest in getting to the bottom of the insurrection.

Mace’s Mantra is the need to “bring the country together” for the sake of her two children, whom she mentions often, and presumably for the rest of us. To achieve this she told Brown on CNN that she voted to create Juneteenth as a national holiday and to give the Congressional Gold Medal to the Capitol Police officers who defended her safety on January 6.

Both votes are praiseworthy, although easy for her. Indeed, she would have been pilloried in her district had she voted any other way on these two issues. Most Republicans joined her.

But neither of these actions addresses the issues that do, in fact, divide the nation. Take your pick from among: the roots of the insurrection; Trump’s Big Lie about the election being stolen; infrastructure spending; climate change; gun control; fair tax policies; anti-trust regulation of Big Tech; and on and on. This real, daunting agenda is somewhat larger than Juneteenth and gold medals.

The heavy lifting for Mace, as she contemplates trying to hold her seat, is how she is going to vote on these issues. Will she vote to solve some of these problems in the next 16 months, or will she remain Kevin McCarthy-Lite; that is, an obstructionist Republican without the sneer?

Blogger David M. Rubin is the former Dean of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. He is a former columnist for the Syracuse Post-Standard and an expert on First Amendment law (speech and press). He lives in Summerville.

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