GOP Just Can't Find Perfect Way To Ignore An Insurrection

This week Democratic-held House of Representatives, along with 35 GOP members, passed a bill authorizing the creation of an independent, 9/11-style commission to investigate the January 6 insurrection. Now the bill is at the Senate, where Mitch McConnell is determined to "grim reaper" the fuck out of it because accountability about an attempt to overthrow democracy is awfully inconvenient for Republicans (especially since next year is an election year). But the problem with a trying to oppose something that should be non-partisan, common sense and patriotic is that GOP senators have to twist themselves into mealy-mouthed knots to justify themselves.

Take patron saint of perpetual concern, Senator Susan Collins of Maine. Collins, who appeared on ABC's "This Week," told George Stephanopoulos she had no concerns with a 1/6 Commission except for all her concerns:

STEPHANOPOULOS: You called that attack [1/6] appalling and un-American, provoked by President Trump. But now you're saying you're going to support the commission only under certain conditions, including that it wrap up this year, which appear pretty unrealistic. Why are you opposed to -- to having the commission -- to voting for the commission as passed by the House?

COLLINS: Well, first of all, let me clarify my position. I strongly support the creation of an independent commission. I believe there are many unanswered questions about the attacks on the Capitol on January 6. We need to figure out how we can enhance security, why we weren't better prepared, and we want the Capitol to be an open, accessible symbol of our democracy. So I support the creation of a non-partisan, bipartisan commission. The two issues that I think are resolvable, one has to do with staffing, and I think that both sides should either jointly appoint the staff or there should be equal numbers of staff appointed by the chairman and the vice chairman. The second issue is, I see no reason why the report cannot be completed by the end of this year. The commissioners have to be appointed within ten days. There's plenty of time to complete the work.

Collins's first issue about staffing the 1/6 Commission seems somewhat reasonable, but the second reason, is purely political. Collins is not interested in finding the facts or getting the answers, but ending this thing before the 2022 midterm elections get in full swing. But, as we saw with Trump's impeachments, setting quick timetables removes the ability to have full witness testimony or evidence. The idea this commission would have the ability to subpoena people like Donald Trump or Kevin McCarthy without them objecting is ludicrous. John Bolton ran out the clock on testifying at Trump's first impeachment, despite how he said out loud that he had material evidence of Trump's guilt. The GOP will oppose every subpoena through courts and either run out the clock or win the not-testifying game by attrition.

While Collins thinks the commission should move fast, Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri was on "Fox News Sunday" saying the commission would take forever and be useless.

BLUNT: Well, I think it's to too early to create a commission and I -- I believe Republicans in the Senate will decide that it's too early to -- to create that commission. You know, commissions often don't work at all. And when they do work, like the Simpson-Bowles Commission produced a good result, nothing happened as a -- as part of that result.

The one commission that we generally think did work was the 9/11 Commission, Chris. I think that was -- I was part of putting that commission together. I think it was 14 months after 9/11, after all kinds of other information was out there for that commission to look at, before that commission got started. And, believe me, it would be months before this commission could get started. I just was part of the Senate Intel Committee looking into the last election, the Russian involvement in the last election. We thought that would take a year. It took three years. […] I've actually opposed the idea of a commission from -- immediately from the very first because I think we'll start waiting for a commission rather than moving forward with what we know we need to do now. There's a bipartisan effort in the Senate with two committees to produce not only a report, but also a number of recommendations, and we should be able to do that in the first full week of June and we haven't even waited for that to decide what a commission should do.

Mitch McConnell thought it was "too rushed" when he opposed impeaching Trump before the 2020 election. He thought it "needs to be fast and wrap up" argument McConnell when Trump was impeached after Joe Biden's inauguration. The McConnell-like hypocrisy is not any better when it's split between two shitty senators rather than one.

If we can't get Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema to stop holding the filibuster in higher regard than democracy, maybe we should investigate this ourselves, as Mehdi Hasan suggested this weekend.

Have a week.

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Michael Mora

Your friendly neighborhood Puerto Rican Political Freelance Writer for @wonkette. Pop Culture observer, Amateur Movie reviewer & Comics fan. Former Active Duty Marine. All opinions are mine only.


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