The House voted last night, 252 to 175, to set up an independent, 9/11-style commission to investigate the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol. Thirty-five Republicans joined all the Democrats in the vote, which in saner times should have been unanimous.

Then again, in saner times, a president wouldn't have incited a mob to try to overturn an election he'd lost, and 147 members of Congress wouldn't have voted to endorse the attempted sedition. So maybe the rest of the Republicans were simply voting for a better hypothetical reality in which no such insurrection would even exist to be investigated. They're such idealists!

Now the bill goes to the Senate, where Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has announced his opposition to the commission. McConnell had said Tuesday afternoon that Senate Republicans were "undecided" on approving a commission, and that they'd need to "read the fine print." McConnell said that the commission "needs to be clearly balanced and not tilted one way or the other so we have an objective evaluation."

You might think such balance might result from the agreed-upon structure of the commission, with each party naming five members of the panel, and the requirement that subpoenas be agreed upon by both parties. But McConnell suddenly discovered the whole thing was rigged Tuesday evening, after former president Lieface McFascist called the proposal a "Democrat trap" and called on McConnell and congressional Republicans to "get much tougher and much smarter, and stop being used by the Radical Left." Trump, like House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, said that any commission on January 6 would also have to investigate things that didn't happen on January 6, for balance.

So McConnell dutifully announced Wednesday he'd decided he'd decided to oppose "the House Democrats' slanted and unbalanced proposal for another commission to study the events of January 6th." This is where we remind you once more the proposal had been negotiated by the Democratic and Republican heads of the House Homeland Security Committee, incorporating multiple Republican suggestions, and that "another" is doing a lot of work for "one."


On the Senate floor, McConnell offered some perfectly reality-based, good-faith objections to the commission legislation. For one thing there are already law enforcement investigations, and some committee investigations in both the House and Senate, so wouldn't a comprehensive, independent commission just be a waste of time and money?


There is, has been, and there will continue to be no shortage ― no shortage — of robust investigations by two separate branches of the federal government ... It's not at all clear what new facts or additional investigation yet another commission could actually lay on top of existing efforts by law enforcement and Congress.

The facts have come out, they'll continue to come out. What is clear is that House Democrats have handled this proposal in partisan bad faith going right back to the beginning, from initially offering a laughably partisan starting point to continuing to insist on various other features under the hood that are designed to centralize control over the commission's process and its conclusions in Democratic hands.

Gentle reader, we do hope you will not spill your tea when we point out to you that Sen. McConnell is not telling the truth here. For one thing, as the Washington Post points out, the current investigations are fairly limited in scope. A Senate investigation is only looking at security at the Capitol, and what lapses in security should be corrected, and the Justice Department's prosecutions of individual seditionists are only concerned with the actions of those people, not an overall understanding of the event.

The Post points out that the text of the House bill passed last night, by contrast, calls for an examination of "the influencing factors that fomented such attack on American representative democracy while engaged in a constitutional process," as well as for recommendations for possible action in response.

It could, for instance, seek to find out what role Trump played in encouraging the attack, as well as his response once it was taking place — something that could lead to members of Congress themselves being subpoenaed.

Ah, well then, we can see why McConnell might object to that, particularly since that would almost certainly include his esteemed colleague in the House, Kevin McCarthy, who begged Trump on the phone to call off the rioters who were touring the Capitol and got only the response, "Well Kevin, I guess these people are more upset about the election than you are."

As for the rest of McConnell's objections, they're just more of his usual Upside Down bullshit; if House Democrats had wanted to simply pass a "laughably partisan" bill, they'd have done that without four months of negotiations with Republicans. The bill that passed last night, with all of 35 Republican votes, truly was bipartisan, for all the good it did.

Sen John Thune (R-South Dakota) said yesterday that he opposed the commission because he worried it might become a "political weapon in the hands of the Democrats," which would be a very bad thing indeed. Particularly since that might distract from Republicans' own partisan warfare:

Anything that gets us rehashing the 2020 election, I think, is a day lost on being able to draw contrast between us and the Democrats' very radical left wing agenda.

We're fairly sure that after that impressive bit of rhetoric, Sen. Thune was whisked away to a hospital to check for whiplash, and possibly a sprained tongue resulting from talking too rapidly from both sides of his mouth.

The Republican opposition to a real investigation also prompted an anonymous letter to all members of Congress from anonymous members of the US Capitol Police, calling for Congress to fully investigate the insurrection:

On Jan 6th, where some officers served their last day in US Capitol Police uniform, and not by choice, we would hope that Members whom we took an oath to protect, would at the very minimum support an investigation to get to the bottom of EVERYONE responsible and hold them 100 percent accountable no matter the title of position they hold or held. [...]

It is inconceivable that some of the Members we protect, would downplay the events of January 6th. Member safety was dependent upon the heroic actions of the USCP.

The letter was on police letterhead but was not an official statement; the department later said it definitely "does NOT take positions on legislation." It had been distributed by the office of Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Maryland); staffers vouched for its authenticity and said it was written by multiple officers who'd experienced "mental aguish" resulting from the riot, and who stayed anonymous out of fear of retribution. Gosh darn it, don't those police realize that calling too much attention to their trauma is terribly partisan of them, and will just get in the way of Republicans' efforts to combat the Democrats' radical left wing agenda?

[NBC News / WaPo / WSJ / Politico]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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