The Washington Post reports that “momentum is stalling amid congressional efforts to swiftly investigate the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.” Good.
The Democrats want to use the riot for political purposes. They hope, with assistance from the always-obliging media, to present it as the tip of an insurrectionary iceberg spearheaded by hardcore Trump supporters.
To this end, Nancy Pelosi favors a 9/11 style commission. She would like this small riot, in which only a handful of people died, to live in infamy the way the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, in which thousands of American perished, does.
But comparing Jan. 6 and 9/11 is absurd on many levels. For purposes of determining the need for a a commission, a key difference is this: It was clear after 9/11 that the U.S. needed to overhaul its approach to combatting the persistent threat of international terrorism. We even created a new cabinet level department for this purpose.
By contrast, all that Jan. 6 shows is that the Capitol police needs to be better prepared in the very unlikely event that the confluence of circumstances that produced the attack — a disputed election in which the defeated candidate sought to avoid certification of the result by Congress — or something similarly anomalous occurs again.
Nonetheless, Republicans, understandably stunned by the attack on the Capitol, initially were inclined to go along with the Democrats’ project. Having calmed down, they now see that project for what it is. Hence, the “stalled momentum” for an investigation.
The January 6 attack on the Capitol was appalling. Those who violated the law at the Capitol that day should be prosecuted. Those who engaged in violence should be punished severely (as should the left-wing rioters who have been engaging in violence and assaults on government buildings for the better part of a year).
But this is a matter for law enforcement, not a congressional investigation and certainly not a commission. I doubt there’s any evidence that the U.S. faces an appreciable threat of an insurrection by any element of the right.
And even if such evidence exists, it’s still a matter for law enforcement to investigate and, if necessary, counter. There is no reason other than raw partisan politics — an attempt to investigate and disparage hardcore Trump supporters — for Congress to become involved beyond simply correcting flaws in its police force.
Mitch McConnell argues that Pelosi’s proposed commission is too narrow. He says its focus should extend to all groups that engage in political violence. This would include Antifa and other outfits that have behaved violently and destructively in the name of Black Lives Matter.
McConnell’s position makes sense in the abstract. If there’s going to be a commission, the scope of its investigation should certainly encompass the leftist groups that have perpetrated the vast majority of politically-related violence in recent times.
McConnell has found a reasonable-sounding basis for not going along with Pelosi. However, the best basis for not going along is that there’s no need for a commission to study any forms of domestic political violence, and any such commission would become a political football on day one.