July 25, 2021 (from www.rationaloptimist.wordpress.com)
January 6 was a bloody attack upon the heart of American democracy. Initially the two parties negotiated what seemed to be a very fair deal for a bipartisan Congressional investigation, modeled on the 9/11 Commission. But 9/11 occurred in a different nation. No chance today’s Republican lawmakers would honestly cooperate to investigate even an attack on Congress that threatened their own lives.* And so they duly killed the bipartisan agreement.
House Speaker Pelosi nevertheless went ahead with a Congressional investigating committee — as bipartisan as possible under the circumstances. She actually made a Republican (Liz Cheney) one of her own appointees to the panel. And invited GOP leader McCarthy to name five further members.
Once upon a time we might have imagined his choosing upstanding, judicious people whose reputations would call forth widespread trust. But this is 2021.
So instead McCarthy’s picks included Jim Banks and Jim Jordan. Jordan is a rabid Trump bulldog, his considerable verbal talents perverted to making absurdities sound plausible. David Brooks called both men “stinkbombs,” lobbed by McCarthy to make a farce of the investigation.
Hence Pelosi rejected the pair. Commentator Jonathan Capehart saw this as reflecting true dedication to her constitutional responsibilities. This investigation is extremely serious public business, and she wanted to include Republicans, but was not going to let them make a circus of it.
Now McCarthy indignantly says if Banks and Jordan are excluded, then no Republicans will join the committee at all (apart from Cheney, who he does not control).
What is really going on here? The Republican party has become a deranged bunch of nihilistic bomb throwers with, for all their “patriot” prattling, zero loyalty to America’s democratic fundamentals and institutions. Comprehensively irresponsible. Desperate to avoid all serious probing of January 6, knowing their god-king has its blood all over his hands. And that the continuing threat to our democracy comes from within their own ranks. While some are so divorced from reality they actually blame others, or even deny it happened at all.
Trump himself, interviewed for a recent book, described January 6 as a love fest, with police welcoming folks into the Capitol. He also believes he won the election. And in the tooth fairy.
But here’s something I actually don’t understand. Why this has to be a congressional investigation in the first place. True, the attack targeted Congress. But really our whole constitutional system. The 9/11 Commission included members from outside Congress, as did the Warren Commission, investigating JFK’s assassination. Why can’t an investigation, along similar lines, be organized under the auspices of, say, the Justice Department? Or, better yet, by presidential executive order, convening a bipartisan blue ribbon panel of widely respected personages. Like, for instance, John Roberts and Mitt Romney. Wouldn’t that end-run around Republican insanity** garner far more public credibility?
* Being himself a mass shooting victim didn’t change GOP Congressman Steve Scalise’s opposition to gun sanity.
** Herschel Walker plans to run as a Republican for a Georgia Senate seat despite a history of battling mental illness. His slogan could be, “Probably less nuts than your average Republican.”