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The Editorial Board: Chris Jacobs – a profile in cowardice

The Editorial Board: Chris Jacobs – a profile in cowardice

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Jacobs

Rep. Chris Jacobs, R-Orchard Park, on Wednesday threw his lot in with congressional seditionists trying to overthrow a free and fair election.

In fairness to Rep. Chris Jacobs, no one ever accused him of being courageous. But who knew he was so craven that he would propel a lie aimed at undermining the Constitution he swore to defend?

But he is. With his announcement that he would side with the Republican Sedition Caucus, he joined an effort to undermine the clear, confirmed, adjudicated wishes of the majority of American voters and of the Electoral College. Joe Biden won. Why is that so hard to say?

This coward can’t even get his story straight. Less than four weeks ago, he announced that he would oppose a Texas-led lawsuit aiming to undo the results of the election in other states. Yet, on Wednesday, he sided with a dangerous and dastardly effort by other members of what has become the Trump Party to subvert the sacred heart of democracy: the right to choose our own leaders in free and fair elections.

Jacobs’ dodge, and of the rest of the Sedition Caucus, is to claim – without a shred of evidence – that the election was corrupted by … something. But votes in all the swing states have been affirmed, by both Republicans and Democrats. In Georgia, they were counted three times, to the same result: Biden won.

Every legal challenge has been litigated and rejected, including by judges President Trump appointed. The claims were preposterous and the courts, to their credit, said as much.

None of that stopped Trump from trying to steal Georgia’s election on Saturday, when he pressured its Republican secretary of state to “find” him 11,780 votes – his deficit plus one. And, to Brad Raffensperger's great credit, he once again told the president that he was wrong: Biden won.

Jacobs is not made of that kind of stuff. To their steel, he is cotton candy. There is simply no issue here but the one Trump has conjured and that his fellow seditionists have embraced.

So, in addition to being chicken-hearted, Jacobs is also a liar. He knows better. The only plausible explanation for his decision is that he is pandering to right-wing voters within his district, which is – for the moment – the most Republican one in the state. Its makeup is all-but guaranteed to change after redistricting is completed in the next year or so.

The good news for upstate is that the region’s leading Republican congressman, Tom Reed of Corning, had the fortitude to do the right thing. Earlier this week, while Jacobs was in hiding, Reed announced that he would not join the effort to break the country.

“It is clear to me that the U.S. Constitution calls upon our elections for president to be done at the state level, and that if there are issues of fraud … they are to be adjudicated at the state level,” Reed said on Tuesday. “No state legislature has asked us to intervene in Congress in this process, and that being said, I will not be objecting to the state electors tomorrow, based upon my commitment to the U.S. Constitution.”

That’s what it comes down to: a commitment to the Constitution.

Even Mitch McConnell, Senate majority leader and nemesis of Democrats everywhere, understood the stakes. Speaking Wednesday during what should have been a routine procedure, he decried the efforts of Jacobs and the other seditionists.

Overturning the election, he said, would “damage our republic forever” and push democracy into a “death spiral.” It’s not only true, it’s self-evident. What is it about that concept that the coward Jacobs doesn’t understand?

Vice President Mike Pence also stood up to the effort to disenfranchise tens of millions of voters – including the nefarious efforts of his boss, the seditionist in chief. Declaring that he “loves the Constitution and reveres its Framers,” Pence rejected Trump’s demands that he illegally block certification of Biden’s victory.

Pence is among the nation’s most conservative members of government and he, also, was able to do the right thing. So what does that make Jacobs? Besides cowardly, dishonest and unpatriotic?

A famous aphorism, credited to the Irish statesman Edmund Burke, goes like this: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Evil was at work in Washington on Wednesday – by members of Congress and by protesters who stormed the Capitol. On Wednesday, Jacobs did nothing to prevent evil. By siding with the seditionists, he encouraged it.

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What’s your opinion? Send it to us at lettertoeditor@buffnews.com. Letters should be a maximum of 300 words and must convey an opinion. The column does not print poetry, announcements of community events or thank you letters. A writer or household may appear only once every 30 days. All letters are subject to fact-checking and editing.

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