It’s true that after the Jan. 6 invasion of the Capitol, several Republicans called for an investigative commission, but the one relevant truth is that
drove the idea into the ditch. Though the Senate may vote soon on the House bill, what’s left of the Jan. 6 commission should be loaded onto a flatbed truck and hauled to the political graveyard. It is unsalvageable.
Yes, let us agree it is a sad day when the American political system can’t summon sufficient agreement to establish the facts of a significant national trauma such as a right-wing mob marauding inside the Capitol. But it’s a sadder day still when what we nostalgically call “the facts” become the last thing our politics is interested in.
No alternative explanation is possible for Senate Majority Leader
remark on the impending Senate vote: “The American people will see where every member stands—on the side of truth or on the side of
Years hence, historians sifting for the facts of American politics the past five years will have to address the phenomenon called Trump Derangement Syndrome.
Commonly, TDS refers to the damage done to individual psyches consumed with animosity toward Donald Trump, an effect he relished and fed. Less explored is the damage TDS did to the U.S. political system’s ability to function, as now with a Jan. 6 commission.
Democrats and the media will deny this to their graves, but the wellsprings of American politics have been poisoned for years by the Russia-collusion narrative.
The Russia-collusion narrative—that Mr. Trump and his campaign had been politically compromised by
—was false. Yet for two never-ending years, Speaker Pelosi, her committee chairmen, remnants of
Federal Bureau of Investigation and the press force-fed it to the American people.
This was an unprecedented investment of institutional credibility in a project to unseat an elected president with accusations that—we know now—were farfetched from day one.
Now, in addition to a handful of Republicans, the same people who brought us that fiasco feign shock that anyone would doubt the good faith of their proposed Jan. 6 commission.
It has come to this: If the American media says in unison that something is the right thing to do, nearly half the country takes that as proof it is the wrong thing to do. How this disintegration happened is itself worth a commission, though one almost forgets—the shoe of the Durham report on the origins of the collusion narrative is still out there waiting to drop.
Also among the mysteries of our time for historians is how, despite the four-year media dump on Mr. Trump, some 74 million Americans voted for him in 2020.
Voting “for Trump” requires parsing. Many of those 74 million disdained him personally but voted for his policies. Many simply voted in reaction against the media jihad. Millions of these out-of-sorts voters surely see this commission as another act of elite condescension, an effort to rub their faces in realities they already know—that Mr. Trump sat on his hands for hours in the White House while the riot raged at the Capitol, and that he remains largely mute on this repellent event.
Not all, but many Republicans and conservatives also know that their Trump problem is that if he runs again in 2024, they will lose again. Eventually, Republicans in contested elections will have to say something publicly about the Trump-related Jan. 6 realities—it did happen on his watch—because their opponents will shove it in their faces in every debate. Republican politicians need to learn how to say “antifa” and “QAnon” in the same sentence.
But amid the political toxicities that have festered for six years, it takes a lot of political cheek to expect that Republicans would now erect a scaffold for their own hanging by voting for Mrs. Pelosi’s Jan. 6 commission.
Democrats and pundits have dismissed the idea that any such commission expand its inquiry to last summer’s violence after
murder or for the past year in Portland, Ore. That investigation won’t happen, but it should. The line between peaceful protest and fanatic destruction has become impossibly thin.
It passed virtually without notice that France last month arrested six members of the notorious Red Brigades gang implicated in the kidnapping, captivity for 54 days and murder in Rome of Italy’s former prime minister,
—in 1978. The shock then to the civilized world of Moro’s murder was similar to the Capitol invasion. In America and Europe, those years were filled with violent extremist groups, including the far-left Weather Underground, which bombed the U.S. Capitol in 1971.
That threat can return. America’s current waves of violence—right-wing militias, left-wing anarchists, street protesters, urban gangs, anti-Semitic assaults and solo nut cases—are in toto pushing the country to a dangerous level of disorder. A Jan. 6 commission is an excuse to kick this time bomb into a fateful future.
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