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The Absurdity of a January 6 Commission

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Usually, the creation of another sweeping, lumbering government commission is no worse than a new chapter in the history of Washington overreach.  But this fetish for a commission to wallow into the mire of the January 6 Capitol uprising is far worse: it is a planned exercise in malicious political theater designed to create heat while shedding no new light.           


Is there anyone who is unaware of what happened that day?  A massive crowd gathered in Washington to support the constitutional challenge to an election result fraught with troubling doubts. President Trump spoke at the White House, dispatching marchers to head eastward to the Capitol to gather (“peacefully,” as he instructed) to show solidarity with Republicans willing to assert that the COVID-concocted thwarting of election laws should impede automatic acceptance of electoral votes.         

As the crowd circled the Capitol, a small percentage unsatisfied with merely protesting breached the building and marched into dishonorable history.  Since a small percentage of a huge crowd is still a lot of people, the images of that day are etched onto the national memory, as hallowed halls filled with the shouts of intruders ironically breaking laws while airing grievances about the breaking of laws.

There. How many millions did I just save?

But a January 6 kangaroo commission is not simply a waste of money, and it is far worse than a waste of time.  In the hands of zealots bent on destroying Donald Trump and erasing the voices of voters skeptical about November, this spectacle would make the derailed impeachment look coherent by comparison.


Look who’s manning the engines of this farce—Democrats and their useful dance partners in the tiny Trump-hating wing of the GOP.  The “bipartisan” push for the commission was reached in a clubhouse handshake between House Homeland Security Chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and Rep. John Katko of New York, one of the ten Republicans who voted for impeachment.

But something is happening along the assembly line of this ill-conceived creation. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is souring on the process, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell won’t commit.  Let’s make this simple: No Republican should sign onto this nonsense, and any who do will be viewed with the same shade currently directed at Liz Cheney.            

The hyperventilations of this contrived enterprise will have two goals--savagery of the Trump legacy and the casting of millions of voters’ concerns onto the ash heap of history. Those refusing to board this crazy train will draw the usual slanders.  It will be charged that they are “downplaying the insurrection,” as if the only way to show disapproval of January 6 is to join this twisted inquisition. Bolder attackers will even hint (if not charge outright) that hesitancy must be evidence of collusion with the offenders.


There is no value to balancing this atrocity with a convoluted expansion of its mission statement. The idea of throwing in some shoe-horned examination of BLM and Antifa crimes is silly and just as unnecessary. We know what those misdeeds were about as well.   

As the pushers of this commission attempt to undeservedly paint it with comparisons to the highly-regarded 9/11 commission, be aware of their motive. They’re not just adding legitimacy to their gambit; they seek to draw an equivalency between January 6 and the horrors of 9/11 itself, with its death toll of thousands and its ensuing decades of global conflict.           

That comparison is ridiculous on its face, but President Biden went even farther, calling it “the worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War.”  Even if four presidential assassinations and Pearl Harbor might tip the scale against such gross historical illiteracy, it can be argued that January 6 wasn’t even the worst attack in the history of the Capitol, which has seen a variety of shootings and bombings, all during Biden’s lifetime.         

 While no one should soft-pedal the incursion of January 6, nor should it be opportunistically exaggerated into a targeted missile aimed at a despised President and the millions of voters who have failed to issue the required seal of approval to a result tainted by deep concerns about broken laws and compromised integrity.          


In fact, if we wanted to devote some time to an unresolved matter that still cries out for clarity, where an honest assessment of evidence would be of value to all Americans, what we really need is a November 3 commission.

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