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Truth, Commissions, and Republican Brokeness


Senate Republicans appear poised to block a bipartisan investigation of the first non-peaceful transfer of executive power in modern American history. McConnell has found some procedural objections to hide behind, and it looks like the new narrative is that House Democrats were ‘too partisan’ for…. not coming to an agreement with the dude who said he’d only support a bipartisan commission on bothsider whataboutism.

Why oppose a bipartisan commission on the January 6th insurrection? The major objection is that it would keep a spotlight on an event that most Republican strategists would prefer to consign to the memory hole.

Publicly and privately, Republicans are making that case, with Senate GOP Whip John Thune noting that there’s concern among some GOP members that the findings of the probe “could be weaponized politically and drug into next year.”

“I want our midterm message to be on the kinds of things that the American people are dealing with: That’s jobs and wages and the economy and national security, safe streets and strong borders – not relitigating the 2020 elections,” Thune told CNN. “A lot of our members, and I think this is true of a lot of House Republicans, want to be moving forward and not looking backward. Anything that gets us rehashing the 2020 elections I think is a day lost on being able to draw a contrast between us the Democrats’ very radical left-wing agenda.”

I suspect that there are also deeper concerns than winning the news cycle. Bipartisan commissions produce reports. As we saw with the “9/11 Report,” these reports can establish ‘baseline facts’ that – whether directly or indirectly – structure conventional wisdom for years to come. It doesn’t require a great deal of imagination to understand why many Republicans would prefer to keep as much as possible about January 6th in the realm of partisan dissensus.

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