So far, the record of “hopes and prayers” is distinctly lacking when it comes to halting mass shootings in America, but Sen. Joe Manchin has made it clear this is his go-to option when dealing with Republican refusal to support an investigation into the events of Jan. 6.
As Politico reports, Sen. Mitch McConnell is determined to filibuster the bill that just passed the House, even though the bipartisan committee it creates is divided evenly between Democrats and Republicans. Because in 2021, even when Democrats bend over backwards to be more than fair, that’s not fair enough to suit Republicans.
McConnell’s filibuster of the proposal—which gained the support of 35 Republican members in the House—makes it clear that GOP senators aren’t worried about the structure of the committee. They’re worried about what the committee might learn. They’re terrified that putting an official bipartisan stamp on any investigation of Jan. 6 means that they won’t be able to simply blame any evidence on Democrats. Republicans are confident that Democrats will not get 10 Republicans to go along and break McConnell’s filibuster, which is a pretty good bet because not a single Republican has so far said they will vote for the commission.
But Manchin has an answer: “So disheartening. It makes you really concerned about our country. I’m still praying we’ve still got ten good solid patriots within that conference.”
The problem is, we don’t. That’s been made blindingly clear over and over as Republicans have realized that after four years of Trump, they have nothing but Trump. That was the deal they made when they first put on those red MAGA hats on Trump’s first day in Washington. They got Trump’s angry base. They surrendered everything that even resembled a principle, position, or plan.
Coming out of Trump’s time in office, Republicans had a chance. They could have distanced themselves from Trump, and from the toxic mix of white supremacy and ignorance-driven conspiracy theories that fuel his violent supporters. But going into a rebuilding period looked like work. So instead, they took the easier choice. They marched right back down to Mar-a-Lago, kissed the ring, and signed on for a billion years of “whatever Trump wants.”
Their end of that deal is simple enough: protecting Trump from having to face the truth about his election loss, his multitude of crimes, and anything that resembles the truth. There is no negotiating with Republicans on this issue—on almost every issue—because negotiations require an exchange of value, and there is nothing that Republicans want.
It’s not as if there is some form of commission that would satisfy them. In fact, here’s the big secret: If Democrats were to agree with Republicans that the commission should also investigate everything that happened over the summer related to Black Lives Matter and protests following the police murder of George Floyd, Republicans would still filibuster the commission. Because they know that any actual investigation of those summer events would show that most of the tales of violence were fabricated for a Fox News audience, and nothing that happened was an existential threat to democracy—like Jan. 6.
There is nothing that can get Senate Republicans for vote for the commission, because there is nothing Republicans want except for there to be no commission.
And if guarding Trump’s posterior isn’t reason enough to stick with McConnell’s filibuster, let Richard Burr drive that final nail in the coffin when it comes to any potential for cooperation. Burr was the biggest surprise when it came to Republicans who voted to impeach Trump. But he’s not signing on to investigate events that put his own life at risk.
And why? “So this myth that you could finish this by December?” said Burr. “You probably couldn’t even get your staff security clearance to read the documents. There’s no question” this would bleed into the midterms.”
Here’s a Republican senator telling everyone flat out that Republicans know that an impartial look into events of Jan. 6 will hurt them in the next election. Because of this, Barr says bluntly that there are “no changes that could be made to the legislation to win his support.”
Manchin’s plea for 10 good patriots among the Republican Party doesn’t have a prayer. But this would be an excellent day to end the filibuster.