Senate Republicans Successfully Block January 6th Commission

Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonder and Home.

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63 Responses

  1. Philip H
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    says:

    I’d like every conservative here to tell me exactly what’s so bad about a bipartisan commission – created in bipartisan negotiations – for examining the assault on the capitol. Because as Senator Cassidy (R-LA) said “The investigations will happen with or without Republicans. To ensure the investigations are fair, impartial, and focused on facts, Republicans need to be involved.”

    Is Trump really worth this? Is naked power really worth this?Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Philip H
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      I think you want “Republicans” rather than “conservatives” but if I were to throw something together, I’d say that the investigation is most likely to have enough circus music playing that it’d easily be called a “Clown Show” and, in the short run, the best play is to be able to say “this is why we didn’t want one of these!”Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        Have they proposed some sort of non-clown show alternative?Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy
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          says:

          “Move On Dot Org”Report

        • JS in reply to Kazzy
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          says:

          IIRC, after Democrats rudely agreed to the proposed equal chair/co-chair thing, the GOP then demanded they investigate antifa and BLM too.

          And then later, McConnell complained about “investigating the past”.

          So…no. They have only proposed clown-shoes alternatives, because support for the Jan 6th insurrection is now a GOP pre-requisite. It’s no longer something they’re upset about, despite the fact that people were there with their eyes on Republicans as well as Democrats to kill.

          It’s something they’re proud of. The party of insurrection is who they are. Because if they weren’t, they’d lose their primaries.Report

        • Philip H in reply to Kazzy
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          The commission as structured in the House bill WAS – at least allegedly – the Non-Clown version, negotiated between the Democratic Chair and Republican Ranking member with the alleged support and consent of Kevin McCarthy. When Republicans got what they want – because Democrats STILL keep bringing charts and graphs to a knife fight – they collectively ran the other way.

          The Commission wasn’t a clown show until that point, at least not legislatively.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        The Sam Ervin hearings (officially called Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities hearings) had their clown-show aspects, as anything televised will. They also uncovered the smoking guns that led to Nixon’s resignation.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling
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          says:

          This seems to be a great opportunity for Democrats, then.

          Have a buncha hearings, find the smoking guns, and start collecting scalps.

          There is literally *ZERO* downside! Or, if there are downsides, I don’t know what they’d be and so that amounts to the same thing.Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to Philip H
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      says:

      The play is simple: by forcing any investigation to be run by Democrats, it can immediately be tarred as a partisan witch-hunt.

      And yes, naked power is worth everything. Just ask George P. Bush, Lindsey Graham, or any of the other bootlickers.Report

    • Pinky in reply to Philip H
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      says:

      This is not my area of expertise, but I could try to answer it. Congress already had the opportunity to investigate it as part of the impeachment proceedings. They did, and concluded it. The FBI and other law enforcement has ongoing investigations. I don’t know if there’s any aspect of investigation that Congress could do and the FBI couldn’t – it’s possible because of separation of powers, but I really don’t see how. I’d also note that I don’t see any practical way that blocking the creation of the commission would protect Trump or protect Republican power, except in blocking spectacle. And if spectacle is the only reason for voting for the commission, that’s reason right there to vote against it.Report

      • Philip H in reply to Pinky
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        says:

        All of your “reasons” applied to 9/11 as well, and yet a bipartisan commission was created and did deep work that is still influencing how DHS operates.

        I’d also note that I don’t see any practical way that blocking the creation of the commission would protect Trump or protect Republican power, except in blocking spectacle.

        Then you aren’t paying attention to current politics. by not having a Commission, voters are not reminded in a serious way that Trump, and Republicans, have responsibility for the attack on the capitol. Republicans are desperate to distract and dissemble as they continue to seek to make minority rule permanent in the US. Kevin McCarthy doesn’t want his reelection campaign – where he can currently focus on calling Joe Biden a socialist for daring to do things like repairing bridges – to be sidelined by having to answer hard questions in the press, much les sunder oath while he’s trying to raise campaign cash from rich donors.

        That’s not spectacle at all. But it is politics in the modern world.Report

        • Pinky in reply to Philip H
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          says:

          Was there a Congressional investigation of 9/11 before the Commission? I don’t remember it. And I’m pretty sure the DHS didn’t even exist before the Commission. So there are differences.

          As for your next paragraph, that’s nothing but partisanship. You’re actually complaining about the lack of spectacle. If you said anything about an investigation necessary to improve FBI procedures, I could accept it, but you only talked about people not being angry enough at your political opponents.Report

          • Philip H in reply to Pinky
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            says:

            There was a Joint Select Committee as well as individual investigations by the Senate Intelligence Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. In addition to all the law enforcement investigations post-hoc.

            As to the rest – a joint commission with equal representation from each party is not spectacle. That you think it would be is both telling and very sad.Report

            • Chip Daniels in reply to Philip H
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              says:

              To the right, cries of injustice are merely a sham, a grift and a circus.

              They live in a Tom Wolfe world where every black activist is Mau-Mauing the flak catchers.

              There is no injustice, except when they are inconvenienced by a mask or being scolded for a socially inappropriate joke.Report

            • Pinky in reply to Philip H
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              says:

              Fair enough. I’d forgotten that.

              But of course you’re looking for the spectacle of Trump=-bashing or you’d be talking about the law enforcement value of it.Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                That is, while president of the United States apparently conspired with party or parties unknown to remain in office after he lost the election, it’s not possible to investigate that without making him look bad, so let it go.Report

    • Koz in reply to Philip H
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      Yeah, this is a weird political environment. In times past, sometimes there’s a dynamic of “inside baseball” against the relatively apolitical bulk of America. But this is both ends against the middle, an alignment I haven’t seen before.

      The good people are winning the inside game (politicos inside the Capitol) and the outside game (rest of America outside Washington) but the libs are cleaning up in the middle, dominating the media message environment.

      So far, our team looks to have way the better of it, because even if libs can control the news cycle, they can’t energize or intimidate anyone with it, though they are trying mightily. You gotta hand it to the lib media/Twitter punditocracy for energy. My guess is, the probability the GOP wins this election cycle is somewhere over 90%. Even so, I don’t think you can right now completely count the libs out.

      Phil’s comment is a useful case in point. Libs have created an unspoken premise that “Of course the worst terrorist attack in American history must be thoroughly investigated” blah blah blah. In reality, that’s just not so. I don’t even know what substance libs supposedly want to find in out in the course of this commissions proceedings. They’ve already had Impeachment Pt 2 and there’s piles of criminal cases still to be resolved. And there’s less and less juice behind their complaints as time goes by.

      What libs really want, of course, is to sit around and bitch about “Insurrection!” all day. Well, libs can do that on their own time.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Koz
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        says:

        What we want to to find out who was involved in planning the attack on the capitol. What the GOP wants is to prevent that, for obvious reasons.Report

        • Koz in reply to Mike Schilling
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          says:

          Yeah, but no. If we “really” were to find out everything, it’d turn out to be some measure spontaneous, some measure Proud Boys/Oathkeepers types, some measure Steve Bannon and the like, some measure GOP politicos like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert.

          Doesn’t change anything, doesn’t affect anything. Not important.Report

          • Mike Schilling in reply to Koz
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            says:

            Also, McCord and the Cubans planned the Watergate break-in all on their own. Didn’t go any higher, so there was no need for any further investigation.Report

            • Koz in reply to Mike Schilling
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              says:

              Okay. Go ahead and connect some dots if you want to. Even if they really do connect, you’ve still got nothin’.

              I think it was David Frum who complained shortly after Jan 6, “You’ll be shocked at how much this didn’t happen” and I think he’s probably right.Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Koz
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                says:

                Your god-king can do no wrong.Report

              • Koz in reply to Mike Schilling
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                says:

                Trump? Some god-king. Didn’t even vote for him.Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Koz
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                says:

                He lost you the senate but your politicians are still terrified of him. Bad situation.Report

              • Koz in reply to Mike Schilling
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                says:

                Not really, he’s more of an obstacle to be maneuvered around, and a manageable obstacle at that. Don’t repudiate him, don’t embarrass him, don’t gratuitously piss him off. Otherwise, ignore him.

                For incumbent GOP politicians especially, Trump is becoming less relevant every day.

                Basically the only meaningful actions Trump has left is his ability to endorse (or not endorse) non-incumbent GOP politicians in competitive primaries. That’s not nothing, but it’s also not very much either.Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Koz
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                says:

                I know you with he were manageable. Never has been, never will be.Report

              • Koz in reply to Mike Schilling
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                says:

                I can _maybe_ guess at this, but you should probably restate or edit.Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Koz
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                says:

                Trump is. irrelevant, which is why Arizona is beclowning itself looking for bamboo.Report

              • Koz in reply to Mike Schilling
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                says:

                Ok. I’m not following the Arizona thing very closely but it seems to support the idea that Trump is irrelevant better than the opposite. I’m not sure what they’re supposed to do or find (or fail at) to lead us to believe otherwise.

                It’s sorta like this Jan 6 commission tbh.Report

              • Michael Cain in reply to Koz
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                says:

                The auditors were “supposed” to quickly find — by mid-May — dramatic evidence of widespread election fraud. Tens of thousands of fake ballots, or software in the counting machines that flipped votes from (R) candidates to (D)s, or something. That evidence was going to justify making substantial changes to the Arizona voting arrangements.

                The Arizona Republicans are in a precarious position. There’s the long-term “blueing” trend similar to what’s happened/happening elsewhere in the West. The AZ Congressional delegation is now two Democratic Senators and 5-of-9 Democratic Representatives. Their state legislature majorities are down to one seat in both chambers. New districts will be drawn by a commission.

                Finally, AZ is a veto referendum state with a low signature requirement to put new laws to the voters. The current vote by mail system is clearly well-liked: >80% of voters voluntarily sign up to use it. Any substantial change is likely to be challenged and strong evidence of fraud seems (to me) a necessary condition for the voters to sustain the changes.

                Is it all about Trump? I don’t see anyone else in the role of face for the “widespread fraud must have happened” thing.Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Michael Cain
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                says:

                Don’t leave out the ballots made in China out of bamboo fibers. It’s like the Dominion server in Europe that coordinated the steal — a plan too elaborate even for a James Bond movie.Report

              • Michael Cain in reply to Michael Cain
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                says:

                The current vote by mail system is clearly well-liked: >80% of voters voluntarily sign up to use it. Any substantial change is likely to be challenged…

                Today Arizona Gov. Ducey (R) vetoed the bill that would have eliminated the state’s long-standing permanent mail ballot list. The assembly’s (R)s don’t have enough votes to overturn the veto. So this one won’t get to the veto referendum stage.Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Koz
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                says:

                A state legislature embracing Trump’s lies about its election proves that Trump is irrelevant? Sure it does.Report

              • Koz in reply to Mike Schilling
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                says:

                A state legislature embracing Trump’s lies about its election proves that Trump is irrelevant? Sure it does.

                Well yeah. The Arizona audit which was, according to Michael Cain (and everybody else), intended to showcase widespread fraud against the Trump campaign in Arizona, in fact has failed to produce any such evidence so far.

                In other words, the Trump enthusiast faction of Arizona Republicans are spinning their wheels.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Koz
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                says:

                Or to put it another way:

                Michael Flynn celebrating Memorial Day by calling for a military coup to overthrow the American government has nothing to do with Trump, but reflects the current thinking of mainstream Republicans.

                Yeah, I agree with this.Report

              • Michael Cain in reply to Koz
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                says:

                As I see it, you have a choice of two things to believe about AZ legislative Republicans. Either the state senate Republicans stuck their neck in the obvious noose on their own, or they did it because they wanted to make Trump happy. I find the Trump explanation more believable. YMMV.

                They are in damage control mode. They are trying to strip the Secretary of State of the long-held power to prosecute violations of the state election laws. I say “try” because of veto referendums (see above). And the hope is that if they survive a referendum in November, the Republican AG will ignore pretty obvious violations of state election law.

                The state senate Republicans may be able to throw Cyber Ninjas under the bus. That’s their best hope now.Report

              • Koz in reply to Michael Cain
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                says:

                Again, it’s possible you might know more than I do, but I see the situation maybe a bit simpler than you do. Ie, the Arizona Republicans are the worst state party in America, at least for our team. In fact, they remind me quite a bit of the Labour Party in the UK, wherein the real motivations are for fighting intraparty battles.

                As far as they other stuff goes, I expect 2022 cycle to be very good for the GOP, including the West, maybe even especially the West, for a lot of reasons but one big one which to my surprise has flown under radar for the most part.

                GOP is going to recover a lot of Romney-ite, upper middle class white-collar white voters all over America. They were turned off by Trump, and now Trump is gone and so a bunch of them are going back to GOP. I just don’t buy the idea that those voters are going to be afraid Trump is “really” controlling the GOP when basically he’s been minding his own business and holding court at his golf club in Florida.

                The long-term reasons why you’re bullish for the Demos in the interior West may hold water, but I don’t think they are going to carry the day in 2022, for the reasons I wrote above.

                If I were going to say anything in favor of the Demos, I’d say they’re hope is that in the interior Western states, the GOP will be perceived as aligned with the ag and mining interests in those states, and the Demos are aligned with the rest of wherever. Over time, the GOP interests will be getting weaker and the Demo interests will be getting stronger. For that matter, even in the coastal West, the Demos are aligned with the coast, and the GOP is aligned with the inland parts.

                That may be basically a restatement of your own pov, idk for sure. In any event, it is a real long-term hope for the Demos. I don’t think it’s any kind of destiny.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Koz
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                says:

                A single anecdote, but driving through Bergen County NJ today — an area previously dubbed Christie Country because we have lots of wealthy moderate folks who embraced the former governor — I saw a lawn sign for a Governor candidate that proudly and explicitly identified him as pro Trump. He’s one of four GOP candidates in the primary. I have no idea if he’ll get the nom, but that would seem to push back on the idea that Trump won’t be a factor in upcoming elections and the GOP base will return to form. If this guy gets the nod, I’m not sure Christie Country will go for him.Report

              • Koz in reply to Kazzy
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                says:

                I saw a lawn sign for a Governor candidate that proudly and explicitly identified him as pro Trump.

                Yeah, that’s the one tangible influence Trump has left.

                He can endorse (or decline to endorse) non-incumbent politicians with low-ish profiles in competitive primaries. It’s not nothing, but it’s not much either.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Koz
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                says:

                I’m not sure he actually endorsed this guy… I think the candidate is just stamping himself as the Pro-Trump guy among the group.

                So I think there are two things in play:
                1.) The actual impact of actual Trump: endorsements, rallies, etc.
                2.) The lingering impact of Trumpism: How will identifying as pro, anti, or ambivalent towards Trump impact candidates and voters?Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Koz
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                says:

                There won’t be any real evidence, of course, but they’ll “find” something to carry the lies forward. Other red states are making noises about doing the same. Trump remains a millstone.Report

              • Koz in reply to Mike Schilling
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                says:

                There won’t be any real evidence, of course, but they’ll “find” something to carry the lies forward. Other red states are making noises about doing the same. Trump remains a millstone.

                Ok, and then what?

                Is the Arizona legislature, one house of it even, going to pass a resolution that says that according to their election audit, Trump really should have won? I very much doubt it. And what would it accomplish if they did?

                No, I think Trump is less consequential now than he was at any time since, say September 2015, and losing salience every day. Out of sight, out of mind, like I mentioned before.

                Also, a significant part of the Trump mythology was that he wins. Well, he lost. Even if somehow he blowhards his way to convincing grassroots Republicans that he “should have” won, it doesn’t help that much. He still lost, Biden is President.Report

              • Philip H in reply to Koz
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                says:

                Also, a significant part of the Trump mythology was that he wins. Well, he lost. Even if somehow he blowhards his way to convincing grassroots Republicans that he “should have” won, it doesn’t help that much. He still lost, Biden is President.

                Because that’s his myth, all his sycophants are working tripple overtime to keep the myth going. That’s at the heart of the Arizona “audit.” They are doing it becaus ethey NEED the myth to keep themselves in power because they now KNOW they can not win a fair election.Report

        • Pinky in reply to Mike Schilling
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          says:

          The best thing for the country, and definitely the best thing for the GOP, would be for someone to find a hand-written note that says “Don says Go 1:45 NE Cap entrance”. No investigation has turned up such a note. If there is one, the FBI is as likely as anyone to find it. The biggest case against a commission is that the Dems have repeatedly acted like they found such a note.Report

          • Mike Schilling in reply to Pinky
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            says:

            We heard the same BS during Watergate. Fortunately, it was treated as the BS it was.Report

          • Koz in reply to Pinky
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            says:

            The best thing for the country, and definitely the best thing for the GOP, would be for someone to find a hand-written note that says “Don says Go 1:45 NE Cap entrance”.

            Yeah, no. What would it buy the Demos if there were such a note, and the Demos had it? Not very much it seems to me.

            Not very much for several reasons, many of which I suspect are going to play out anyway, as I expect the Demos to have hearings in the House that are going to be more or less inconsequential.Report

            • Pinky in reply to Koz
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              says:

              My point is that a smoking gun would remove Trump from the stage. That’s a win to me. It would also remove whatever finite number of co-conspirators there were. After that, every sound made by the Democrats could be ignored. Imagine if diseased thinking from the left and from the whatever Trump occupies could be removed in one step.Report

              • Koz in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                Would it really though? I’m not so sure even.

                In any event I’m completely not bought into the general principle wherein we find just the right One Weird Trick and Trump will be gone forever. The thing that’s going to get rid of Trump is that he’s not President, and he’s not really dialed in to whatever narrative is going on, and he’s not on social media. In other words, exactly what’s going on already.

                Actually, kinda like how the libs are thinking of their One Weird Trick where Manchin and the Demos are getting rid of the filibuster, and that ain’t happening either. Though, tbh it’s probably more rational for them, ‘cuz it’s still probably their best hope.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Koz
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                says:

                We agree about the reliance on the One Weird Trick. To be clear, I don’t think there’s such a handwritten note. Sure would be nice if one of those weird tricks worked though.Report

          • Chip Daniels in reply to Pinky
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            says:

            We may have to just rely on the rioters themselves:

            Lawyers for at least three defendants charged in connection with the violent siege tell The Associated Press that they will blame election misinformation and conspiracy theories, much of it pushed by then-President Donald Trump, for misleading their clients. The attorneys say those who spread that misinformation bear as much responsibility for the violence as do those who participated in the actual breach of the Capitol.

            “I kind of sound like an idiot now saying it, but my faith was in him,” defendant Anthony Antonio said, speaking of Trump. Antonio said he wasn’t interested in politics before pandemic boredom led him to conservative cable news and right-wing social media. “I think they did a great job of convincing people.”Report

  2. Greginak
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    says:

    Gotta say this whole minority rule thing is not that great. Shame the Sainted Founders planned for minorities to run the country over majorities. Crazy but they must have known best.Report

  3. Chip Daniels
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    says:

    Any nation where a measure that has 54 Ayes and 35 Noes fails, has a hard time describing itself as a representative form of government.Report

  4. Philip H
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    says:

    And, for good measure, nine Republican senators did not vote today on the procedural vote that would have advanced the Jan. 6 commission bill.

    They are:

    Sen. Marsha Blackburn
    Sen. Roy Blunt
    Sen. Mike Braun
    Sen. Richard Burr
    Sen. Jim Inhofe
    Sen. Mike Rounds
    Sen. James Risch
    Sen. Richard Shelby
    Sen. Pat Toomey (who is notable because he was on the fence)

    Now there would have been enough votes right there. Burr and Shelby are retiring, so they had nothing to loose by supporting the measure. They are cowards too afraid to buck Trump and the Base and thus too afraid to protect what’s left of our democracy.Report

    • Chip Daniels in reply to Philip H
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      says:

      By now, the difference between “refusing to defend American democracy out of cowardice” and “eagerly assisting the destruction of American democracy” is meaningless.

      Its like what was said about goat-humping; It doesn’t matter your reasons, you’re still goat-humping.Report

  5. Douglas Hayden
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    says:

    ‘DO SOMETHING’ is now trending on Twitter with 151k tweets, so Mission Accomplished all around.Report

  6. Zac Black
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    says:

    It is a supreme irony that the only thing that could force Congress’ hand in this regard is another armed insurrection.Report

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