May 29, 2021

Another Day in Infamy: GOP Kills Bi-partisan January 6th Commission.

by Hal Gershowitz

Comments Below

We’ve had other such awful days.

April 12, 1861, when Confederate artillery fired on Fort Sumpter igniting the US Civil War was one such day. So was December 7th, 1941, and so were those four terrible days on which US presidents were assassinated, and so was September 11, 2001, and January 6th, 2021, when a mob attacked the U.S. Capitol after being urged on by a defeated President of the United States to “fight like hell” to stop the peaceful transfer of power absolutely qualifies. And, yes, this weekend, May 28th, when Senate Republicans killed the House-approved, bi-partisan Commission (which would have included an equal number of Republicans and Democrats) to investigate the genesis of the January 6th insurrection against a presidential election (and against the Constitution of the United States) was yet another day in infamy.

My old party of nearly 50 years callously strangled a bi-partisan effort to establish an investigative commission (similar to the one established following the 9/11 attacks) to investigate the Jan. 6th assault on the U.S. Capitol. “It would be political,” the Republicans argued.

Well, “duh,” as they say; the entire January 6th attempt to destroy the 228-year-old tradition of peaceful transfer of power in the United States was an act of political treachery. So yes, patriotic Democrats and Republicans could and should have banded together to declare once and for all that this type of political treachery will not be tolerated. That’s what would have been political about the proposed January 6th Commission. It would have been a bi-partisan political act of patriotism. Dozens of Republicans in the House of Representatives and several in the Senate were willing to stand up for America, while an overwhelming number of Republicans in both chambers quaked in fear of the vituperative Maelstrom of Mar-a-Lago.

Some Republican Senators have been spinning yarn that even former Senator Joseph McCarthy might have found embarrassing. And speaking of the disgraced former Senator from Wisconsin, another McCarthy sound-alike, Wisconsin Senator, Ron Johnson, had this to say about January 6th, (it was) “really a peaceful protest, not an insurrection.”

Tell that to the federal prosecutors who reportedly have collected a mountain of evidence demonstrating that January 6th was a coordinated attack by the extremist Proud Boys and Oath Keepers. Tell that to the families of those who lost their lives that day.

A McCarthy-era retort that made the history books 71 years ago seems appropriate here. “Senator, have you no decency?”

Then there was the spectacle of Representative Andrew S. Clyde (R-Ga.) who downplayed the insurrection even though photographs that day show him panic-stricken, mouth twisted in fear, rushing toward the doors to the House gallery to help barricade them from the insurrectionists. Here’s what the brave congressman from Georgia, bowing to the former President, had to say today about the January 6th riot, “It was just a normal tourist visit.”

Just six of fifty GOP senators joined with Democrats, so the measure was well short of the 60 votes needed to advance the bill to the floor for a vote.

Like the 9/11 bi-partisan commission, the proposed commission would have consisted of 10 commissioners — five Democrats and five Republicans, who would have subpoena powers. A Democratic chair and Republican vice-chair would have had to approve all such subpoenas. The Republicans were not concerned about partisanship. Quite the contrary; they were concerned that a non-partisan investigation would have demonstrated that a rogue President was feverishly working on hanging onto a presidency he had lost. He would come after them if they allowed an investigation to proceed; that was their sole motivation. The thirty-five Republicans in the House and the six in the Senate who supported the bi-partisan Commission are the real heroes of the day.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer hit the nail squarely on the head, “Out of fear of — or fealty to — Donald Trump, the Republican minority just prevented the American people from getting the full truth about Jan. 6.” He added: “Shame on the Republican Party for trying to sweep the horrors of that day under the rug because they’re afraid of Donald Trump.”

Maine’s Republican Susan Collins tried to rally support among her fellow GOP caucus members “I want to see a commission,” she said. “We need a commission. There are a lot of unanswered questions.” And that’s the problem. Too many Republicans simply don’t want those questions answered.

The Republican strategy? Sell the public on the idea that 2020 was just a year of urban disorder. The ruckus at the Capitol was just another one of the many disorders. No more and no less. No big deal.

They are betting the electorate won’t care or won’t remember. That might be a very bad bet.

All comments regarding these essays, whether they express agreement, disagreement, or an alternate view, are appreciated and welcome. Comments that do not pertain to the subject of the essay or which are ad hominem references to other commenters are not acceptable and will be deleted.

All comments regarding these essays, whether they express agreement, disagreement, or an alternate view, are appreciated and welcome. Comments that do not pertain to the subject of the essay or which are ad hominem references to other commenters are not acceptable and will be deleted.

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14 responses to “Another Day in Infamy: GOP Kills Bi-partisan January 6th Commission.

  1. Jean says:

    Beautifully said. The Republican Party has become an embarrassment to our country
    Very sad

  2. Steve says:

    When you love drinking Kool Aid, it’s obviously hard to think since it makes you “brain dead”.

  3. I love the typo in your ninth paragraph that says “rouge” instead of “rogue” when referring to our former President. But maybe “rouge” is correct after all because rouge is a red cosmetic that conceals blemishes and warts. Rogue refers to someone sneaky or corrupt. I suppose either one will do.

    Thanks for the continuing powerful essays.

  4. M Kaback says:

    There is a real danger afoot that we are witnessing the disintegration of our democracy right before our eyes. Between the blatant attacks on voting rights in states across the nation, the near-absolute fealty to the sociopath (whom a sizable minority still worships), and the loss of dedication to the Constitution to which they all have sworn, our nation is in very serious trouble. Where are the patriots who can save us?

  5. Ray Galante says:

    Unbelievably weak Republican leadership catering to Trump is beyond belief. How can this lying clown dominate these weaklings? Backbones needed. Disgusting.

  6. Robert borns says:

    Hal you are a wonderful writer with a long history of columns loaded with otherwise unknown facts. But you are very wrong on today’s writing. In fact I can’t imagine, with all the incredible problems facing our country and our representatives in Washington and around the county how anyone would focus on this. I am saying that our Congress can’t walk and chew gum a the same time. Having lived overseas for a number of years and also traveled extensively there I concluded that it wasn’t just that the U S A was so smart it was that the rest of the world was so dumb. I now conclude that we are well on our way to mirroring the rest of the world. I think that we can reverse this trend but it is not a sure thing. There area zillion problems to solve. Name calling and political lying won’t help. This commission would have been a waste of effort. The fbi and the dept of justice have the firepower to get any answers. Commissions hide the real answers under the term classified if certain politically important people are involved. Let’s get our ship righted or we will fade away.

  7. Stephen Prover says:

    REPLY TO Robert Borns: What?

  8. Charles Anderson says:

    Speaking of Kool Aid, it seems the Republicans including your reader RB have created their own version of Jonestown in ‘Trumptown’. Hmm, I wonder if the ending will be similar?
    Excellent essay this week Hal.

  9. BLB says:

    I agree with RB. It’s amazing that the “other side” ie, Dems, Libs, or whoever they call themselves, continue to blame everything on Trump!! As conservatives, most of us have moved on from Trump and look at politics as what it is…politics. The Commission would be a total distraction, as in impeachment, Russia Hoax, etc etc, to distract from the myriad of other important issues confronting our country, as RB mentioned.
    As a current resident of Texas, I find it more than incomprehensible that the Dems refuse to deal with the perilous situation at our border, and would rather bicker about a Commission. Or deal with rising shootings in our cities, creeping inflation, electrical grid issues, international unrest, ransom ware corruption…
    And the list goes on.
    And to correct one of this administration’s conspicuous Lies….The Border is NOT Closed!!

  10. Judy says:

    I agree BLB and RB. Move on from Trump and close our borders. Our children live in Tucson and the illegals coming thru are a constant threat. Could we really believe Terrorist are not among them??? Once we were the leader of the world. Sadly we are losing ground daily….

  11. Marilyn says:

    To dismiss the seriousness of what occurred on January 6, 2021, will further validate the underlying movement of those who truly want to dismantle the heart and soul of our democracy. No one denies that we, our children and theirs, are facing critically important issues, which may,or may not, continue to be mired in political chaos. But to not acknowledge that a carefully crafted attack on our constitutional principles, from which this country was founded, is a tragic affirmation of Trumps maniacal platform. This is not about left, right, Dem or Repb. It’s all about right and wrong. Used to be a time when that mattered.

  12. Michael Gong says:

    I cannot believe that there are still ostriches in our midst who want to bury their heads in the sand and ignore the most blatant, internal, violent attack against our government since the civil war. Move on? Too many other problems? There are always other pressing problems. That’s the reality of life. But to sweep this incident under the rug at this time in our history is to leave open the very real possibility of its happening again. Do you value our democracy or don’t you?

  13. BARBARA WEISBERG says:

    GREAT ESSAY
    I FEEL VERY UNSAFE IN AMERICA FOR THE FIRST
    TIME IN MY LIFE.

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