Capitol Punishment

It’s no longer just anxiously awaited; it’s now official: Senate Republicans blocked the creation of an independent, bipartisan panel to thoroughly investigate the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol and American democracy. Another grim reminder that party loyalty–aka fear of the Trump base–is their foremost priority. Once Trump had labeled such a commission a “Democrat trap,” the fealty dye was cast.

Strategically, GOPsters remember that, as with the 9/11 Commission, a 1/6 iteration (with five Democratic and five Republican appointees) would have broad authority to connect the dots. That could mean, for example, forcing the testimony of Donald Trump and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Recall that both President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney testified before the 9/11 Commission.

The unconscionable upshot: Transparency and truth matter so much less than an off-year election that gins up concerns that Trump and his self-serving enablers would likely look like the antithesis of patriots. “Truth is hard stuff,” acknowledged Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, one of the few GOPsters to vote for a national 1/6 commission. “But we’ve got a responsibility to it.”

Tell that to, among others, Sen. Mitch McConnell, who still resents being a mere “Minority Leader.” He knows transparency would hurt his party during the 2022 election cycle. “They’d like to continue to litigate the former president into the future,” stated McConnell. In short, fact-finding into what went wrong–and what is still at stake–is not a priority of this Republican Party. “Asking Republicans to investigate 1/6 is like asking Al-Qaeda to investigate 9/11,” noted political commentator and former Republican media strategist Kurt Bardella.

Such blatant partisanship even prompted four former homeland security secretaries, including Michael Chertoff, who served under President George W. Bush, to lobby Republicans to support the creation of a Capitol Commission.

BTW, the Senate vote was 54-35 in favor of a Capitol Commission. But minority fealty politics trumped common sense, national security and even emotional appeals from riot-fighting police. That sad moment on Jan. 6 is now even sadder. Democracy was assaulted; now it’s been shamed.

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