The Week (US)
Republicans: Why they blocked the Jan. 6 commission
“American democracy isn’t dead yet,” said Susan Glasser in NewYorker.com, “but it’s getting there.” In the aftermath of the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot, when supporters of President Trump stormed the Capitol at his urging to block the certification of Joe Biden’s victory, many Republicans agreed on the need for an independent commission to investigate the attack. Last week, however, a Republican filibuster killed a bill creating such a commission. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s justification was that the proposed commission would be “slanted” against Republicans, though it would have featured five Republican and five Democratic appointees. But “the real explanation,” as Sen. John Cornyn of Texas admitted, was that the GOP doesn’t want to give Democrats “a political platform” from which to make the 2022 midterm elections a “referendum on President Trump” and his Big Lie that the election was stolen. We’ve had commissions to investigate “crises large and small,” said Matt Ford in NewRepublic .com, from Pearl Harbor to 9/11. For the GOP to block an investigation into the only assault in U.S. history on the peaceful transfer of power is a “grim sign for American democracy, shining among many other blinking warning lights.”
What “drama queens” Democrats are, said Eddie Scarry in WashingtonExaminer.com. Yes, the Jan. 6 “riot was bad,” but “this wasn’t 9/11,” and “a grand total of five people died,” including unarmed Trump supporter Ashli Babbitt, shot dead by police. With criminal prosecutions of the rioters already underway, do we really need a commission to study a few hours of civil unrest by justifiably “irritated Trump voters”? Democrats are not interested in facts, said Daniel Henninger in The Wall Street Journal. Their goal is to keep voters focused on “Trump-related
Jan. 6 realities” just before the 2022 midterms. Why should Republicans “erect a scaffold for their own hanging”?
Hanging—what an interesting choice of metaphor, said Jonathan Chait in NYMag.com. The insurrectionists erected a literal scaffold on the Capitol grounds, then stormed the building chanting “Hang Mike Pence!” because the vice president refused to block certification of the election. Republicans know any thorough probe “will incriminate them,” said Greg Sargent in WashingtonPost.com. It may substantiate reports that some members of Congress and the Trump administration coordinated with the rioters, before and during the attack. Further, it would spotlight the role dozens of Republicans played in voting against certifying the election and fomenting “extreme right-wing radicalization.”
“The partisan aims of the Democrats are obvious,” said Dan McLaughlin in NationalReview.com. Nonetheless, the nation deserves to know if members of Congress were involved in planning the Capitol attack, as well as why it took the National Guard more than three hours to respond while members of Congress had to hide. By blocking an independent, bipartisan commission, Senate Republicans have handed the issue back to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who will now establish a Democratrun select committee, thus ensuring the probe “will be conducted in the most partisan way possible.” It needn’t be, said Ken Ballen in CNN.com. As staff counsel to the 1987 select committee that investigated the Iran-Contra scandal, I’ve seen first-hand how a thorough, fair, transparent probe can “help counter any claims of partisanship.” We need answers to all questions about how Jan. 6 happened, especially with renewed talk among Trump allies of the need for a coup. “Our democracy literally hangs in the balance.”