Joe Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema 'Implore' Seditious Republicans To Join Bipartisan Love Train
It's increasingly obvious that if Democrats are going to get to the bottom of what happened on January 6, they'll have to do it without Republicans. That makes sense, because Republicans and the man they still devotedly follow are overwhelmingly to blame for the Capitol attack. This wasn't an asteroid that hit the planet. Donald Trump spent months lying about the election he lost. He held a coup convention on January 6 and incited a mob that stormed the Capitol in a deranged attempt to stop the electoral vote count, because he really believed they could do that.
Trump wasn't the only guilty party: 147 Republicans hopped on the sedition express, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who is on tape declaring in November that "President Trump won this election, so everyone who's listening, do not be quiet. We cannot allow this to happen before our very eyes ... join together and let's stop this."
So, it's not a surprise that Republicans consider Trump too big to fail. They'd all go down with him. McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell want nothing to do with a 1/6 commission, and even phony moderate Republican Susan Collins has hemmed and hawed about maybe supporting a quickie investigation. She's as useless as ever, though, because Republicans are set to filibuster the bill regardless.
This brings us to our favorite pair of Senate Democratic traditionalists, Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, who released a joint statement Tuesday about the importance of a bipartisan commission to investigate the events of January 6. It's just adorable.
My statement with @SenatorSinema on the need for a bipartisan commission to investigate the events of January 6th: https://t.co/MTJ0gEQjoL— Senator Joe Manchin (@Senator Joe Manchin)1621962103.0
The events of January 6 were horrific. We could never have imagined an attack on Congress and our Capitol at the hands of our own citizens. In the hours and days following the attack, Republican and Democratic members of Congress condemned the violence and vowed to hold those responsible accountable, so our Democracy will never experience an attack like this again. A bipartisan commission to investigate the events of that day has passed the House of Representatives with a bipartisan vote and is a critical step to ensuring our nation never has to endure an attack at the hands of our countrymen again. We implore our Senate Republican colleagues to work with us to find a path forward on a commission to examine the events of January 6th.
Oh, so, they're “imploring" Republicans now to do the right thing. That should work. No one thought about “imploring" before.
Look, we know how much these two just love bipartisanship. They probably smoke bowls of the stuff. But a bipartisan investigation into January 6 is impossible because Republicans have the most to lose. Not even a single confused Joe Biden supporter has been arrested for participating in the January 6 attack. This was a MAGA movement, pure and simple, and any competent investigation would make Republicans look bad, in general, and possibly implicate specific Republicans. There's no upside for playing along.
C'mon, man, Republicans wouldn't even support healthcare reform in 2010, and it's not like they were indirectly responsible for cancer.
It gets worse for Republicans the more information that just naturally comes out: According to new court filings Monday, 71-year-old Army veteran Lonnie Leroy Coffman of Alabama, charged with bringing five loaded firearms and 11 Molotov cocktails to the Capitol on January 6, hit up Senator Ted Cruz weeks earlier to discuss “election fraud."
Staffers for the Texas Republican concluded that Coffman "did not seem threatening," but seemed "unbalanced" or "not 100% there" and deemed his comments "odd enough to record," Capitol Police noted, according to the ruling.
Cruz didn't meet personally with Coffman, but neither did he sound major alarms about him, and he continued fanning the flames of the fire Trump started.
Republicans understand January 6 wasn't some inconceivable "attack at the hands of our countrymen." It was an easily predictable event, the result of what Greg Sargent at the Washington Post described as "extreme right-wing radicalization, actively fed and exploited by Republicans themselves, and by their nurturing of Donald Trump's lies about 2020." Republicans won't willingly participate in their own political destruction, because they aren't chumps.
And if Manchin and Sinema actually believe there are at least 10 Senate Republicans who are honorable, self-sacrificing patriots, they might as well meet privately with Mitch McConnell and check out some high-quality dresses he has just around the corner.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."